February 15, 2023

Introducing our 2023 Au Pair of the Year!

Congratulations to Antonella and our 10 other finalists!

9 minutes
Au pair stories

Every year, the Au Pair of the Year contest provides our community with a unique opportunity to recognize au pairs that leave a true impact on the host families they join in the U.S. From planning unique activities with their host kids to introducing their native recipes to the family, our nominated au pairs are amazing representatives of our cultural exchange program, and we’re so happy to recognize and celebrate them each year!  

This year, we’re happy to announce that over 600 host families nominated their au pairs for this special award! These host parents take the time to submit a heartfelt essay and photos, and each nomination is reviewed by a designated committee at Cultural Care Au Pair. Once our finalists are chosen, our community is encouraged to vote for their favorites on our voting platform. After a 1-week voting period, the results are tallied—this year, our 2023 winner is Antonella from Argentina! 

A huge congratulations to Antonella—and our 10 other 2023 finalists—for going above and beyond in their roles as au pairs! We invite you to read part of each au pair’s nomination below. 


Antonella from Argentina

“Anto is the glue that has kept our family together since she arrived in March of 2021. We matched with Anto during the heat of the pandemic while quarantined with our active 3-year-old and pregnant with twins. From the moment we met Anto, we knew she was meant for our family. The conversation came naturally, family values were similar, we shared love of travel, and laughter came easy. From the moment they met, the connection between Anto and Asher was indescribable. She is so loving to Asher. His face beams with happiness around her and there’s a witnessed sense of calmness that takes over. Anto has taken many opportunities to share her culture. She has cooked various meals (many of which Grayson cooked with her!), introduced us to her favorite music, and we have daily conversation about aspects of the Argentinian culture and lifestyle. We REALLY hit the jackpot with Anto. She will be our family forever and no one deserves this recognition more than her!” 

—Nominated by the Serfaty family in Indiana 


Elise from France

“Elise has the uncanny ability to connect with everyone exactly as they need. She gets the reticent 12-year-old to sing silly songs and discuss feelings on the way to hockey practice. She bakes French desserts and dances with the effusive 10-year-old. She sings the adoring 4-year-old to sleep and takes her on special coffee dates. Elise spends many hours talking to her host parents and extended family, sharing food, drink and discussing dreams, politics, culture and travel. The family followed the French election, Bastille Day and mourned the French loss in the World Cup. Elise has won our hearts; she may technically be an ‘au pair’, but to us she is simply and wonderfully, ‘family’.” 

—Nominated by the Buss family in Wyoming 


Giulia from Italy 

“Giulia seamlessly weaves in Italian words and made-up songs with the children and often I feel that they speak a completely different language that only they know, and I am interrupting the magic that happens when souls are reunited. It is as though Giulia was always part of our family and we just discovered her after a long time away. She is such a wonderful human being that it will be hard to let go of her presence and energy at the end of our time together. After 7 different au pairs from 7 different countries, I am always surprised at our capacities as host families to continue to expand our hearts to love another au pair for another year, knowing that we will have to part ways. I am so glad that we returned to the program when we did, and that Giulia was on the other side waiting for a family like ours.” 

—Nominated by the Rao family in Texas 


Lukas from Germany

“Within minutes of meeting Lukas, our 6-year-old daughter started holding his hand. In less than a week our 3.5-year-old son was saying ‘I love you, Lukas’ while getting help putting on his shoes. Lukas is a phenomenal au pair, amazing role model, and wonderful person who has felt like a member of our family from the beginning. He cares deeply about our children—their ideas, development, and feelings. His ability to communicate, motivate, and engage them is inspiring. He always has a new adventure planned or game up his sleeve that they love (and ends with everyone ready for school!). He is unflappable and his patience unparalleled, soaking up all the sick day snuggles and preschooler meltdowns unphased. When our son asked Lukas to be Elsa with him on Halloween, he didn’t hesitate and shortly thereafter we came home to three Elsas (Lukas and both children in costume) in the kitchen getting dinner ready.” 

—Nominated by the Handley family in Pennsylvania 


Marcella from Brazil

“Both kids were instantly enamored by Marcella, and their connections have grown deep and strong over the last 11 months. Her loving nature has had a wonderfully positive impact on our children, who now show each other more love and respect than ever before. Marcella is amazingly energetic and works hard to think of activities for our children, whether it’s going for walks, to the library or music class, to the park, painting, or just playing at home. She has taught our children to speak Portuguese, and she has introduced our family to many different Brazilian foods and customs. Outside of her time with our children, Marcella remains active in a nongovernmental organization she helped establish in Brazil, which provides food and supplies to homeless individuals living in her hometown. Even though she is thousands of miles away, she spends countless hours each week planning and organizing events to help those in need. This is just one of many examples of Marcella’s compassionate and loving nature. 

