2024 Au Pair of the Year

🥉Caroline from Peru

Caroline, “Carito” to us, is not just a caregiver; she is an integral part of our family, embodying qualities that make her stand out as Au Pair of the Year.

Her dedication to our children’s well-being and holistic development creates an environment where curiosity, cultural understanding, and personal growth flourish.

Carito’s impact cannot be overstated. She is flexible and approaches her duties with seriousness and grace, especially considering our family’s dynamic lifestyle as small business owners, and as a ranching and farming family. Caroline seamlessly integrates into our activities and assists during the busy and unpredictable harvest season. She loves animals and her willingness to try new things and go with the flow demonstrate that how engaged she is as a member of our family.

One of Carito’s exceptional qualities is her proactive approach to our children’s needs. She goes above and beyond the typical responsibilities, going the extra mile by researching and seeking information on her own if the kids are facing challenges or difficulties. This initiative showcases her commitment to understanding and addressing their individual needs, and fostering an environment where they can thrive emotionally and intellectually.

Carito’s honesty and openness set the tone for a household where serious, deep discussions about meaningful topics are encouraged. Whether it’s sharing her experiences growing up in Peru, discussing the political climate there, or talking about the challenges of living abroad and planning her future, she engages our children in conversations that broaden their perspectives. Her ability to discuss complex subjects with patience and clarity helps our kids develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Carito has exposed our children to her Peruvian culture including through food, games, celebrations, books, storytelling, and some really impressive crafts! We’ve experienced the joy of sharing our home and culture with her, including the all the usual American celebrations like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays, and those specific to our family like the Japanese-American holiday Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day) or eating Volga German food. She’s experienced our county fair, and many other “Midwest” things, like casseroles and potlucks.

Her patience and love are boundless, making her not just a caregiver but a true family member. The genuine affection she shares with our two children, 4 and 6, is reciprocated, and has created an inseverable bond. She celebrates their milestones with them (riding a bike and learning to swim!) and attends their soccer games on her off days. Carito has taught them Spanish (their pronunciation is excellent) but also essential life skills like cooking, good manners, how to be a good human, and the importance of staying curious and to never stop learning. She leads not only through words but more importantly through example. Her commitment to personal growth is evident in her pursuits. From rising quickly in her Tae Kwon Do classes (winning a tournament and even skipping a belt because of her dedication), to teaching herself Italian and learning how to ride a horse, Carito showcases her dedication and fearlessness in exploring new challenges. This resilience and enthusiasm for learning become contagious, inspiring our children to approach life with the same curiosity and determination.

Her impact reaches into our community, where Carito actively involves herself by sharing her Peruvian culture at local library events and exposes our community to her lived experiences (and food!). She is fearless in exploration of not only our local area but many other US States and is an ambassador for cultural exchange and understanding.

It’s hard to choose, but one of my favorite memories with Carito is from New Year’s Eve 2022. She introduced our children to a Peruvian tradition, taking suitcases and walking the neighborhood at midnight for those who wish to travel in the new year. The kids experienced it during the day, and then it became a cultural experience and bonding moment for us at midnight, as we rolled suitcases around the block in freezing weather, singing and dancing to merengue music. It’s these unique and enriching experiences that make Carito an extraordinary member of our family.

As we look forward to a family vacation in January, Carito’s eagerness to learn to ski reflects her adventurous spirit. It’s this enthusiasm, coupled with her unwavering support and involvement in our family life, that makes Carito an outstanding au pair. She not only cares for our children but contributes significantly to their growth, creating a home filled with love, laughter, and endless opportunities for discovery. Carito’s impact is immeasurable, and we wholeheartedly nominate her for Au Pair of the Year.