OPEN (Organization Promoting Everlasting Neighbors) has been a part of the Newton and Jasper County area for 27 years. January is “Sister City Month”. One of our special projects has been our high school student program, an important aspect of our relationships with our sister cities in Wu Chi, Taiwan and Smila, Ukraine.
Our current student, Mandy Yu, from Taiwan, is being hosted by the family of Eric and Carey Jordan. Mandy is very active in Newton High School theatre and music activities and is also currently on the NHS JV Basketball team. She is participating in speech contest and is successful academically.
The student program started in 1993 and we are proud that we have had 43 students take advantage of the opportunity to participate in area high schools since 1993. We appreciate the numerous host families that have welcomed our students. Without this support, it would not be possible to sustain this important program.
A teacher/administrator from Ukraine, Mariia Sihetii, was in Newton Oct. 21 through Nov. 10, 2018, sponsored by OPEN. Mariia and OPEN have continued to collaborate since Mariia’s original visit to Newton through the Open World Leadership Center. Her focus this visit was education oriented, spending time in Newton schools and being exposed to the DMACC early childhood program.
Our current Board members are Sheri Benson, Bob Callaghan, Warren Erickson, Steve Farver, Stephen Gehling, Jane Johnson, Debbie Knopf, Mary Beth Lawson, John McNeer, Sveta Miller, Jeff Price, David Raymond, Tori Reynolds and Joan Tyler.
Jane Ann Cotton, chair