For the past seven years, AuPairCare Area Director Kim Gamelli has worked with her local au pairs and host families to donate Build-a-Bear bears to the Center for Family Services (CFFS) in New Jersey. The CFFS is located in the same community where the host families and au pairs live, allowing au pairs to leave a lasting, positive impact on their temporary new home.
The bears are made by the au pairs and families and then donated to the Center to pass on to children in need. Bears may not be food or shelter, but for a small child, the bear provides security and something to hold at night when scared or lonely. This year’s event provided 25 furry, lovable animals to the Center. Au pairs from Germany, the UK, Brazil, Japan and Colombia all came to the event with generous and open hearts.
One au pair decided to make two bears, saying “I want to make more than one child happy.” A host mom who added extra hats and accessories to her bears commented, “I just want to make the bears like I would make them if they were for my own children.” For au pair Nana from Japan, the event reminded her of the generosity of her Grandfather back in her home country. She commented, “The Build-A-Bear event was a pleasant and precious experience for me. I made a pretty bear for a girl, wondering who is going to get it. My grandfather makes Japanese school backpacks for elementary school students. He gives them to poor children for free every year. I am proud of him, so this is a special event for me.” Au Pair Marie from Germany appreciated being able to demonstrate to her host children how to do things for those less fortunate. She commented, “I loved that we were able to bring our host children to this event so we could teach them what it means to give something to someone that might not get everything that we are used to in our everyday lives.”
Overall, AuPairCare’s lasting commitment to the CFFS demonstrates diverse cultures gathering together towards a common purpose to help those in need.