February 6, 2017

Our 10 finalists for the 2017 Host Family of the Year Award

6 minutes
Au pair stories

We received a record number of nominations this year for the Host Family of the Year award, and we enjoyed reading every single essay thoughtfully submitted by our au pairs. Although every story was different, many au pairs mentioned that it was all of the small things host families did that added up to a great experience for them. It’s clear that being a great host family is as simple as investing time in getting to know au pairs—and their interests, family and friends—and welcoming them as an extended family member. All of our nominated host families deserve recognition, but we felt the following families were truly exceptional. You will hear more about each of these families on our blog in the coming months, and a final winner will be chosen in the next few weeks, so stay tuned! 

Amberg HFOTY

The Amberg family and their au pair Caitlin

The Amberg family in New Jersey
“Every day is a good day in the Amberg household. I have never felt excluded or out of place as both Matt and Candace have either invited me on family trips or just to go on family outings. To extend for a second year just fills my heart with immense joy as I am glad my host family adores me just as much as I adore each one of them. I have found a loving family and I have found a home in New Jersey.”
—Caitlin Amy de Backer, Cultural Care au pair from South Africa

Cruse USX232578

The Cruse family and their au pair Carla

The Cruse family in Texas
“When you’re meant to spend a year with three people you’ve never met before, it’s not the grand gestures that make the experience amazing, but the little things. It’s every Monday when Ryan and I watch our favorite TV show. And every dinner we share together, most of them entertained by Julia’s insane stories about where she’s currently working. It’s every smile Linden grants me when she’s swinging, begging me to push her just a little bit higher. Because a year ago I would have never thought possible that a two year old would become my greatest friend and closest confidant.”
—Carla Fabiola De Alba Navarro, Cultural Care au pair from Mexico

Czetwertynski HFOTY

The Czetwertynski family with their au pair Paulina

The Czetwertynski family in Virginia
“I came to the U.S. in January 2016, and I remember big banners with words ‘Welcome Paulina’ in Polish and English. My host family made me feel welcomed. For me, a “perfect match” is the ability to support one another, be understanding and learning every day to work together as a team. My host family passed this test with an A+. After one year we are all the greatest team. We are family. As lyrics of one of my favorite songs go ‘We may not be perfect but we’re perfect together’!”
—Paulina Pilarska, Cultural Care au pair from Poland

Kindrick HFOTY

The Kindrick family with their au pair Claudia

The Kindrick family in Oregon
“My birthday was unforgettable and memorable. I did not use to celebrate my birthday so much. Nevertheless, my host mom made me a delicious breakfast and with my host kids put decorations in the windows and the table. Also, my host dad cooked a delicious dinner and I could invite my friends. Also, they gave me a lot of gifts, and the most wonderful and incredible thing about the gifts was that I realized THEY KNEW ME. They listened about the things that I like and they learned about my personality.”
—Claudia Milena Ramirez Montenegro, Cultural Care au pair from Colombia

Marroquin HFOTY

The Marroquin family with their au pair Danielly

The Marroquin family in Texas
“My host family has always treated me the best way possible. A perfect example happened on Thanksgiving. During dinner, the grandma was introducing me to the other people at dinner that didn’t know me yet with the following words: ‘This is Danielly for those who don’t know yet. She is our family member from Brazil.’ Those words, the way she introduced me, made me definitely feel like a member of the family. Also on Christmas when my host dad said: ‘You were our blessing this year (2016)’. I truly felt loved.”
—Danielly Cristine Oliveira da Silva, Cultural Care au pair from Brazil

Naughton HFOTY

The Naughton family with their au pair Kate

The Naughton family in New Jersey
“Margie and Denis always invite me on family trips and even encourage me to invite my friends along. They are always there no matter what and treat my own friends and family back in Ireland as their family. Recently I got a stomach bug and they checked in on me regularly and took care of me like my own parents would. I always feel like I am at home in their house.”
—Kate Geraghty, Cultural Care au pair from Ireland

Owens-Dupree HFOTY

The Owens-Dupree family with their au pair Andressa

The Owens-Dupree family in Georgia
“In my first week here my host family took me to a Brazilian store and asked me to buy everything that I loved and that they should try, and we bought supplies to make it at home as well. We had Brazilian food for 3 or 4 nights. Patrick spent hours cooking 4 different dishes and trying to make me feel welcome and at home. We do many things together—go to the movies, concerts, amusement parks, hiking and all sorts of fun stuff.”
—Andressa Pacheco Ribeiro, Cultural Care au pair from Brazil


The Pratt family with their au pair Linda

The Pratt family in Connecticut
“This has been a year full of adventures and laughs. Every moment I have spent with my host family has been unique and unforgettable for me. Water rafting, paintball, indoor climbing, corn maze, apple picking and pumping carving are some of the activities that I did for the first time in my life with my host family. I must say that this is really my second home, where I know that I will be always welcome.”
—Linda Yañez Trevino, Cultural Care au pair from Mexico

Rogers HFOTY

The Rogers kiddos with their au pair Elisabeth

The Rogers family in Colorado
“One of the au pair meetings this year was an au pair and host mom lunch. We went to Brio and we had a great lunch. My LCC had a quiz for the host moms and au pairs, and how great was it that after almost 2 months we knew each other so well that we had the most right answers and we won the quiz!”
—Elisabeth Kippers, Cultural Care au pair from the Netherlands

Stickle HFOTY

The Stickle family with their au pair Kelsey

The Stickle family in Maryland
“From the moment I stepped off the bus, I knew. I knew that this would not just be a job, I knew that I was home and that these wonderful people were truly my family. They were kind and gracious and funny and quirky and perfect. They were honest and real and slipped me into their life as easily as if I were a card missing from their deck.”
—Kelsey Bonnet, Cultural Care au pair from South Africa
We would like to say “Thank you” to all au pairs who nominated their families and “Congratulations” to all families who were nominated for this honor!