• 61°

Host families needed for arts school students

Preparations are now being made to ensure that students atMississippi School of the Arts will have a ‘home away from home’when the school opens later this year.

Several Brookhaven residents have formed a committee to beginrecruiting host families in the area for the 60-plus studentsexpected to attend MSA in the first year.

“Host families are going to be like a surrogate family to thestudents. They will provide them with social activities as well assupport,” said committee member Stacey Oberschmidt.

Host families in the area will “adopt” a student and provide afamily-type setting by participating in activities such as eatingout together, going bowling and watching the student’s performanceson a regular basis.

“The host family is also supposed to keep in touch with thestudent’s family,” said committee member Dr. Dianne Watson.

Applications for host families will be available in the nextcouple of months at area banks, businesses and churches as well asMSA.

Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a hostfamily can reach committee members Richard Baker, KarenChristopher, Billy Crozier, Patti Perkins, Oberschmidt andWatson.

The committee began meeting in May 2002 and has continued togather regularly to finalize the application process.

They also want to make sure the families are carefully selectedin order to create a “good, healthy, supportive relationship” withthe students.

“We hope for this to be a vital part of the lifestyles of thestudents at the school of the arts,” said David Smith, director ofstudent services at MSA.

While the host family criteria and guidelines is still beingworked out, committee members and school officials hope to acceptapplications and have the interview committee proceed with theprocess in late spring and early summer.