June 28, 2024

Introducing our 2024 Au Pair of the Year

Congratulations to Nonjabulo! 

3 minutes
About au pairs

Year after year, the Au Pair of the Year competition gives us the opportunity to recognize exceptional au pairs who make a significant impact on their host families and embody the essence of the program 

With so many host families submitting incredible nominations this year, choosing a winner wasn’t easy! But out of 19 finalists, one stood out for her commitment to cultural exchange, caring heart, and excitement to truly become part of her host family.  

Join us in congratulating Nonjabulo Mkize, affectionately known as Sammy, from South Africa, who was nominated by the Caviness family in Ohio! Continue reading this excerpt from their nomination essay to discover what makes her an ambassador for her country and a testament to the relationship between au pairs and their host families. 

“From the moment we matched, we could feel the genuine excitement and warmth from Sammy as she started making preparations for the year ahead with our family. Over a period of months, we got to know one another well enough that when meeting for the first time in person, it felt like a reunion between two relatives that haven’t seen each other in some time but were picking up right where things left off. Sammy instantly blended in with our family, adapting to our routines with ease. She brought an experienced and helpful hand to managing our four children, knowing just what to do without being asked, so that there were fewer things to think about and more enjoyment in our time together.

As Sammy spent more time with our twin daughters, who she primarily cared for, she brought suggestions to us about age-appropriate activities, proactively communicated any issues out of the norm and would provide helpful reminders of things to pick up at the store so that we wouldn’t unexpectedly run out of anything. One of the twins went from being a poor eater to one of the healthiest under Sammy’s care and the girls always were well-groomed and dressed fashionably with their outfits and hair done. Sammy was part of the girls’ development from learning to walk and talk to starting to potty train. With every new milestone, she was there to be supportive and loving to both of the girls, addressing their specific needs. She even voluntarily spent Christmas Eve with me and one of the twins at the hospital to make sure that she received the proper care and comfort as well as that I also wasn’t alone in a stressful situation.

Sammy also made a genuine effort to connect with our two older children—our older daughter would testify that Sammy makes ‘the best braids’ and our son enjoyed the interaction and witty banter with Sammy as if he had an ‘older sibling’. On weekends and evenings, Sammy would come out to interact with the family, so we had the pleasure of getting to know more about her interests, family and culture. She also accepted our invitations to join holiday and special events, truly becoming an extension of our family. Sammy has not only grown to know us well, but has become endeared by many extended family members and close friends from our congregation, which my husband’s Grandfather leads… We’ve covered a lot of ground in a year, with a trip to the TN mountains, Disney and other adventures right in our own backyard. And, we enjoyed many laughs, including the spontaneous game nights with cousins that live nearby. Life’s routines and challenges have been more manageable because of Sammy’s help and I’ll be forever grateful for her support.”

The Caviness family in Ohio 

Nonjabulo’s Local Childcare Consultant also had many kind words to share:

“Sammy has been a beautiful presence in our group. She is always willing to extend kind words or advice to other au pairs.  Her smile and quick wit brighten our au pair meetings.  It is a well deserved recognition for her hard work and dedication to her host family as well as a testament to her character. Congratulations Sammy!”

Edyta Postolowicz, Local Childcare Consultant (LCC) in Ohio

Congratulations again to Nonjabulo and the Caviness family!