Every year we have the challenging but rewarding task of selecting the Au Pair of the Year contest winners. With a record number of nominations by host families, the competition was fierce! Thank you to all of our host families who shared with us their moving thoughts about their amazingly talented and inspiring au pairs.
It is our great pleasure to announce the Au Pair of the Year Award winners for 2017:
First Place: Leonie Martin Monnard, au pair from France
Second Place: Karla Aguilera Garcia, au pair from Mexico
Third Place: Supattra Jairew, au pair from Thailand
We are thrilled to honor these remarkable young women who have helped transform American families with cultural exchange and compassionate child care.
The Au Pair of the Year winner receives two round-trip tickets to reconnect with her host family in the future, and each of the runners up receives one round-trip ticket for a host family reunion down the road. All receive well-deserved recognition on the Au Pair in America website.
Here is an excerpt from the essay submitted by first place winner Leonie’s host family:
“‘Before, we had four people in our family. Since Leonie came we have five people in our family.’ That is how our five-year-old son describes Leonie: as a member of the family. Not a babysitter or a caregiver or a friend. I couldn’t agree more. Since Leonie joined our family through Au pair in America just over one year ago, we have been rewarded over and over.
Leonie has brought her culture to us. She often sings French songs with the children, teaches them to count, and reads to them in French. Our three- and five-year-old are so proud when they can show off their French.
Leonie comes from a small town in France where her family grows many of their own vegetables. She has taken it upon herself to start an herb and vegetable garden with the children. They have spent hours cleaning, planting, labeling and watering the garden. Last week when I came home from work my son grabbed my hand and ran with me to the backyard. The pride my son felt in showing me the first sunflower that was blooming was priceless. Leonie has been teaching him about the reward that comes with hard work and dedication in caring for the garden.
Leonie makes every day a new adventure for the children. She walks our three-year-old to preschool every day rather than driving the 1.5 miles. Our daughter loves these morning adventures and every evening reports what they saw. She was proud to lead her dad on the same walk and point out all the things she does with Leonie every morning. Each afternoon Leonie has a special activity planned for the children. Whether it is playing at a local park (never the same one twice in a week) or doing an art project, our children have a wonderful, enriching time that is free of television or other electronics.” Read more.
You can learn more about our Au Pair of the Year winners—past and present—and learn more about this annual contest on the Au Pair in America website.