Sunday, August 3, 2014


An au pair brings friendship and comfort to a mother with two special needs boys.
There is a daily routine at Diane Sherwood’s home: get the boys up, dressed, fed and prepared for the day.
While this appears to be a normal routine for most families, Diane wouldn’t be able to work and provide for
her special needs boys without the help of her au pair, Gaby Itzel. Diane has had five wonderful cultural
exchange au pairs from AuPairCare and has experienced how these au pairs can really become part of the
family But Gaby was the first to stay beyond her initial year. Knowing the special challenges involved, she
chose to stay with Diane and her boys.
A single mom who works from home as a
Director of Finance and Human Resources for the
Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association,
Diane has always attempted to find the elusive
balance between family and work. Over five years
ago, a career move to North Carolina and then to
the Kansas City region took her away from her
family in Pennsylvania, which also meant she lost
the childcare that was provided by her close knit
relatives. Unable to work without childcare, she
began seeking live in
childcare options that would
allow her to continue to be present yet work from
home. She determined that au pairs were the
answer as live in
care was critical. Both her
young boys are special and high needs, requiring
reliable and special needs experienced childcare.
After much research, Diane decided to use
AuPairCare’s services because she felt the au
pairs from AuPairCare met her specific needs.
“All of our au pairs have been amazing,” reflects
Diane. “The au pairs were always sweet and
friendly, and while they all took great care of my
boys I was fortunate to have the added benefit of
forming deep personal friendships with some of

Gaby has been no exception. Early in the interview process during their Skype sessions, Diane was drawn
to Gaby’s positive personality, also noting her excellent English which she learned in El Salvador at her high
school. She discovered that despite this being Gaby’s first experience as an au pair, she brought with her a
wealth of special needs childcare experience and skills from having spent time working with special needs
children at her church. This piqued Diane’s interest. She went on to learn that faith was an important
cornerstone to Gaby’s life. This was the final piece to selecting Gaby as Diane’s own religious beliefs are
important to her daily life. After many Skype calls with Diane and her boys, Gaby arrived in March of 2013.
Gaby does what other AuPairCare au pairs do –
she engages and provides exceptional childcare.
In conjunction with their special education in the
public school system, she creates fun and
inspiring activities adapted especially for these
boys that often involve the whole family. The boys’
unique medical problems create special
challenges, and Gaby has learned to provide the
treatments when Diane is working. But it isn’t just
the medical care that is a challenge. Anyone that
has a child with any form of disability knows the
physical, mental and emotional toll it can take and
sharing these challenges with another person is
“Gaby has become one of my favorite au pairs,” said Tajana Alvegard, AuPairCare’s Area Director for
Kansas City. “Despite Gaby’s young age, she is a very mature, patient and is able to be there for the host
mom as well as be there for the kids. The host mom and au pair have a great relationship and it has turned
into a real friendship. She has a heart of gold.”
Their friendship extends past their mutual bond of the boys. They both worship together at Life Church in the
Kansas City area. This dynamic, outreach oriented
church offers foundational values, some of which include
genuine community, local outreach and world missions. Gaby spends much of her time here, involved with
the college ministry on Tuesdays and the children’s faith programs, as she is deeply rooted in any form of
“We can all learn something from her,”
added Tatjana. “Gaby always reaches out
to the new au pairs when they arrive to
make them feel welcome. She’s also
always the first to help or pickup
au pairs
for meetings if they need a ride.
Throughout their relationship, Diane and
Gaby have acknowledged that their
relationship is stronger and deeper. Only
a few weeks ago, Gaby had the day off
and texted Diane in the evening and
asked her to have dinner. Diane was very
touched by this because Gaby had chosen to spend her free time with her having dinner out together as
“God wants me to help others,” shares Gaby. “Diane and the boys are changing my life and I’m being taught
about faith in an entirely different way. When I went to visit my family in El Salvador, I didn’t realize how
much I was going to miss my [American] family. My love for Diane and the boys grew even more when I was
gone and I found myself homesick for them.”
Diane couldn’t agree more.
“She has become my right hand, sister, daughter and best friend all in one,” said Diane. “She’s a package
deal! I can’t imagine my life without her. God is certainly blessing my family.”

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