Monthly Archives: November 2016

Why Are Cluster Meetings Important?


Recent cluster meetings have included touring the US Capitol and outdoor movie screenings.

Cluster meetings are an integral part of an au pair’s experience in America and au pairs are highly encouraged to attend.  Au Pair in America requires that counselors provide a cluster meeting per month.  Our cluster meetings are scheduled on weekdays and weekends, in order to accommodate the varied schedules of the host families in our area.

Cluster meetings offer the opportunity to:

  • Enjoy the many wonderful places and activities in and around Washington, DC
  • Meet one another, make new friends from other countries and socialize
  • Develop a relationship with your counselor
  • Celebrate American holidays, welcome and say farewell to other au pairs
  • Learn child development and safety tips
  • Support each other by sharing experiences
Our cluster volunteered to make sarthndwiches for Martha's Table

Our cluster volunteered to make sandwiches for Martha’s Table

International Potluck Dinner with Guest Speaker (Photo Credit: Christie Jorge-Tresolini)

International Potluck Dinner with Guest Speaker (Photo Credit: Christie Jorge-Tresolini)

Cluster meetings are an important part of an au pair’s cultural exchange. While it’s understood that sometimes work conflicts make this impossible, host parents are encouraged to free up their schedules so that au pairs can attend. 

Upcoming cluster meetings are listed in cluster newsletters and posted in the DCC Host Families Facebook Group and the Cluster DCC Facebook Group (for au pairs) so that they can be added to the family calendar.

Au pairs are expected to attend cluster meetings and should contact their counselor prior to the meeting if they cannot attend. Host families are expected to provide the time and transportation for the au pair to attend cluster meetings. Au pairs and host families are encouraged to offer cluster meeting ideas.

A Few of Our Fun and Informative Meetings

Autumn Cluster Meetings

Summer Cluster Meetings

Adams Morgan Movie Night

2016 DC Cultural Fair

US Capitol Tour

Disney on Ice 

Holiday Cluster Meeting

Volunteering by Making Sandwiches

Potomac Sunset Cruise

APIA Regional Scavenger Hunt at the Zoo

Host Family/Au Pair Picnic

Autumn Cluster Meetings


14440870_10210405440038208_2265447476451686682_n-1In September, our cluster joined hundreds of other APIA au pairs from all over DC, Maryland, and Virginia for a region-wide scavenger hunt. Au pairs were divided into teams and raced around the city to find the answers to as many questions as they could in the allotted time.


img_0366In October, we had a private tour of the Smithsonian building everyone in DC calls the Castle.

In November, we had a relaxing meeting with some calm “adult” coloring, talked about stress management, and then indulged in some sweet treats to celebrate all of our birthdays from the entire year.

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What is the Electoral College?

Election Day

Image: Theresa Thompson (Flickr)

Image: Theresa Thompson (Flickr)

November 8, 2016, is Election Day in the United States. Americans will line up at polling stations across the nation to cast their ballot for the next US President (and other elected offices).

Votes will be counted, a winner will be declared, and he or she will begin preparing to assume office on January 20, 2017.

However, did you know that the next President and Vice President are not officially declared until early January 2017?

 Not So Fast

When registered voters cast their ballots for President and Vice President, they are actually choosing electors who will represent their state. Electors cast their votes for President and Vice President in the Electoral College on December 19, 2016.

On January 6, 2017, Congress meets in a joint session to count the Electoral College votes. The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the Electoral College vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.  (There are more steps in place if there is no winner at this point.)


The Electoral College

“The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.” (US Electoral College)

If all of this technical information is confusing you, don’t worry- you’re not alone. In 2000 a Gallup Poll found that only 30% of Americans said they understood the system “very well,” and another 28% said they knew virtually nothing about the Electoral College.

Play Along At Home

Of course, au pairs are ineligible to vote, but that doesn’t keep you from playing along at home. Here are several videos and other activities that you can do to learn more about the US presidential election process. These can be fun ideas to do with your host kids too. (Tip: Check-in with your host parents, before you talk about the election or do any election-related activities with your host kids.)

All-American Books  (Common Sense Media’s list of children’s books about the election, US History, and other topics for kids of all ages).

Veterans Day 2016

Each year, we recognize our Veterans on November 11th, the day that World War I ended in 1918. Today, there are over 19 million Veterans in the United States. We all have a family member, friend, neighbor, or host parent who has served or is currently serving in the military.

Washington, DC will hold many ceremonies to honor veterans. Arlington National Cemetery has scheduled a patriotic ceremony honoring America’s military members and Veterans for Friday, November 11, 2016, at 11 a.m. A wreath -laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by a ceremony inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb. The event will commence with a prelude concert by The United States Navy Band at 10:30 a.m., inside the amphitheater. This is a popular event, so advance planning is recommended. 

Other ceremonies will take place at the Vietnam Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the National Cathedral. Learn more about these events and others here.

Learn more about Veterans Day here.