Local Coordinator Of the Month

August 2021

Dana Alshouse
Denver, CO

Halfway through college, I was ready to go on an adventure. With more time than money, I decided to get a job as an Au Pair in Norway. My Grandfather had immigrated to the US from Norway and I still had family there that I wanted to meet. I had a very positive experience living with my host family. Their beautiful house had been the family home since before WW2 and was located on an island off the coast, but still within a 30 minute bus ride to Bergen.  My first friend in Norway was a woman my age who was a cousin of my host family. I have wonderful memories of our time and travels together around Norway. Back then there wasn’t local support for Au Pairs, but I had been given a list of other Au Pairs in Norway and my host mother encouraged me to call someone from the list to meet for coffee in Bergen. I called the only other English speaker and that is how I met a woman from Australia who is still one of my favorite people in the world. In fact, right Before Covid, I had taken my husband and three kiddos to Australia to spend Christmas with her family. A year before our trip to Australia, I had taken my family back to Norway to visit the cousin’s family and three of the four boys I had Au Pair’d for 20+ years ago. Of course, they all towered over me and the age difference now didn’t seem so great. Since that year in Norway, I spent another year living in Australia and I’ve taken my young family on a handful of month-long trips to different countries. I highly recommend being an Au Pair as a way to get out into the world for the first time. 

It was the friendships that came out of my year in Norway that motivated me to be a Local Rep for Agent Au Pair. I enjoy the relationships with and between my Au Pairs. I can relate to so many of their feelings and I value the support we offer them. I grew up in Alaska and in the Seattle area. Currently, I live in Denver, Colorado, with my husband, our 12.5 year old twin daughters, and our six year old son. I’m in my second year of graduate school working towards a Masters in Instructional Design. I love to travel, read, spend time with friends and be in the mountains.

July 2021

Alaina Schaefer
Saint Paul, MN

My name is Alaina and I am originally from a small town in Wisconsin. I studied Communications at the University of Minnesota and spent time abroad in Italy and Thailand while in college. After college, I was an Au Pair for a summer near Milan, Italy. Coming back to the United States, I decided to stay in Minnesota to pursue a Master’s program in School Counseling. Currently, I live in Saint Paul and work at an elementary school while I study to become a School Counselor.

I was drawn to the position as a Local Rep simply because I missed working with people from around the world. It is very valuable for me to be able to connect with others who have different backgrounds than me. I also wanted to support both Au Pairs and families together because I had an understanding of what that communication was like when I was an Au Pair.   

In my spare time you’ll find me reading, trying out new coffee shops, eating ice cream, and taking walks around the many lakes in the Twin Cities. I also love going on trips and seeing new places, and am always looking to plan my next adventure. Attached are some pictures of me and some of my favorite adventures–hiking in Colorado and paragliding in the Swiss Mountains!

June 2021

Marisa Santos
Issaquah, WA

Since I was young, my dream was to travel around the world and meet new places, people, and cultures. So after I graduated as a Psychologist in Spain, I decided it was time to have a break and start traveling. I did travel around some countries in Europe but I wanted to learn more about America and I came here. I ended up in Seattle as an au pair. My 1.5 years as an au pair were fantastic. My host family was ideal, I made great friends, I traveled around the country, I learned English. I was so in love with the city and life I built then I stayed. Now I have a wonderful family here. I have. 2.5 years old son and a great husband from Venezuela. Our journey here it’s being a blessing and everything started when I decided to come here.

I think the fact that I am a former au pair but I am also a mother, makes me capable with the Local Rep role as I can understand both sides of the placement. I emphasize a lot with the au pairs and try to help them as much as I can with the first months homesickness. I also love to hear from them and their cultures because I always learn with them. Families are really helpful and I really appreciate how patient they are during the whole process. 

This position gave me the opportunity to learn from families and au pairs better. I love to work with all of them and it feels awesome every time someone tells me I do a good job and I helped them. 

May 2021

Ophelie Cohen
Portland, OR

I was born and raised in a small town in France. I studied tourism and was a tour guide and front desk at a wine museum. In 2016, I decided to become an Au Pair in the USA. I lived with the same family in California for 2 years and was taking care of twin boys. We are still in contact and see each other regularly , I’m so happy to have become their auntie now 🙂 During my years as an Au Pair, I met my now-husband and we moved to Portland, Oregon after living in Los Angeles for over a year. I am now a Preschool teacher and I love it!

I wanted to become a Local Representative as soon as I decided to stay in the US. I wanted to be able to help Au Pairs and Host families to have the best experience they could have, just like I did. I was so happy to be hired by Agent Au Pair in December 2019. The agency really cares about them and has the same goals as I have : create great matches and be there for them! Since I’ve been there I can truly relate to the Au Pairs experience and give them advice . My favorite part is getting to know all the cultures from my Au Pair group and help them get great memories and discover American culture. 

