Siblings, 4 and 6, talk about being a host family

Inflatable ring floating in a swimming pool

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Many of our host families have noticed an unexpected side effect of hosting the children of a family in need: their children benefit, too.

Although the hosting of Lily and Hunter took place last May, Cruz Soto, 6, still vividly remembers playing baseball with Hunter in the swimming pool.

“We put little, like, other balls in the pool to make them the bases, and we had the really big ball and that was home,” Cruz says.

It was his favorite part of the hosting.

“So if we were at a base, we had to throw the ball right up in the air and if you catch it and while it’s in the air, you have to run — or swing.”

Who taught who?

“We just knew.”

Even 4-year-old Audri remembers the stay a little.

Mom Kristianna prods her out of shyness with a question, “What did you play with Lily in the pool?” Mom asks.

“Mermaids!” she says enthusiastically.

Cruz remembers Hunter losing a tooth during his stay. “It didn’t hurt,” he says.

They learned to read together and did homework together. They watched movies and munched on snacks.

“He was really nice,” Cruz says.

When asked what he thinks about helping people, Cruz easily answers:

“It makes me proud.”


“Because of the relationship.”

Audri gets the same question. She sucks in her cheeks, making a fish face.

“I’d be funny.”

Mom asks her why should you help people? And Audri replies simply:

“People need help.”

Kristianna loves that the kids got along so well. She and her husband had some worries about what might happen, but the kids had it under control.

“I thought it was nice that the kids just naturally got along together. They were just being kids. It was very natural,” Kristianna says. “It was not a big deal. It wasn’t weird. It wasn’t a huge adjustment. They were just being kids.”

She’s grateful the children — both hers and the children they hosted — got to just be kids together.

“When they’re actually here, and it’s going on, it’s like, we’re just human people being loving towards one another.

“The overall experience really helped build us as a family. We got a lot out of it as well. It wasn’t like a one-sided thing. Everybody benefited in some way from the experience.”


Posted January 10, 2022 | Pamela Hayford

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