Host Families

A Home Away from Home

Our host families are the cornerstone of our program and essential members of our ABC family. Upon their arrival as freshmen, each ABC scholar is matched with a caring local host family who provide a home away from home for all four years of their ABC experience. During the school year, the boys spend every Sunday afternoon and evening and one weekend a month with their host families.

By opening their homes and hearts to our scholars, ABC host families offer a warm, personal connection to the community. Our host families universally agree that the experience is as wonderful for them as it is for our scholars, building relationships that last a lifetime.

Current Host Families

Nadine and Mike Finnerty
Scholar: Yanfer Martinez

Shannon and John Goetz
Scholar: Kian Ragaza

Kimberly and TJ Jetnil
Scholar: Daniel Ortiz

Mimi and Pat Leahy
Scholar: Christopher Feliz

Megan and José Morales
Scholar: Henyerson Tolentino

Nancy and Mike Shullman
Scholar: John Baluyut

When John joined our family, no one expected the impact he would soon have on us all. The energy he brings into our house is transformative, and we are thankful to have him in our lives. He has immersed himself into the communities we are a part of and his own. We are beyond grateful to have the opportunity to love John and watch him grow into his full potential.

Nancy and Mike Shullman

Become a Host Family

During the school year, our scholars live in the ABC House on Locust Avenue under the care of our Resident Director and two resident tutors. Every Sunday afternoon, the scholars head off for what many say is their favorite part of the week: staying with their host families. Whether it’s raking leaves, finishing homework, or going to a movie, the boys participate in whatever the host family does. Each month, they spend an entire weekend with their host family.

We have a wonderful host family community at ABC New Canaan. Our host families support each other by filling in if a host family needs to be away for a weekend, plan dinners for all the boys throughout the year, and participate in quarterly meetings for planning and information and idea sharing.
ABC New Canaan takes extraordinary care in matching host families to incoming scholars in order to ensure a smooth transition for everyone. Each host family situation is different. Some host families prefer to host a scholar who is the same age or grade as one of their own children, enabling their child and the scholar to go through the high school process simultaneously. Others find that not having a ‘matched’ child works better for their family, allowing for a more balanced and focused experience for both students and ensuring that milestone events, like graduations, don’t happen simultaneously.


  • Have at least one child attending New Canaan High School (NCHS) when the ABC student begins.


  • Available to host the ABC scholar for all four years during high school. This commitment includes hosting the scholar every Sunday at 11 a.m. through Monday morning and one full weekend a month during the calendar school year. Note that scholars return to their homes during school vacations and three-day weekends.
  • Attend the host family orientation prior to the start of school, as well as ABC social events during the year, including the ABC holiday party and graduation party.
  • Support their host son by periodically attending his games, concerts, or other activities that he is involved in.


  • Two recommendations from New Canaan families who have known the host family for at least two years.
  • One recommendation from a teacher, school administrator, or local volunteer coordinator.

Please note that host families are not required or expected to support scholars financially. ABC covers all expenses for its scholars. By creating a loving and warm environment in their homes, host families are helping our scholars thrive and experience the best of our community. This is priceless.