— Nominated by the Kurlan family in California 


Maria from Austria

Maria is a best friend to our children and a little sister and extremely close friend to both host parents. She immediately felt part of our family when she accepted unsolicited kisses on the lips from our oldest toddler the day she arrived to our family. Maria has shared her Austrian culture with our family with numerous traditions such as surprising our boys with chocolate, nuts, and fruit on St. Nicholas Day to giving our boys’ Schultüte (special homemade, decorated ‘school cones’) on their first day of school with special treats and gifts in them to get them excited for their very first day of school. She not only makes our world better as a family unit, but she literally makes the world a better place for being in it. During her stay, Maria has volunteered at a local nonprofit music venue. She serves as an amazing role model to our children through her patience, kind words, and actions in our home and community.” 

—Nominated by the Gittens family in Michigan 


Siviwe from South Africa

“Sivi is everything you hope an au pair to be. She’s responsible, caring, calm and loving. She’s always willing to help and her love and affection for Madison is genuine. Sivi is thoughtful, attentive and kind…not only does Madison thrive around her but we do too knowing that Madison is in such great hands! Madison is equally drawn to Sivi—lighting up when she sees her and missing her when they aren’t together. It’s a treat to know how much of an impact Sivi has made on Madison’s life. From nurturing Madison’s curiosity to initiating fun teachable moments, Sivi finds ways to entertain yet educate Madison for hours on end. We have loved all the time we spent together—regular nights around the dinner table, special occasions with our extended families, seasonal events, vacations and so much more! We only hope that she cherished them as much as we did.” 

—Nominated by the Nass family in New Jersey 


Sohari from Colombia

“As the year has progressed, Sohari has become an extension of our parental unit and a cornerstone member of Justice’s village. Each day, we see her making a lasting impact on Justice’s life. She has taught her how to ride a bike without training wheels, how to make her bed, and how to put her dishes away among many other things! She has taught her so many words in Spanish that she is fluent for her age, and she is currently teaching her to read in English! Justice is fascinated by her and looks up to her, and we see her fiercely loving Justice in return. Their bond is so special and we’re sure they will be in each other’s lives forever. We have gotten the joy of showing her so many different foods from our culture and sharing some traditions too. And we have gotten to share in Columbian Independence Day and ‘Day of the Little Candles’ which she celebrates back home.” 

—Nominated by the Brown family in South Carolina 


Vasty from Mexico

“If there is one word that encompasses Vasty, it is INCREDIBLE. She has become the missing piece of our puzzle over the last year. All the way from celebrating our customs and traditions (both American and Indian), she has immersed us in her heritage as well. Her favorite cultural celebrations with us include Diwali and Halloween, while our family was able to enjoy Dia de Los Muertos and Mexican New Year with her (just to name a few). We also have a weekly Taco Dinner Night that the kids adore, where we practice some Spanish words and talk about her family in Mexico. We also video chat with them regularly and love them dearly! Vasty has truly embraced our Southern culture, going line dancing and purchasing her very own cowboy boots to wear back in Mexico! The children love Vasty beyond measure, and the care and love she provides our littles is truly priceless.” 

— Nominated by the DenOuden family in Tennessee 


Weronika from Poland

“Weronika is an exceptional au pair whom I feel honored to nominate for the Au Pair of the Year Award. From the first time we connected and interviewed, I knew that there was something different about Weronika. We loved her positive energy and excitement to be part of our family. From the moment we met in person there was an instant connection between all of us. Our relationship is very open and honest. She came on a girls’ trip with my daughter (Hannah, age 6) and I to New York City for a long weekend. It was so pleasing to see both her and my daughter experience New York City for the first time together. While in New York City, we took Weronika to a Polish restaurant so she could experience home-cooked Polish food. We (Weronika did the talking) ordered so much Polish food to share; it was delicious and I’m glad we got to experience some authentic Polish food. We ended up at a Polish market in Brooklyn and stocked up on a lot of Polish food for Christmas Eve!” 

—Nominated by the LoCicero family in Pennsylvania 

Amparo from Argentina 

“Amparo is an absolute rock star. She joined our family in August 2022 and has been a nonstop source of joy, organization, and creativity. We instantly became family and fast friends the moment we welcomed her. With a background in education, Amparo will study human development at our local community college for her educational credit. It was important to her to select a course of study that would support her work both here as an au pair and in her career in Argentina. We feel so fortunate to have Amparo in our family and know that we will forever have her in our lives. She continues to have such a profound impact on all our lives, and we are thrilled that our kids’ days are filled with such love and generosity.” 

—Nominated by the Faughnan family in New York