Rotary club hosts international volunteers

Domenico DeMattia, Zhang Lantian (Sky), Yiran Shen (Sarah), Anastasia Chalenko, Lena Franik, Paolo Corti. Note Chinese put last name first. At the far left of the photo is Newport Rotarian, Damon Contois and on the far right is Newport Rotary Club secretary, Bruce Jasper.

NEWPORT — A group of international volunteers came to Newport this week to find out about the United States and help out around the town.

The Volunteers for Peace chapter in Burlington, Vermont collaborated with the Newport school district and local nonprofits to bring six young people from China, Italy, Lithuania, Germany, Russia and Catalonia to town for two weeks. The volunteers sign up for the program in their home countries; they can choose where they want to go. This is the 34th year Volunteers for Peace has sent a group to Newport.

During their time here, the volunteers helped out at Richards Library, the Newport Historical Society, the Newport School District, the Newport Opera House Association and South Congregational Church. They also got out and enjoyed Newport.

On Tuesday they had an Open Mic night at Richards Free Library. Last Wednesday they were hosted for lunch by the Newport Rotary Club on July 31.

The volunteers are hosted by families in the community. Bruce Jasper, a member of the Rotary Club, said, “They do short term jobs, like washing the windows at the Historical Society — jobs that just need to get done.

“We get to meet young people from different countries that have decided to come to the United States,” said Jasper.

The program was started by Charen Urban, a retired Newport social studies teacher.

“It’s the first time away from their families, for a lot of them,” said Jasper. “Some of them are quite scared (at first). They all seem to say how friendly the people in Newport are, and how outgoing they are. They feel like they blend in; they enjoy being here.”

There will be a Volunteers for Peace Community Wrap-Up at Richards Free Library Thursday, Aug. 8, at 6 p.m.

The Newport Opera House Association is the tax-exempt fiscal sponsor for Bringing the World to Newport. Please consider supporting this enriching, annual community program by mailing a donation to Newport Opera House Association, P.O. Box 351, Newport, N.H. 03773. Checks must be made payable to NOHA, with BTWN19 on the memo line for deposit into a separate account.

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