South Korea exchange program still a success

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Fit 2 Live Director Bernadette Rhodes met with North Little Rock and Sister City delegates at the foot of the Clinton Bridge to share with them the messages of physical fitness and obesity prevention. Rhodes rode her bike to the meeting, and had the delegates doing a few exercises to warm them up for the days’ activities.
Rev. Naomi Rogers, a Korean native who has been a leading interpreter and ambassador in the Sister City Program, met with students at the Korean Memorial in MacArthur Park to remember the American Korean War veterans who fought alongside Korean forces in the Korean War.
Artists and Host Family Moms Virmarie Deyposter (left) and Debbie Strobel (right) assisted with an art project hosted by the THEA Foundation.
Mayor Joe Smith charmed the students at a luncheon at City Hall Tuesday, and presented the students with Sister City logo backpacks in which to carry home the extra goodies they have accumulated. Many of the students told the Mayor and his wife Missie that they “loved America and North Little Rock” and wanted to stay here.”
Students learn what it is like to wear police gear.
The students were given a warm welcome to North Little Rock.
Mayor Joe Smith spent time with the visiting students.
The South Korean students were given a warm welcome when their plan arrived at the Little Rock International Airport.

Ten youth and two chaperones from Uiwang City, South Korea, along with nine North Little Rock families and their youth host delegates, participated in the 2013 North Little Rock Sister City Youth Homestay Program.

“The Uiwang City and North Little Rock youth have become as close as brothers and sisters in the short time they have been here,” said Margaret Powell, program director.

The program opened with a special meet-and-greet with Korean War veterans during a ceremony commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Cease Fire at the State Capitol. The week also included a private lunch with Mayor Joe Smith and First Lady Missie Smith, a tour of the State Capitol and photographs with the Governor and Mrs. Beebe and the Secretary of State.

The week wasn’t all formal, however. The students enjoyed Wild River Country, sampled a taste of favorite American favorite including pizza and French fries, took karate classes at karate for Kids and participated in a hip hop class at Studio One Dance. Wearing SWAT Team gear, participants watched the North Little Rock Police Department demonstrate the police robot, the canine team and SWAT Team activities.

“The youth made time on their last day for a Watering Ceremony at the Rose of Sharon Sister City Tree, outside the City Services Building,” Powell said. “It’s a tradition to ‘keep the friendship growing’ between our two cities.”

North Little Rock has a summer youth homestay program with our Sister City, Uiwang City, South Korea. Students who participate are between the ages of 14 and 18 and live in North Little Rock. Participants host a Korean student in their home for about 10 days one summer and the following year travel to Korea for a similar homestay summer program. For more information, contact Powell at 340-5305.

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