Yearly Archives: 2018

Holiday Party for Suffolk Au Pair in America Au Pairs!

Sunday, December 16 was a rainy, windy day but the Au Pair in America Suffolk County au pairs were warm and happy at their International Potluck Holiday Party.  They gathered at Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba’s house for a feast!  Everyone brought a dish from their country to share!

Then we played holiday games and got to know everyone a little bit better by sharing holiday customs from our countries!

A silly Christmas story right left grab bag gift exchange was fun.  Everyone got a gift and Cindy gave each au pair a Santa hat and gift, too. 

We finished up with dessert.  Christmas carols played in the background, while laughs and conversation was lively.  Lots of fun for all!

Great Holiday Event with APIA & Stony Brook Village

On Sunday, December 2nd, despite the wet weather, host families, au pairs and many others, enjoyed the Annual Stony Brook Village Holiday Festival.  Au Pair in America was happy to be one of the sponsors this year supporting the Santa Fund run by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization.

Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba, Host Families and Au Pairs all helped decorate our International Peace Tree for the Promenade of Trees, our theme is “We Bring The World Together!”

A children’s chorus sang Christmas Carols as everyone waited for Santa to arrive.  Santa arrived on his fire truck at 2 PM!  He spent lots of time with each child.  Au pairs and host families socialized while they waited on line to give Santa their wish lists.   

While they waited, a balloon artist entertained the kids on the line.  Each child received a balloon animal of their choice!

The festivities continued with a parade of big puppets featuring historical local heroes and heroines.  It was a great day!

Join Au Pair in America at Stony Brook Holiday Festival!

Au Pair in America is proud to be a sponsor of the Stony Brook Holiday Festival this Sunday, December 2.  Community Counselor Cindy Garruba, au pairs and host families will be decorating our International Peace Tree for the Promenade of Trees from 1 – 2 pm.  Stop by and learn about Au Pair in America at tree #109 near the Post Office.  Santa arrives at 2 pm!

Au Pairs & Host Families are Thankful!

The Au Pair in America Suffolk County Host Families have a lot to be grateful for to one another this year.  Here is what some of them told their Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba, when asked why they are thankful to each other this year:

Host Mom: We are thankful that she is so great with the kids!

Au Pair from Brazil: I am thankful to my host family this year because they treat me like family, they respect, they like me, and they let me feel in home being here. I love to stay with them, they mean a lot to me.

Host Mom & Dad: The list is long when it comes to gratitude for our au pair!   She keeps our house running, keeps our children entertained and learning, and they love her!

Au Pair from Brazil: I’m thankful for my family and friends! The people who are responsible for my happiness here! I’m thankful for my host family that always supports me in my decisions and always tries to make me comfortable! It has been an incredible year so far and I’m grateful for that!!

Host Mom: I am thankful for my au pair this year because she keeps my blood pressure from sky rocketing….

Au Pair from South Africa: I am thankful this year for my amazing host family that has welcomed me into their home with open arms and loving souls, my friends that I met along my journey, my Mom back home as she made this opportunity possible for me and for being able to experience so much in the USA this year.

Host Mom: Our au pair always has a smile and is so helpful with keeping us organized.  I know she will keep my daughters safe and that is so important to me.  I am thankful she really enjoys being with my girls and is always there for them.

Host Mom: I’m thankful for her kindness & flexibility. She’s so great!

Au Pair from Brazil: I am thankful for the respect they have with me and for giving me such an important opportunity for me.

Host Mom: I am grateful she is kind. She is very sweet and her kindness with the girls is wonderful. I think it is her kind heart that always her to be so patient with them. 

Au Pair from Croatia: I’m thankful to my host family this year because they gave me the opportunity to increase my knowledge in USA culture. I’m grateful because they treat me like part of family, because they’re acting more than nice to me, they are supporting me and trust my judgment. They believe in my dreams and they take my advice in consideration and they also provide me with advice which is very helpful. They encourage me to take care of my basic responsibilities and that increases my independence and self-esteem. To my host parents I would love to thank for the given trust when it comes to taking care of their amazing children, for being patient and for giving me opportunity to be part of their lovely family. My host kids are being more than friendly and helpful when it comes to improving my English, bringing fun in my life and making my life playful again. The whole family is truly bringing happiness and joy into my life.

Host Mom: I am thankful for a sweet, caring, genuine person as my children’s caregiver in our au pair.  Her smiles and tireless games of hide & seek, Barbies, Legos and anything they can dream up, never goes unnoticed or unappreciated.  Thank you to our au pair!

Au Pair from Thailand: I am thankful to my host family this year because this is the first time for me to come to America. I am thankful this year for my amazing host family that has welcomed me into their home. I’m grateful because they treat me like part of family. They are so nice to me. Their care of me makes me feel happy. I’m so glad that I can live with them in their warm and kindness, I love them! 

Host Dad: We are grateful that she brings joy and sparkle to our children.

Au Pair from Germany: I am thankful for having a host family that treats me like a real part of their family. A host family that is interested in my culture, that trusted me from the minute I entered their life and a host family that gives me hugs (and fist-bombs) when I need them. Thank you for all of that!

Host Mom: We are so thankful our au pair is part of our family. She is such a pleasure. She fits in so well and takes such great care of our baby!

Au Pair from Poland: I am thankful to my host family this year because I know that I can count on them in every situation. Their care of me makes me feel happier. I’m so glad that I can live with them in their warm and kindness, I love them! I am so thankful that I’m in your cluster. You are such a caring and loving person Cindy! Thanks for all your support. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Host Mom: I am grateful our au pair is so loving and caring with our kids.

Au Pair from Colombia: I am thankful for my life, and for being a healthy person. I am thankful for my family because they love me and always support me, and no matter the distance we can be apart, they are always there for me. I am thankful for my friends and for all the people who are around me. I am thankful for the opportunity to be here in the United States. I am so thankful for this experience of belonging to Au Pair in America. I have grown as a person and I have learned many things. I am thankful for the privilege to learn a second language such as English, which has helped me to see the world in a different way. I am very thankful for my host family because they made me feel like at home. I am thankful for my little host bly because he fills my life of joy with his love. I am so thankful for this year and all the things I have lived during it. Thank you for all your support Cindy.

Host Mom: I am thankful for my au pair and the abundance of love she shows to my children and the enormous smiles she puts on their faces every day. 

Host Dad: We are thankful for the love our au pair gives to our children.

Au Pair from Brazil: I am thankful to my host family this year because they always try to help me with everything I need, and because I can feel comfortable with them. 

Host Mom: While we have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day and Teacher’s Day to celebrate all the people who have shaped and formed our children, we do not yet have an official holiday to recognize our Au Pair’s contribution to our kid’s happy childhood. There is a saying in Chinese that “happy children love to sing.”  Every night when we get home, we hear the laughter and singing from our two girls and our au pair. There is no better testimonial of her impact to the children than seeing how happy my kids are. She is not just our Au Pair, she is an integral part of our family. Without our au pair, we wouldn’t have the comfort of knowing that our children are being care for by their loving big sister while we devote our energy on our careers.  We are immensely thankful and blessed to have her on our team. 

Host Mom: I am thankful for the bond my au pair shares with my son…..for the fun, smiles & laughter he enjoys in her company.

Au Pair from Brazil: I am thankful for the choice I made this year with my heart and intuition that changed all my experience as an au pair and for sure my life. The choice was to be this special family’s au pair. They receive me with open arms and love to be part of their family. I am also thankful for my friends that I made in my journey as an au pair they are my family here.

Host Mom: I am thankful to my au pair this year because of her kindness and serenity she has brought into our family. We feel truly blessed and grateful to have her with us! 

Au Pair from Thailand: I am thankful to my host family this year because this is the first time for me to get out of my comfort zone and moved to America for the learning experience. Everything is so new which is an adjustment, is the most important for living and I am so lucky and appreciate to be a part of this family. They are a nice family that are full of lovely support and sincerity. Time flies when I am having a good time. The rest of time in the United States and living with my host family I will do my best to be Thankful.

