In honor of JDay, AuPairCare organized events with au pair clusters all across the U.S. focused on volunteering. At these events, au pairs had the opportunity to meet their neighbors, reflect on the importance of cultural exchange and contribute to their local communities.
San Francisco, CA
In San Francisco, au pairs joined the Intrax team for a day of volunteering at the SF Marin Food Bank. Accompanying nearly 70 other J1 and program staff volunteers, the au pairs helped to re-package bulk items so they could be distributed to the over 225,000 individuals that count on the food bank support. The au pairs learned about food scarcity in the Bay Area and expressed an interest in returning to volunteer on a more regular basis.
Suffolk County, NY
In New York, au pairs got together to celebrate JDay and work on their 'Kindness Rocks Project'. The project idea was to paint stones with messages or images that would make a person smile. Each au pair painted three rocks with messages of love and inspiration and drew flags from their home country. After, they headed to public places such as beaches, parks, shopping malls, and left their special rock for someone else to find it. The au pairs thought this was a great way to spread positive energy across their community!
Maple Shade, NJ
Au Pairs from Greater New Jersey visited a local nursing home and spent the day with the residents. They really enjoyed making root beer floats to hand out and interacting with the residents. South African au pair Hazel shared her amazing experience:
'I really had a great time! My favorite part was serving the residents and seeing how happy they were with our visit. Listening their humorous stories really caught my attention, I got to learn about their lives and where they came from. For me, JDay is about spreading love, support and happiness, leaving a mark on people's lives through this exchange of culture and experiences. I cannot explain the joy I feel inside, just by giving a bit of my time to people who really needed it.'
In North Jersey, over 30 au pairs visited Imagine, a center that provides free, year-round grief support for children, families and communities. Imagine believes that grief is frequently "the elephant in the room", so as part of the volunteering event, the au pairs painted colorful elephants on the walls. They also made birthday and welcome cards for the children who are enrolled in the support program.
Outside of Newark, New Jersey, a group of au pairs celebrated JDay at the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges. The organization has been serving the community for 25 years and last year helped more than 27,000 people. The au pairs had a wonderful day assembling snack bags for children in need at their Area Director's home, and then travelled together to the Food Bank to distribute the 200 snack bags.
Another group of au pairs in Texas spent their JDay at a local food bank. They had a memorable time volunteering not only with other participants, but many also brought along their host kids. Marine from France shared:
"I feel so lucky and thankful to volunteer with one of my host kids. It was very interesting and everyone worked hard, even those as young as 7 and 8 years old. We had so much fun together! I learned a lot about food specifications and how to properly sort all the donated food."
Colombian au pair Lizeth added
'My host boys were so happy and proud to be helping other people. Thank you so much for the opportunity to volunteer together with my host kid. Also, to experience this culture of giving back to the community."