It was a chilly day in the city of Preston, Washington, when a group of international au pairs came together to warm the hearts of their new community. They arrived to their local Area Director Ashley’s home for brunch to fuel a morning of volunteering their time for the Eastside Baby Corner. The group of 17 au pairs hailing from Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico, Poland, France, Thailand, Colombia, Brazil, Belgium and South Africa got to know each other during their brunch, as many had newly arrived to the Seattle area.
With the sun shining bright, over 2,500 local residents in California’s North Bay Area took full advantage of the hot weather and enjoyed Marin’s annual Hayday event. The old-fashioned county fair is held in a local pasture, and the funds raised support the Belvedere-Tiburon Library’s children and teen programs and services. A little heat didn’t discourage a group of au pairs from joining in the festivities, meeting local residents and volunteering at a number of stations during the event.
Belton, Texas, au pair Scarlett Palomoone recently volunteered at a local high school to assist students in their Spanish lll class. Scarlett is from El Salvador and since the class was beginning a project on Central America they were excited about the the opportunity to learn about her country first-hand. The students asked Scarlett a variety of questions about her home country including what type of music was considered "traditional", if uniforms were required at school, and even a few questions about the politics of El Salvador.
Summer Work Travel (SWT) participants from South America recently had the opportunity to learn about flora, fauna, history and the environmental impact humans make on California's Lake Tahoe at a presentation by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, commonly known as “Keep Tahoe Blue”.
15 SWT participants from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina who have been working in North Lake Tahoe for the winter attended an information session hosted by InterExchange, The Ritz-Carlton-Lake Tahoe and the League to Save Lake Tahoe.
On a cold and windy November day, eight au pairs from five different countries joined forces to raise more than $700 for an Autism Speaks walk in Pennsylvania.
The au pairs, who are part of two different clusters in the Philadelphia area, held three fundraisers before the day of the event and surpassed their goal of $500 by $200. And even though the actual day of the walk was cold, the hearts of the au pairs were warm.
The following are some of the thoughts they shared after the event:
Many participants of the J-1 Trainee program embrace the opportunity of taking their exchange experience a step further by getting involved in community service and the volunteer movement in the United States.
Participating in an American tradition, 15 Pennsylvania au pairs recently packed 50 Operation Christmas Child boxes filled with donations from their friends, their host families and themselves for children in need around the world.
One of the AuPairCare au pairs, Mieka from South Africa, talked about how receiving the packages would spread compassion to those less fortunate:
The annual Coastal Clean-up is a major volunteer event to clean up the world’s shores and waterways. Last year 320 tons of trash and recyclables were collected just in California alone! Each year on the 3rd Saturday in September, volunteers around the world gather to pick up litter and debris that has collected on the local shorelines. It’s not only good for the environment; it’s good for the community too.
Sushania is a three-time CCI Greenheart J-1 Summer Work Travel participant from Jamaica. This year, Sushania is working at Federal Jacks Restaurant and Brewpub in Kennebunkport, Maine. She is also the recipient of the CCI Greenheart Ambassador Scholarship that rewards active volunteer service during the Summer Work Travel program with a full reimbursement of the program fee upon completion of scholarship requirements.
Many volunteers at the Spring Hill RECenter in McLean, Virginia hail from other countries, like Marie Duval, a French au pair with Au Pair in America.
While her host family’s children were in school, Marie spent her free time assisting with day-to-day operations at Spring Hill. This included anything from keeping the fitness room machines clean to helping with landscaping around the grounds.
As the end of Marie’s au pair year approached, a Spring Hill staff member reflected: