Solicitors: We're raising money for college & learning English

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Action News promises balanced coverage. That's why we wanted to track down some of the sales people who have a lot of you talking on Facebook.

There were concerns the people were up to no good - questioning whether they were trying to snatch children from their homes. We sat down with some of these exchange students to learn why they're here.

Hilary Alexander is a host mom to these four exchange students. After seeing our report that people were becoming frightened by aggressive door-to-door salespeople - her students took the day off.

"I'm felling bad about myself, what I have been doing bad and I just want to help people over here," said exchange student Peter Leto.

Leto is from Slovakia. He's a college student who came to Yakima for the summer. Leto is getting college credit and working on his English by selling books door-to-door.

Alexander got worried when she heard men like Peter were being accused of using the sales pitch as a ploy to kidnap children.

"I have a daughter in the house and the rumors going on are that they want to hurt children and what not," said host mom Hilary Brooks. "I'm a single mom, I let these four men sleep in my house."

Leto and three others are working for a group called Southwestern Advantage. They sell these educational books intended for kids and teens.

They explain that's why they want to know where children live.

"We are asking which houses to skip," said exchange student Matthew Gaba.

The men insist they're not aggressive.

"They can buy this, if not it's no big deal and I go ahead," said exchange student Peter Fedorko.

Those working for Southwestern Advantage are licensed to make door-to-door sales. They have been all over the region from Walla Walla to Yakima.

The group says they're intention is legitimate and a big part of that is improving their English.

"it can help the families over here and also enjoy the experience with a different culture and also to put my English a little bit higher," said Gaba.

Even if Southwestern is legitimate, other groups might not be. If someone knocks on your door, ask to see an ID and a business license before you buy anything.

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