My hobbies are going on a hike, doing crafts, reading, dancing , and exploring new places.

April 2021

Rebecca Andvik
Mandan, ND

I spent most of my life in Wisconsin, and moved around a bit until I met my husband. We lived our first years in Florida, before moving to North Dakota, my husband’s home state. I enjoy spending time with our families and friends. We are aunt and uncle to 16 nieces and nephews, and love spending time with them all.  Some of my other favorite things are hiking, traveling, and running. One of my biggest moments of determination was completing a marathon, despite an injury causing me to compete in crutches. I also have a love of languages and education which led me to my position. I currently work as an elementary English Learner Specialist. 

I started with Agent Au Pair in November of 2019, and was excited for the opportunity to work with au pairs and the host families in the community. I love helping both parties communicate and grow together from their experiences. I look forward to our monthly meetings where we can come together as a group and share stories and memories that they are making. It is also great for me to be able to converse in Spanish and English, making the girls feel more at home. I cannot wait to grow in this position as I continue to build relationships with my current and future au pairs and their families.

March 2021

Cynthia Wingood
Frederick, MD

I am Cindi Wingood and I am a homeschooling mom to three girls.  We are a very outdoor, on the go family and all three of my girls dance, so we are always moving.  Our family loves to spend time together at church, hiking and camping and playing games. When I’m not teaching or driving the kids around, I run my own clothing business.  I love to sew and really enjoy sharing that with others.

 A little more than two years ago, I was looking for another way to bring in money for our family, without compromising on the time I spend with my kids.  A good friend told me about her work with Agent Au Pair, and I signed right up!  I have a masters degree in early childhood education, with a special education add on, and I have loved sharing my knowledge with the families and Au Pairs I have worked with in the last two years.  It has been fun to meet young women from all over the world and to learn along with them how different our cultures can be!  I also really enjoy sharing the American Culture with others-and living in Maryland so close to D.C. has made it even more fun with my Au Pairs!  I am looking forward to the day we can once again get together, and I can share the amazing history all around us with more Au Pairs from around the world.

February 2021

Deborah Goglia
Westchester, NY

I am very excited to work with Agent Au Pair and help au pairs and host families have a wonderful experience. I went from being an au pair to being a host mom and now a local representative. I never imagined that this program would take me this far. I came to the USA with the goal of improving my English as a second language. But the au pair experience gave me so much more than that. I gained a deeper understanding of both myself and other cultures. I feel like the world has expanded for me.

 I hold my Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Business Administration with a major in Sales and Trade Marketing. I used to work as a manager in a Language school in Brazil, my home country. I have more than 10 years of experience working with kids as a teacher and caregiver.  I was engaged as a volunteer in a non-profit organization and programs at my local church, guiding the children’s department and youth group. I recently received a certification as an independent Self Direction broker to help families and /or individuals with developmental disabilities to design and manage services through a plan/budget based on their needs and goals. I am a native Portuguese speaker with advanced Spanish skills. 

Today I live in northern Westchester, NY with my husband, my two kids, Antonio (5y) and Isabela (3y) and our au pair, Araxi. One of my favorite things to do is dancing with my kids. My new favorite hobby during this pandemic is hiking the local trails and nature preserves near my house. I don’t watch much tv but I do love series “This Is Us”. I am trying to be a vegetarian but it is so hard to replace the dairy products in the Brazilian desserts that sometimes I cannot resist. I love a challenge and I believe that every adversity leads to new opportunities and possibilities.

January 2021

Jennifer Seyfried
Austin, TX

My name is Jennifer Von Seyfried and I live in Austin, Texas with my 7 year old son. I was fortunate enough to join Agent Au Pair in October 2018 and have loved being a part of this community of au pairs and host families. I also work at the University of Texas, Austin in the Child Development Center as a preschool teacher. I have worked with children for almost 15 years now. 

I love working at Agent Au Pair because it combines several of my interests along with building meaningful connections to others. I get to utilize my passion for travel and appreciation of other cultures through my relationship with au pairs as well as my passion for education and child development through guiding families and au pairs as they navigate this unique form of childcare.

Some of my hobbies include indoor bouldering, art, baking and traveling. I also love to explore my own city with my son especially trying new restaurants and spending the summers visiting the various swimming holes and rivers.

June 2020

Amanda White
Encinitas, CA

I was born and raised in San Diego. After leaving for other parts of California for university and work, including two years as a nanny, I came back to live and work in early education, social services, and small business. My husband and I began hosting international high school and college students in our home ten years ago. We’ve hosted over two dozen. Some students stay for one week; others have stayed for four years. I enjoy showing off our city and learning and sharing different cultures. My position as a Local Rep fits perfectly with this, and I’ve been with Agent Au Pair since 2015. I like being a resource for Au Pairs and host families, seeing their lives change and grow, and helping them reach their goals. I admire the risks the students and Au Pairs take to come to a new country to work and study.

