The Auvinen family’s collective dedication to AFS and their contributions as a host family have been truly exceptional. They have welcomed students from multiple countries into their home, fostering intercultural learning and understanding. Over the years, their experiences have made them experts in facilitating students’ adaptation to Finland and promoting the values of diversity and inclusion.

Their roles extend beyond hosting; they actively support students and families, providing invaluable guidance as contact persons. Their unique ability to understand and address a wide range of topics and concerns, transcending cultural differences, greatly enhances AFS’s hosting and cultural exchange programs.

The Auvinen family is deeply engaged in their local community, sharing the knowledge and insights they’ve gained through their AFS experiences. They contribute not only locally but also nationally through AFS Finland’s online channels. Minttu, a member of the family, even had the honor of appearing on Finland’s national TV to share their AFS hosting experiences, encouraging other families to join the AFS community.

What truly sets the Auvinen family apart is their unwavering commitment to learning and their dedication to intercultural understanding. They repeatedly open their home to students, creating an environment where AFS values are lived and shared. Their kindness, empathy, and open-mindedness are a beacon of light in their community and throughout Finland.

Peggy and Art Howe Award

Established in 2016, Peggy and Art Howe Award honors the outstanding service of AFS volunteer families. This award is inspired by the Howe family, who volunteered for AFS for more than six decades. Art Howe was a volunteer AFS Ambulance Driver in World War II, President of AFS (1965-1971), and Life Trustee until his passing in 2014.

In 2023, winners of the Young AFS Volunteer Award winners were:

  • Minttu and Antti Auvinen, AFS Finland
  • Bonnie & Jim Stark, AFS USA
  • Luigi Batista Seronni, Milena Rodrigues Araujo, Pietro, Maria and Fabiana Rodrigues Seronni, AFS Brazil
  • György Kugler, Ágnes Kuglerné Eper, AFS Hungary