On a beautiful August afternoon, all 4 Long Island Au Pair in America Clusters canoed on the Nissequogue River. The trip took about 2 hours, and we canoed in with the tide from Kings Park to the Smithtown Paul T. Givens Park.
16 canoes filled with au pairs and 4 Community Counselors paddled along the winding river. Lots of other people were kayaking and canoeing along side us. After the trip, au pairs relaxed waiting for their friends to all finish the route.
Fun day spent with friends! Au Pair cluster activities provide au pairs with time with friends, opportunities to get to know each other and their counselors better. It is an important part of the Au Pair in America experience!
Viviana arrived to a host family in Virginia in July 2017. Though that match did not work out, she was able to match with a great family in St. James, Suffolk County, Long Island, NY in Sept. She made the most of her time with her host family, her cluster of au pairs and in her community.
She volunteered helping her Community Counselor at a street fair in the fall. Viviana studied English, she plans to be an English teacher in Colombia. Cindy Garruba, her Community Counselor was happy to watch her graduate from the highest ESL Class from Suffolk County Community College!
Viviana enjoyed many cluster meetings with her au pair friends and was a very active member of the cluster.
Cindy wished Viviana well in her next adventure with some resume building tips and they enjoyed Taco Tuesday at a local restaurant.
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!
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!
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!