I enjoy spending time with my husband and dogs. We like to travel, go to concerts and entertain. Friends and family have been the recipients of many successful and failed creations I’ve cooked up in my kitchen. I enjoy reading and writing and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard almost every day. Sometimes it’s just a couple of sentences in my calendar, sometimes pages and pages on various subjects, for my husbands’ digital marketing clients. In my life, I’ve taken a few risks. The most significant and meaningful is the day I called my local radio station asking for help to find a British guy I happen to sit next to at a concert a few days earlier. It paid off, and the DJ found him and connected us. I like to think that I just wanted to show him around San Diego, knowing he had just moved to the city a couple of months earlier. In reality, if you believe in love at first sight, it must have been. We just celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.

May 2020

Brittany Motes
Portland, CT

I grew up in Western New York, and moved around a little before settling in Connecticut. I love to travel, adding new countries and places to my list whenever possible. I taught elementary school for over ten years in a variety of positions. I currently live in Central Connecticut with my husband, our two children, our Au Pair Sofia, our two cats, and our dog.  Some of my favorite non-shelter in place hobbies include swing dancing, visiting museums and aquariums with my children, and spending time with friends and family. My favorite shelter-in-place activities have included hiking on trails, crocheting, cooking and learning new dishes, and tending to my vegetable garden. 

I started with Agent Au Pair in 2018 and was drawn to the position because I was interested in connecting with Au Pairs and Host Families. I love being able to be a resource for Au Pairs navigating a new environment and I enjoy helping them find things to do in our area. My favorite part about the Au Pair program is that Au Pairs and Host Families have a chance to experience new cultures and learn about new traditions. As a Local Representative and now a Host Mom I get the best of both worlds! Our own Au Pair is sharing some amazing traditions from her home country of Argentina.

April 2020

Elisa “Sasa” Southard
Benicia, CA

Working with Agent Au Pair has enriched my life. Looking back to how I arrived gives me pause. Curiosity. Culture. Community. These lifelong interests emerged from growing up in a large, French Italian family in Brooklyn, New York. Dad was my inspiration. As a teen, he traveled from Quebec to New York. He passed on to me what it took to learn a new language and embrace a new city. He also set a tone of volunteerism. In my personal time, I love to volunteer, to learn languages, to share meals and to experience cultures. I recently received my Italian citizenship and EU passport.

As an adolescent, I had always dreamed of living in San Francisco. I completed college here and have lived in the Bay Area my entire adult life with my “Jersey boy” husband and our four-legged children. As a Certified Tour Director, prior to Agent au Pair, I served students. I led busloads of undergraduates on six-to-eight-day tours of our nation’s storied cities. We sang, snacked and absorbed history from Washington DC to New York in the east and San Francisco to San Diego in the west. Along the way, the maturity and creativity I witnessed each day deepened my desire to help young adults travel and immerse in culture.

Opportunity appeared. About a decade ago, a friend with Agent Au Pair relocated to the east coast. I jumped in, attracted by the chance to assist families and to assure au pairs that, as songwriter James Taylor sang, “You’ve got a friend.” As a Local Rep, what excites me most is the monthly meetings where we connect and I encourage the au pairs to achieve their goals, the dreams that drew them to America.

March 2020

Susanne Chabara
Tampa, FL
I am a global nomad, although I have been calling Tampa, FL, home for the past six years. My husband and I have lived and worked all over the world and we decided to move back to the US after our first son was born in Argentina. We continued to move in the US and had our second son in New Jersey and our third in Georgia. Then we got the travel bug again and relocated overseas for five years. All this time, I was teaching English as a second language and loved meeting and helping people from all over the world. 
 
I got my Master’s in Education from the University of Tampa and, after teaching there, realized that my students needed more than a teacher. I opened my own company and have been helping people relocating to the Tampa Bay area since. I joined Agent AuPair in January 2019 and was very excited to help both the Aupairs and the local families. It’s been an incredible experience and I am happy to see the program grow so quickly. My host families are wonderful, compassionate and resourceful, with adorable children. My Aupairs are strong and smart women and I look forward to our monthly meetings to catch up on all their new experiences and see their personal growth. 
 
I love spending time with my boys, meeting new people and I love my work. I enjoy being outdoors and having a great time; whether at an event or in a kayak. Great food, great books and new adventures are always a treat I can’t resist. If you come to Tampa – we are only an hour from Disney – I would love to connect.

