By John Schaffner
Gretchen Roberts, who has been the force behind the Brookhaven Arts Alliance and spearheaded that organization’s Taste of Brookhaven and Brookhaven Arts Festival events, has taken a paying job that she says will complement her arts alliance work.
Roberts has become part of the field staff locally for Cultural Care Au Pair, providing service and support to host families and their au pairs throughout the program year.
Roberts, who continues as executive director of the Brookhaven Arts Alliance, feels that her new role will complement efforts of both the alliance and her new employer.
“I have no intention to stop my work on behalf of the Brookhaven Arts Alliance” Roberts said. “If anything, I believe my new job working with au pairs will provide opportunities for support that we have struggled with over the past few years.”
Roberts said one of her problems in the past has been finding a sufficient volunteer force to work on both the Taste of Brookhaven and Arts Festival events. She feels the au pairs she will be working with will be able to help provide that volunteer help for the events, to the benefit of the community and the au pair program.
Roberts said she hopes the Taste of Brookhaven event can be revived this year, after being canceled last year due to lack of sponsor support. She said planning for the event has begun, but there is consideration for scheduling the event in September, rather than in early summer, when it was held in past years. The Brookhaven Arts Festival traditionally is a fall event.
Roberts said Cultural Care Au Pair has a strong commitment to support local community programs through its Kids First charitable campaign, which supports child advocacy groups and nonprofit organizations benefiting children in need.
Roberts became part of the company’s nationwide network of more than 400 local childcare coordinators, whose job is to promote global understanding through intercultural exchange. She will advise area au pairs and their host families on educational opportunities, as well as organize fun activities.
Since 1989, Cultural Care Au Pair has placed more than 55,000 au pairs in American homes. A division of EF Education, the U.S. Department of State-regulated program is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.