A picnic blanket with pretzels and fruit punch was laid out on the sand at Ryes Oakland Beach Thursday as the sun began to set. The feast wasnt for children but instead the au pairs who take care of many kids throughout the Sound Shore region.
"It's nice to know someone to see and to talk to," said Maren Salthro, 19, an au pair from Norway who attended the monthly meeting of her colleagues. She has been staying with a family in Harrison, caring for their children for the past ten months.
The meeting was organized by Babara Brown and Birgitte Stoerger, who work as area directors for Au Pair Care. The company places au pairs from around the world in the homes of families across the United States.
"It's important for them to meet each other," said Brown. "They become friends and those that have been here longer can give advice to those who are new."
Brown said that although meeting was for the au pairs to socialize, others were welcome. The monthly meetings vary in time and place, however with the warm weather Brown said she wants to plan more outdoor activities. Brown said Rye is a nice place to meet because it's easily accessible for everyone.
Arturo de la Garza, 25, was the only male au pair among the small group, though there are a few other men working in the area. He came from Mexico and has been caring for the children of a Mamaroneck family for three months.
All of de la Garza's friends in the area are au pairs. He would like to make friends who are not au pairs and learn more about American culture, though he said he doesn't have many opportunities to meet other people.
"It's easier to make friends with other au pairs," he said. "We're in the same situation."
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