Monthly Archives: January 2016

First Major Snow of 2016 Coming!



This is a major snow storm and no au pair should be driving!  Please be very careful, the snow is supposed to stop Tuesday afternoon.  The roads will get cleared, but it may take some time.  The kids will be off of school tomorrow, some schools will be sending the kids home early today.  Be prepared and enjoy the snow days at home!


AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

  • Avoid driving while you’re tired. Get the proper amount of rest!!
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
  • Watch weather reports and do NOT drive in bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.

Tips for driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

snow scraper 001Keep in your car for safety during the winter:

  • An ice scraper and brush
  • Spray de-icer
  • Cat litter – for getting out of a rut, for traction in the snow
  • Collapsible show shovel
  • Blanket
  • Cell phone – know who to call in an emergency
  • Flash light

Suffolk County Community College and Au Pair in America


            Suffolk County Community College is an important resource for the Suffolk Cluster of Au Pair in America. 

20160115_203456_resizedOn Friday evening Cindy Garruba and Kristi Halpern, two Community Counselors for Au Pair in America, attended the Suffolk County Community College ESL Graduation.  SCCC has a wonderful ESL program that has a multi-level program.  If a student passes all the levels, they are awarded with a certificate and an inspiring ceremony.  Twice a year SCCC ESL program holds this ceremony, in January and in May.  Each time, several au pairs graduate from the program.

20160115_200641_resized 20160115_201602_HDR_resizedEvery au pair is required to earn 6 credits or 72 – 80 hours at the college level.  Host families contribute toward their education financially and support their attendance through scheduled time off and transportation to school.  One semester of ESL at SCCC satisfies this requirement and the au pairs learn so much.  The school has dedicated teachers, many options for classes and three campuses in Suffolk County.

Graduating this semester were Andresa Costa, Dayanna Davilla, and Caroline Martineli dos Santos.  Several of their au pair friends joined Cindy and Kristi in the audience to cheer on their fellow au pairs!  Many of the au pairs are signed up to start classes this month at SCCC.

 Basket Ball Game at SCCC20160117_134456_resized

On Sunday, Cindy’s cluster attended a Boy’s Basketball game at SCCC on the Selden Campus.  The team played LaGuardia college and everyone enjoyed cheering on Suffolk’s team.  Kevin Foley, the Athletic Director of Suffolk County Community College noticed our lively group and stopped by to sit with us in the stands.  At half time, he invited us into the Alumni Room and gave each au pair a SCCC Athletic T-shirt.  The game was close but SCCC won and everyone was very excited.  As we excited the gym, the first few snowflakes of the season were falling.  Some of the au pairs had never experienced snow and that was a thrill, too.

Kevin Foley, Athletic Director of SCCC with the APIA Au Pairs

Kevin Foley, Athletic Director of SCCC with the APIA Au Pairs