By Max Salvo and Renee Turkiewicz
Eight exchange visitors from CHI Au Pair representing six nations joined over 12,000 volunteers at the 49th New York City Marathon which took place on Sunday, November 3, 2019. Their local CHI Community Administrator from Long Island, Renee Turkiewicz, assisted and volunteered alongside the group.
This annual massive event offered au pairs a direct opportunity to embrace the American values of volunteerism and civic engagement, and share their culture with US and international runners, as well as give back to the host American communities.
The volunteers were there to provide fluids for the runners as they approached the mile markers. Au Pairs stood on the sidelines cheering the runners on and in anticipation of one of the runners grabbing a cup of water or Gatorade from them as they ran by the hydration stations.
According to remarks made to the U.S. Department of State by Jim Heim, senior vice president of event development and production at NYRR and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon, the race is “the world’s largest and most diverse marathon in the world and no group better demonstrates the global impact of the event like the Exchange Visitor Program participants. For the last five years, this group has been the largest volunteer group on race day, serving an integral part in creating a positive experience for all of our runners and proving that volunteerism is a global value.”
Just like participants in the Exchange Visitor Program, the runners at the NYC Marathon came from all over the world, some handicap in wheelchairs, some running blind with a partner. It was a wonderful cultural experience to see everyone come together for such an epic event hosted by one of America’s most iconic cities.
“It was an incredible experience for me and it was a lot of fun, to help the marathon runners! And even to meet some new people”, said Nedra Maamour, an au pair from Germany. Another au pair volunteer, Ana Osorio from Spain, thanked CHI for the opportunity to experience the NYC Marathon: “this was a very good experience. I had fun and I really enjoyed it!”
The New York City Marathon is a 26.2-mile race that courses through the 5 boroughs of New York City—The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. It is the largest marathon in the world with over 50,000 runners and 12,000 volunteers.
CHI Au Pair participants joined a group of more than 1,600 exchange visitor volunteers in an effort coordinated by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, New York Road Runners, and U.S.-designated sponsor organizations that administer the Exchange Visitor Program various categories, such as au pairs and interns.
We would like to recognize the au pairs and their local community administrator for volunteering: Lina Gomez Diaz and Jhudy Pastana Romero, Colombia; Ana Osorio Vilchez, Spain; Kelly Acuna Arquinigo, Peru; Pandora Behu, South Africa; Ainara Carral Corona and Rocio Aguilar Mira; Mexico; Nedra Maamouri, Germany and Renee Turkiewicz, CHI staff from the USA.