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Ronit Shiro shares the gift of bilingualism with children through FeppyBox

Ronit Shiro is the creator and founder of FeppyBox — a bilingual subscription box designed to immerse kids ages 3-6 in Spanish and English language learning. 

FeppyBox makes it easier for parents to raise their children bilingually, in a fun way that feels more like playing than learning. With the mission to connect kids with the globe through language, in order to build a more inclusive and FEPPIER world around them, FeppyBox strives to raise the next generation of open- minded, global citizens. 

FeppyBox

FeppyBox helps parents to raise their children bilingually, in a fun way that feels more like playing than learning. (Photo courtesy FeppyBox)

Sharing the gift of bilingualism with children 

FeppyBox was born out of Ronit Shiro’s passion for learning, traveling, and connecting with people. Language was the common thread that brought all these passions together. 

FeppyBox creator and founder Ronit Shiro. (Photo courtesy FeppyBox)

Born in Venezuela to immigrant parents, Ronit was lucky to learn and speak more than one language. At the time she did not understand the importance of bilingualism or the opportunities it would offer. Later, as an adult and mom herself, she would come to understand that bilingualism is one of the greatest gifts she could give her children. 

“In our case, being bilingual means being able to connect with grandparents and friends, but it’s also a tool that creates opportunities for the future,” said Ronit. “It connects us to other cultures. It opens doors.” 

This is where the idea for FeppyBox began to take shape. Ronit began to ask: How can we provide tools to families to make language learning fun and meaningful? How can we give kids entertaining and creative ways to learn? 

From there, the subscription box service began to take form and was given its name: FeppyBox, from combining the word haPPY in English and Spanish (FEliz), to embody all parents’ ultimate purpose: to see their kids happy. In 2020, FeppyBox launched and has been growing steadily since. 

Raising bilingual children through immersive learning

By combining learning with play, FeppyBox makes language learning fun and easy. Each FeppyBox includes stories, music, and games designed so children can learn, laugh, and live in two languages. 

“From our customers, we’re learning that you don’t have to be bilingual to raise a bilingual child, and we’re seeing that play-based learning takes some of the mystery out of bilingualism,” said Ronit. “The spark of bilingualism happens when a kid connects the content in both languages.”

FeppyBox

FeppyBox offers a variety of activities to make language learning fun and immersive for children and parents. (Photo courtesy FeppyBox)

With a variety of activities, children and parents are able to engage with language in different formats. Feppy Book offers an original story in both English and Spanish and includes exclusive access to its Audio Video Book, which provides unlimited fun learning and supports pronunciation. Each Audio Video Book can be watched in English or Spanish. 

Next, Feppy Play offers a hands-on activity to encourage bilingual play-based learning. Feppy Music gives children a new song with bilingual lyrics and exclusive online access to Feppy Music. Feppy Music adapts versions of traditional children’s songs introducing Merengueton, Salsa/Trap Reggaeton/Vallenato, Electro Mambo and other Latin rhythms. 

FeppyBox

Feppy Play offers a hands-on activity to encourage bilingual play-based learning. (Photo courtesy FeppyBox). 

Finally, Feppy Parents is a unique Parent Guide to support ongoing immersive learning. Every item in FeppyBox is fully bilingual, so parents don’t need to know both languages to share 

FeppyBox is a gift that allows children to connect and grow as global citizens. For bilingual families, it is also a way for family members to connect, even across great distances. 

“We are happy to learn that grandparents have bought FeppyBox for their grandchildren as a way to connect with them,” Ronit shared. “One grandparent sent us a note telling us that, even though he lives far away from his grandson, they look forward to every box and sharing what’s inside.” 

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Tip for entrepreneurs: “Believe in yourself and in your ideas” 

Ronit’s personal philosophy as an entrepreneur is to embrace the uncomfortable and continue to move forward striving for something new and better and to seek progress over perfection. 

Creating FeppyBox was a gift of love and a passion project for her, but that does not mean there were no challenges or struggles along the way. Starting out, Ronit had to wear many hats, juggling management, customer service, and delivery. Her strength through all of this was her ability to problem solve 24/7 and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

“Everyday my team and I are uncomfortable, it means we are moving forward because we are doing something new, mastering a new process and doing something better. I truly believe in seeing the positive side of being uncomfortable. If you’re uncomfortable it means you’re discovering something new and moving your business forward,” said Ronit.

To minority women thinking of starting their own business, Ronit advises, “It is very important to believe in yourself and your ideas. We can ask for advice, but deep down we have to trust and believe in what we are creating.” 

Most importantly, she reminds aspiring entrepreneurs to seek progress over perfection and keep moving forward, even when things get uncomfortable. 

“Perfection can paralyze us, and as entrepreneurs it is important to advance, to move forward. It’s ok to pivot and to evolve.” 

Popular English ESL YouTuber launches innovative new language learning app 

From the popular ESL YouTuber, Maximiliano Lobos comes an innovative new language learning app that harnesses pronunciation recognition technology to help students get results and reach their language learning goals. 

The life-changing gift of language learning 

ESL teacher, Maximiliano Lobos

Maximiliano Lobos, YouTuber, ESL instructor, and creator of 123 Inglés. (Photo via curso123ingles)

Popular among the Hispanic community on YouTube, Maximiliano Lobos is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher who has been teaching English for free on his channel for 13 years. 

He began his channel “undostresingles”  in 2008 at the age of 22 as a simple, amateur experiment. However, over the years this side project gradually grew and gained a space among Hispanics in the United States, who seek a free and quick way to improve their English. Now, his channel has over 550,000 subscribers and has broadcasted more than 80 million lessons. 

For many, Maximiliano’s free lessons have been a life-changing gift. Under his videos, one can find hundreds of testimonials in the comments from grateful viewers who have been able to learn English as a second language thanks to Maximiliano’s lessons. One such testimonial is that of Wilder Andrade, a former Colombian military man who managed to reach the United States with a contract in hand to work for a security company, all thanks to his good level of English-speaking. 

Wilder writes: “Maximiliano’s classes on YouTube literally changed my life, and I can say that I owe it mainly to him.” 

Making dreams come true through collaboration 

After years of teaching on his channel, Maximiliano is now expanding his “classroom” with his first mobile application. He says this new app will be a “total innovation” as it incorporates various advanced functions such as pronunciation recognition technology to better help students reach their goals. 

language learning app,

123 Inglés, the innovative new language learning app by ESL YouTuber, Maximiliano Lobos.

“It is a dream come true to launch this application after all these years,” he says. “During this time of pandemic I took advantage of it to make the app.” 

The app came about through an unexpected collaboration. Maximiliano tells that one day, while at his house, a former YouTube student who turned out to be a programmer called him and offered to develop the app. “He said, ‘Teacher, let’s make an app; you put your classes, and I program the app.’ So we became partners,” relates this YouTuber. And the rest is history. 

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Now, the app is ready to launch with 90 video classes where grammar is taught, as well as vocabulary, practice and pronunciation. There are also a variety of fun activities and exercises such as crossword puzzles, complete the sentence exercises, order the sentence, discover pairs, true and false, and exercises with voice recognition technology that tell students if their pronunciation is correct.

The app delivers the first 10 classes at no cost. It’s called “123 Inglés” and it’s available for download on the App Store and Play Store by clicking here.