Tag Archives: cultural childcare

May Happenings for Suffolk Au Pair in America

Au Pairs from our cluster enjoying a social evening of pizza and fellowship at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook this May.  We enjoyed a beautiful evening with a perfect sunset on the Long Island Sound.  Community Counselor Cindy Garruba brought pizza and water bottles, au pairs shared stories about who they are, vacations taken and planned.  It was a wonderful time for all.

On Friday, May 17th Cindy attended the English as a Second Language Graduation from Suffolk County Community College for 3 special au pairs.  Host families and friends attended, too, to congratulate them.

Noon from Thailand, Larissa from Brazil and Vanessa from Panama


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!

September Back to School & Routine Cluster Meeting

September is an important time of year for Long Island families.  The kids go back to school and routines change.  Au Pair in America Suffolk County Au Pairs gathered at Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba’s house to get some important tips.

The meeting began with making ornaments for the International Holiday tree au pairs and host families will decorate for the Stony Brook Village Promenade of Trees in December.  Everyone painted a heart ornament to represent their country or their experience in the USA.  The au pairs are so creative.  They spend a lot of time doing arts and crafts with their host kids!

The agenda included Minimizing Morning Madness, School Bus Stop Safety, Safe Driving including no cell phones and distractions from kids in the car.  We discussed the use of the child’s backpack as the communication tool between school and home, keeping on top of homework and school notices.  We also talked about baby safety because September is Baby Safety month!

Cluster meetings are an important part of the au pair experience.  Not only do they learn important tips for a successful year as an au pair, but they also have an opportunity to make friends with other au pairs!

We celebrated Carmen from Bolivia who has spent almost 2 years in the USA with her host family in St. James.  She earned her education certificate and will get a certificate for completing the Au Pair in America year when she returns home to Bolivia in October.

Thankful Host Families & Au Pairs

AP thanksgiving card 2015At Thanksgiving, we pause and express gratitude to others.  This year I want to thank all my au pairs and host families for the love and support they give each other every day.  I also thank each au pair for teaching me about their culture, showing me their bravery for coming from far away places and giving so much to your host families.  I appreciate that you keep me young and inspire me.  I give thanks for the warm, welcoming host families here on Long Island who open their homes and trust the care of their children to these young women.  Thank you to my fellow Community Counselors for your friendship, tips and counsel! Thank you, too, to all the staff of APIA for their support of all of us!   Cindy Garruba, Senior Community Counselor, Suffolk County Au Pair in America

Here are some quotes of gratitude from Suffolk County au pairs and host families for Thanksgiving 2015:

Au Pair: I’m thankful for my host family who’s doing everything for me. They gave me the chance to fly to my sister’s wedding. I’m thankful that they always when they leave the house say “thank you to me” and when they come back. I’m thankful for my little kids who give me so much love and happiness. I’m thankful for all of my friends and my family. They support me and give me a good feeling.

Host Mom: I’m thankful for our au pair because she loves my children and takes great care of them in my absence. Thankful for your support, too!

Au Pair: This year I’m thankful for the amazing experiences I had, for all the people I met, for all trips I had the opportunity to made, for America, for chosen Au Pair in America, because I know I never will be alone, I thankful for Cindy, my Community Counselor, more the one counselor, one friend, who gives time and attention, thankful for my family and friends, thankful for my life 🙂

Au Pair: This year I am thankful for all that I have learned in the US, changes, second chances to bright and be proud of what are made of, and show the best of you!.

Au Pair:  I am thankful for all the support that I got from Cindy and always being available to answer all my doubts. Also, I am very thankful with my host family for letting me continue with this experience for another year, for all the things that they taught me, for all the support that they gave me to continue with the school to improve my skills and for letting me be part of their family. Last but not least, I am very thankful to my family for encourage me to follow my dreams, for every word of encouragement and for all the love they give me. I’m going to spend Thanksgiving with my host family and some friends of them, it’s going to be an awesome day! Happy Thanksgiving! Lots of blessing!

Au Pair: This year I am thankful for the support I have from my family back at home and for my host family that make it feel like a never left 🙂

Au Pair: This year I’m thankful for all changes life gives me. I’m thankful for the people who gave me the opportunity starting a new adventure e.g. my family back home, my host family in the U.S., my agency and all the people behind Apia. Thank you Cindy and thank you Annika, my counselor in Germany :). I’m thankful for being at places I’ve ever wished for, knowing people from other nationalities and get to know the American culture! I am thankful that I have seen myself grown because of all the situation the life here gives me. I’m thankful that I learn a different language and can improve a language which is not my mother language (I’m working at it :D). I’m happy with my host family and thankful because they are treating me like a real family member and give me the chance to feel like home here. I’m so thankful for so much things the list will be endless! All in all I’m thankful that I be happy and healthy and for all the people who making me to this person! Thank you!

Host Mom: This year I am thankful to my au pair because she has been my right hand.  With three children under five and the new transition to a single mom role (and all of the stress divorce can bring) she has graciously been eager to help and truly is a member of our family. My children call her their big sister and she loves them as such, providing them additional comfort and stability during such a difficult time. I love her and feel very protective of her, like my own. It was very cute, I took the children to the bagel shop very early one morning to eat breakfast. My daughter made friends with the children sitting at the table behind us.  The mother commented to her, wow how lucky, you have two brothers and you’re the only girl.  She proudly answered, no I have a big sister (her au pair).  I didn’t correct her because she is right.  The visual thought of this woman actual meeting my 25 year old Thai daughter made me smile to think I was eight when my first daughter was born! Our au pair is truly a blessing.  She is very mature.  Today is her 25th birthday!