In accordance with the policy of the National ABC organization, ABC of New Canaan will conduct a background check of any adults living in the host parent’s home. Interested in becoming a Host Family? Please contact Jamie Boris at We would be happy to discuss the opportunity in detail and answer any questions you might have. Give an ABC scholar and your family the gift of a lifetime!
Year Host Family Scholar
2023 Liz and Alex Tuff Dylan Amaswache
2023 Michele and Kevin Salmini Javier Perez Soto
2022 Dina and James Connelly Richard Hernandez
2022 Kristen and Arthur Hall Osasu Uwe-Omede
2021 Melissa and Alan Rwambuya Axel Boly
2021 Mary and Ned Truslow Ajamo Carraby-Jones
2021 Margaret and Keith Roscoe Ivan Tamayo
2020 Jen and Tom Richardson Adrian Davis
2019 Claire and Dick O'Hare Ryan Hernandez
2018 Jennifer and Richard Essigs Kai Clancy
2018 Mary and Peter Freiberg Josiah Jones
2017 Courtney and Michael Grigsby Rajon Mitchell
2016 Margaret Pastel and Steve Hoover Christopher Roman
2016 MaryLou and Michael Salvati Brian MacCalla
2015 Thea and Robert Ross Kwaku Gyasi
2015 Julie and Michael Bossidy Osaze Wilson
2014 Tracey and Steve Karl Myles Henderson
2014 Susan and Michael Donnelly Chris Andrews
2013 Candace and Michael Curran Devaun Bovell
2011 Wendy and Richard Hurst Elijah Westbrook
2011 Bitsy and Doug Richardson Joveto De Carvalho
2010 Cindy and Paul Bamatter Shamiel Gonzalez
2010 Joanne and Jim Slattery Darryl Cummings
2010 Marianne and Richard Grandin Jelani Alladin
2009 Melanie and Chuck Berman Eduardo Padilla
2008 Jeanie and Jeff Shaw John Puma
2007 Mary Beth and Bill Fessler Steven Gallego
2007 Paul and Carol McDermott Eric Ho
2006 Sally and Kim Campbell Carl Brown
2006 Sarah and Richard Routhier Marc Pierre
2005 Margy and Bruce Calvert Rodney Yartey
2005 Melinda and Jeff Fager David Cox
2004 Beth and Chris Ambler Henry Morris
2003 Jane and Ken Arestia Jason Land
2002 Avril Sweeny/Accino Castel Valere
2001 Jill and Tom Evans Navil Charles
2000 Lucy and Jack Baney Manuel Torres
1999 Linda and Jay Twombly Steve (Glendon) Austin
1999 Thurmans and Scannells Chris Ellis
1999 Barrie and Ralph Gonzales David Morales
1999 Pam and Jack Reese Charles Curtis
1998 Betsey and John Swanhaus Travis Galloway
1998 Pat and Mike Corey William Choi
1997 Mary and Rob Henrikson Kellen (Daniel) Tyler
1997 Maura and Bruce Ritz Dwayne Thomas
1996 Judith and Dan Drake David Medina
1995 Anita and Tom Quin Levi (Emmanuel) Stewart
1995 Lynn and David Troutman Courtney Lopez
1995 Adam Stevens
1994 Penny and Rob Klatell Wilfredo (Eugenio) Diaz
1994 Susan and Jerry Reen Monte Wilson
1993 Diane and Ron Cowi Brandon King
1993 Jane and Norb Janis Steven Graciano
1992 Dossy and Bill Schoeler Will Llorente
1992 Betsy and John Swanhaus Franklin Pena
1991 Suman and Rajan Govindan Antonio Hofbauer
1991 Sue and David Scannell Jaime Moore
1990 Leigh and Pierre Bognon Jose Vinueza
1989 Suman and Rajan Govindan Mario Dief
1989 Lynn and Carol Lyttle Jaime Zapata
1989 Diane and Ron Cowin Ainsley Crawford
1989 Raya Gibran
1988 Jean and Tom Gnuse Donat Young
1988 Dixie and Bob Fuller Kapil Kumar
1988 Rosemary and Roger Enrico Jason Brown
1987 Kate and Davey Sheahan Michael Lewis
1987 Jana and John Lapoint Wendell Martinez
1987 Mary and David Smith Arnold Principal
1986 Willie and Johnny Potts Rajesh Mangray
1986 Linda and Gray Castle Alphonso Johnson
1986 Christopher Clark
1985 Marie and Nick Crisi Gabriel Aguilera
1985 Luis Dannenfels
1985 Donna and Nick Cretan Berni (Walter) Haynesworth
1984 Alex Santamaria
1983 Zoe Kirby Etesh Mangray
1982 Hugh Ryan
1981 Jack and Betsy Farmakis Enrique Gandarilla
1982 Bob and Evelyn Bergstrom Derrick Harris
1980 Mike and Mary Ann Shouvlin Greg (Frank) Abernathy
1980 Shirley and David Kearns Zachary Harris
1977 Barbara and Richard Gerweck Jesse Rucker
1977 Phil and Cindy Roses Darrell Washington
1977 Jean and Ed Frick Luis Taveras
1977 Bob and Barbara Bunge Gerald Wills
1977 Catherine and George Ritchie Brian Watson
1976 Butch and Beverly Watkins Mike Bivens
1976 Paul and Sara Palmer Terry Trusty

New Canaan High School’s partnership with A Better Chance has transformed not only the lives of our scholars but also the fabric of our entire school community. The remarkable contributions and achievements of these scholars are a testament to the power of providing opportunities to students from different backgrounds. Together, we are building a brighter future for all. All of our ABC graduates go on to competitive four year colleges.