We are honoring the 2019 Au Pair of the Year winners!
We received a record number of nominations – resulting in two-way ties for second and third place! This year, we are thrilled to acknowledge 5 inspiring young women and share their stories.
Au Pair in America is pleased to announce that Franziska “Franzi” Leim, a German au pair, has finished in second place for the 2019 Au Pair of the Year Award. Franzi was nominated for the award by her host family in Bellevue, Washington.
The award, given annually by Au Pair in America, provides the opportunity for host families to show their appreciation for their au pair’s achievements and the ways in which she has touched their family.
“Franzi isn’t our first au pair. But she is the first one to have become part of our daily lives. We fit together like a hand and glove, bagels and cream cheese, or Bert and Ernie,” writes her host dad in his nomination essay. “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.”
Franzi has embraced the cultural exchange aspect of the au pair experience and explores her local community while also sharing her culture. “She explores the area and finds new experiences and places that even we don’t know about,” Franzi’s host dad writes. “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.”
Her host family realized Franzi was truly part of their family when faced with a health challenge. “My husband started having health problems. Most awfully, he wasn’t able to pick up his boys because he was told to avoid physical exertions,” explains her host dad. “The moment that touched me the most was when one day, when my husband wasn’t feeling his best, I noticed Franzi look at his face. She silently walked across the room and picked up our little one and place him on my husband’s lap. She knew that my husband was missing holding his son but wasn’t able to pick him up by himself. Franzi’s understanding of my husband’s needs could only have come from being part of the family.”
The Au Pair of the Year Award recognizes first, second and third place winners, chosen by a committee appointed by Au Pair in America. All nominees are nominated by their host family, who are asked to write an essay that describes the characteristics that make their au pair exceptional, noting the positive impact she has had on their family and explaining how she has integrated into their local community and learned about America. All nominees receive a certificate, with the top three winners also receiving round-trip airline tickets. Winners are announced in February.
“We want to share our experience, not just because we hope that she wins the prize, but so that other families can better understand what a full au pair experience can be,” Franzi’s host dad writes. “This program isn’t just about child care – it’s about making a match and turning a stranger into a loved one. The program won’t just give you assistance for a year or two but will create a life-long relationship.”
Are you interested in developing a meaningful relationship through cultural exchange like Franzi and her host family? Learn more about hosting an au pair with Au Pair in America!