Each year, we ask our host families to nominate extraordinary au pairs for the Au Pair of the Year Award sponsored by the International Au Pair Association (IAPA). In addition to selecting three finalists to submit to IAPA for this prestigious award, Cultural Care Au Pair selects one outstanding au pair from each state to honor as the Au Pair of the Year. Marlene Nys of France is recognized as the 2014 Vermont Au Pair of the Year honoree.
“Marlene Nys truly is exceptional.” says Suzanne Johnson, a Cultural Care Au Pair host mom since 2008. “I’m a single mother with two older children away at school. I have had 13 au pairs over the years and I never nominated one until now. She goes way above and beyond with her duties in watching over [my daughter] Caroline, and always with a smile!”
Following is her nomination essay:
“Marlene arrived just as I was recovering from breast cancer. She helped Caroline feel safe again in a very uncertain world. I took a chance on Marlene because her English level was low. Upon arrival, she embraced the idea of an English tutor and studied hard to get up to par. She is extremely conscientious helping Caroline who is challenged with severe dyslexia by helping her learn her subjects while teaching her self-confidence and perseverance. Even in the most stressful situations, she is patient and kind.
She genuinely loves being an au pair and truly exemplifies the qualities of the ideal au pair. It is not just the excellence of her quality of work: cooking, driving, homework help, emotional help, laundry, cleaning, being prompt, courteous and kind, but ALL of the other unsaid qualities that truly set her apart. Never do I need to ask for her help, she always steps in and often offers to help on her free time. She is a loving mentor for Caroline, as a big sister, a loving teacher, as a snowboarder and as a guiding star.
Marlene has competed in local races for charity and did a 3 mile long paddle board competition on Lake Champlain. She also volunteers at Caroline’s school, teaching the children about Europe and French culture. Marlene has a strong desire to learn about our culture, language and people and in her free time, she often travels and can’t wait to get ‘home’ to her host family and tell us all about her experiences. Every day she shares with us new culture discoveries with a laugh and sparkle, and often laughs at herself. Never is she critical of the cultural differences only curious and fascinated! She is selfless and so very loving; I can’t think of anything that I would ever want more in an au pair! We are so blessed to have Marlene. She will forever be in our family.”