Congratulations to all of our host families who have been nominated by their care professionals for our annual Host Family of the Year Award! The live-in caregiver relationship is a unique one, and these families have gone over and above to not only make their care professionals feel welcome, but to encourage their professional and personal growth, as well. We are excited to announce this year's winner Andy & Stephanie B. and their family. Learn more about the them and the impact they have made on their care professional Sabrina K. (24, Wuppertal, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf), a Physical Therapist, below:

If you would tell me that I was going to be stuck in a car driving over 1,500 miles across  country with my care professional family during a pandemic AND enjoy it I would have thought you  were crazy.  

Since COVID started to get bad in March, everything has changed. One week after the  first lockdown the kid’s nanny, Meghan, moved in with us. We barely knew each other but for me it wasn’t a problem at all. She is now truly one of my best friends! We had an incredible time together as a family. Before our big trip we were already pretty close and had a good relationship. We started in Los Angeles and drove all the way to Wisconsin. We spent so much time together in such a small amount of space. I can’t even count all the funny, special, and adventurous moments.  

Once we had to stop driving the car because a cow was standing in the road in the  middle of nowhere. I’ll never forget that moment. When we finally arrived in Colorado, which was my favorite state, we had a last minute mix up with reservations and we ended up sharing a tiny one bedroom cabin in the woods. That means we had a funny slumber party together! I had the opportunity to go zip lining in the beautiful mountains, one of many incredible experiences my host family gave me.  

As soon as we got to the grandparents house in Wisconsin, after the longest and most stressful drive of the trip, my host kid, Lucy, and I jumped straight into the lake in our clothes. It was an amazing feeling! We spent five weeks there. We had so much fun with water skiing, game nights, dinners, bonfires, and many boat trips (one of which ended up with us stranded in the middle of the lake!)  

For our trip back home we planned for only five days....we ended up coming home after three weeks! I guess you could say we really enjoyed living together and being smooshed in the car! Once we arrived in South Dakota we found a kitten. We kept her for two nights. Initially my host dad was less than amused but that changed quickly. We were prepared to add another part to our already 6 person family but finally found her owner and went on our way. At our next stop we woke up to snow and we weren’t prepared - but of course we ran outside and built a snowman with just shorts on and barefeet. We drove to so many states. Finally we came home after 9 weeks of our vacation. I totally can say that we all became so close! Our funny, sometimes exhausting, and always hilarious adventures made unique memories that I will always remember.  

Since the kids are not in school and home most of the time, it’s definitely a different  experience. But I kinda like it! Even when I have a bad day or I’m homesick Lucy gives me hugs and Sadie giggles and both tell me they love me. These are the little things that make my day. We have a really special relationship with a lot of love and trust. It makes me so happy to see Sadie - who has Rett Syndrome which impacts her to not be able to walk on her own- walking, crawling and going up the stairs with my support and pride across her face. I’ve been given a great experience to work with all of Sadie’s therapists. Even though she is nonverbal, we have such a strong connection that I have the feeling she talks to me! She taught me so much and is more than just another PT “client“ … she is my best friend. When I paint, play or watch movies with Lucy it feels like my little sister!  We can share secrets, laugh together and be silly. She also has taught me how to play tennis. We started a big art project in the garage, which I’m really proud of. 

I’m so grateful to be a part of my host family. They support me in so many ways, treat me like a family member, and truly love me. I’ll never forget all the memories! Even with COVID they have made my year an unforgettable time. Even on the hard days, I never thought about giving up because of the connection we all have. Thank you so much. All  these words are going to Steph, Lucy, Sadie and Andy. You are truly my host family of the  year! 

I will miss them a lot but I know I’ll see them soon again ❤