February 6, 2017

Our 10 finalists for the 2017 Au Pair of the Year Award

6 minutes
Au pair stories

We are beyond thrilled that over three hundred of our au pairs were nominated for our 2017 Au Pair of the Year award. Over the last few months, a team of Cultural Care staff has read each nomination one by one, and to say there isn’t a dry eye in the house during this time would be an understatement. It is truly an honor to learn how young caregivers from around the world can so positively impact families’ lives, and, in turn, change and mature themselves. It was difficult to choose just ten winners, but in the end, the stories of the au pairs below were ones we thought most remarkable. Congratulations to our 10 au pair finalists! Below you will find excerpts from the nominations submitted by their host families.

DEU10167034 APOTY 5

Badea, au pair from Germany, with her host kids and host dog

Badea Bossert, Cultural Care au pair from Germany
The largest impact that Badea has had on our family, we are experiencing at this very moment. I am currently deployed overseas with the Air National Guard, flying missions supporting military conflict operations. I have been more worried about this deployment than any of the others because our son has recently struggled with me being on the road so much. Badea responded by patiently providing an unwavering foundation of love, understanding, and structure in our son’s everyday life, and he quickly turned the corner!
—The Jucknies family in Georgia

FIN105151 APOTY 4

Emmi, au pair from Finland, with her host boys

Emmi Pusa, Cultural Care au pair from Finland
“It warmed our hearts to see how wonderfully Emmi and Sander got along after a few short days. Their relationship has only continued to grow over the past year, and Sander always tells people how we have five people in our family: Mommy, Isä, Sander, Sam, and Emmi! Sam also took to Emmi right away, and we are pretty sure he thinks that Emmi is his girlfriend, the way he bats his eyes, smiles, waves, and cuddles with her.”
—The Borell family in Virginia

COA116261 APOTY 7

Ivanna, au pair from Colombia, with her host family

Ivanna Carolina Rodriguez Obando, Cultural Care au pair from Colombia
“Prior to becoming a host family, in my mind I thought we would have the opportunity to set an example for a young lady and possibly mentor her. I laugh as I type this, because I never even considered the way this mature, young lady would change all of us. I can trust her with my family fully because she makes smart decisions in every aspect of her own life and always puts the needs of others before her own. At a minimum we needed childcare, but what we got was a role model who sincerely loves our children.”
—The Timberlake family in Virginia

AUT10317448 APOTY 6

Jeremias, au pair from Austria, with his host boys

Jeremias Pointner, Cultural Care au pair from Austria
“Jeremias has taught the boys lots of new games, tricks, and dances. He engages in hours of imaginary play, donning all sorts of costumes and building all sorts of forts with the boys in the process. He sings loudly and enthusiastically in the Mommy & Me music class. He plays catch and teaches Spencer basketball skills for hours. He is beyond excited and honored to teach our 2-year-old to ski this winter—researching techniques and equipment and talking to his brother, a ski coach.”
—The Shroff family in California

SWE128067 APOTY 8

Jesper, au pair from Sweden, with one of his host boys

Jesper Hoonk, Cultural Care au pair from Sweden
“In the spirit of cultural exchange, Jesper baked 200 Swedish cinnamon buns and gave a presentation about Sweden at the children’s school for International Day. He also made a hundred Swedish meatballs for the school’s staff appreciation luncheon. He has been exceptionally open-minded about our culture and our expectations for our children, accepting every criticism and correction ungrudgingly and always trying to do better the next time.”
—The Curry family in New York

DEU152406 APOTY 1

Julia, au pair from Germany, with her host children

Julia Brockmeyer, Cultural Care au pair from Germany
“When you joined our family, we told you that saying good-bye would be difficult. Our quote was ‘If we are all not crying, then we were the wrong host family for you.’ The crying definitely took place from all of us. The hard part was the kick in the gut watching you walk through security at the airport. Our daughter was gone. It still makes our eyes well up with tears to type these words. We love you so much and cannot wait for you to come home someday.”
—The Donehoo family in Illinois

ARG106859 APOTY 5

Maria, au pair from Argentina, with her host family

Maria Salome Toranzo, Cultural Care au pair from Argentina
“We are so grateful that ‘Salo’ shares her culture with us. She shares the big cultural traditions and the smaller day-to-day things that she does at home. The kids really feel they know what it is like ‘at Salo’s home in Argentina’. We love how she shares Spanish words and songs with the kids. She has shared their cooking including dinners, empanadas, cookies, and Dulce de Leche. We share the love of soccer while cheering for her club and both our countries soccer teams together.”
—The Atkins family in California

BRZ123924 APOTY 1

Paloma, au pair from Brazil, with one of her host boys

Paloma Ariane Lima, Cultural Care au pair from Brazil
“To share the words of those who spend the most time with Paloma, we asked our boys: ‘What do you love most about Paloma?’ In the words of Evan (3-years-old): ‘When she gives me kisses & hugs! She’s really nice, and I just love her.’ And our 5- year-old, Nathan said: ‘I love her because she’s really nice to me, and does nice things for me.’ We couldn’t be happier to have Paloma care for our boys; she has truly become a part of our family.”
—The Day family in Washington

FRA122141 APOTY 1

Sandy, au pair from France, with her host boys

Sandy Troquereau, Cultural Care au pair from France
“We travel a lot as a family and we take Sandy everywhere because she is part of our family. She knows all of our extended family from Hawaii to Connecticut and she blends right in, eating Hawaiian food, swimming with all the little cousins, holding the nieces and playing with the nephews and making coffee for grandpa. She is always ready for an adventure and such a great sport! During the summer, she was up for tent camping in the Pacific Northwest National Parks. Not an easy feat with two tiny kiddos!”
—The Reed family in Washington

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Valentijn, au pair from the Netherlands, with his host boys

Valentijn van Gilse, Cultural Care au pair from the Netherlands
Valentijn, himself, has practiced hip-hop dance for almost a decade and has even attended the hip-hop World Championships with his dance crew 5 times! He has brought his love of dance into many children’s lives by teaching them how to dance. A few weeks after his arrival he started to visit my son’s school once a week for an hour and a half. He goes to a few of the preschool and kindergarten classes teaching them a hip-hop routine to the popular Taylor Swift song ‘Shake It Off’.”
—The Deroberts family in Connecticut
We would like to say “Thank you” to all host families who nominated their families and “Congratulations” to all au pairs who were nominated for this honor!