A Babysitter Who Rises to Every Occasion
BY JANICE LLANES FABRY
In addition to being the apple of her father’s eye and a college admissions counselor’s dream, Paulina Tepan is in great demand as a babysitter. She keeps her charges engaged by baking with them in their home kitchens. Paulina supplies the necessary ingredients and cleans up afterwards to boot.
The Rye High School junior came up with the concept, which she said is geared for ages 4 to 12, last year, and her recipes and renown are on the rise.
“The kids love the creative side of baking, and they really enjoy getting to eat the desserts we make afterwards!” noted Paulina, who cleverly found a way to incorporate her love of children with her passion for baking.
Paulina honed her baking skills during quarantine. Concerned about her grandfather’s diabetes, she was determined to create flourless sweets with far less sugar than most.
She began sharing her baked goods with relatives, and through word-of-mouth, a baking business flourished. She started taking orders from people in the community, blogging about food, and promoting herself on Instagram. Some of her posts have garnered 30,000 views.
Her specialties are cookies — chocolate chip, red velvet, and pumpkin maple, among them — along with pumpkin and banana breads.
“Baking not only calms me, but also allows me to experiment with ingredients and recipes,” she said.
Until she gets her driver’s license in December, Paulina is happy to have her father drive her to and from babysitting jobs.
By day, Mr. Tepan runs Su Misura, the tailoring business on Purdy Avenue started by his father, Julio, a master tailor, in 2000. Fernando, an Ecuadorian immigrant, came to this country in 1994 when he was 14. Five years ago, he took over the business, but the patriarch still works there.
Paulina proudly reports that her father is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan. “My dad was trained to be tough, so sometimes it’s hard for him to sympathize with me, especially if I’m complaining about minor things. But he is always encouraging, reassuring, and supportive.”
Fernando Tepan fostered Paulina’s independence and resourcefulness from an early age, and it shows; the mature 16-year-old exudes confidence and composure beyond her years. Her entire family, including doting grandparents, helped raise her. “I’m so grateful; they would do anything for me,” she said.
Paulina, who is gearing up for the college entrance exams, is being tutored, thanks to the generosity of a Su Misura client.
“College is on everybody’s mind and we’re all trying to do our best, taking competitive classes and preparing for the exams,” said Paulina, who is taking five AP classes — Language, US History, Psychology, Chemistry, and Pre-AP Calculus.
This summer, she spent a few weeks taking courses in Entrepreneurship and Concept Development in the Food and Beverage Industry at Cornell University.
“I wanted a better understanding of the science behind product development and the psychology behind marketing in the food industry,” she explained.
This year, she plans to visit college campuses and dreams of studying abroad this summer. Already bilingual, she’d like to perfect her French as well.
At Rye High, Paulina is involved in Be the Change Club and projects that promote a positive environment. She’s also a member of the Peer to Peer, Civics, and Cancer Awareness clubs. She sits on the Rye Youth Council Advisory Board and participates in community service.
“Here in Rye, everyone is involved and willing to help. You feel like you know everybody,” she noted.
This wonderful young woman has a lot on her plate, but she manages to check off everything on her to-do lists. She will continue to carve out time for her babysitting and baking business. “I’m good with kids, and they gravitate towards teen-age babysitters.”
To contact Paulina, follow her on her Instagram account, @sw33tbrand.