THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Get to know the nonprofit groups
and State Department offices that offer
a social safety net for FS youth.
BY JOHN K . NALAND
John K. Naland retired in September after a 29-year
Foreign Service career. He served twice as AFSA’s president
and has published more than 80 articles, including two
previous FS Know-How columns, in these pages. He has
two teenage daughters and is currently the president of the
Foreign Service Youth Foundation.
rowing up in a Foreign Service family
presents both benefits and chal-
lenges. Benefits include an expanded
worldview, heightened interpersonal
sensitivity, increased tolerance,
multilingualism and the capacity to
adjust more easily to changing cir-
cumstances. Challenges can include
confused cultural identities, feelings
of rootlessness, difficulties creating a sense of belonging and, at
times, exposure to physical hardship and danger.
Thankfully, Foreign Service youth and their parents do not
have to face these challenges alone. Several nonprofit organiza-
tions and Department of State offices work hard to maintain a
social safety net for our youth.
Sadly, many potential beneficiaries do not take advantage
of these valuable resources. Fewer than 10 percent of Foreign
Service families belong to any of the nonprofit organizations
highlighted below. I hope this column will prompt more parents
to utilize the support that their colleagues have put such great
effort into making available.
of the American Foreign
1960, the Associates of the Ameri-
can Foreign Service Worldwide has
advocated for the interests of Foreign
Service family members. AAFSW—
which played a leading role in founding the FSI Transition Cen-
ter, FLO and FYSF—is best known for its multifaceted support for
Foreign Service spouses. However, it also has several programs
that serve our youth.