Welcome! My name is Natasha Wrobel and I am the senior community counselor for the greater Annapolis, Maryland area. I have been a community counselor with Au Pair in America since 2000. In college I had the opportunity to study the German language in Austria at the University of Graz. Prior to becoming a counselor I was an attorney with the United States Air Force and was on active duty for nine years. I will retire from the Air Force in July 2015 after 20 years of service. Having lived abroad and studied a foreign language has served me well in connecting with au pairs from around the world in my role as a community counselor. Having hosted an au pair in my home has given me an understanding of the program from a host family perspective. It has been a joy to help facilitate a cultural exchange with these young women and American families as they introduce their children to other cultures and traditions. It is a delight to witness our children gain a better appreciation of our world. So often host families stay in touch with their former au pairs for years, long after the au pair has returned to her home country, leaving our children with a greater understanding of community and family! This has been the most rewarding aspect for me to witness.
Play dough is the perfect modeling material for children. Their small hands can pat, poke, pinch, roll and knead it into many shapes. Keep it in an airtight container to use another day, or let it air dry into favorite shapes.
Measure 2 cups of flour, one cup of salt and 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of oil to one cup of water in a separate bowl then add the mixture to the dry ingredients. For colored play dough, squeeze 10-20 drops of food coloring into the water before you add it to the mixture. Cook the dough at low heat in a wide pan, stirring constantly until it becomes rubbery. Remove the dough from the heat and knead it for a few minutes. When it cools the kids can play too!
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event which celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. This year’s festival will be MARCH 17-APRIL 15!
The predicted peak blooming period of the cherry blossoms for this year is APRIL 8-12.
Homesickness can be a problem during the holidays, even if it hasn’t been at any other time of the year. Au pairs often miss their friends and family, familiar places and their own traditions and customs. The holiday activities in the United States seem, and may actually be, different just at a time when an au pair would welcome something familiar.
It is common for au pairs’ emotions to be close to the surface during the holidays. Her highs are higher, her lows are lower. The enormity of what she has done–actually living in another country (which is an amazing thing when you think about it!)–hits her and throws her into a self-protective mode.
Host parents can help her through this unfamiliar territory by talking to her about what your specific family activities will be (gifts, meals, visitors, religious services, in-home traditions, or none of these, as the case may be.) In the spirit of cultural exchange, ask her if she has any favorite holiday traditions or foods that you might be able to incorporate into your family’s celebration of the season. Let her know what you will be doing, when you will be doing it, and what she can expect. Talk to her about what has to be accomplished and get her involved and interested. Don’t expect her to just “know” what needs to be done. Give her some clear, agreed upon assignments. Make her feel a part of things. And, let her know her contribution is needed and appreciated.
The Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival will take place June 29-July 4 and July 6-9.
The Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage. This year will be the 50th anniversary of this popular event. Attracting more than one million visitors yearly, the two-week long celebration is the largest annual cultural event in the United States.
The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 12th Streets and inside the Arts & Industries Building. There is no admission charge. Visitors should dress for hot and humid weather. Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so visitors are advised to use public transportation. Smithsonian is the closest Metro station to the Festival site. L’Enfant Plaza, National Archives, and Federal Center stations are within a half-mile. For general Smithsonian visitor information, http://www.si.edu/Visit or call 202.633.1000 (voice).
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with special events taking place most evenings beginning at 5:30 or 7 p.m. View the schedule here.
Standard au pairs must complete 72 hours or 6 credits or 7.2 CEUs.
Educare companions must complete 144 hours or 12 credits or 14.4 CEUs.
Certain combinations of classes can leave you just a few hours short of the requirement.
Here are several options for completing those last few hours. Prices listed are correct as of February 10, 2017 and are subject to change. Consult the university websites for full information.
Virginia International University Saturday Museum Classes
5 hours (.5 CEUs) for $40 (+$20 reg. fee)
Held almost every Saturday morning (10:30am) in DC. Metro accessible locations.
Students will spend a day at a different museum each week and participate in an interactive, themed museum tour facilitated by an ESL instructors.
University of Virgin Islands Fitness Fridays
2 hours (.2 CEUs) for $20
Held once per month on a Friday evening (8 pm) in DC. Metro accessible location.
A fitness class where students will stretch, move and exercise. Register early, space is limited.
Local Community Colleges
Check on our Resource Page under Education Options for links to local community colleges. In the Non-Credit or Continuing Education Catalogs, they will have a variety of small courses in a variety of subjects.
International Education Week (Nov 14-18) began in 2000 and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of Education. This important week is observed all across the United States and in more than 100 countries overseas. IEW is an opportunity for exchange students worldwide to share with their host communities their cultures and highlight the benefits of international educational exchange programs. This past Saturday, Nov 12th, over 160 au pairs from 7 different clusters across MD and VA attended a Navy Football game. It was great fun to introduce these girls to an American pastime favorite and for many girls it was their first football game in the USA!
With so many new au pairs with Au Pair in America having arrived over the summer months, we wanted to introduce them to our lovely charming city of Annapolis. Last Sunday we enjoyed ice cream downtown at the Annapolis Ice Cream Company located on Main Street. Afterwards walked down to Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre to see a very funny musical, The Producers . It was a great evening! For more information about hosting an au pair in your home to meet your childcare needs visit our updated and revised website at www.aupairinamerica.com
It may have been grey and rainy outside in DC on Sunday, May 1 but it was bright and lively inside the Nats Stadium clubhouse as Au Pairs from the MD/DC/VA region showcased their countries to enthusiastic host families and other visitors. APIA’s director, Ruth Ferry and VP Jean Quinn came and joined us, as well as a couple State Department representatives.Host children enjoyed getting their passports stamped and their faces painted, while host families enjoyed interacting with all the various country representatives and sampling delicious foods. The Jamaica table’s food was particularly popular. While it required some travel for many host families and counselors, it was definitely worth the drive! #aupair30 #aupairinamerica
Join Au Pair in America for a Trip Around the World! Sunday, May 1, 2016 | 1–4pm at the Nationals Park, Norfolk Southern Club 1500 South Capitol Street, SE | Washington, DC
Help us celebrate 30 years of Au Pair in America and the U.S. Department of State’s au pair program! You’re invited to a fun afternoon of educational country displays, performances by au pairs, a photo op, face painting, and other fun activities for children. Au Pair in America staff, host families and au pairs from over 30 countries will be in attendance. Come learn about the au pair program and enjoy a fun and educational afternoon! To learn more click on this link and RSVP if interested in attending: http://www.aupairinamerica.com/culturalfair/. #aupairnats