Congratulations to Maren Fander, the winner of PROaupair’s 2017 Au Pair of the Year Competition. Maren, a 26-year old speech therapist from the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, has lived with the Lawrence family of Cottage Grove, Minnesota since May 2016. In her host family’s words, “Maren is the epitome of a professional au pair and deserves to be recognized for her leadership, hard work ethic, creativity and perseverance while working with our 6-year-old son, Hiroki.”

Congratulations also to Sophia Leonhardt, our runner up. The Schueller family of Troy, Michigan nominated Sophia, an occupational therapist from the Bayem region of Germany. Sophia spent a year caring for the Schueller family’s three children – ages 9, 2 and 1. Host mom Nikki Schueller says, “Sophia spent every moment of every day making our lives better and easier. She loved our children. She kept them safe and secure. She improved Parker’s quality of life in ways I could never have imagined.”

Finally, congratulations to Julia Mertins, our runner up. The Schulenburg family of Winnetka, Illinois nominated Julia, a speech therapist from Frankfurt, Germany. Caring for the family’s two children, Luke (10 and Bennett (7), Julia has touched their lives in so many ways. According to her host family, “Julia has amazed us so much, it is hard to put it into words. It is incredible how a stranger can come into your life and touch your heart.”

To read the full submission essays for the winner and two runners up, please click here.