Spirit Co-Leads Participant Safety Summit!

April 24, 2018

Spirit Cultural Exchange recently collaborated with other J1 Visa Sponsors, Greenheart Exchange Work and Travel and CENET, to host the Midwest Safety Summit. With the busy summer season rapidly approaching, the Midwest Safety Summit was designed to heighten awareness, provide training, and instigate new initiatives to further improve J1 participant safety. 

“There are no trade secrets when it comes to participant safety. Spirit, Greenheart, and CENET are committed to sharing their best practices regarding participant safety. We are also working collaboratively to develop new initiatives to better protect the health, safety, and welfare of our participants.” said Richard Baader, CEO of Spirit Cultural Exchange. 

The event which was held at the American Red Cross regional headquarters in Chicago, included presentations from industry experts on human trafficking and the emotional support of those who experience a traumatic event. In addition to the speakers, there were breakout sections where sponsors shared their best practices and brainstormed new initiatives to better prepare for and handle participant safety issues.

Topics discussed included:

  • Bike safety
  • Housing
  • Mental health
  • Emergency response
  • Credit Card Scams
  • STD Resources
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Winter season safety

The Midwest Sponsor Safety initiative is a follow-up to the success the three sponsors had developing the J-Day event.  J-Day started in 2014 and strives to promote cultural understanding and community service in J1 communities. In just three short years it has become a nationwide event, with 52 J-Day celebrations across 20 states in 2017. 

Overall, the Midwest Safety Summit was a productive day of sharing perspectives, brainstorming new ideas and networking with others in the industry. While representatives at the summit were from three Midwest based sponsors, we hope to share our ideas and coordinate implementation across J1 organizations nationwide.