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We received a record number of host family nominations, each of them filled with heartwarming stories about their au pair. Choosing winners for first, second and third place only proved to be too difficult, resulting in two-way ties for second and third place. So this year we are thrilled to honor and acknowledge five inspiring young women. Below are their special stories. Enjoy!
"Nadine is an excellent example of how to live life to its fullest, not in words but in action. As a family, we have something special. We all have crazy schedules, and weekdays are always hectic. However, we have so many priceless memories we shared together. We are a family by choice, not by blood, which makes our bond that much stronger because we simply cannot take each other for granted. Our relationships are bound by mutual understanding, respect, and love. At the end of the day, we always know that we have each other's back. Nadine is indispensable in every aspects of our lives."
"Sara was amazing from the moment she arrived. Our two boys, ages 5 and 1, took to her immediately. It literally took less than a day for both of them to jump into her arms. Sara has experience with young children as she has two younger brothers, but I’ve never seen anything like the instantaneous way that our boys attached to her. We have had tremendous success with our previous au pairs, 8 wonderful years. We feel so fortunate, especially since we stay in touch with all of our previous au pairs, who are like family. But Sara is especially exceptional.
Sara showed her amazing true colors when our 20-month-old son was diagnosed with cancer just a few months after Sara came to live with us. Obviously, it was devastating to all of us. Sara didn’t have to work a lot of hours during those early days because our 7-year-old was in school and my husband and I were alternating staying at the hospital with our 1½-year-old. Sara would come to the hospital anyway and just sit and watch the baby sleep for hours. Sara was just always there. At one point I pulled her aside and said, 'Sara, I would understand if you wanted to match with a different family. This is not what you signed up for.' Sara looked me in the eye, and without hesitating, said, 'Mari, none of us signed up for this.' And she has been our rock."
"Franzi isn’t our first au pair. But she is
the first one to have become so part of
our daily lives. We fit together like a
hand and glove, bagels and cream
cheese, or Bert and Ernie. We realized
that we thought of her as more than an
au pair when we started introducing
her to our friends as another friend we
wanted them to meet...
Of course, Franzi takes excellent care of our children. But she also helps us become better
parents. Her insight, gained from her child care experience in Germany, has helped us
understand some of our children’s behaviors, and her advice has helped us do things
differently. With her support, we have moved closer to being the parents we want to be."
"Francinny, or 'Ninny' as my 2½-year-old calls her, came to live with us in May of 2018. From the moment she arrived, it felt like another piece of home had arrived that should have always been here. From day one, she went above and beyond every second of every day. I was a first-time struggling mom with zero child experience and sometimes a screaming 13-month-old. Francinny could sense my fear and anxiety and always calmed me and my daughter with her sweet temperament and gentle demeanor. Even if it meant intervening when she was off the clock, she didn’t hesitate."
"The daily needs of a big family are demanding, and the best way I can describe Ana is someone
who helps lighten that load at every level. She is exceptionally responsible, but she also is
smart and funny – personality traits that enable her success. She is a fully-integrated member
of our family who participates in the daily maintenance of our home and schedules, but also
joins in on the family fun. I can’t count the number of times we’ve belly-laughed with (and
without) the kids. She also manages the more challenging moments with grace, and I’ve never
felt there was an issue we couldn’t discuss."
Each year the International Au Pair Association (www.iapa.org) awards one exceptional au pair with the title "Au Pair of the Year." The "Au Pair of the Year" award not only celebrates one young person's achievements as an au pair, but also gives positive recognition to all au pairs and au pair programs across the world through its international media coverage.
Au Pair in America's winning Au Pair of the Year will be entered into IAPA's international contest. Submissions are judged by a selection panel appointed by IAPA, and three au pair finalists are selected. Each finalist must write a short essay detailing her/his au pair experience. Au pair essays are evaluated by the panel and a winner is chosen. The winning au pair will be notified by IAPA. All contest entries will become property of the International Au Pair Association
The winning au pair will be required to attend IAPA's Annual Conference in March (all expenses paid by IAPA) where she will be presented the "Au Pair of the Year" award.
Au Pair in America, 1 High Ridge Park, Stamford, CT 06905
(800) 928-7247 direct - (203) 399-5000
Au Pair in America, 37 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5HR
+44 (0) 20 7581 7322