One special au pair, Madita Bley, plans to go home with “a backpack of awesome memories” from Wilton. She is 20 years old and cares for three school-aged children but finds time in her busy schedule to volunteer at in Wilton. Ms. Bley finds that this year as an au pair has given her a chance to build a “new view” from the people she has met and the places she has visited. Ms. Bley has been in Wilton for 6 months where she enjoys going to the , watching her host children’s hockey games and catching up with friends at Starbucks. She especially loves walking around downtown Wilton and meeting the town’s people. Wilton is similar to Ms. Bley’s hometown of Garrel, Germany because both are small and have beautiful landscapes. Garrel is close to the Netherlands and known for its wonderful nature preseve, Wildeshauser Geest. It is a great place to bike and see historic churches that are over 500 years old.
Madita interned at a school in Germany and plans to be a teacher when she finishes her schooling. Her dream is to work at a boarding school. Giving her time at Town and Country Montessori provides her with experiences
that she can use in her future. At the preschool, Ms. Bley observes how the children work with the different
educational materials. She says, “I like to work at Town and Country Montessori because the atmosphere is so
comfortable. I love to see how the children learn to spell, write and count at their own pace.” She loves to work with the head teachers Karen Wiffen and Tina Donaher who are wonderful role models. Each week, Ms. Bley is introducing them to their global neighbor and her home country, German by teaching them about her language and culture.
“It s wonderful to see how involved Madita has become at the school and I love seeing her share her love for teaching young children with others in the community,” says Ms. Cropper, local Au Pair in America Community Counselor for Wilton and Weston. Ms. Cropper finds that many of the au pairs choose to volunteer because they enjoy many of the benefits that volunteering can provide. She finds that the girls feel needed, learn new skills, reinforce their English, meet new people while allowing them to get outside of their own “problems” and focus on helping someone else. Volunteering in America allows visitors to get a real “taste” of American culture since so many Americans take part in this activity (26% of the total population or over 62 Million people). The au pairs who volunteer are the ones that have some of the most successful experiences as au pairs.
Each year communities across the United States
benefit from a cultural exchange program that places au pairs, young women between the ages of 18 and 26, with American families. In Fairfield county alone, Au Pair in America places au pairs with more than 500 families
per year. Host families provide room, board and pocket money to au pairs and in return au pairs undertake
childcare responsibilities. Au pairs stay a year in the U.S. with legal, J-1visas and provide 45 hours a week childcare.
"Au pairs love to learn and share. These are well-educated young women who have chosen to come to the United States to expand their awareness of the world around them. Simultaneously, they are expanding the knowledge and experience of their host families as well as enriching communities," says Ruth Ferry, Director of Au Pair in America. Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Au Pair in America is most experienced au pair program in the United States. Au pairs enter the U.S. with legal J-1 Cultural Exchange Visas.
APIA was the first organization designated by the U.S. Government to offer a legal au pair program. Since 1986, they have placed more than 83,000 au pairs with American host families in 40 states. To learn more about the program in Wilton and Weston, visit Au Pair in America on the web at www.aupairinamerica.com or contat local counselor Loralyn Cropper at (203) 280-3446.