Au Pair in America is proud to announce our 2015 Au Pair of the Year winners. Here are their special stories. See last year's winners.
Au Pair of the Year
Mathilda Ljung – Sweden
"Mathilda is intelligent, kind, caring, thoughtful and calm under pressure. In short, she is an incredible Au Pair for our family, especially our 9-year-old twins, Sydney and Joshua....Mathilda knew that Sydney had Cerebral Palsy when she agreed to be our Au Pair. However, at that time we believed the day-to-day impact to Mathilda to be small as Sydney was thriving in a typical-kid environment. Between accepting our family's offer to be an Au Pair and starting with our family a lot changed. Sydney began an extremely restrictive diet, and also started to fall behind academically – it was a stressful situation and we had no idea how our new Au Pair would meet these new challenges. Mathilda has been a champion – she helps to manage Sydney's diet better than anyone in the family, and even comes up with fun low-carb recipes for Sydney like chocolate coconut balls and brownies! She has also been a tremendous resource academically, patiently working with Sydney to help her learn at a more realistic pace given some of her setbacks. Sydney also responds well to physical therapy and Mathilda has been an expert in 'lefty games,' encouraging Sydney to work more effectively with her left side. Essentially, Mathilda entered a situation that could have been stressful and challenging and instead she became a resource to keep our household manageable and fun at the same time."
Brighit Lopez Vega – Peru
"Brighit loves our children like they are her own. Even when she is off duty, she has been caught snuggling with our baby or playing with our eldest. She buys them things with her own money. I have asked Brighit to speak Spanish to our kids so that they can learn her language. When my baby (now 19 months) first started talking, he spoke more words in Spanish than English. My oldest boy just recently turned four and when someone asked him how old he was, he held up four fingers and counted, "uno, dos, tres, cuatro!" My older boy has delayed speech and he has blossomed under Brighit's care. She patiently helps him with his speech therapy homework and helps him articulate his words. Without being asked, Brighit created her own multi sensory lessons to facilitate his learning."
Janine Rhecker – Germany
"Before Janine's arrival I had shared that our children can be difficult, specifically our older son who tended to be an anxious and slightly hyperactive child. I am happy to report that on a recent visit to his doctor, the doctor said he sees major improvements. His teacher said his classroom behavior is now very focused. He is for the first time participating in team sports and working at grade level or above in all subjects. In short, he is a much happier and more confident child. The teacher mentioned, "He talks about Janine all the time. He really likes her." And when the kids do something that would upset 99% of 19 year olds (and most adults too), Janine doesn't get upset. She hugs them, tells them she loves them and helps to teach them the right way. There is no value you can put on that. Unconditional love!!! In short, Janine is mature, talented and capable beyond her years in all ways. We cannot imagine that there is a better au pair anywhere in America! "
The information below explains the process that was used to select the winners of the 2015 Au Pair of the Year contest. We believe the contest was a wonderful way for host families to show their appreciation for their au pair's achievements and the ways in which she has touched their family. We'd like to thank all our host families for their submissions.
- Each host family that entered the contest submitted an essay of 500 to 850 words that described the characteristics that make their au pair exceptional, noted the positive impact she has had on their family, and explained how she has integrated into their local community and learned about America.
- To be eligible, the au pair being nominated must have been an au pair in 2015.
- APIA asked the Community Counselors to submit a reference on behalf of all entries under consideration. The reference included details of the au pair's participation in the educational component, cluster meetings and activities, and the special ways the au pair embraced her experience in America.
The Au Pair of the Year received:
- 2 round trip tickets to reconnect with her host family in the U.S!
- Entry into the International Au Pair Association's Au Pair of the Year contest!
- Recognition on the Au Pair in America website!
Two runners up received:
- 1 round trip ticket to reconnect with their host family in the U.S!
- Recognition on the Au Pair in America website!
All nominees received:
- A certificate from Au Pair in America and a copy of the host family's nomination letter!
- Host family essays and Community Counselor references were judged by a committee appointed by Au Pair in America.
- All contest entries are property of Au Pair in America, including rights to edit and publish the material.
- Travel arrangements require 60 days notice and are subject to availability at the time of booking. Travel will be booked to the nearest major airport. Maximum value of $1500 per ticket.
- By submitting a nomination, the host family agreed to the Au Pair of the Year Contest Official Rules.
Click here for the official contest rules.
Each year the International Au Pair Association (www.iapa.org) awards one exceptional au pair with the title "Au Pair of the Year." The
Au Pair in America's winning Au Pair of the Year will be entered into IAPA's international contest. Submissions are judged by a selection panel appointed by IAPA, and three au pair finalists are selected. Each finalist must write a short essay detailing her/his au pair experience. Au pair essays are evaluated by the panel and a winner is chosen. The winning au pair will be notified by IAPA. All contest entries will become property of the International Au Pair Association
The winning au pair will be required to attend IAPA's Annual Conference in March (all expenses paid by IAPA) where she will be presented the "Au Pair of the Year" award.