International au pairs weave themselves into their new community
It was a chilly day in the city of Preston, Washington, when a group of international au pairs came together to warm the hearts of their new community. They arrived to their local Area Director Ashley’s home for brunch to fuel a morning of volunteering their time for the Eastside Baby Corner. The group of 17 au pairs hailing from Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico, Poland, France, Thailand, Colombia, Brazil, Belgium and South Africa got to know each other during their brunch, as many had newly arrived to the Seattle area. After eating, the au pairs learned about the ongoing need in their local community for blankets during the cold winter months for families and children. The au pairs would be making blankets to donate to the Eastside Baby Corner, a non-profit which collects and distributes new and used items to an average of 500 children in need each week. The au pairs picked out bright colors they knew the kids would love and began working on their fleece knotted blankets. Although the blankets were simple, they knew it was going to make a huge difference to the families, and each group made it a point to add their own personal touch. While working on the blankets, the group continued to share their own backgrounds and found out that one au pair was actually a fashion designer and seamstress. She showed pictures of her work, including elaborate Halloween costumes she had made for host children and herself, and helped guide the design of the blankets.
Karla of Mexico shared:
"It was great meeting people from all over the world and connecting with people in my area while helping our new host country communities."
Au pair Ampika of Thailand said:
“It’s interesting how hidden poverty is in the US, and that even in our community, there are some who are struggling to meet basic needs.”
Once the blankets were completed the au pairs were treated to a hike around their Area Director’s property, which included a tree house and a zip line. The au pairs loved getting some time outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, and their Area Director shared:
“They really had a great time and loved working on a project that benefited their new community. Having the event at my home brought in an extra element of intimacy and really embraced the cultural exchange aspect of the program.”
After receiving the blankets, the Eastside Baby Corner shared:
“We were thrilled to receive these hand-made tie blankets donated to us by the local AuPairCare group! These blankets will help keep kids very warm on these chilly nights and we appreciate their generosity!