MSA in need of host families for new students

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 10, 2006

Leaving home to attend high school can be a difficulttransition. But for students at the Mississippi School of the Arts,having a host family provides a local support system to ease thattransition.

“The host family function is to ease the transition from homelife to dorm life and living in an entirely different environment,”said MSA Host Family Committee Volunteer Patti Perkins.

Students who attend are in their junior and senior year ofstudy. The students are the best of the best from all over thestate and are the top in their degree genres, Perkins said.

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Local families can volunteer as a host family for one or morestudents from MSA. Host families are encouraged to attend concerts,theater productions, art exhibits and other MSA events.

“Oftentimes the families live way out of the area and can’tattend,” Perkins said.

With 80 incoming juniors, more host families will be needed toprovide a local support system for the students at MSA.

“Most all of them want host families,” Perkins said. “Weprobably need another 30 to 40 host families.”

Host families are required to fill out an application, pay a onetime $25 application fee and pass a police background check beforebeing assigned a student. Anyone interested in the host familyprogram can contact Perkins at (601) 833-0020 for more information.

Some students just want a local number to contact, home cookedmeals or an e-mail to touch base every week, Perkins said.

“Most of the children are churched and are looking for hostfamilies to take them to church,” Perkins added.

Host families are encouraged to attend move-in day on Aug. 5.This provides the host family with the opportunity to meet thestudent and the student’s family.

“Everyone associated with the school is just so excited,”Perkins said. “These local families become so attached to thechildren.”

For those who are unable to volunteer as a host family, thereare opportunities to serve in other areas.

“One fellow volunteers his farm to allow the kids to come out,play games and have a barbecue,” Perkins said. “Others volunteertheir pools for the children to come swim and some children takespecific lessons and people volunteer to drive them.

“These are very high energy kids,” Perkins said. “They don’tjust hang out. They are very self-motivated children.”