Au Pairs and adopted kids

 December 5, 2011 is INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY.

Au Pairs  from Go Au Pair Philadelphia, Bucks & Montgomery Counties and parts of NJ cluster and I really enjoy volunteering. In the past we have volunteered a lot with an adoption organizations and are planning to volunteer with FRUA again.

The event will be a Holiday party for adopted kids on Sunday, February 12, 2012. It is a big hit every year and it truly a joyful time for everyone. We started our preparations and are looking forward to it. To make this party even more special Go Au Pair agency would love to offer the huge discount to adoptive families of $1000 during this event.

We love to volunteer  especially for adopted kids because an Au Pair program and the international adoption programs have a lot of common. They both bring the international scent into the family life as well as open minds and hearts to people around the world.

Volunteering is a great way to help the community around us. It also has many positive benefits for Au Pairs!

  • Gain Experience. Whatever an Au Pair wants to do in her life, there are volunteer opportunities that will allow her to begin gaining experience in that field and to add to your resume.
  • Become a part of the community. An Au Pair will meet a wide range of fellow volunteers and contribute to helping the community you now call home.
  • Meet a new people & make friends. An Au Pair will get to know American life through volunteering.
  • Learn things and develop new talents.Volunteering can help an Au Pair learn a variety of new skills, face new challenges.
  • Bring personal satisfaction. Volunteering with other Au Pairs makes an Au Pair happy and able to feel a reward for helping others.

But most importantly, we will meet kids we already know from previous projects who are waiting to see us and are asking their parents again and again, “when will we see the Au Pairs”.
Volunteering with friends, doing something you like, making many kids happy, it is always amazing!

A trip to Philly.

The time had come for me to get to know my other Au Pair friends, and what best way to do it than getting together in Philadelphia?!

My LAR from Go Au Pair (and owner of this blog) and I arrived at Suburban station and came face to face with the City Hall building.

The Kimmel Center for the performing arts was next, a very nice guide named Joe gave us a tour through the Verizon Hall-Home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, offering very interesting info on the architecture (bricks are Philli’s thing, they’re everywhere), history and background of the city in general.

As we walked toward the Reading Terminal Market us girls stopped by the Love Park and took turns posing by the Love sign. So much fun!

When we got there, it was packed. There were people everywhere you looked; it reminded me of a place in Sao Paulo called Mercado Municipal da Lapa.

I couldn’t visit the Liberty Bell, though. I’ll have to do that some other time.

After all, the journey has just begun.

Au Pair Journal from a journalist.

Announcement!

A new Au Pair Juliana from Brazil has joined us recently. Juliana is 22 years old, she is funny, lovely and sweet. She worked as a teacher in Brazil and now Juliana is an Au Pair from Go Au Pair agency. She lives with her lovely host family and sweet two kids in beautiful Bucks County, near Philadelphia.

Juliana is going to journal about her experience as an Au Pair, her new friends, the host family and American life as a Brazilian journalist.  She also will answer any questions you may have.

We are looking forward to reading about many future activities from our cluster such as a Holiday Party, a trip to Chinatown in center city, volunteering together with adopted kids from FRUA, a Brazilian festival and a costume contest, a cooking class of Brazilian Food, a trip to the Philadelphia Flowers Show, an International Dinner and many more.

This Journal  also would be wonderful virtual connection for several Au Pairs who left our cluster or about to leave the program and go home.

Good luck with your Journey and Journal, Juliana!

If you missed something, you can read all entries from Juliana’s  Au Pair Journal.  Stay tuned, many stories, pictures and movies are coming soon.

Go Au Pair -Number One Agency

Go Au Pair rated #1 agency for 2011 by Au Pair Clearinghouse. Go Au Pair came out on top this year as the best Au Pair agency!

This year’s survey conducted by the Au Pair Clearinghouse showed Go Au Pair having above average ratings with the majority being highly positive.

The quality of Au Pairs was rated at 100 percent positive. Customer service was rated highly in every area and Host Families expressed their satisfaction in the agency fee pricing. It seems to make sense since Go Au Pair’s goal is to provide its Host Families with convenient, dependable, flexible and affordable child care. Read more on the Go Au Pair blog

According to the Au Pair Clearinghouse   this year’s survey, three-quarters [75%] of host parents give highly-favorable ratings [“very good” – “excellent”] to goAuPair’s overall customer serviceAmong the consistently high customer service scores are positive evaluations of:

  • quality of au pairs [100% favorable],
  • time it took to match [75% favorable],
  • goAuPair counselors [75% top-ratings of excellent].
  • All areas of customer service are rated positively and no individual survey items are problematic.
  • agency fees – when evaluating agency fees, none of the host parents [0%] think agency fees are too expensive for what you get.