Au Pair: I am thankful for my family, my host family and for my best au pair friend.

Au Pair: I am thankful for getting the possibility to spend a year in America with a nice host family. For all the new experiences I made so far, and I’ll make and especially for my family and friends!!!

Host Mom: We are thankful for our Au Pair because she takes good care of our daughter and helps with the dog, too!

Au Pair: My amazing au pair year and all of my new friends that I met in the USA. I am thankful especially for having a great host family.

Host Mom: We are thankful for our au pair for so many reasons.  She is always there to lend a hand and help to keep the household together during the busy work week.  Whether it is helping with dinner, doing homework, shuffling the kids to activities or reading bedtime stories, she is there to assist us.   We are lucky to have a kind, caring and helpful au pair.

Au Pair: I am thankful for the wonderful experience this program gave to me. And how through it I can appreciate more everything I have in my life especially family and friends

Host Mom: This year I am thankful to my au pair because she is very organized, very helpful, makes the best jam & spätzle, is very sweet, is loved by my kids & the host dad and me!

Au Pair: I am thankful for my family, my host family, for all the little things I don’t appreciate every single day and for my best friend here in the USA.

New Host Mom: I am thankful for my au pair because I can already see my son and husband and I already have another trustworthy and loving family member to add to our clan.

Au Pair: This year I’m thankful for Au Pair in America agency and my host family! The agency help me a lot and bring me a chance to see the colorful world. And my host family give me an opportunity to go abroad! You all keep me warm as if I’m in my own home! You are nice and dynamic! Everything is going smoothly! Thank you very much!

Host Mom: I am thankful for our Au Pair.  She has a sweet and calm disposition which is especially helpful during this busy time of year.  She is a responsible and is a dedicated Au pair.  Last week I was ill and needed to go to the ER.  She is wonderful with my daughters and I knew I was leaving them in good hands.

Au Pair: I am thankful for my Host Family and friends who support me in every single way. I’m thankful for their love and their food!

Host Mom: This year I am thankful for my au pair because she is a warm and welcoming addition to our family who has brought love and fun to our home.

Au Pair:  I’m thankful for having the opportunity of living with a wonderful American family, meeting many new friends and also learning about the American culture. Im sure that this year will be the best of my life.













Good bye to Wonderful Au Pairs whose Year has Ended!

Au Pairs spend one or up to two years in the USA with host families.  They experience our culture, care for American children, study in USA colleges, visit places in our country and share their culture with us.  It is a rich, rewarding experience for all involved.  Here are some pictures of wonderful young women who have completed their time her in the USA.  Their Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba presents them with their education certificate and a good bye gift.  Some have also earned a Global Awareness certificate for teaching a lesson in their host child’s class about their country.

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Au Pair March Meeting!

WIN_20150315_152949 (2)The Au Pair in America Suffolk County Cluster gathered at Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba’s home to fill out their tax forms.  They also welcomed new au pairs and said good bye to a couple leaving soon.  A lot of people wearing green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!  Cindy had a raffle for those wearing green to the meeting, 4 au pairs won Starbuck’s gift cards!  Green tortilla chips and dip, mint chocolate chip ice cream and green cookies were enjoyed by all!

Cindy presented au pairs with certificates for teaching Global Awareness to American students.

Cindy presented au pairs with certificates for teaching Global Awareness to American students.


Cindy thanks Nikoleta as she prepares to return to Slovakia

Cindy thanks Nikoleta as she prepares to return to Slovakia

Host Families and Au Pairs form Lasting Bonds

One of the wonderful benefits of the Au Pair in America programs is the relationships formed by host families and their au pairs.  Au Pairs truly become part of the family.  Often they return for visits with their former families.  Some families even go and visit their former au pairs in their countries.  Recently the Diana Melick, a host mom from Setauket, Long Island, New York traveled to Germany with her twin daughters.  While there they visited with their former au pair, Helena Gottschalk.

helena and melick kids

Hanukkah Begins Sundown on December 16th 2014


The first candle of the menorah is lit at nightfall of December 16th and each night until December 24th.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication.The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. Hanukkah is also written Hannuka or Chanukah. The holiday begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew Month of Kislev and lasts eight days. Hanukkah usually falls in the month of December, but occasionally can start in November.

The books of the Maccabees tell the story of Hanukkah which occurred in 165 B.C. After three years of struggle, the Jews in Judea defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus. The Jewish people held festivities in the Temple of Jerusalem, and rededicated it to God. After removing all Syrian idols from the Temple, the Jews found only one small cruse of oil which to light their holy lamps. Miraculously, the cruse provided oil for eight days. Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish leader, then proclaimed a festival to be observed by Jews.

During Hanukkah, gifts are exchanged and contributions are made to the poor. Each evening, one additional candle is lit on the Hanukkah menorah (candelabra). By the last evening, eight lighted candles stand together.

Holiday Party for Au Pairs!

A wonderful holiday party for the Suffolk County Au Pair in America Cluster on Sunday, December 14th at their Community Counselor’s home.

International Feast with dishes prepared by the au pairs and the Counselor, Cindy Garruba.  A grab bag gift exchange, gifts from Cindy to the au pairs and just lots of holiday fun!

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