Greenheart at the Grant Conference in Washington D.C.

Recently, Greenheart had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting for partner organizations who place FLEX and Kennedy-Lugar YES students for international high school exchanges. The conference was a whirlwind day and a half of meetings, lectures, group discussions, and networking opportunities. Attendance included approximately 80 individuals from partner organizations, receiving organizations, the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and American Councils. 

This year’s two primary topics were challenges with placing students and mental health. When discussing challenges with placing students, attendees of all types were put into mini “working groups” to discuss challenges and potential ways to overcome them in the short and long term. The conversations were fruitful and helped non-placement organizations further understand the challenges placement organizations like Greenheart face.

For the mental health portion, three speakers addressed various topics. Our own Senior Manager of Grant Programs, Shannon Pedersen, spoke on mental health in the field and how to best support field staff when their students are struggling with mental health concerns. After the presentations, there was also a Q&A to discuss best practices and resources for students, host families, and staff to take care of mental health on the day-to-day.   

Overall, it was a great conference with the opportunity to speak to others who work with FLEX and YES students. Greenheart is grateful for the continued partnership with ECA & American Councils to place such exceptional high school students from around the world! 


Greenheart Exchange sponsors hundreds of international high school exchange students each year, placing them in volunteer host family homes across the USA. If you or someone you know is interested in being a host family, please visit to learn more and apply. If you are interested in working with Greenheart to find host families, please visit to apply.  

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