Go Au Pair is providing to Host Families affordable childcare more than 20 years from qualified Au Pairs. Au Pairs from our agency have been internationally recognized through IAPA award in 2009, 2005 and 2004.

This year three families from Philadelphia and NJ area nominated their Au Pairs for the “Au Pair of the Year Award 2011″

The following is a comment made by one of host mom from Go Au Pair Philadelphia cluster: “I am extremely impressed both with the service offered and with my au pair. Not only she is fantastic with my children, she is also lots of fun to have around. It feels as if she has always been part of our family”

This can be a life-changing experience for your family too!

Au Pairs volunteering for adoptive families again.

Recently ten Au Pairs from Go Au Pair agency and two host families volunteered at the PSBI picnic, in Bucks County, PA .Giving back to the community made us all feel good

We are going to volunteer again for adoptive families on July 16 at 10:30 A.M. at the FRUA picnic, at Limerick Community Park, Limerick, PA.

Why volunteering is so important? 

Volunteering is a great way to help the community around us. It also has many positive benefits for Au Pairs!

  • Gain Experience. Whatever an Au Pair wants to do in her life, there are volunteer opportunities that will allow her to begin gaining experience in that field and to add to your resume.
  • Become a part of the community. An Au Pair will meet a wide range of fellow volunteers and contribute to helping the community you now call home.
  • Meet a new people & make friends. An Au Pair will get to know American life through volunteering.
  • Learn things and develop new talents.Volunteering can help an Au Pair learn a variety of new skills, face new challenges.
  • Bring personal satisfaction. Volunteering with other Au Pairs makes an Au Pair happy and able to feel a reward for helping others.

If you think about volunteering in your free time, here the web site where you can find it http://www.volunteermatch.org/ You should enjoy your volunteer experience, so before you sign up for any position make sure that you fully understand the commitment. Remember your childcare duties always come first! Volunteer schedules can not conflict with your job as an Au Pair.

Small acts make a big difference!

Please join us at Limerick Community Park on July 16 at 10:30 am.

If I don’t like my au pair

From an Au Pair mom.

(Anna T., a host mother and an author of articles about hosting an au pair: How to hire an au pairHow to save money on an au pair programHow to welcome your new au pair.)

What happens if I don’t like my au pair when she arrives?

After doing your due diligence during the matching process, selecting your best match out of multitude of candidates, getting to know the au pair, and keeping in touch with her after the match and before her arrival, not liking the au pair upon her arrival to your family is not a likely scenario.

However, sometimes our expectations do not meet reality. She might not look like her pictures. First meeting might be awkward. She might be missing her family too much in the beginning, spend too much or not enough of her free time with your family, or your children might be slow to warm up to her.

Most of the time, being patient during the adjustment period pays off and things go smoothly from there. Most agencies ask host families and au pairs to stick it out for at least two to four weeks before considering breaking the match; sometimes adjustment takes time. Local area representatives of the au pair agency are there to assist both families and au pairs in starting their year together right, and helping resolve conflicts and providing support during the year.

But sometimes, there is no way to make it work. There might be a personality misfit or a difference in expectations that cannot be resolved. There is an option for both families and au pairs to rematch. A family or an au pair can break a match before the year is over. The agency assists both family and au pair (if she is deemed fit to continue as an au pair) in finding a new placement. Go Au Pair has the best satisfaction guarantee in the business; it doesn’t limit the number of rematches or the time during the year when a family can rematch with an au pair without paying a penalty.

My Au Pair year far away from China

Chinese Au Pairs are now very popular choice with American host families.   Go Au Pair  has currently placed 16% Chinese Au Pairs in the U.S. and 23% percent of our available Au Pairs are from China. I currently have four Au Pairs in my cluster from China.

Ying, one of  my cluster’s Au Pairs from China, has almost finished her first year with Go Au Pair agency and has decided stay with her host family for a second year. In this post Ying shares her experience of being an Au Pair in the USA.

“Au Pair  program is kind of exchange program as we know. But it’s more then what we think about.

I help my host family with childcare and they help me with learning English. I really appreciate for this experience to be with them. My host family is like my family in America.  From this program, I realize American culture, experience lifestyle, learn language, taste American food, love volunteering with friends and so on.

But  for many Au pairs, it may be not easy to get along with host family at the beginning. You know that every family has different situation. Since Au pairs are international nannies, they are from different countries with different cultures and lifestyles. An Au pair to be as a family member, what’s the most important thing is trying to understand and respect each other. It will be getting better and better from learning.

