Maria Guadalupe Arenas Prado
Au Pair in America is proud to announce our 2016 Au Pair of the Year winners. Here are their special stories. See last year's winners.
2016 Au Pair of the Year – First Place Winner
Maria Guadalupe Arenas Prado (AKA: Lupita!) – Mexico
"Lupita is truly the most incredible Au pair a family could ask for…and after 8 Au pairs, from 7 different countries on 3 different continents, with 6 different native languages, I think we know a little something about what makes a good—and great Au pair. We have had female Au pairs, and male ones; we have had girls straight out of high school as well as some that came to us after college, and others through rematch. Most of our experiences have been wonderful and the others, well, we definitely learned from those as well. However, you do not have to be an expert to know that Lupita is a smart, dedicated, loving, funny, inquisitive, generous person, that any family would be lucky to call one of their own.
My husband Barry and I live in Virginia with our two sons Quincy (8) and Riley (6), and our 4 year-old daughter Harper. Lupita joined us in January after just a short time with another family. The reason she wanted to leave the other family: they didn’t give her enough work! I assured her that our family would keep her on her toes and joked that she should be careful what she wished for. Our family has definitely kept her busy, but she has never once complained, slacked-off or even sighed. Her bright spirit (even during the craziest days) reminds me how fun these kids can be and her example has made me a better mother."
Second Place Winner
Ramona Urban– Poland
"One would be hard pressed to find an au pair more deserving of au pair of the year than Ramona Urban. To say she has been a pillar of strength and support during this past year would be a tremendous understatement. Not only was she our trustworthy, kind, motivated partner in all things related to the kids, she did it against a backdrop of a bar mitzvah, a move, new jobs, two graduations, two new schools, a seemingly endless round of rotating visits and entertainment from family and friends, and a year in which both my husband and I were diagnosed and treated for cancer. Through all of this she maintained steady and strong for our entire family, especially for the kids."
Third Place Winner
Luisa Cantillo– Colombia
"We have wholeheartedly welcomed amazing AuPairs in our home for approximately four years, and this is the first time I have felt strongly compelled to nominate our AuPair Luisa Cantillo to be the AuPair of the Year. We live in Louisiana, and we lost our home and most of our possessions in the Great Flood of 2016. It was in no uncertain terms the most frightening and devastating event that our family has experienced. We were actually rescued from our home first by boat and then by Blackhawk helicopter. We were present in the house when the river rushed in, and in approximately two hours over two feet filled the downstairs. My two young children ages four and six as well as my paralyzed disabled father as well as our beloved thirteen year old Golden Retrievers were all present in the house when this occurred. Luisa calmly and coolly helped me usher everyone upstairs, and in ankle deep water helped me move what I could to the counters. She helped organized games and songs to pass the time upstairs while we were watching the destruction in numb shock and shielded the children."
The information below explains the process that was used to select the winners of the 2016 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 2016.
- 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 – First Place Winner 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!
Second Place and Third Place Winners 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.