The role of a Cultural Care Local Childcare Consultant—or LCC for short—is to support au pairs and host families during their time together. And the support they provide requires our LCCs to juggle many responsibilities—they act as meeting organizers, mentors, counselors, mediators, cheerleaders, and sometimes they even put on their photographer caps! This is true for New York LCCs Rebecka Palmer and Jennie Morgan, both former au pairs themselves, who offered to take Front Porch pictures of their au pairs and host families during the COVID-19 quarantine. We interviewed Rebecka and Jennie about this project and about what they love about being part of the au pair program in their communities.
What do you enjoy most about being an LCC?
Rebecka: I really enjoy getting to know the young people that are bravely coming to the U.S. to start this new phase in their lives. It’s a privilege to be part of their journey, learn about their families, helping them meet their goals and to see them grow further than they ever thought. I also love meeting families in my community and supporting them adjusting to their new family member. I get to learn about my own community through many of them. It’s exciting to see so many families with a world view in mind.
What inspired you to take photos of your host families and au pairs? And what was it like to see them together during this time?
Jennie:I’d seen posts about the front porch projects and thought it was a great idea to do for host families and au pairs in my group. 2020 is a year we will never, ever forget and this will be a great memory. I really enjoyed driving around, stopping for a few minutes, taking pictures and chatting from 6 feet apart.
Rebecka: It was hard not to give them a hug, but giving a lasting memory made it even better.
Besides documenting life in quarantine, how else have you supported your group during this time?
Rebecka: I have hosted Zoom meet-ups, including a fun bingo game with donated gifts from community members for game prizes! I’ve also delivered small goodie bags with spa items a for them with a personal note.
Jennie: I’ve done lots of check ins in my au pair WhatsApp group and on Zoom. They all know I’m always available if they need to talk.
Any thoughts on how this situation will affect your au pairs and host families in the long term?
Jennie: I think it has brought my host families and au pairs closer together. With many parents working from home it’s a blessing having an au pair helping out at home. Obviously it’s been a different experience than what the au pairs signed up for—not being able to meet friends, travel, take a college class is not easy. But as one of my au pairs stated, she’s ok because she’s safe and feeling supported by her awesome host family, and she can save some money towards a fun trip when this all over.
Thank you to Rebecka and Jennie for inspiring us to create a Boston-based Front Porch Project and offering a chance to all our host families to participate in this movement. For any host family that shares their own Front Porch picture on Instagram or Facebook, tags @culturalcare and includes the hashtag #culturalcare in the caption, we will donate $25 on their behalf to the United Way COVID-19 Family Relief Fund (up to $5,000). Thanks to everyone who has participated so far!