BRIGHTON — After three weeks of getting to know one another, Brighton host families are sad to see their new friends from Poland go.
Through the Brighton-Ziebice Sister Cities Exchange, Brighton residents have opened their doors and gone on adventures with eight students and four delegates from Ziebice.
Brighton resident Kate Brown and her family were among those saying goodbye.
“It was like getting another kiddo, it was like just having another teenager in the house,” Brown said.
Brown said at first it was like having a stranger in their home but that their student, Mariola Brzozowska, jumped right in and did whatever they did. She said it helped that some things were universally understood like pop music, Facebook, poker and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Brzozowska said she gets along really well with the Brown family and of all the activities they participated in, she liked swimming in a lake near Fort Lupton the best. She also enjoyed spending time with her family, shopping with Kate and was amazed by how much food is available and consumed in the United States.
For Baeta Biernat, a visit to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park was the best part of her visit to Colorado. Biernat decided to participate in the exchange because she wanted meet new people.
“I love Americans,” she said, adding she knew people who have traveled to the US and wanted to experience it for herself.
Biernat, who was hosted by the Wilson Family from Todd Creek, enjoyed a family outing to the Pearl Street Mall on the weekend. During the trip, she also discovered she likes fajitas and s’mores.
Jenny Wilson agreed to host a student after her daughter Rebecca traveled to Poland as part of the sister cities exchange last year.
Sammi Martinez, of Brighton, also decided to host a student after her experience in Poland last year and ended up hosting her former host sister Agata Kolsut. Kolsut said she enjoyed going to Estes Park the most, that the YMCA was nice and that she was able to get to know the Americans participating in the exchange better.
“People in America are really nice and open,” she said.
While on the trip, students and their host families got to travel and participate in a variety of planned activities. They traveled to Colorado Springs where they were able to visit the Olympic Training Center, travel to Denver to see the capital building, had their own day at Brighton Oasis and even made it to a city council meeting.
During the June 18 city council meeting, Brighton Sister Cities President Ken Kreutzer said it’s been a wonderful time.
“I would like to take a moment to thank the City of Brighton for welcoming these people but most importantly thanking our host families who have opened their homes to these kids. It’s a life changing experience,” he said.
He also said the Brighton-Ziebice sister cities program is currently in its 18th year.
Middle School Principal and Ziebice Representative Mariusz Szczepanowski told council 2015 will be the 20th anniversary of the Brighton-Ziebice Sister Cities program. Szczepanowski invited city council to Ziebice next year to celebrate. He said the city will be dedicating a new square next year to honor the friendship of Brighton and Ziebice.