Tell us about yourself.
My name is Amanda Levy and I live in Raleigh, NC with my husband and our 2 boys. My husband and I met online actually! A lot of similarities with the matchmaking I do every day! We now have two sweet boys, Parker is 7 years old and Owen is 16 months.
In my rare spare time, I enjoy yoga, reading historical fiction novels, and trying local restaurants.
Why did you choose to be a Matching Specialist for apex PROaupair?
I love what this agency does for both the host families and professional au pairs. Parker has autism and significantly difficult ADHD, while Owen was born with bilateral clubfeet. I grew up with a brother who had Treacher Collins Syndrome, as well. As a mother and sister of children with special needs, I understand the difficulties associated with the everyday tasks.
We also had exchange students growing up, and still keep in touch today. They made a profound impact on our lives. These young men and women who are just starting off in their careers have an amazing opportunity to grow professionally and link our cultures together to find the best way to help children with special needs.
What's your typical day like?
Make coffee. I start my day sorting through dozens (sometimes hundreds) of emails, Skype messages, calls, and texts that come from families and professional au pairs. I then look at the immediate needs that need to be cared for by the end of the day. Once I have finished with the urgent tasks, I begin going through my family list to make sure they have been contacted and we stay up to date with each other. After each conversation with a family, I reach out to the professionals they are most interested in for feedback. All day it is a lot of back and forth as I try to help them “match” with their favorite candidate. Most of the day is VERY unplanned though. Calls, texts, and emails come in all day and sidetrack my daily work. I may be on a call with one family, on WhatsApp with a professional for another family, and seeing a Skype from someone within the company all at the same time. There is never a dull moment!
What's your favorite thing about being a Matching Specialist?
My favorite part is when the family and professional au pair realize how perfect they are for each other. I love hearing the enthusiasm on both sides. Having now matched ourselves, I absolutely understand how exciting this process is when you feel great about a match!
What advice do you have for host families who are matching?
One piece of advice is to speak with candidates, regardless of their background. You may need someone for your child with special needs, but you don’t see someone who has that very specific experience. It’s most important to build a supportive and respectful relationship. We know these candidates have a desire to learn. They all have experience and they have all chosen to work with children, but they possess a unique quality to educate themselves on different situations to become an exceptional professional.
Another important note is to provide as much information as possible during the interview process. Send videos of your children, detailed descriptions, etc. It’s important for them to see not only the good but the bad as well. Don’t try to sell yourself. Just be yourself, and the right candidate will work out in the long run.
What advice do you have for professional au pairs who are matching?
Keep an open mind. Families and situations will surprise you. You could be in a fantastic American city, but the family isn’t the best fit for you. Recognize the importance of connecting with the family above all else, which will lead to a fantastic year!
What's one piece of unexpected advice that you have for host families and professional au pairs when matching?
I don’t think this is necessarily unexpected but I always suggest families and au pairs to ask what motivates one another. What motivates a family to have an au pair join? What motivates an au pair to work with children, or specifically with a special needs child? Understanding why everyone is in this process is a good indicator on how well your motives will line up.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
“Don’t take things personally. What other people say about you is their reality, not yours.”
– Miguel Ruiz