We are so impressed by how many of our au pairs donate their time and talents to community service work. This week’s spotlight is on Jessica Clark. Jessica is an au pair from the United Kingdom living with her host family in Connecticut and runner up for the National 2016 Au Pair Community Service Awards. She shared the following about her volunteer work collecting and preparing clothing and essential items for homeless people.
Although I have not done so through representing a certain organization or company, I have been volunteering my time for almost the entirety of my au pair experience in the USA.
I collected donations of clothes, blankets, backpacks and shoes. I realized I had amassed a large amount and was able to pack over 20 bags full of warm clothing and essential care items. My aim was to provide these ‘goody bags’ to the homeless people of New York City in preparation of the extreme winter that was upon us. After seeing how much need for them there was, I have been back and delivered these goody bags on five different occasions now—the latest being over the recent holidays. The recent drive was actually ‘represented’ in such by Au Pair in America—my Community Counselor had many spare hold-all bags from the company and so the donations I gave out were all nicely stocked in bright red Au Pair in America bags.
I have volunteered for many years in a variety of efforts, but creating these goody bags for the homeless has been one of the most eye opening experiences to date. Seeing firsthand how little some of these individuals have, especially in a time so trying as winter, has been difficult to see. However, witnessing how much joy and appreciation a person can hold for you once you help them, whether it be with a warm blanket or a large sweatshirt, is incredibly moving.
One thing that I have learnt since doing this, is that there are a particularly high number of veterans whom have become homeless since leaving their military positions. This shocked me an awful lot as I expected there to be a lot more support for such people once they return back home from their enlistments, etc. Getting to understand how the homeless people of New York City live, and more importantly, how they very often never lose their hope, has been overwhelming.
It has been a curious thing to witness how some people quietly express their thanks, and then withdraw, whereas others have enjoyed sometimes hour-long conversations with me. I’ve heard stories about how they came to be homeless, learnt about their hopes and dreams and most interestingly, come to discover these individuals for who they are and not what their circumstances have led them to.
Contact us to view profiles of au pairs like Jessica and to learn how Au Pair in America can be a rewarding cultural experience and child care solution for your entire family.