Get Involved

Become a host family

High School Host Families

Couples or families can volunteer to host a student for a few weeks or for several months. Host family duties include providing room and board for the student and transportation to and from school and events/activities. Past host families have found great rewards in having a chance to learn about another culture on an ongoing, first-hand basis.

Host parents are interviewed by the committee and by law must complete a police background check. Host parents that are selected are expected to sign a contract with the committee, promising to fulfill certain obligations, and are provided with a set of rules that govern the conduct and expectations of the students.

Junior High Host Families

Families are needed each March for approximately one week to host a junior high student.

Host family duties include providing room and board, pick up and drop off of students for daily committee arranged activities, spending time with the student during the evenings and weekend, and attendance at the welcome and farewell parties.

Each student has been a joy to host and each day brings possibilities of new experiences for them in what is otherwise a routine day or event for us. Sharing our holiday traditions, especially those around Christmas, have been revitalized for our family as we are able to see them through the eyes of someone experiencing them either for the first time or in a new way.

- Scott and Teresa Fulling

Apply today

If you are interested in serving as a host family for a high school or junior high student, please complete the application.

Junior High Host Family Application

High School Host Family Application


Become a committee member

The Bloomington-Normal/Asahikawa Sister Cities program is a volunteer committee that oversees all aspects of the sister city friendship. There are 20 board members with 10 members appointed by the City of Bloomington and 10 members appointed by the Town of Normal.

Member Commitments

Committee members meet monthly and are expected to participate in at least one sub-committee:

These subcommittees facilitate the work of the committee on weekly basis. Time commitment varies depending on the month, but committee members usually work an average 3 – 5 hours each month. If you would like to learn more, please contact Darren Sampson, Chair, for more information at darren.sampson@bnsistercities.org. Come be a part of this fun-loving, and wonderfully diverse, group of dedicated volunteers!

Being a member of the Bloomington-Normal Asahikawa Sister Cities committee allows me to support international travel and cultural immersion for young students from both the Twin Cities and Asahikawa, Japan. This student exchange is a life-changing experience for all of the young people who are able to participate. I firmly believe in the hands-on life experience this committee facilitates for young people.

- Mary Anne Schierman

Contact Us


Make a donation

The committee is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal and by donations. We welcome donations of any amount to further our mission of facilitating the friendship with Asahikawa, Japan. The mailing address for donations is: 511 E Market Street, Bloomington IL 61701. Contact Darren Sampson, Chair, with inquiries about company-sponsored volunteer programs.