The recipient of this year’s International Au Pair Award, given by International Au Pair Association (IAPA) was Martin Toth from Au Pair International. Martin is bright and energetic young man from Hungary who has been living with a family in Houston, TX. Soon after joining his host family, the unthinkable occurred. Martin and his host family were forced to deal with devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.
Martin’s host family, the Bernosky’s, nominated him for the Au Pair of the Year award because of his service to them, their children, and even their neighbors, during this very difficult time. He has become a member of their family and they don’t know what they will do without him once his time with them comes to an end. For this, and many other reasons, Martin was chosen as the Au Pair of the Year. Below is Martin’s account of his au pair experience and his reaction to being honored with this astounding award.
I am so grateful to have been honored by the International Au Pair Association among such wonderful nominees. I owe a big thank you to my agency Au Pair International. They have been helping along the way and truly being my guiding light. I have to be honest. It hasn’t always been as easy as receiving this amazing reward. But I believe every setback that I have faced in this almost two years is made me who I am today. I could tell stories about difficulties of this job such as:
- Getting accepted as male au pair
- Helping out single mom who is going through a divorce in my first year
- Living with family who vegetarian and adjusting my diet from eating chicken with chicken to well.. something else…
- Or I could talk about taking care of 3 children and ending up with 5 for a while. And list goes on and on but I am sure every au pair has stories like that for days.
Instead, I just like to share short story, that many au pairs wouldn’t have the chance to tell. In Summer 2017, after spending about a month with my new host family Hurricane Harvey hit our city, Houston which needless to say that turned our life upside down. I’ll be honest, coming from such small country as Hungary I have never had to face anything like that. I still remember the day when we all set in the bathroom tub waiting for the hurricane to pass our street. Fortunately, the actual hurricane didn’t hit the house, but my host family’s home still got flooded and they lost most of their belongings.
After the flood, a lot of work needed to be done around the house. Still don’t know how but my host parents didn’t fall apart after losing most of their belongings. Seeing how brave they acted under those circumstances I knew that I had step it up and help kids through this time. The process of cleaning up after the flood was not easy but we worked hard, stayed united. My host parents and I tried to make sure we make this whole experience as fun as possible for kids, but I mean they all knew how devastating this whole thing is.
They showed great strength by staying positive and helping as much as they could. And I guess the moral of the story is when you sign up for being an au pair there is no limit to what can happen and it is all about standing your ground. I am thankful to my host family for setting a great example how to be great people and show me how to give hope to others when you seemingly lost a lot yourself. I am especially thankful for my host mum who inspires me every day and making it possible for me to receive the International Au Pair of the Year award.
Martin Toth embodies what it means to be an au pair in the U.S. and participate fully in the cultural exchange program. Congratulations to Martin on his award and his service to his host family.