When one decides to be an au pair, it is not only a one-year experience; it is experience that can change your life, and an experience that will make the world a smaller, more enriching place. It is an experience that you carry for a very long time.
As an Area Director and a past au pair participant, I stay connected with my au pairs all the time. I came to realize that many of them are back where they started this journey, now with their own families and careers. That realization made me start a local APC Alumni Program in Portland with about 10 members and growing. We meet several times per year and continue to participate in events across our community with along with au pairs who are currently in their program year.
Our latest au pair event was a "giving back" day where au pairs and au pair alums partnered up with the local chapter of Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver nutritious meals to the homes of our elderly community members. Not only do volunteers provide meals, volunteers provide Love Letters that are placed in dinner boxes. For many seniors, a friendly visit or note is just as important as a nutritious, accessible meal.
As volunteers, our goal was to brighten someone's day with words of love, encouragement, and hope.
Eight ladies from France, Slovakia, Thailand, Germany, Serbia, Macedonia, and myself - a former au pair from Croatia - gathered and volunteered our time and supplies to write personal, meaningful cards for our elderly community members. 75 beautiful cards were delivered just in time for a big holiday. This project inspired us to continue to do things for others in our community. Following this event, we met again and wrote an additional 80 Love Letters. It was great for the au pair community to make an impact on someone's life, but to also realize that giving back comes in many different forms. Smiles and a nice word can go a long way!
- Area Director Tanja