Au Pair of the Year awarded at City Hall in Vienna
Published by Ozgur Tore - credit to ftnnews.com
IAPA - the International Au Pair Association has announced the winner of the Au Pair of the Year, 24-year old, Ricardo Silva de Araujo of Brazil. He was placed with a family in the United States.
Now in its sixth year, the annual award presented by IAPA goes to an Au Pair that embodies the spirit of cultural exchange. Families from around the world that have received an Au Pair from one of IAPA’s 140 plus member agencies can nominate candidates for the award. A panel of IAPA representatives then selects three finalists from the hundreds of entries, with a winner chosen from these.
“As is the case every year, we had a very difficult time selecting just one winner from the many, many deserving entries we received. Ricardo was so special for his openness, sharing and commitment to his host family and their son Taylor,” said Jack Hompes, IAPA chairman.
Cultural Care Au Pair, an organisation based in the USA placed Ricardo with the Boyer family. The family’s now 17-year son, Taylor is multi-handicapped, having suffered an allergic reaction to an immunization as a six month old. He is unable to speak, has difficulty walking and experiences seizures. In Ricardo’s words however, “he may not able to talk, but he is able to feel. His feelings are pure as an angel and his smile when happy, is the best way to say thank you.”
Upon Ricardo’s arrival with the Boyer family that was in the midst of preparing for their daughter’s upcoming wedding, Ricardo was amazed by the incredible patience and support the family showed him during this stressful time. There was much Ricardo had to learn in order to help properly care for Taylor and the family’s support made the enormous transition to a new culture, new language and learning new skills much easier.
Talking about his time with the family, Ricardo says, “I learned the real meaning of love, patience and respect. Real love does not come in phrases like: “I love you,” this is easy to say but difficult to feel.
Taylor’s disability is not an obstacle for his happiness, this has made me feel good. I love Taylor and know he loves me back. I can feel it.”
Ricardo concludes, ”I came to America as an au pair, I will leave a better human being.”
For his achievement, Ricardo Silva de Araujo received a commemorative plaque and prize from IAPA, in addition to an all expense paid trip to Vienna to receive the award.
The award is presented as part of the IAPA Annual Conference and in conjunction with the Work Experience Travel Market.
About the International Au Pair Association (IAPA)
The International Au Pair Association (IAPA) was established in 1994 by cultural exchange organisations seeking to improve and protect the rights of au pairs and host families around the world. The association has been responsible for the creation of internationally recognised guidelines for au pairs and exchange programmes with its 140 plus member organisations agreeing to abide by the IAPA Code of Conduct: signifying competence, fair dealing and high integrity.