Congratulations to Mageshry, one of three runners-up in our Au Pair of the Year Contest. All of these au pairs are exceptional and exemplify the very best of our program!
Each host family that entered the contest submitted an essay that described the characteristics that make their au pair exceptional, the positive impact she has had on their family, and how she has integrated into their local community and learned about America. Here is the wonderful essay submitted by Mageshry’s family, explaining the many different ways she has had a positive impact on their family:
In May of 2013, our family gained a new member. Mageshry Pillay joined us from Durban, South Africa to take care of our two children, Erik (now 9) and Morgan (now 7). I’m not sure that it would be possible to put into words the impact she has had on our family, but if anyone deserves Au Pair of the Year, it’s Mageshry.
About two years ago, our lives drastically changed. I had just returned to work after years of being a stay-at-home-mom, and been accepted to an accelerated nursing degree program. My husband’s new job required he travel for the majority of the week. Additionally, our son Erik was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, which was having a negative impact on his academic and social life. We needed help, beyond what a babysitter or the average nanny could provide. In stepped Mageshry, bringing her bubbly and cheerful attitude, patient and caring personality, and her complete dedication to providing the highest level of care and support to our children. Not only has she had a major positive impact on my children, she’s enabled me to return to my career and education, confident in the knowledge that my children are in the best possible hands.
I trust Mageshry completely. She has taken over running the children’s schedules, making sure they are on time and prepared for after school activities, sports and dance classes. She even coached Erik’s soccer team last year! She needs remarkably little oversight to make sure that the children’s lives outside of school are running smoothly.
Her positive impact on the children’s after-school activities pales in comparison to the success Erik and Morgan have had in school since she arrived. Education is clearly one of Mageshry’s passions. Erik and Morgan have made significant academic improvements under Mageshry’s tutelage. Because of her, they are now on or above grade level in all subjects. Morgan’s reading especially is impressive – she is a clear and confident reader now, due to the hard work Mageshry has put in during homework time. Mageshry has adapted her own schedule to Erik’s inclination to wake up with the sun, tutoring him before school as well as after, ensuring he doesn’t get burned out after school. Mageshry’s love of learning has not only benefited Erik and Morgan. Last year she volunteered as a reading tutor at our local public school, giving her own time to help others in our community succeed. For an entire school year, Mageshry worked weekly one-on-one with the same student, creating a measurable impact in that student’s reading ability.
Mageshry makes sure that Erik and Morgan keep learning outside of school and homework. On her own, she’s taken them on trips to the Crayola factory and into nearby Washington, DC. Her summers here have been full of trips and activities to keep the children learning, active, and engaging with other children, something particularly important in light of Erik’s personality. They were frequent visitors to local parks, pools, nature centers, the zoo, cultural events – the list goes on and on! Morgan and Erik are both strong swimmers now, almost entirely thanks to Mageshry. The time they spend with Mageshry is always time well spent – there was no wasting away the summer in front of the television!
In addition to last year’s volunteer tutoring work, Mageshry currently volunteers with the OneUmbrella Foundation in DC, distributing food to those in need. This not only speaks volumes about Mageshry’s altruistic and giving nature, but also provides an excellent example for Erik and Morgan. It has enabled her to really get to know Washington, DC and form bonds with her fellow volunteers as well as the people in the communities they serve. She was quick to adapt to DC’s metro system, as well as driving on the other side of the road!
Hard work is not the only area where Mageshry excels – she’s excellent at having fun as well! She has accompanied us on trips to visit extended family, amusement parks, and the beach, including a 10-day trip to Florida last year. Mageshry has ensured that the kids have a fantastic time, while allowing us some downtime. Vacations are easier and better for all of us with Mageshry. I know that in her time off, she’s made the most of her time in the US, traveling to New York City and other nearby cities, and has formed tight bonds with the other au pairs, helping newer au pairs adjust to life in the United States.
I simply cannot say enough good things about Mageshry. She quickly and completely integrated into our lives, and has truly become a member of the family. Not only has she changed my family’s lives for the better, she devotes her down time to improving the lives of others. My children are happy, well cared for, and excelling academically, and my husband and I have peace of mind when they’re in her care. She’s had a profoundly positive permanent impact in our lives. We are going to miss her dreadfully when she’s gone, but I am sure she is destined for great things.
And for her part, Mageshry had similarly glowing things to say about her family, the children, and her experience as an au pair in the US:
Being an au pair is such a rewarding job. I love all the hugs and kisses from my kids. Spending almost every day with my kids has taught me so much about life, not only have I learnt things from them, but they have taught me so much about myself.
This has been a life changing experience; it has affected me in the best way possible. There’s no amount of pictures or words that would do justice to explain the incredible experience that this has been. Coming here to America has changed me in so many ways, I know now that there is so much out there. Packing up and moving overseas at just 20 years old made me nervous. But the moment I met my host parents everything changed; I felt so comfortable, I knew that this was the best decision I could have ever made and that I belong here.
I love working with kids and I don’t see myself in any other profession, so I will be furthering my studies and finishing my degree in Teaching. I see myself becoming a dedicated educator in the next couple of years.
I have created wonderful memories with my host family and friends that will last me a lifetime. When I think about it, all I can do is smile; and it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. I am so glad I got see my kids grow up, sharing those moments of losing their first tooth, being with them when they weren’t feeling well, spending the summer days at the pool, sledding down the snowy hills in the winter, playing in the colorful leaves in the fall and picking pretty flowers in the spring.
I still can’t believe that I’m an au pair. As much as my kids have grown attached to me, I feel and know for sure that I am just as attached to them. Leaving the Haupt family is definitely going to be a sad day. I wouldn’t have had such an amazing experience if it wasn’t for them. But I am so thankful to know that I have gained a wonderful family here in the States. I just really am so glad I got to be a part of this, and thankful to all those that were a part of my American journey.
Thank you to all of our au pairs who work hard every day and represent the best of child care and cultural exchange! To see pictures, read about the Au Pair of the Year and other Runners Up and find out more about the contest, visit our site.