The Annapolis, Baltimore and Columbia clusters all hosted holiday parties this month. The Annapolis cluster enjoyed a gift exchange and an international cookie swap where all the girls brought a baked good typical to their home country to share. Everyone went home with a bag of cookies from around the world. The Annapolis and Columbia clusters invited a Federal Marshal to attend to speak to the girls about personal safety when going out alone, with friends or when out with the children that have been entrusted to their care. Topics discussed included awareness of their surroundings, how to handle going shopping with children and what to do in case they find themselves to be a victim of a crime. Internet safety tips were discussed as well. The counselors presented the au pairs with a wonderful bright red umbrella with the Au Pair in America logo as our holiday gift to them. The Baltimore cluster had fun displaying their cheerful red umbrellas for the camera. It was a perfect day to hand out umbrellas as the weather was overcast and drizzly on Sunday. The cluster also did a Secret Santa gift exchange. Everyone left with a little gift, and feeling very much in the spirit of the season. We wish all the au pairs, the host families and their beautiful children a blessed and wonderful holiday, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Sunday December 11th was the International Holiday party for the Annapolis cluster of Au Pair in America. Each au pair brought a cookie or sweet from her home country to share and all girls went home with a bag of treats from all over the world! Girls from Germany, Brazil, Ukraine and Thailand joined in the festivities. Each au pair brought a wrapped gift for the gift exchange. The gifts were placed under the tree as the au pairs arrived. We learned about each others customs and traditions and got to know each other a bit more! The Thai girls educated us on their New Year traditions as this is the big holiday that is celebrated in their home country. Later we gathered around the tree for the gift exchange, numbers were drawn to determine who went 1, 2, 3 and so on. Natasha Wrobel, Annapolis Community Counselor, handed out Christmas mugs for hot chocolate to keep warm over the upcoming winter months.
We also had the pleasure and honor of having a Federal Marshall visit with us to give the au pairs a safety briefing and practical tips when they are out with their host families children, out on the town alone or out with friends. It was very educational and informative.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!