One of the many benefits of participating in cultural exchange programs is giving back to the new communities you find yourself in. Fifteen lucky au pairs were able to share Valentine’s Day kindness with those in need at the SECU Family House. Family House in Chapel Hill provides patients and their families safe and affordable housing while receiving life-saving treatments at the UNC Hospitals. Au pairs from Turkey, Germany, Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa, Brazil, France, Japan, and Denmark, came together to learn about the incredible cause and give to those in need.
Hospital fees can be daunting and make the healing process much more difficult for families. Family House helps to alleviate the extra burdens providing amenities such as cooked meals, entertainment, pet therapy, a stocked pantry, and even transportation to and from the hospital. The residents come from all over North Carolina, the United States, and countries across the globe.
The au pairs toured Family House and learned about the program, then passed out Valentine’s cookies and cards to the patients and caregivers. By sharing cookies and “cheer-up” cards with the residents, the au pairs were also able to engage and learn more about what these individuals are going through. They learned about the great impact Family House has on the lives of these caregivers and patients, while also providing a welcomed distraction to the hard times they face. They coincidentally met a patient that had been an au pair in England when she was their age. The au pairs loved hearing stories and discovering what au pair life was like 40 years ago. Colombian au pair Alejandra shared,
It was wonderful meeting someone who had been an au pair 40 years ago! We shared experiences, even the fact that she has used reusable diapers back then!
This amazing volunteer experience allowed the au pairs to spread some cheer to those experiencing some difficult times. German au pair Coco stated, “I really want to come back here and volunteer more often. I enjoyed meeting all these people and brightening their day”. Through their interactions with those at Family House, the au pairs were able to connect with others and give back to those in their community.