Friendship Force of Oklahoma, Champion of Character

President of the Friendship Force of Oklahoma, Beth Allen-Eden, and Edmond member Geneva Hancock were recently recognized on behalf of the Friendship Force of Oklahoma by the Character Council of Edmond and the City of Edmond for exemplifying the character trait of “hospitality” during the January 22nd City Council Meeting.

The Edmond City Council, in coordination with the Character Council of Edmond, recognized Friendship Force of Oklahoma and its local participants, as a “Champions of Character” for the character trait of hospitality (cheerfully sharing food, shelter or conversation to benefit others) during their January 22nd Monday night city council meeting. President of Oklahoma Friendship Force, Beth Allen-Eden, accepted the certificate of recognition.

“The Friendship Force has been quietly working behind the scenes for many years, extending hospitality to people from many states in the U.S. and many countries throughout the world,” wrote Edmond area Friendship member Geneva Hancock. People from China, Russia, Japan and Romania have been hosted in Edmond; spending a week in homes, sharing hosts’ food, learning about Edmond and state history and experience the daily life in Edmond.

A group of teachers from China, and several young women who work in the field of aviation from Russia were recently hosted locally.

“I can tell you from personal experience that one simply cannot live that closely for a week without becoming friends for life,” wrote Hancock,“… when the week ends, you feel your guest has become a member of your family. They often ask us to visit them for a week so that we can have the same experience in their homes.”

“I believe that each one of us can make a difference,” added Hancock, “that the character of a nation can be strengthened one person at a time because I have seen many wonderful people here in Edmond volunteer their time to make this happen.”

As a result of Friendship’s exemplification of the character trait of hospitality, they were honored by the City Council on January 22, 2007, for representing Edmond as a “champion of character.”

Friendship Force International and its many chapters, is a nonprofit international cultural exchange organization that was founded 30 years ago with a single mission: To create an environment in which personal friendships are established across the barriers that separate people. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA., it is active in promoting friendships and goodwill through an extensive program of home-stay exchanges in more than 60 countries, including a chapter in Oklahoma with several active members in Edmond, Norman and Guthrie.

Edmond area Friendship members include Philip and Lois Ball, Darry and Edith Carlstone, Judy Gibson, Rob Hamm, Ingred Young, David and Brenda Lu, Geneva Hancock, Karen James, Billie Kaszubowski, Loraine Miles, Dale Mullins, Ronald and Hwa Yun Paddack, Sandy Quay, Dick Scheirman, Wes & Polly Schuler, Donna Seible, Roena Smith, Dee Spring and Anita Tackett. Plans for 2007 include hosting people from Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Tokyo, Japan and Romania. Dr. Ron Paddock will be leading a group to Minsk, Belarus in August. Both Ron Paddock and Darrey Carlstone are retired University of Central Oklahoma educators.

Additional information about Friendship Force International and its local affiliate chapters can be found on their website at

The Champions of Character effort is sponsored by the Character Council of Edmond, a grassroots, non-profit organization committed to creating a citywide initiative to build Edmond into a “City of Character.” The group believes that the character of a nation can only be strengthened one person at a time, one community at a time.

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