February 2020

Aynara Racolto
Atlanta, GA

I was born and raised in Brazil but I moved to the United States back in January of 2012 as an Au Pair. I spend two years with my host family and after meeting my husband I decided to stay in the United States. I completely understand what is to be a expat living in the US. I currently work full time as an account manager for a raw material company based in Atlanta but with plants all over the world and I am also a student a Georgia State University. I’m currently pursuing Business Administration.

I have decided to work as a Local Coordinator and support Agent Au Pair, because when I was an Au Pair back in 2012 and 2013 with a different agency I couldn’t barely count on my own Local Coordinator. I had several friends that had issues and didn’t have the support they needed from their agencies, so I wanted to be the support to other girls that I never had. I love the Agent Au Pair care for both their Au Pairs and Host Families equally. My favorite part of being a Local Coordinator is to get to know families from different cultures and learn from both the Au Pair and Host Families. I also love seeing the host families perspective about hosting an Au Pair, a completely stranger that in the end of the program will be part of your family forever.

My hobbies are trying new foods, traveling, watching movies and listening to music and spending time with my friend but since I work full time and go to school, at the moment I do not have much time to enjoy my hobbies.

January 2020

Carly Grennes
Indianapolis, In

I grew up in Hershey, PA, went to college in Virginia, and graduate school in Ohio. My Master’s degree is in Higher Education, and I’ve spent all of my professional career working at universities, mostly in admissions and academic advising. I live in Indianapolis, IN with my husband and two young kids, and our cat.

I left my job at the university after my younger child turned 1, but I was always interested in finding a part time job to do while I stayed home with my kids. I heard about the Local Rep position from a local host family here in Indy. I was interested in the role because I always loved working with young adults and international students in my previous jobs. Plus, as a mom I understand how hard it can be to find good childcare. So I figured as a local rep I could blend all of those interests and experiences.

I’ve been a local rep since January, and I really love it! My favorite part is monthly meetings with my cluster of au pairs. We have done so many things around the city.

December 2019

Hande Demir-Neilan
Huntington, NY

I started working with Agent Au Pair as a Local Rep on the beginning of 2019.

Coming to the United States from a different country sounds like a very cool idea, however, it has all these ups and downs. Living with people you didn’t know before, a language that you cannot speak very well, can be very frustrating and stressful and I have been there! Six years ago, when I came to NY from Turkey for the first time, I was an au pair as well.  I`m very familiar with the feelings that all the au pairs and even the families go through at some point during their year. I like helping both sides and making things work for them, to be the person that au pairs can talk to when they really need to talk with someone who can empathize with them.

Working as a local rep is giving back to the community for me and I like it very much. Meeting with new people from all around the world feeds me. When not working for Agent Au Pair you can find me crocheting and gardening.

November 2019

Lucia Breckon
Long Beach, CA

In 2013, I came to this country to experience what was a wonderful cultural exchange as an Au Pair with Agent Au Pair. Some of the moments I came across with during this experience were wonderful and some not so good, but through it all, Agent Au Pair and my Local Reps were there to support me and help me.

Almost two years ago, I became a Local Representative with Agent Au Pair in Seattle, WA to give back and share my knowledge as a former Au Pair. I know what it means to be in a new country with a different culture, language, and customs. Living with a new family, trying to make new friends and dealing with different problems that can arise from this experience can be very stressful and overwhelming for the parties involved. Having encountered these issues before, I feel that I can relate to the Au Pairs and Host Families and guide them through this transition.

Earlier this year, I took a few months off to travel around Southeast Asia (I love traveling) and I have settled back my Local Rep duties after relocating to Long Beach, CA. My favorite part about being a Local Rep is to be that person that APs can trust. That person with who they can open up about their problems, and know that they will be heard and understood because that person has been in their shoes and can relate to them.

September 2019

Lynda Murad
Roslindale, MA
I love meeting people from other countries and learning about their cultures.
 
I also wanted to provide support to Au Pairs during their time here in the U.S.

August 2019

Liz Manus
Washington DC
When I joined Agent Au Pair in 2018 I wasn’t totally sure of my role as a local representative but I liked the idea of having the opportunity to develop relationships and help people from around the world. A year later, I like how flexible is the local representative position, the opportunity to mentor the au pairs and support the host families.
 
Furthermore, I really appreciate the cultural exchanges with these young women from different parts of the world, learning about their families and friends, their comfort foods, their traditions like the Santabary food and dance festival in Madagascar to give thanks for the rice harvest, the sport and music in England or La Pascua processions in Colombia. In turn when the au pairs often asked questions about me it has been always fun to share my hobbies, tell them about my cooking, dancing to Caribbean music, my love for soccer (football for the aficionados), tennis and mystery books. As an Agent Au Pair local representative, it has been a fun and gratifying year!