and be part of peace in action

“Everyone we’ve hosted has become part of our family.”
Kim Lande and Scott Henry, Cardiff, CA

Israeli and Palestinian teen leaders need host families this summer to provide a safe and loving space as they journey through a life-changing dialogue and leadership program. Host a Summer Program participant for a window into their world and develop meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime as you experience firsthand how Hands of Peace empowers youth to become agents of change.

Watch this video to experience the power of being a Host Family and Volunteer during Summer Program.






How are host family placements assigned? Do I have a say in who I host?
Each Host Family committee works closely with the Site Directors and Regional Managers to facilitate the placement process. In the online application, potential host families are asked questions about preferences and dietary accommodations.

What are some of the main responsibilities of a host family?
First and foremost, home safety is paramount. Participants will need their own bed and privacy. Fostering an environment that is warm,open, tolerant, communicative, and respectful is key. Host families are also responsible for providing:

  • breakfast and dinner – when not participating in evening activities. Some participants require special dietary needs and Hands of Peace will guide you with that.
  • driving daily to and from the program. Carpools are available in many cases.
  • laundry facilities

What are the support systems in place to help young participants and host families?
Over 20 years, Hands of Peace has led more than 700 youth through a transformative summer program. The summer program is implemented by an experienced professional staff, some of whom are alumni of the program. It is also supported by community volunteers. That staff is focused on supporting youth going through the program, as well as host families.

Staff include:

  • Professionally trained facilitators who are American, Israeli and Palestinian
  • Chaperones to support American, Israeli, Palestinian Citizens of Israel and Palestinian youth and families
  • Site Directors in each location – Chicago and San Diego
  • Regional Managers overseeing the Israeli, Palestinian Citizens of Israel and Palestinian delegations
  • An on-call doctor and mental health professional

Are host families invited to participate in any events during the Summer Program?
Host families are encouraged to join us for Culture Night, an evening of food, music, and dancing prepared by the participants. Host families are also invited to attend services when we visit a church, mosque and synagogue, and are welcome at the Farewell Celebration at the close of the Summer Program. Two days in the schedule will be Host Family Days, where no programming is planned; host families spend these special days with their participants.

How is Hands of Peace prepared to protect participants and host families from COVID-19 during the Summer Program?
To support the well-being of our Hands, host families, and staff, Hands of Peace has developed doctor-monitored policies to address COVID-19. All participants, host families, staff, and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated with a U.S. approved vaccine. Participants flying from Israel-Palestine are required to take a PCR test prior to getting on the airplane. Masking and social distancing requirements will follow current local, state, and federal guidelines at the time of the program. Tests and PPE will be made available, and advanced cleaning will take place at both Chicago and San Diego program sites.

Are there other opportunities for host families to volunteer in the Hands of Peace summer program?
Volunteers are the heart of Hands of Peace. In fact, the 2019 summer program was fueled by 500 volunteer hours by dedicated community members. Volunteers are needed to do everything from driving participants to gatherings, making and serving meals, helping with the Farewell Celebration and Culture Night and more. Sign up below. 

For more information about hosting in San Diego, contact Melanie Stanek, San Diego Site Director at mstanek@handsofpeace.org.

For more information about hosting in Chicago/Glenview, contact Emily Kenward, Chicago Site Director at ekenward@handsofpeace.org.