An organizational meeting of the Seacoast J-1 Hospitality Coalition was held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, in the Council Chambers at the Kittery Town Hall.
The intent was to follow-up on work begun last summer with a goal of creating a welcoming and appropriate environment for the more than 40 foreign students who will be working in Kittery on J-1 visas this summer and fall. Citizens who attended any of the meetings last summer were certainly encouraged to attend on the 19th, as well as any other citizens interested in becoming involved as goodwill ambassadors for our community.
About 15 people attended including a student from last year who was sponsored by the Gas Light.
Representatives from agencies placing students in Kittery attended along with representatives of employing companies. The hope was to work as a team for the safety, security and pleasure of all.
The group discussed items such as how to get the word out for those wishing to provide lodging and bicycles. Even ideas about donating your bicycles to a non-profit groups here in Town for a tax deduction. Other ideas such as providing them lights for the bikes at night and recovering the bikes when they leave so that they may be used for the following years.
There was many warm stories about hosting these students and sad stories how sometimes from unexpected circumstances, they are forced to spend their money for different homes or travel for jobs because of circumstances beyond their control or sleeping on benches for the lack of housing.
In the next few days, ourkittery will add a page and advertise it here. This page will be a place that local people businesses and residents as well can go to get information and share information. Those who have rooms to rent or share are encouraged to check here under the J1 Coalition page.
There will be contact information, rules, maps and a contact form for those wishing to assist. I am adding this project information to ourkittery due to the fact it concerns Kittery and it is news worthy.
For more information contact Councilor Jeff Thomson at: