Tag Archives: cultural care

Au Pairs learn Water & Summer Safety

The Suffolk County Au Pair in America cluster of Au Pairs gathered at Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba’s home to learn about Water & Summer Safety.

Every quarter the au pairs learn safety or childcare.  This time it was about being safe with their host children around water.  The main conversation was about preventing drowning.  Living on Long Island, every au pair will be at the beach or a pool this summer.  Learning to swim is the first step in water safety.  Most of the au pairs in the group are experienced swimmers.

Au pairs also learned about identifying poison ivy, how to avoid it and what to do if their host child or they come in contact with it or develop the rash.  We discussed ticks and the diseases they carry.  Using sunscreen, when to apply, how to avoid sunburn and ways to treat it were also covered. 

We celebrated the au pairs who are nearing the end of their year.  They earned education certificates for completing the education requirement of the program.

2 German Au Pairs also earned Global Awareness certificates for teaching lessons on their country in their host children’s classrooms.  They both volunteered regularly during their year and were awarded with volunteer certificates.  Vanessa volunteered in her host child’s classroom teaching German board games at lunch time.  Kristina volunteered in a local animal shelter.

After lessons and awards, each au pair shared something about themselves, including their plans for when they return home.  Cindy served local strawberries since it is strawberry season here on the North Fork of Long Island.  The au pairs loved the strawberries and cream shortcake.

They had fun on the beach and visiting with each other on the beautiful sunny Sunday.

Valentine’s Day

Globe Heart

Valentine’s Day is February 14th!

Au Pairs give loving care to their host families every day.  Au Pair in America has provided 27 years as the world’s most experienced intercultural  childcare program.

Au pairs become full-fledged family members, sharing a cultural exchange experience that often leads to a lasting relationship with the host family.

Au Pairs come to the USA for cultural exchange and to provide childcare to busy families.  They stay for one year and then have the option to extend for a second year.  Au Pairs are 18 to 26 years old when they arrive in the USA.  Please check out www.aupairinamerica.com for more information!


Au Pairs will be making Valentine cards with their host children.  Here’s how:

What you’ll need:

  • 8.5 x 11 construction paper or card stock in various colors and/or patterns easy-homemade-valentines-kaboose-craft-photo-350-fs-IMG_9049_rdax_65
  • Valentine and/or heart stickers
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • Glue stick or white craft or school glue
  • Glitter (pink, red, white)

How to make it:

  1. Begin by cutting a piece of construction paper or card stock into four equal pieces.
  2. Fold quartered paper in half to make a card.
  3. For the easiest version, appropriate for preschoolers, use stickers to decorate or cut out hearts from a different color of construction paper or card stock to glue onto your cards. Experiment with different patterns, florals look great contrasted with stripes on a solid background.
  4. Younger children love glitter! Use a bottle of glue to “draw” on a heart or phrase (such as “Be Mine”). Sprinkle glue generously with pink, red or white glitter and let dry over night. Tap off excess glitter when completely dry.
  5. For the older set, let them use pinking sheers to cut out heart shapes and glue onto cards. Again, use contrasting patterns and colors to create a charming design.
  6. Once glue is dry, cards may curl up a little. Place cards between the pages of a heavy cookbook or phone book and leave over night.

Valentine's Day




APIA Counselors are the Best Trained!

WIN_20140508_135450Au Pair in America Community Counselors, Stamford & London Offices and our Foreign Partners gathered in Chicago May 7 – 10 for our Conference.  We were led by Ruth Ferry, executive director and senior VP of APIA USA and Linda James, senior VP APIA UK.  They inspired and led the group, along with William Gertz, President and CEO of APIA.

WIN_20140508_103609 (2)We learned about new systems and innovations, managing situations that arise, cultural communication and so much more.  Connections through out the group were fostered and understanding increased.

We stayed at the Drake Hotel, a beautiful art deco hotel right on Lake Michigan.  Our gala the last night was a big hit and everyone dressed as flappers or gangsters!

IMG_20140509_193245Selecting Au Pair in America for your childcare needs will allow you to have the best supported Community Counselor, staff and foreign interviewers.  We have ongoing training throughout the year with webinars on many topics.  There is always someone available to help a family or au pair when needed!

The State Department sent representatives to participate in the conference.  APIA is determined to abide by all regulations and considers the partnership with the State Department key to our success since 1986!


imagesXJE8ONUFAu Pair in America has au pairs who love working with different types of children. April is Autism Awareness month and some many families with autistic children have turned to Au Pair in America to find the right childcare to fit their needs. We have au pairs who are not only willing to work with special needs children, but many who request this for their year in America.


Jessica Klose from Germany

Jessica Klose is spending a second year as an Au Pair in America with a family in Ronkonkoma with three children, 2 are autistic. She is extended for a second year because her first year was so rewarding and she loves the children. Her host parents are very involved and supportive of her, introducing her to the children’s teachers and support services. Jessica is turning 21 in May, so she began working with her host children when she was 19. She says she has learned so much about herself and grown as a person through her experiences here in the USA. Most importantly she has learned how to be patient, how to put someone else’s needs first. Her host children need lots of repetition and routine. She finds it fascinating how they think and has learned that they think in pictures. The I Pad has become a great tool to communicate with her host children. Her host children love bowling once a week with their peers. Jessica loves watching how much they have grown since she first arrived!

Jessica’s host mom, Christine Murphy, said this about Jessica and her past au pairs, “
Jessica, Elsa and Lara have all been open minded and loving caretakers for all of our children.  They have had to be patient and flexible.  Having two special needs children presents many challenges.  Their positive attitude and commitment to learn positive behavior support strategies have made a great difference for our family.  We are grateful to have them in our lives.”

Jessica would recommend this program to all her friends and would encourage others to consider being an au pair in a family with special needs children. When she returns to Germany this summer, she wants to pursue a degree in psychology or renewable energy. She looks forward to being an ambassador for the Au Pair in America program someday, so she can tell other young women what a great opportunity it is for them.

Shireen Hendricks is from South Africa working with a family with 4 children, the 15 year old boy is a high functioning autistic child. She says he is very literal and enjoys technical video games. He is in a special class at school that is teaching him basic social skills as well as academics. She finds the interactions between him and his siblings challenging at times, but she, like Jessica, has learned patience and the importance of routine. She also extended for a second year in America with her host family.

Aisha Summers from Canada works with two autistic girls. Her host mom, Kirsten Fergusen, is a special education teacher and says “Having an Au pair to help with our 2 special needs daughters has made such a difference in our lives. Autumn and Ava have multiple disabilities. They are non-verbal with cognitive impairment, seizure disorders, and both are on the autism spectrum.  It takes a person of strong character with unyielding patience, a generous heart, and a commitment to going the extra mile. Aisha has all of this to offer and more. She understands the importance of consistency. She never takes the easy route. She nudges my girls towards independence. She has high expectations for them and loves them unconditionally.  Having Aisha as part of our family for almost 2 years has helped more ways than I can say. She has been a true blessing.”


Aisha Summers, Canadian and Shireen Hendricks, South African

Aisha feels very strongly that working with autism and special needs children has been the most rewarding part of being an Au Pair in America. She has experienced so many special moments with the girls and loves creating experiences for them within the structure of the day. She is returning home this summer and will continue working with children and planning more education for her future career. Aisha feels so strongly about Autism Awareness and has recently had a tattoo added to her body with the puzzle design for awareness.  Her host parents have developed an app for the I Pad to communicate more effectively with autistic children.  Aisha said the girls are even talking more with the app.  Check it out at https://close2homeapps.com/?q=our_apps

To learn more about Au Pair in America for your family go to www.aupairinamerica.com or call me, Cindy Garruba, Senior Community Counselor for Au Pair in America in Suffolk County, NY at 631-591-3573 or email me at Cindy722@aol.com

Daylight Savings Time This Sunday, March 9

Spring ahead

Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.

Change your clocks before you go to bed on Saturday, March 8.  Put your clocks ahead ONE HOUR.  This will give us one hour more of daylight beginning on Sunday, March 9.

The Daylight Saving Time 2014 time change is fairly simple: Most anything computerized, from a cell phone to a laptop, jumps ahead on its own. Most other watches and clocks need to be reset manually.

Spring forward, Fall back!

Beat the Post Holiday & Winter Blues Tips for Au Pairs

5_ways_to_overcome_the_winter_bluesAfter the decorations are put away, the celebrations are over, the New Year has begun: and the post holiday winter blues are starting to hit you and your host family.  What can you do to get through the long cold winter months happily?

  1. Get outside every day with the kids, bundle up and play outside.  Go to the park, take a walk, ride bikes; we have been having an unusually warm winter, so enjoy it!  If it snows, build a snowman, go sledding, have fun outside!
  2. Stay on routine with the kids; get up on time, have breakfast, get to the bus stop on time.  Make sure homework is done and everyone gets to their activities on time.  Bedtime routines are important, make sure everyone gets enough sleep and that includes YOU!
  3. Register for your classes, and get ready to start learning something new!
  4. Call a friend and meet for coffee and conversation if you feel housebound.
  5. Set up a play date with another au pair and her host children (similar ages) and enjoy a day together!
  6. Join a gym with another au pair!
  7. Use the library in your town.  Sign the kids up for free programs (talk to host parents about the programs!)  Join the English conversation group, improve your English and meet people!
  8. Prepare a Global Awareness presentation for one of your host kids’ classes, ask me for help!
  9. Volunteer at a local hospital, school, animal shelter, food bank if you have extra time on your hands and need to do something!  Doing for others is always an answer for the blues!!
  10. Come to our next cluster meetings.  There is a Mandatory meeting on February 9th!!

Au Pair Orientation

Au Pair in America provides a comprehensive Orientation for all our au pairs before they go out to their host families.  When each au pair arrives at the NY airport, she is welcomed and transported to the the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown, NY.  There she is met by an Au Pair in America Orientation staff member, given some valuable information, room assignment and a chance to check into her room for rest. Three full days follow started each day with early wake up calls.   The importance of being on time is emphasized so the meeting run smoothly and au pairs learn to understand the importance of time in America.

998798_10152025733573792_1279016968_n[1]Noelle from Germany was welcomed to America by their Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba.  She is going to a family in Pt. Jefferson, LI, NY and will be joining a cluster of about 30 au pairs.

At Orientation the agenda includes:

  • An Introduction the United States and Au Pair in America
  • “The Three No’s” – No drugs, no alcohol under 18 and never while driving or caring for children, no child abuse (Au Pairs are sent home if they abuse drugs, alcohol or children!!)
  • The Role of the Community Counselor
  • Living in America – Cultural adaptation and communication with their American families
  • Childcare safety and media
  • American Red Cross Child Safety Workshop
  • The American Family
  • Child Care in America – managing American Children – Communication and discipline
  • Living in America – auto insurance and health insurance

    Au Pairs during Red Cross training at Orientaion

    Au Pairs during Red Cross training at Orientaion

3 meals a day, time to socialize with the other au pairs and the Orientation Staff.  There is even an evening tour of NYC!  Au Pairs submit questions anonymously all week and every question is answered by the staff to the group before they go home.

Au Pairs leave Orientation on Day 4 at 3 PM and head out to 35 states and hundreds of host families.  Everyone is excited to depart and begin a year as an Au Pair in America!

Halloween Safety Tips

halloween pic

Ghouls and goblins will take over the night. But even scary creatures need to be safe and celebrate Halloween right. Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and automobile collisions. The Red Cross wantsyour family to have a safe Halloween so we’re providing these tips,

the Lucky 13:

  1. Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
  2. From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights!
  3. If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
  4. When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which will cover your eyes.
  5. Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing  to be seen in the dark! (And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, and brooms and the edges of your cape!)
  6. Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
  7. As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And speaking of streets, the corners are the place for trick or treaters to cross no matter their pace.)
  8. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
  9. Use a glow stick instead of a candle so your jack-o-lantern isn’t a  safety gamble!
  10. You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! (Between parked cars is no  to hide, be sure that you’re seen whether you’re a clown or a bride.)
  11. Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn, and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
  12. You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
  13. For additional information on how you and your family can be prepared for emergencies on Halloween or on any day of the year, please visit www.RedCross.org

4th of July Fun!

Long Island’s 2013 4th of July Guide: Fireworks, Festivities, Food & More!

Long Islanders gather together for some of the largest celebrations in the country. With fast-approaching festivities and fireworks, don’t miss out on the fun – …

The nation’s favorite major summer holiday is just around the corner – that’s right, it’s almost Independence Day! Americans celebrate the Fourth of July in accordance to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia – the former thirteen states declared their freedom from British governance. July 4, 1777, the one year anniversary of our independence,  was celebrated with music, ringing bells, bonfires, and fireworks. Ever since, Americans continue the tradition in celebrating their freedom by taking part in some fun and entertaining events in commemoration.
Long Islanders gather together for some of the largest celebrations in the country. These fast-approaching festivities include fairs, carnivals and festivals to concerts and sports games to picnics, cruises, and of course the stars of the day – FIREWORKS! Don’t miss out on the fun – check out what’s happening near you and across Long Island!
Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre
Eisenhower Park, East Meadow 11554
Saturday, June 29, 2013 – 5:30 pm
Check out some world class fireworks displayed by Grucci and presented by TD Bank. Free tickets at TD Bank stores. Gates open at 5 p.m. Show begins at 5:30 p.m. Fireworks at darkness. Performances by Dean Karahalis and the Concert Pops, followed by Somethin’s Fresh, the best ‘80’s R&B, Dance and Funk Classic band on Long Island.
Moore’s Lane, Greenport, NY 11944
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Celebrate the holiday at a carnival fundraiser hosted by the Relief Hose Co. & Phenix Hook & Ladder. The carnival will run through July 6th.  Fireworks are on July 4th and July 6th at 10 pm. The time of the carnival is to be announced.
Chateau Briand
440 Old Country Road, Carle Place, NY 11514
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 – 9 pm
Celebrate the Fourth of July early at Body English’s Annual Celebration. Table reservation and bottle services are available. Call early at 516-398-8777.
Umbrella Beach
Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 9 pm – 9:45 pm
Watch a spectacular show of fireworks in Montauk sponsored by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. Fireworks can be viewed from any town beach. (Rain date is July 5th).
55 South Bicycle Path, Farmingville, NY 11738
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 6 pm
Enjoy a tribute to Billy Joel by Mike Del Guidice and Big Shot. Doors open at 6 pm and the concert begins at 7:30 pm. Stick around for amazing Grucci fireworks beginning at 9:30 pm. See event listing for more details.
Captree Park
3500 E. Ocean Parkway, Babylon, NY 11702
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 6:30 pm
7 in Heaven Singles presents a boat cruise joy ride aboard Captain Tim’s, Northstar II, on the Great South Bay with lots of fireworks. Light refreshments will be provided such as appetizers, sandwiches, water, soda, and some dessert. Bring your own beer or wine. All ages are welcome. Free membership to sign up for the group. Fees apply for the event – pre-pay now for $48 (bring a friend for a discounted price) or $55 (cash) at the door with RSVP. NY State parking fee of $8. If it rains, participants will be issued a refund. See event listing for details.
Firemen’s Memorial Field
E. Fenimore St and Albermarle Ave, Valley Stream,  NY 11580
Thursday, July 4, 2013- 6 pm – 10 pm
The park opens at 6 pm for ticket holders only. The ground show begins at 8 pm. The Fireworks Aerial Display begins at 9:15pm or at coordinator’s discretion. Personal items are subject to search for security purposes.  The rain date is July 5th.
333 Bayville Avenue, Bayville on the Sound, New York 11706
Thursday, July 4, 2013- 6:30 pm
Reserve your table for dinner and fireworks on the beach from the club’s private deck and restaurant.
Finley Middle School and Morgan Memorial Park
City of Glen Cove, 11542
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Spend the morning watching the Annual July 4th Children’s Bicycle Parade from 10 am to 11 am at Finley Middle School. Later in the night, view fireworks at the Morgan Memorial Park at 9 pm.
Bethpage Ballpark
3 Court House Drive, Central Islip, NY 11722
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 7:05 pm
Watch the Long Island Ducks play against the Somerset Patriots followed by a Grucci fireworks show presented by Atlantic Honda. Purchase tickets online or by calling 631-940-8499. See event listing for more details.
Pettit Ave, Bellmore, NY 11710
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 8 am
Runners take on the streets of Bellmore to run/walk either a 1-mile course or 4-mile course. The 1- mile run is for runners 12 years of age and under. The 4- mile run is for runners 13 years of age or older. Youth entries are $10 and adult entries are $20 between June 1 and July 3.  Entries on race day are $22. Athletes 70 years or older pay nothing. The 1-mile run starts at 8 am. Refreshments will be available before the race, at every mile of the race, and after the race.The race starts at Pettit Avenue and finishes at Grand Ave.
6164 Route 25A, Wading River, NY 11792
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 6 pm – 11 pm
Free Admission
Come out with your family and friends to win some prizes, play some games, enjoy festival good, or just go on the rides! Admission is free for the festival. $30 pay-one-price for rides. The festival will go through July 7, 2013. Fireworks on July 5th at 9 pm.
Peconic Riverfront
Riverhead, NY 11901
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 6:30 pm
Come see 2009 Children’s Grammy nominee, Brady Rymer, rock it out again this year for Independence Day with his Little Band that Could in Riverhead. The evening will be followed by a spectacular fireworks show around nightfall. Make sure to bring your chairs and blanket.
Garvies Point Road & the Harbor, Glen Cove, NY 11542
Saturday, July 6, 2013 and Sunday, July 7, 2013- 11 am to 9 pm
Free Admission
Spend the weekend at the annual Sea-Faire festival on the waterfront in Glen Cove with games, food, live music, and rides ($30 pay-one-price). The festival will be open from 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday. Grucci fireworks show will be held Saturday at 9 pm.
36 Barkers Island Road, Southampton , NY 11968
Friday, July 5, 2013 – 7 pm – 10 pm
Admission by Tickets – Starting at $300 for General Admission
Fresh Air Home is a residential camp offering special recreational programs for physically challenged children. The picnic raises over 40% of the Home’s annual program expenses. Enjoy a benefit picnic dinner at the only Fourth of July fireworks family party in Southampton. Grucci presents fireworks over the Shinnecock Bay. Rain date is July 7th. Tickets can be purchased online. See event listing for details.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, NY 11804
Thursday, July 4, 2013
A re-creation of a Long Island July 4th celebration at the beginning of the Civil War, in honor of the soldier recruits of the New York Volunteers. Festivities will include a National Patriotic Picnic (bring your own picnic lunch), band concerts and fiddle music, children’s games, rifled-musket firings and a patriotic parade and ceremony.
164 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 9:30 am
Show off your skills by taking part in this year’s sandcastle contest by using sand, water, and any other natural material native to the beach at Hither Hills State Park. Castles will be made on the spot. Prizes will be given to the best sculptors and castles. The contest will be held every Thursday from June 27 to August 29. Registration is held every Thursday from 9:30 am – 10:30 am at the park’s beach house.
Route 25A and Prime Ave, Huntington, NY 11743
Thursday, July 4, 2013- 8 pm – 10 pm
The North Shore Pops Concert Band consisting of  a talented group of musicians perform tunes from Sousa to Gershwin, and Broadway to American Patriotic anthems at Heckscher Park.
The Fishery Parking Lot
1 Main Street, East Rockaway, NY 11518
Friday, July 5, 2013 through Sunday, July 7, 2013
Spend the 4th of July weekend at the East Rockaway festival with family and friends. On Saturday at 3 pm, The Eliot Lewis Trio will be performing live after an opening by Drive performing an ‘80s music tribute plus a tribute to The Cars. Enjoy some food, games, rides, a petting zoo, and fireworks! Friday: 6 pm to 11 pm   Saturday: 12 pm to 11 pm    Sunday: 12 pm to 8 pm
Walker Street
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 10:30 am
The Chamber would welcome your participation in the 4th of July Parade. Assembly time is 10:30 a.m. The parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. at Walker Street and proceed south on Lake Shore Drive to Park Blvd.
Fourth of July Fireworks: Grangebel Park
Peconic Ave
Riverhead, NY 11901
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – 9 pm
Watch the fireworks light up the skies!
118 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 – 8 pm
$25 in advance/ $30 at the door
Disco and dance the night away with the Terry Hines Band.
118 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901
Thursday, July 4, 2013- 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
FREEdom Fest featuring fabulous food and a FREE musical performance by the swingin’ GI Jivesters! There’s always something to celebrate at The Suffolk Theater, so bring the whole family and join us for great food, fun and music on July 4th prior to Riverhead’s fireworks display!
Doors open at 6pm, so come early and join us for dinner (dinner cost additional) and order up some all American food and enjoy some great music!
118 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901
Friday, July 5, 2013 – 8 pm
$25 in advance/ $30 at the door
Experience the best of both American & British Rock. This rock show is a tribute to the music of the great American classic rock artists & bands who came of age particularly in the late 60s & 70’s.
118 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901
Saturday, July 6, 2013 – 8 pm
$30 in advance/ $35 at the door
Come Join us with our Red White & Swing Summer Saturday Supper Club Series with the Black Tie Affair Orchestra! Join Tom Manuel and the Black Tie Affair Orchestra for their command return performance at the Tom and his 17 piece big band are calling all jitterbuggers to join us for a swingin’ night of big band – USO style! Supper/Show Package $70.00. Dinner Seating at 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm.
Montauk Farmer’s Market
742 Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954
Thursday July 4, 2013 – 9 am – 2 pm
Stock up on fruits and vegetables for a Fourth of July barbeque at Montauks Farmer’s Market presented by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds will benefit the Montauk Food Pantry.

School End This Week!

Au Pairs and Host Families schedules change in Summer!

schoolsoutIt is important to have a meeting to review schedule changes for the summer .  Kids don’t have school, but they still have busy schedules.  There is often even more driving for the au pairs during summer, taking the kids to day camp, sports, and to the beach.  Playdates are plentiful and need to be part of everyone’s schedule.  Some host parents have more time off in the summer, especially if they are teachers.  Make sure you schedule who is in charge, parent or au pair.  Keep posting a schedule to define working hours for your au pair.

Vacations are often taken by families and au pairs, together and separately.  Be clear about time off and working time.  If your au pair is going on vacation and is working, she gets paid!!  Good planning will make sure everyone has a great time!