There is another important thing to my Au pair life is that I am very lucky to have a great host mom.  I really admire her and learn from her a lot. She is a single mom and adopts three children from Russia. It’s not easy to take care of three children at the same time especially for a single mom. To my surprise, she did and did very well. Girls are healthy, happy and loved. From her experience, I realize how great to be as a mother. How brave to take this adventure at beginning. How independent as a woman can be.

All in all, Au Pair program as exchange program is worth to go for experience and explore a country deeply.”

The best Au Pair in the world is my Au Pair from Russia.

Time flies so fast and I have noticed that Irina, an Au Pair from Russia, has almost finished her second year of an Au Pair program. Irina is a hardworking young lady, she has  many talents and has accomplished a lot during the Au Pair program.

 Go Au Pair  nominated Irina for the  “Au Pair in Excellence Award″.

 

Here is a part of Irina’s host family nomination essay:”

“So what does Irina do with three rambunctious little monsters….(a.k.a. the Moen boys) well, lots of things.  They go to museums – boys love the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum – and do projects at the Children’s Museum. They are at the pool or playground, or maybe getting together with friends and classmates for a playdate at Longwood Gardens. Always on the go.  What I love about Irina is her endless energy to excite and stimulate our children.  With many Russian books in our home, she is also endlessly pushing them to experience her native culture and language.

We can give you so many examples of what makes her the best!  Every day, it may be a photo e-mailed with the boys monkeying around, or freshly baked cookies that they all made together, or a drawing or another art project they all worked so hard on.

It is amazing how much heart Irina puts into her role (I can’t even call it her job – because she truly adores the boys and makes her time with them so meaningful and fulfilling for all).  Of course,   taking care of three boys can be a challenge but she just does not lose her cool, her caring voice never escalates and the boys absolutely love and respect their best friend.

The au pair program – if not taken for granted and done right – can be an amazing experience for the family and the au pair.  The enrichment is mutual.  It was so great to watch Irina and the boys’ reaction when we were walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon or when we spotted not one but three rainbows above us at the Walnut Creek Canyon.

Or even the trip to New York around Christmas to take a horse and carriage ride through Central Park. This program offers amazing opportunities for cultural exchange and teaches both young and old the importance of finding the common ground among different cultures.  Love, laughter and kindness really knows no boundaries and Irina is a terrific example of being an ambassador of all the richness and great traditions that Russian culture has to offer.

I can hardly think of a better way to celebrate Irina and her wonderful qualities than give her this much deserved recognition as the best au pair in the world. To us she sure is.


How can I choose an Au Pair without interviewing her in person?

From an Au Pair mom.

(Anna T., a host mother and an author of articles about hosting an au pair: How to hire an au pairHow to save money on an au pair programHow to welcome your new au pair.)

This was one of the questions I had when I was first considering hiring an au pair. Making a commitment to live with someone for a year and entrust my children to her, based on reading her application, emails and phone conversations seemed risky. After all, I was accustomed to interviewing prospective pediatricians for my children by personal appointment, visiting potential daycares, personally interviewing babysitters and nannies.
At the time I started hosting au pairs, internet video conferencing services such as Skype were not so widely available. We hired our first several au pairs after phone and email conversations only.
Nowadays, the lack of a true in-person interview is not such an obstacle, because using Skype or another video conferencing tool can serve as an adequate substitute for an in-person interview most of the time. Moreover, during Skype sessions you can “meet” au pair’s family, pets, see how she lives.
Another consideration is that even when interviewing a local caregiver in person, usually you have much less information about them than you do about an au pair. For examples, Go Au Pair agency does a great job of gathering and presenting information about au pair candidates to families. A typical au pair dossier consists of dozens of pages of references, questionnaires, interview reports, medical files, photos and a personal essay.
Many agencies have started adding videos to the application, where an au pair can do a video presentation of herself in addition to her application. If studied carefully, the application usually gives an accurate impression of the au pair’s background, personality and experience.
In my experience, most of the time, the impression conveyed by reading an au pair’s application was confirmed during subsequent interviews and, if we matched, during her stay with us.
For those families that still prefer an in-person interview, there is an option of hiring only in-country au pairs. There is a limited pool of au pair candidates that are in transition from other families or are extending their stay for 6, 9 or 12 months with another family. Depending on the family’s location, many of those candidates can be interviewed in-person.
When choosing a caregiver for your child, whether by an in-person interview or from overseas, it is important to carefully examine your family’s needs and make sure that the decision is made carefully and all the questions and doubts are resolved prior to hiring an au pair.

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