Local Fairfield County Families and Au Pairs from InterExchange Give an International Helping Hand This Season

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International au pairs and their host families help out with the Inspirica Holiday Gift Collection

I think it is important to participate in the community that you are living in and to recognize that many organizations would simply cease to exist if people weren’t willing to volunteer their time.

To invigorate a new sense of holiday spirit this year, more than 15 international au pairs and their host families from the Fairfield County area will be lending a helping hand on Saturday, December 15, 2012 as part of the Inspirica Holiday Gift Collection.

Having come from over 10 countries around the world, including Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Denmark and the Netherlands, the InterExchange Au Pair USA group of au pairs will be adding an international dimension to the volunteering event, while also contributing to their local community.

Christine Meek, Local Coordinator for Fairfield County, chose volunteering for Inspirica as the group’s host family day project to share the tradition of giving associated with the holiday season in U.S.

“Volunteering is such an important part of our culture and I thought it would be a nice way for our group to get together and bond while helping kids in need,” said Meek. “Volunteering is great any time of the year, but particularly during the Holidays when we all tend to reflect on how fortunate we are. It’s nice to have an organized opportunity to be able to give back and help.”

Meek, who has been with InterExchange Au Pair USA for the past nine years, thinks learning about the au pairs’ different cultures and customs is one of the most unique benefits of the U.S. Department of State au pair program.

Cultural sharing is one of the reasons why Kate H., from Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, decided to become an au pair in the U.S.

“I’ve always loved working with children and once I finished college, I wanted to take a year off to experience living in the U.S.,” said Kate. “Living with an American family is such a fun way to experience American traditions, holidays and everyday life.”

Kate’s motivations for coming to the U.S. are common among the InterExchange au pairs in Fairfield County. The au pairs’ enthusiasm for volunteering with Inspirica shows how they have embraced the holiday spirit in this country.

“Just as it is in America, volunteering is a very important part of New Zealand society,” said Kate. “I think it is important to participate in the community that you are living in and to recognize that many organizations would simply cease to exist if people weren’t willing to volunteer their time.”

Inspirica’s Holiday Gift Collection distributes approximately 5,500 personalized, wrapped gifts to 2,750 children in Fairfield County who are affected by homelessness, HIV/AIDS and poverty. The organization collects gifts from local agencies in Stamford, Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stratford. For more information about Inspirica’s Holiday Gift Collection, visit their website at: zconceptz.com/zDev/holiday-gift-collection

InterExchange is a non-profit organization committed to improving international understanding by facilitating life-changing, exceptional cultural exchange experiences for young people, businesses and families around the world. As both a J-1 Visa sponsor designated by the U.S. Department of State and a cross-cultural ambassador, we develop meaningful relationships with participants from more than 60 countries as well as with international recruiting partners, host employers and families. We ensure that all in our community are treated with the respect and consideration that comes from staff with firsthand experience living and working abroad and more than 40 years of leadership in the industry.

Visit us at: http://www.InterExchange.org/aupairusa

To find out more about hosting an international au pair in the Fairfield County, CT area, contact Christine Meek: cmeek [at] lc [dot] interexchange [dot] org

For media inquiries, contact:
Ron Hernandez
press [at] interexchange [dot] org

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