Host Mom: I am thankful to my Au Pair because she loves our children and keeps them happy and safe. She is a true blessing to our family and we will hold her in our hearts forever. 

Host Mom: We are all thankful we have a wonderful young lady who cares for our children and to have peace of mind that they are well tended and safe.

Au Pair from South Africa: I am thankful for how my host family feels more like a family to me than my own family back home does, they welcomed me into the family with open arms and warm hearts. I am thankful too have two incredible little sisters in my host kids, which I get to spend time with every day they have taught me some very valuable lessons in the short 8 months I’ve been here! I am thankful for the opportunities that have come over my path and that I have grown so much this past year , never in my life did I think I will be able to “conquer the world” on my own. I am thankful for my host parents who has shown me what being kind really is and how easy it is to care about the people you surround yourself with. I am thankful that they chose me to be the Big sister for their incredible little girls and like they said to me when we matched: It’s like finding a wedding dress : When you know it’s the right one , you know…I am thankful for the life I have been living here in the US.

Host Mom: She is the best Au Pair ever! She really became a part of our family and like a big sister to our daughter, who had an especially rough past year with my illness. I don’t know what we would have done without her.

Au Pair from Germany: This year I’m thankful for is a question is so hard to answer in just a few sentences and especially in one letter. Of course I’m thankful for being healthy and knowing my whole family is too, I’m thankful for the life I have, everything I experience, every struggle I can learn of, every situation I can grow on, every new information I can learn and for every new day with new chances and opportunities. I’m here in your family a bit more than three months, and I could write a whole book about this time and the things I am thankful for! The most important would be: Thank you for giving me the opportunity of living in your family and including me in your daily life. I’m thankful that I really feel like I ́m home in your house and you share your traditions with me! I’m thankful for getting to know you as a family and working with your children, because most of the time it doesn’t feel like hard work but more like being an older sister for them. I’m thankful that you care about me too and I don’t feel lonely here. You always try to make things possible which I want to do or if I want to go somewhere. I’m thankful for the free time you give me and especially that you trust me (in driving, going somewhere or just planning the afternoons with the girls)! I am thankful that we have things to talk about and to laugh about. That we watch movies together or hear Christmas songs and make plans for the weekends! I’m thankful for the match we did a few months ago, because I could have never imagined that my year in America could be so great and you made it possible for me! Thank you that I have so many positive things to tell my family and friends about my life here and that I didn’t really feel homesick. I really wanted you to know that, how happy I am to live in your family and just one more time to say thank you!


Sunday October 21 the New York and Connecticut Au Pair in America Community Counselors hosted a NYC Scavenger Hunt for 250 au pairs!

Everyone met on the steps of the main NYC Library for the send off.  They spent about 3 hours searching for the items on the list, snapping pictures of themselves in places all over the City. Each team had 6 au pairs.

When they returned to the library, the Counselors were ready with candy bars for each of them, raffle tickets for those wearing their APIA T-Shirts, and scoring teams to tally their lists. 

3rd Place

2nd Place

1st Place

The top 3 teams won cash prizes donated by the Counselors.  Everyone had fun and learned a lot about NYC.  We hope they return often to NYC to learn more about this great City. 

Community Counselors meeting while Au Pairs do the Scavenger Hunt

Young women from countries all around the world come to the USA as au pairs with Au Pair in America every year.  They live with a host family, take care of children up to 45 hours a week, learn our culture and share theirs with us. 

Wet but fun Wading River Fall Festival

On Saturday, October 13th Wading River’s Fall Festival went on despite a rainy start.  Au Pair in America Suffolk County had a table that was well attended by local families.   The day began with the Zombie Parade!

Viviana from Colombia helped Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba explain what an Au Pair is and how APIA can help busy Suffolk County families with their childcare.  Viviana is a 2nd year au pair who is having a great experience in the USA.  She told families who stopped by about taking care of her host child, teaching him Spanish and how much she has learned about our culture while sharing hers with her host family.

