Host Families

ABC Host Families provide a “home away from home” for each of the ABC scholars. This special relationship is a unique part of being an ABC scholar.

Every Sunday plus one full weekend a month each of the scholars stay with their Host Family. It is an opportunity for the scholar to experience the Wilton community by being part of a family. Scholars are with their host families only during the school year excluding holidays.

The scholars quickly become a part of their Host Family’s life and participate as a family member in all of their activities. This may include social outings, going to church, hanging around the house relaxing as well as helping with everyday chores. Many Host Families report that this is one of the most rewarding things they have ever done and feel transformed by their experience. They find the scholars inspiring in ways they couldn’t have imagined and the relationship grows into a lifelong bond.

To become a host family or ABC volunteer in another capacity, please contact Shannon MacDonald at 214.460.0870.


About some of our Host Families…

JP Clarke has come full circle… this Wilton ABC alum returned “home” after graduating college to his ABC host family Dave and Lisa Lamason. Graduating with the Wilton High Class of 2014, and from University of Notre Dame in 2018, JP says, “ABC definitely gave me all the support I needed to make something of my life.” Click here to watch this 2 minute video where JP and his ABC host mom Lisa Lamason describe the strength of ABC relationships, and why he’s back in Wilton. A high school internship at a global company in town eventually led him back there to start his professional career after graduating from engineering at Notre Dame. JP believes he couldn’t have done it without the help and support of his host family, the community, and all those associated with the ABC program.

The Michael and Heather Walden Family has a busy schedule. But it was important for them to make room for one more person, Joel, their ABC Host Son: “We saw this as an opportunity for our family to get more involved in our community and to support a young person who is doing everything they can on their side. As we got into this, we learned that he’s a 14-year-old boy who’s essentially living without his parents for the first time in his life. They forget stuff, he doesn’t do stuff. I would never be so presumptuous to say that I’m his parent. But you have a level of responsibility to him and to his parents and family that you’re going to help shepherd this kid. I represented him at Open House night at the High School, and went to all his classes. I think [the ABC program]’s an important piece of the fabric of our town that we’re trying to build, and being vigilant about making it a better place. I try not to be condescending about it, that we’re ‘helping these poor kids.’ Because these kids are really smart. That was one of the misconceptions I had originally, that the scholars were coming from challenging family situations. Joel’s family is unbelievable. They’re smart people who are working really hard to make sure their kids have a ton of opportunity. They’re really impressive people.” Click here to learn more about their experience.


When Win Kellogg approached Chris and Meg Fuentes about being a host family, they had no idea of the wonderful journey ahead for their family. Click here to read their moving story.

In the words of Janet Shipp, host parent to Barry (WHS 2015, Miami University of Ohio 2019): We got to watch Barry grow up! He came in looking so young but became friends with the entire student body in one second. He was instantly a part of our family and did whatever we did, including attending events like a grandparent’s birthday brunch and even our family dog funeral. I think Barry learned like my kids to figure out how to be a part of two worlds, which is what he will have to do in life: the Wilton High School world that is not diverse along with the African-American world where everyone is of color. We have had ups and downs, trying to navigate family life together and over time, we have built a mutual trust so Barry is simply a part of that groove. He came in well prepared due to his mother making sure he was always on the fast track socially and academically, we just helped him along in his journey towards his goals… international business. I can see him as an adult traveling the world in a sharp business suit being at ease in the business world.

Matthew and Derrell Mason are no strangers to ABC. They were host family to Monei (WHS 2015, Dickinson 2019) and college coaches to Issaka (WHS 2010, Lehigh 2015). The Masons feel that they have received so much more than they have given as Monei’s host family. “Monei became part of our family so quickly and seamlessly, we can’t remember when she wasn’t here with us.” Like other host families, the Masons feel it has been one of the most enriching experiences of their lives here in Wilton.

Alan and Nicola Davies are originally from the UK but have lived in Wilton for many years now. They, together with their two sons – Teddy and Oliver, were host family for Aqueelah (WHS 2017). Alan and Nicola are both active in the local community – Alan is a cub scout leader and Nicola is heavily involved with the PTA at her children’s schools. “Getting involved in ABC was a natural extension of what we believe in – community and the transformative power of a good education. We were very happy to welcome an ABC scholar into our home. It’s such a two way experience; Aqueelah got to hang out and just be a kid watching TV and sleeping in, and we got to view Wilton and its schools through Aqueelah’s eyes. We certainly got to know the American High School experience that we were never a part of ourselves.”