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Au Pair of the Year Nominee – Steve from Germany

Steve was recently nominated by his host family for the IAPA Au Pair of the Year Award.  Congratulations Steve!  Please read the nomination letter below.

Au Pair of the Year Nominee – Steve from Germany 1Our family’s au pair, Steve Goehre, goes far beyond the basic expectations of the Au Pair program. Steve does much more than child care and sharing his cultural background, he has extended himself in a way that has made him a part of our family. He has given our children and us a gift that is priceless and uniquely Steve. We believe that our au pair Steve deserves to be named ‘Au Pair of the Year’.

We were looking for an au pair to help take care of four active young boys.. Steve grew up in Erlbach, Germany, in a family where he was an only child. We, have a large, active family, with two sets of twin boys. Danny and Timothy are 10, and Jonathan and Christopher are 8. Steve has adapted to our large active family and if you were to observe Steve interacting with our children, you would never know that he hasn’t been a part of our family for years.

Steve supports the boys in every aspect. Together, we help the boys with their schoolwork and he is proud when they succeed. He plays board games with them, takes them swimming and plays baseball. That last point might seem less than extraordinary, but Steve didn’t grow up with baseball. He specifically learned the sport so he could share in it with the boys and now he is an assistant coach for their Little League team!

Our large family presented Steve with an additional challenge. Ten-year-old Danny has autism, which makes social communication difficult, in addition to serious learning and emotional self-regulation difficulties. Living and working with a child with a disability can be difficult for anyone, however Steve is a natural. He patiently helps Danny with his homework and treats Danny’s challenges with gentleness and respect. Danny’s lack of impulse control, extreme rigidity and difficult routines can be disruptive to daily life, but Steve never complains and his calm, rational demeanor has helped all of us cope. Watching Steve with Danny has been a “teaching moment” for us all.

Right after Steve joined our family, we informed him that we would be expanding our small home and needed to move out for a few months. He handled that little wrinkle flawlessly, helping to pack up and move seven people into a nearby rental home. Not long after, the basement bedroom where he was living flooded. This type of unforeseen situation is stressful at best, but Steve understood what needed to be done and he didn’t miss a beat. He assisted us in cleaning the basement, handling the daily routines while I was at work, and helped us pull together another move to a rental home. Steve continued to provide us with the ongoing support we needed and the consistent caring of our boys. He helped my husband hold down the fort when I was in the hospital for several days.

As Steve and I were preparing dinner, we heard a scream from our recreation room. One of our 8-year-olds had taken a giant leap off an exercise ball and landed on his wrist, breaking the bone severely. Steve immediately took charge of the situation. He insisted we not move the arm, and then scooped my child into his arms and carried him to the car. We drove straight to the ER, where Steve waited with us until the decision was made to operate on the wrist, and we knew everything would be ok.

Steve’s English is fabulous and he works constantly to improve it. He helped one of my 10-year-olds complete his 5th grade grammar packet, reminding Timmy of the rules for the distinction between “subject and object pronouns” as if he were a native speaker. He has also gone out of his way to try to help others who may follow his path, putting together a summary of educational options to share with other au pairs in the D.C. metro area.

Steve has managed to share his own cultural background with our family everyday. We have learned about his family life in Germany and we feel that this part of the program has truly enriched all of us. Steve has recently learned to cook and never complains about the fussy eaters in the house. He took a photography course, and used his new skills to take beautiful portraits of our boys.

It has been a privilege to witness the changes and growth of this young man. He has become an important part of our family, and the boys absolutely love him. We work as a team and he communicates beautifully. No matter what is going on, Steve is there, we can always count on him.

Our time with Steve has been so successful. We feel privileged to be a part of this important time in his life and are excited about his future as a caring and decent person. We believe that our family’s story is a perfect example of what an au pair and family experience should be all about.

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