January 20, 2020

Meet our 2020 Au Pair of the Year!

We're so proud to introduce Daniela from Brazil

4 minutes
Cultural exchange

Cultural Care Au Pair is thrilled to announce that we have an official winner for our prestigious 2020 Au Pair of the Year Award! Her name is Daniela Lisboa dos Santos, and she’s from Brazil! You can read all about Daniela in her family’s nomination essay, included below.

The Au Pair of the Year Award is our special way of recognizing au pairs from around the world that make an impact in the lives of their host families and communities. With hundreds of nominated au pairs, our task to narrow it down to a pool of 15 finalists was very difficult. We want to thank and congratulate every one of our finalists and nominated au pairs again—please know you are all winners in your own right.

This year, for the first time ever, our Au Pair of the Year Award winner was determined by people like you—members of our Cultural Care Au Pair community! We are so excited that our finalists received so much support and so many votes throughout the process, and we hope you feel as proud of our incredible au pairs as we do.

Congratulations again to Daniela—and to all our candidates this year! Continue reading to learn more about our 2020 Au Pair of the Year.

“Daniela has raised the bar for au pairs everywhere.  There are good au pairs, there are even some really great au pairs, and then there is Dani, a category all onto her own.

Dani joined our family with 3 children in March of 2018.  We have a bustling household like any other – children with limitless energy, making lots of noise and endlessly vying to be the one in the spotlight. It can be overwhelming to feel pulled in multiple directions by high-pitched needy voices throughout the day but not Dani, she saw the chaos as her mandate to control and calm and more than rose to the occasion.

Throughout the last two years, we have seen Dani concept and create an art project for every holiday known and unknown, don a lacrosse helmet and fearlessly try to block shots on goal from our 8 and 3-year-old son. Pack backyard or playground picnics to break up the summer monotony, leave positive quotes on our kitchen board to start a new day after one that may have had more than its fair share of temper tantrums. This is just a small sample of examples that demonstrate how Dani really relished her role and the impact is three kids who revere her as their own personal heroine.

What has also been incredibly inspiring and commendable to witness is how she has carried herself in her personal life to truly maximize her time and experience in the United States. She has courageously put herself out there – meeting people wherever she goes and setting up coffee dates or movie outings. Baking cookies for our church and seeking volunteer opportunities with the local senior community center. She even has gone running with my ladies’ group at 5:15am (yes 5:15 AM) and accomplished her first 5K on Thanksgiving!

While she came with the mission to improve her English she also wanted to take advantage of courses offered by our local university that would bolster her career as an IT project manager. Even though the credits wouldn’t count toward the program requirement, she spent her free time taking these intensive classes, with English/Portuguese dictionary in hand and putting in the work because she saw the end benefit of newfound knowledge far outweighing the effort.

Dani has become the nexus for Columbia, SC au pairs planning social gatherings and serving as an empathetic ear when their own homesickness or culture shock kicked in. She is the best friend and champion for our local Brazilian community and even the speed dial and inside source for the school moms. Everyone knows Dani. And therefore, everyone loves Dani.

As a mom, you can only dream of having childcare where your kids are with someone who extends the same maternal compassion and generosity of heart. Dani has shown an unwavering drive to do what’s right, lead from the heart and when the going gets tough, brush herself off, give a hug and try harder. She is a model of all that is right and beautiful with the au pair program.

In our hearts, Dani has become a Rowley and irreplaceable member of our family and cherished member of our Columbia, South Carolina community. It will be next to impossible to say goodbye but thanks to Dani we have so many wonderful memories and inspiring moments to keep us smiling.”

Think an au pair could be right for your family? Learn more about Cultural Care Au Pair.