In today's episode, I'm speaking with Dr. Veronica Benavides. Veronica is a Harvard-trained doctora of education with several years of experience in creating meaningful learning environments for children. She is also the founder and CEO of The Language Preservation Project and host of Talking to Grandma podcast, both of which were created as resources for other heritage language learners and for building community around reversing the trend of language loss across generations.
Veronica is a heritage Spanish speaker and also a mother raising her children in Spanish as part of a multilingual/multicultural household. In our chat, Veronica shares her story of growing up in the U.S. with Spanish-speaking parents who chose to raise their children in English. While she gained some Spanish in childhood, she walks us through her path to discovering a passion for her heritage language in college. She shares her experiences living in Mexico City as a Fulbright Scholar and raising her children in Spanish even as she herself was still learning so much about the language.
Veronica and her husband maintain three languages with their children, and she tells us what that looks like for their family on a day-to-day basis. Her experiences raising her children in her heritage language is an amazing example of perseverance and strength, rebellion and acceptance, love and grace. She shares inspirational words of advice and encouragement for all parents raising multilingual children, but especially for those passing on their heritage language to their kids. She talks about emotional and technical challenges she's faced in her journey and also about the moments that pushed her forward.
Something really incredible about Veronica’s story is what she and other Latina women are building to help other heritage language speakers on a multilingual/multicultural parenting journey. They've seen and experienced the gaps in resources for cultural and linguistic diversity in Spanish language resources, despite the incredibly diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds of Latinx communities in the United States, and they are actively bridging that gap. Please check out and share The Language Preservation Project and Talking to Grandma podcast, linked below.