2013 Au Pair of the Year Award Nomination:
Colecia Lewinson from Jamaica We would like to nominate Colecia Lewinson (Collette) for Au Pair of the Year. She has been a rock-star Au Pair – and a role model for all others! Collette has earned this award because of her significant contributions our family and community. Collette came to us after we had a failed experience with another Au Pair and we were somewhat skeptical about the program. Our previous Au Pair came with expectations of only what she’d get out of us, and not much care and consideration for what she could give back. For this program to work, it needs to be a win-win situation for all and our partnership with Collette exemplifies that! Collette has been a wonderful addition to our family. We have 5 young children and she came here with a joyful heart, eager to quickly bond with us, and a willingness to help. She went above and beyond to understand our children’s unique likes and dislikes, and became a “big sister” to them.
Collette spent the first couple of weeks in our home studying our habits and she quickly pitched in and is very proactive. She also has a keen attention to detail and helps without being asked. For example, soon after she arrived we were getting ready for a soccer game and Collette made sure all of the kids had water bottles and snacks ready to go. We were running late and I went to put it together only to find that she had already taken care of it – without being asked! She has also done this countless times with making sure the diaper bag is stocked with extra diapers, wipes, and clothes. She is also very keen to our infant’s feeding schedule and knows exactly when he’s ready to eat and does a great job keeping track of how much – again, all without being asked. These may seem like small things, but with a busy family it has made it easier and means so much that she cares about the smaller details. Collette also does a great job planning fun, educational, age appropriate activities for each child and everyone looks forward to the time they spend with her. This all adds up to a happy home and a now even bigger happy family with Collette!
Collette has also been a wonderful addition to our community. We introduced her to a lot of people and different activities so she could find what interested her. She quickly and easily made a lot of friends and found ways to get involved. For example, a local family recently adopted several children from Haiti, some of which have a disability. One young girl in particular (the same age as my daughter) is a double-amputee and has only been in the United States for a few months. The little girl has learned English, gotten prosthetic legs, and is really enjoying her new life with her new family. One thing was missing though – her new family didn’t know how to properly care for her hair since she was from a different culture. Collette pitched in without being asked and helped their family know what to do, and has braided the little girls’ hair several times. This may seem like a small thing – but this was huge because it continued to give this little girl a more positive self-esteem and her smile now goes from ear-to-ear. They both look forward to getting together every couple of weeks for hair braiding and “girl talk”, and my daughter and I enjoy tagging along sometimes too. ☺
Collette is wonderful – these are just a few reasons why she has earned the Au Pair of the Year award – words cannot describe how much of a blessing she is to all of us! I am grateful. My family is grateful. Our community is grateful. The Robertson Family
Colecia Lewinson Au Pair Essay I am honored to be nominated for this award as being an Au Pair has been a truly amazing experience. My Host Family the Robertsons are the perfect match for me. I have met a lot of wonderful people and I’m really thankful I’m able to be a part of the program. I started my new adventure in September of 2013 and since then it has been an amazing journey in Texas and getting to know the Robertsons. The Robertsons are the best host family I could have hoped for. I enjoy spending time with them and getting to know them. They have been a big part of my experience, with fun actives the entire family enjoys. I am like the big sister and I completely adore all five kids – Grace, Luke, Dean, Jack and Grant. I enjoy telling them stories about Jamaica or getting on an imaginary plane to go to Jamaica (the children call it “playing Jamaica” and they really enjoy it). They always make me laugh, 2 year old Jack calls me “Miss O-keck” (he couldn’t quite say Collette yet), and it makes me smile every time he calls me. The Robertsons are like family to me, they have qualities that make me feel right at home. I learned a lot about their way of life and how they relate to each other and I admire my Host parents (David and Erica) in a lot of ways. They are really good parents who love their children and believe in family time. It’s always fun snuggling with the kids during movie nights. I also enjoy the different outings we go on. Having long talks with Erica and we had girls time with Grace (9 years old) and baby Grant of course (now 6 months old), going shopping, to run errands or going to see a movie. Date nights for Erica and David are fun because the kids look forward to treasure hunts and sitting around telling stories with me. Luke (7 years old) helps me with his smaller brothers as I get them ready for bed. They all enjoy being little chefs and helping to cook. I’ll never forget some of the silly fun stuff we did like sitting in front of the piano singing Christmas carols, none of us knew how to play or the tunes of the songs but it was still fun and doing the Hot Dog dance. We’v also done a lot of fun activities. With each activity we did I got to know them more and the more I knew them the more I got to love them. I like going to the kid’s soccer practices and games and it is interesting that we call that sport football in Jamaica. I also went along to the class parties at the kids schools for Thanksgiving and Christmas and was always invited to go on family outings. I have been to many different parts of Texas like San Antonio, Austin, and Rockport to name a few were really fun filled experiences. I have also gotten to meet a lot of the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I have also had a lot of road trips with my Area Director Nadine. We visited some places that informed me about the history of Texas namely the Fort Croghan Museum. We also met astronauts from the Apollo 13 and she took me to my first yard sale. She has also helped to make this experience a good one. I think of her as a grandmother and enjoy every activity she has planned. I took part in activities in and around the community by attending bile study, going to church where I sometimes volunteer, and working out at the local gym. I have also been able to do some of my hobbies. I enjoy braiding a little 8 year old girl’s hair. She was adopted from Haiti and her family needed help with how to care for her hair since it is different from theirs. The culture is not a lot different from that of Jamaica. There are some things that were new to me like the celebration of Halloween and Thanksgiving. It was an interesting experience and the kids and I got dressed up for the Fall festival at church. For Christmas I also got to take part the
local Main Street Bethlehem experience with Nadine and her husband, it was a lot of fun to dress up and be part of it. The clothing here is also different than I am used to. People don’t get as dressed up and its more casual here. The food is different as well. The Robertsons and I have exchanged different cultural dishes and it was truly a delicious experience. My coldest day was also a new cultural experience. I was so cold and I got to try ice skating for the first time. Some of my most memorable things are going to Disney World in Florida with the Robertsons and getting to see my Mom. The Robertsons invited her to join us for a few days in Legoland. I had so much fun. I also will not forget the surprise party the Robertsons put together for my 20th birthday. It was nice to know that they cared. I also will not forget the kids and how each of them had their own little way to show their feelings. Four year old Dean comes in from school with the biggest smile running towards me saying “My Miss Collette”. At the end of each day there is always something to smile about. I really look forward to the time I spend with the children. I have learned a lot just being in this program. It has built my confidence and most of all allowed me to work with kids which makes me happy. Being an Au Pair has been a surreal and unforgettable experience and I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here with the Robertson family.
With the kids
The family at Epcot!
Surprise 20th Birthday Party for Colecia