The rain did stop and the event was enjoyed by all who attended.  Meet Suffolk County APIA Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba on Sunday, December 2nd at Stony Brook Village’s Holiday Festival.


Scarecrow Fun in Stony Brook Village

Visit Stony Brook Village this October to see all the scarecrows made by creative community groups.  Au Pair in America entered the contest with Au Pair Annie and friends.  Our Scarecrow is #107 just to the left of the Post Office!

Au Pair Annie is holding 8 au pairs from countries in our Suffolk County Au Pair in America cluster.  Her banner has the AIFS moto, “We Bring the World Together”.  Au Pair in America is a division of the American Institute of Foreign Study.  Check out AIFS here.

Mia from Croatia, Dana from Germany, Sara from Panama,  helped Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba, with the Scarecrow.  Their energy and creativity was lots of fun!

Back to School & More for Suffolk APIA Au Pairs

Suffolk County Au Pair in America Au Pairs Cluster Meeting September 2018 at Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba’s HomeCluster meetings are so important for au pairs to meet each other,  form friendships and connect with their counselor.

We start the meeting with a craft.  It gives the au pairs time to socialize and to be creative.  They paint ornaments we will use to decorate our International APIA Peace tree at the annual holiday festival in Stony Brook Village.  This is an event attended by au pairs and their host families on the first Sunday in December.

Every September Cindy shares tips to make back to school and routine with host children easier for au pairs.  We review minimizing morning madness, communicating with school through the backpack & how to use it effectively, bus stop and bus safety.  It is also Baby Safety month, so we review tips on how to keep little ones safe. 

There are a few distracted driving and bus safety videos watched that really emphasis how to be the kind of driver who pays attention to the road!  These videos really demonstrate why everyone should stay off the phone while driving and how to keep kids safe!

We got the chance to wish Ana good bye after 2 years as an Au Pair!  Ana has a trip planned around Europe before returning to home to Peru! 

After the learning part o the meeting is done, there is time for dessert and socializing.  Everyone learns, eats and makes new friends!

Canoe Trip Sun to Storms back to Sun!

On a sunny Saturday afternoon 21 Long Island Au Pairs and 3 Community Counselors headed out on our annual canoe trip on the Nissequoque River.  Postponed one week due to storms we were all excited to have a fun afternoon on the river.

8 Canoes headed out with 2 to 3 au pairs per canoe.  Most had never canoed before and they had to get the feel of the paddles and put the strongest au pair in the rear to captain the canoe.


Counselors Cindy Garruba, Eileen Friedman and Captain Kristi Halpern joined the group and gave some guidance as they canoed along side the au pairs.

About half way into the trip dark clouds covered the sky and soon a series of intense downpours rained upon the group. Several of the canoe teams pulled to the side and had to dump out their canoes, take shelter and wait for the storm to subside.  After awhile the storms subsided and blue skies returned.

Drenched and tired, we all made it to the end of the river.  Counselor Andrea Wax was waiting for us to return, she had reassured au pairs who called her during the storm.  She took pictures of the returning teams.  Everyone had an unforgettable experience and said it was fun, even with the storm.  Au Pairs from Au Pair in America are adventurous young women ready to tackle any challenge they face!


Fun Street Fair & 4th of July Fireworks!

Au Pairs from APIA Suffolk County enjoyed the “Alive on 25” Riverhead Street Fair.  Community Counselor Cindy Garruba invited her cluster to spend the evening enjoying the music, street vendors, and food trucks along Main Street in Riverhead.

There were antique cars and the au pairs enjoyed posing with them!  We all loved the ones that reminded us of the 50s and 60s! 

We strolled along the Peconic River and looked at the boats docked waiting for the fireworks to start.  Everyone was treated to a Ralph’s Italian Ice by Cindy.  Chocolate was the most popular flavor!

The fireworks was the highlight of the evening.  Au Pairs were surprised by how great the display was and how many people gathered to watch.  We talked about the reason Americans celebrate the 4th of July.  The Au Pairs enjoyed hearing about how much Americans value the birth of our nation and celebrating our Declaration of Independence back on July 4, 1776!