International Impact

International impact: Get involved

By Rebekah Hisle (Communications Specialist)

Interview with Hannah Glerum (12th St. Administrative Assistant)

Kalamazoo Christian Schools has partnered with the Faces & Our Cultures program for many years. KCS students have had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala for two to four weeks while we host cultural ambassadors from Guatemala for a few months in the fall.

Hannah Glerum, one of our 12th St. Administrative Assistants, and her family have hosted students through the Faces & Our Cultures program eight times! With kids across grade levels, in both English and Spanish Immersion, the Glerum’s lives have been changed by the opportunity to host.

Hannah said, “It is so much easier than you think because you just live your normal life with just one extra ‘plate at the table.’” She emphasized that anything you would do with your own family, you do with the student you host too. “They want the real, true experience.”

When the Glerum’s began hosting, their oldest was in elementary school. Hannah said her kids “looked up to him [the cultural ambassador that stayed with them] and loved him like a big brother.” Hannah’s child in Spanish Immersion has really connected with some of the students the family hosted, even keeping in touch with them after they return home.

Some host families, like Hannah’s, have made a bucket list with their students. Traditionally, they take a trip to South Haven to see Lake Michigan. One student wanted to go camping, so Hannah pitched a tent in her backyard for the kids to camp out. Because the students are here in the fall, pumpkin carving is one of Hannah’s favorite activities. Watching the kids messily tear through the pumpkin guts and using their creativity for carving is one of the many memories Hannah has with the kids her family has hosted.

Hannah recognized that the Faces & Our Cultures program does a good job at pairing students to a family based on their dynamic and personalities. For example, Faces & Our Cultures would usually match a middle school girl to a family with another middle school girl. FACES, however, goes above and beyond, using questionnaires to match students to families that have similar interests.

“The goodbyes are always so hard,” Hannah said. “They [the students] become part of your family in two short months.” Hannah and her family have been invited to Guatemala by some of the families of the children they’ve hosted and hope to one day visit them.

For more information about the Faces & Our Cultures program or questions about how to become a host family, reach out to 

Have a story for our Kalamazoo Christian community? We want to hear from you! Email our Communications Specialist at 

Kalamazoo Christian School Association is an academically excellent, Christian community equipping, inspiring and challenging students to love and serve Christ in the world. 

We strive to be disciples transforming the world through our nine Faithlines: Beauty Creating, Creation Caring, Faith Nurturing, God Glorifying, Image Reflecting, Justice Seeking, Kingdom Building, Stewardly Living and Truth Pursuing.