Tag Archives: cultural childcare

A Spring Sunday Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge


On Sunday, April 27th Long Island Au Pairs from Au Pair in America walked from Borough Hall in Brooklyn to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Lots of people were walking around the city and across the bridge on the beautiful Sunday afternoon.


The Long Island Community Counselors organized the afternoon and joined the au pairs on the walk.  Cindy Garruba, Eileen Friedman and Andrea Wax enjoy spending time with the au pairs in their cluster.  Next month the clusters will be going to Bullets Over Broadway, a new Broadway musical.  Most of the au pairs will be seeing their first show on Broadway!



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

March – Begins as Winter, Ends as Spring

HappySpringHeader2We may seem to be having an endless winter, but Spring will come soon.  This weekend temperatures may climb into the 5o degree mark!  Spring begins March 2oth, the signs of spring are already beginning.  Take your host kids on a nature hunt for the signs of spring in your garden and neighborhood!



March 8th is International Women’s Day!

international women's day March 8 International Women’s Day is Saturday, March 8th! This day helps to jump start the month of March, which has now been named National Women’s History Month in the United States. International Women’s Day is celebrated in 176 countries and allows women worldwide to connect, celebrate and honor women past, present, and future.

On this day women will “Celebrate, Commit, and Connect.” They’ll celebrate like never before ~ connect as only women do ~ and commit to improve in 3 areas of their lives:
1. Personal ~ improve their personal health and well being, and their businesses as employees, business owners, entrepreneurs.
2. Family ~ help their families be healthier and prepare for the future right now.
3. Country ~ let their voices be heard: to speak up, to make positive changes in their communities/countries.

Au Pair in America is an organization fully committed to enriching the lives and minds of young women and this day is highly regarded within the organization.

Young women from all over the globe, ages 18 -26, come to America to live with an American family and learn about American culture. The Au Pair in America cultural exchange program provides a platform to really the change lives of the young women that participate. Fanny Carvajal-Delgado, one of our former au pairs from Costa Rica, has said “Working as an au pair with Au Pair in America is a life changing experience. It has changed my life, the way I value my family and friends, the way I see the world and the way I think about myself, in a positive way.  I will never be the same person ! When I finished the program I was more mature, Independent and responsible.”

In recognition of International Women’s Day, below are some ways you can celebrate this day as well as National Women’s History month in your lcoal community:

  • Register to vote
  • Attend an event promoting women’s health, equality or safety
  • Thank a woman who has been a positive influence in your life
  • Support a program that provides business training for women in developing countries
  • Make a donation that provides education for girls

international women's day

To find for an International Women’s Day event in your area, go to www.internationalwomensday.com!

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!

Homesick? Tips to feel better!

Feeling Homesick? Top 10 Tips to feeling better…

  1. Do not stay in your room, go out with a friend for coffee or a movie
  2. If you have not met anyone yet, call your counselor and ask her to connect you with another au pair
  3. Talk to an au pair who has been here for a while and understands what the first few weeks are like
  4. Talk to your host family about how you feel, join in family activities and focus on getting to know your new family
  5. Go to the gym or work out, exercise is a natural stimulant and will make you feel better
  6. Remind yourself that it is normal to feel homesick on and off throughout the year
  7. Being homesick shows your love for your own family and country but learning to love your new life is okay too
  8. Check in with people at home who will support you, make you laugh and remind you why you wanted to do this
  9. Go to the next cluster meeting and meet other au pairs
  10. Make a list of all the things you dreamed of doing during your year as an au pair…and get started doing them!

Use Your Library

LibraryFrom Riverhead Library director, Lisa Jacobs:  Ah, late summer, when school supplies are on sale at all the stores! I’m so tempted (like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail) to buy them even though I don’t need them. Binders, filler paper, new pens…

The reality is, the most important school supply for any student doesn’t appear on teachers’ lists. That is a LIBRARY CARD. Even with Internet access so widely available, your library card still offers access to many things students need. Here’s my own top 10 list:

10. Live online homework help, every afternoon and evening
9. Test prep assistance, both online and in person
8. Online skills-building resources (to help learn that tricky math concept)
7. Access to America the Beautiful state books, both in print and online
6. Access to accurate online encyclopedias such as Grolier and World Book
5. Educational programs on a variety of topics, plus some fun stuff too
4. Free ebooks for downloading to most any device
3. Information for Science Fair projects, both in print and online
2. Access to millions of different books to borrow (now available from both Suffolk and Nassau)
And the number one thing…
1. Great librarians who can help you figure out which of those millions of books you need or want to read next!

Au Pairs should all get library cards!  There are great programs for the kids and you at the library.  Most of the libraries in Suffolk County all have free English conversation groups!  Join one and make even more friends!

Summer Fun with Kids

What to do when your host kid says, “I’m bored” this summer!

summer-funSometimes, especially with younger children, cries of boredom are really calls for companionship and attention—their friends may be away on vacation and without the structure of school they may find it difficult to keep occupied during long summer days. Prolonged intervals where the kids have nothing to do can be stressful . When bored, children often become whiny, cranky and demanding.

Here are a few easy tips to help au pairs and host parents combat summer boredom and help kids develop the internal resources that are important for developing creative, resource and time management skills:

  1. Put a weekly calendar together so as not to overwhelm yourself with planning entertainment for an entire summer, just take it one week at a time—day trips, arts and craft activities, play-dates, reading time, nature hikes, picnics, bike rides, a trip to the movie theater etc. This way kids will have something to look forward to during down time. A calendar also helps with getting kids prepared for what comes next.
  2. Ask: “If you could do anything, what would you like to do?” Try and encourage your children to generate their own ideas for activities—they are more apt to have fun when they thought it up on their own! Reinforcing that children use their imaginations will also help them develop a sense of resourcefulness and get them in the habit of making their own choices about how they will spend their time.
  3. Keep an “art box” handy full of supplies: scissors, fabric, felt, glue, paints and brushes, stickers, paper, markers, canvass, needle and thread, beads, yarn, picture magazines etc. Rummaging through a box of art supplies can ignite the imagination and occupy children for long periods of time. They could even begin an entrepreneurial enterprise and sell their wares at the end of the summer.
  4. Inspire them to play with water. Water is very calming and soothing for children and they can while away many hours playing and keeping cool. Get them to wash the car, hose off the deck, or run through a sprinkler. Spend time together at the beach or pool.

So Many Parks on Long Island!


There are lots of parks on Long Island!  You can find one near you by putting in your zip code.  Or enter the name of the park you want to find and you can search for it that way, too!  http://pickapark.org/