Carroll County has proud tradition of welcoming exchange students

Carroll County, Indiana sits in the middle of the country surrounded by corn and bean fields.  Who would want to come to the middle of the country?  In the past 35 years, many Youth for Understanding students have called Carroll County their home. The next group of students to become a part of the community will begin to arrive within the next month.

Youth for Understanding is a local non-profit organization that started in Michigan in 1951 to help heal the relations between America and Germany after WWII. What better way to do this then with our youth. A group of German teenagers were invited to live for a year with families in Michigan.  This was such a success it was repeated. Five years later the first American students went to Germany for a year. Today there are over 40 countries involved in the program. Over 200,000 teenagers have participated in the program.

Don and Sharon Strasser became a part of the program in 1981. Until that time they were a childless couple that loved children. This year they will be welcoming their 32nd and 33rd student into their home this year. They were volunteers for YFU until 2008 when Sharon Strasser became the field director for northern Indiana. Families come in all shapes and sizes: couples with children of any age, couples without children, adoptive parents, empty nesters, military families, working parents, single parents or single people can all qualify to host an exchange student.

Please visit the Youth for Understanding website at and view all the students looking for a loving host family. The family agrees to provide the student with a bed of their own, three meals a day and lots of love. The student has their own spending money and insurance. For more information please call Sharon Strasser at 574 722-1615 or email at