Community Connections

Community Connections hosts are asked to provide a private bedroom, drop off on weekdays at a central meeting location by 9:30 a.m. and some meals. Hosts are invited to participate in some cultural activities and receive a $50/week/visitor gift card to help offset costs. If you are interested in being a volunteer host or would like more information please contact Irene Bailey at 404-832-5560 x 13.

Community Connections is a 5-year USAID funded program started in 2005 which offers 3 week home-stay based practical training opportunities in the U.S. for entrepreneurs, local government officials, legal professionals, non-governmental organization leaders and other professionals from across the former Soviet Union and Serbia.

The Community Connections Program, formerly managed by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), and now funded through the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia at USAID, is designed to promote public diplomacy through the exchange of cultural ideas and values between participants, U.S. families and local community host organizations. The goals of the Community Connections program are to:

  • Provide participants with professional training and exposure to day-to-day functioning of a free market system
  • Encourage public-private partnerships in Europe/Eurasia by including private sector and government participants on U.S. visits
  • Create links between U.S. and Europe/Eurasia regions and communities.

Professionals are recruited on a list of themes from across Russia – one region, one theme. The goal behind recruiting is to assemble a team of experts in their field who can work together across sectors to improve the work being done in their field. Community Connections typically recruits in the social and development sectors such as nonprofit development, women’s rights, poverty alleviation, rights of the disabled, and others.

Each Community Connections group is comprised of members from private, governmental, and the nonprofit sectors as well as media, forming a local team that can approach problem solving more effectively while working for greater sustainability. Alumni from previous trainings have gone on to found nonprofit organizations, develop training programs themselves, win grants for social projects, and other great successes.

Contact Irene Bailey to participate in this program as a professional resource or home-stay host.