Verónica Braun is the Founder, Director and CEO of ¡HOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish established since 2001, when there were very limited language programs in New York City. She had a vision and a dream: To provide a bicultural upbringing to her then 18 month old toddler, and for him to be a bilingual child since a young age, and to have lots of buddies to interact with and to grow speaking her mother tongue! ¡HOLA! started a few months after 9/11, and while the world was immersed in a state of chaos, and our city was the victim of one of the most heinous acts towards humanity, children needed a space to play. Parents and caregivers were present in classes, no matter what was happening in our city back then. Verónica’s insatiable need for cultural identification and to bring a sense of order to her family by contributing in a meaningful way, she started and developed the ¡HOLA! programs.
Because of her entrepreneurial spirit, Verónica started inviting friends to participate in a small group at the local neighborhood’s childbirth facility, where other play programs and mothers programs were taking place. She came up with a concept and an idea of what her dream was: to teach since she was very young. The word soon spread out in the local playgrounds, and a very diverse number of children began attending her programs on a regular basis. By carefully structuring lesson plans and gathering educational material, researching on language and attending seminars and workshops, she developed the base program that soon grew, as attendance and the demand due to the popularity and originality on her teaching style, made the ¡HOLA! programs to become until today, a long-standing source of full time dedication, inspiration and devotion to continue working with children, while juggling to manage all aspects of the organization.
Her background as a dancer, and voice over, and in production and post-production inspired her to begin producing original music for ¡HOLA! and to incorporate traditional music to her programs as a continued and essential source of inspiration in her teaching. Through her artistic background as a dancer, understanding the body, movement and communication, her dynamic programs continue to engage children in unique ways.
Verónica has learned to speak and studied other languages by immersing and living in other countries, which is why she understands that being a multi-lingual or bilingual person at the very least , is fundamental in today’s world.
Moreover, Verónica feels a great sense of accomplishment, and is privileged to have been part of thousands of children’s lives on their bilingual careers through ¡HOLA! as their foundation. It’s their grace and love that continues to be an inspiration in her life.
¡HOLA! has been an independent organization for over a decade, and has brought the programs to such distinguished venues as Apple Seeds, Kidville, City Tree House, Aha! Learning Partners, and more, and to pre-schools providing classes, Summer Camps and lunch clubs in public schools. We work with and train teachers who are native speakers to provide ¡HOLA! classes both in group and private class settings for children from 12 months through 12 years.