About Us

Hooray for Languages is a Rhode Island non-profit organization.  We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity.

Mission

Our mission is to enrich young children's lives through foreign languages.  We engage community volunteers to teach on a weekly basis at child care centers, nursery schools, libraries, summer camps, and community centers.  Learn more about our programs.

Why introduce foreign languages in early childhood?

Hooray for Languages aims to make foreign languages in early childhood accessible so an increasing number of young children can develop their linguistic, creative, and cognitive abilities to succeed in the world.  Learning another language in early childhood provides a variety of benefits to young learners, the greater community, and the state - from individual academic achievement to cross-cultural understanding within communities, to a more marketable labor force and economic development. 

Press

Our Founder's Story, Anne Nichelson

Speaking another language was always a personal goal of Anne’s.  When she was in her mid-twenties living in New York City, she decided to make that goal a reality by moving to Peru for a job.  Over a decade later after having her first child in Rhode Island, Anne began introducing Spanish to her son at the age of three months. 

Inspired by her time studying abroad in Ireland during college, traveling, attending New York University’s International Education graduate program, and living in Peru, Anne is a strong believer in understanding other languages and how to communicate across cultures.  She knew she wanted to raise her children so they developed an appreciation for speaking other languages. 

Hearing from other parents that they, too, wished they had learned another language at an early age and wanted their children to be exposed to a language besides English, Anne started Hooray for Languages in 2016.  She wanted to make learning foreign languages accessible by creating a way to bring them to young children who otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to them at an early age.  Hooray for Languages works with community volunteers who offer the organization's programs to children at child care centers, nursery schools, libraries, summer camps, and community centers.

Learning another language is a skill that can be beneficial throughout one’s life. It can open doors that you didn’t know existed and help you form relationships that you never thought were possible. Why wait until high school to learn foreign languages? Children at a very young age are so eager to communicate and ready to learn. Let’s harness that enthusiasm and ripe time in their lives by introducing additional languages to them.
— Anne Nichelson

Board of Directors

Anne Nichelson, Founder & Chair

Anne founded Hooray for Languages in 2016.  She is responsible for the vision, strategy, fundraising efforts, program development, volunteer outreach, and overall marketing and operations of the organization.  She has a background in business with an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from Babson College.  She also has an M.A. in International Education with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Exchange & Training and Latin America from New York University.  She has experience working in international education, higher education, and in the organic and natural food & beverage industry.  She has founded a start-up import business, and she served as Secretary for a private foundation she established for a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Rhode Island.  Anne also served on the Board of Directors for Hope & Main, another non-profit organization in Rhode Island.

Breawna Power Eaton, Treasurer

Breawna has worked in various capacities throughout her career as an educator, from teaching high school English to developing literacy curriculum to teaching English in Japan to students of all ages, from toddlers to retirees.  Breawna has studied both Spanish and Japanese, and she is currently a freelance writer and lives with her family in Rhode Island.  She was immediately drawn to Hooray for Languages and excited to join the mission.  She shares the belief that introducing children to foreign languages early not only sets the foundation for future studies, but it also opens their young minds to the idea that there’s a great big world out there to explore.  Breawna received a B.A. in Literature with a concentration in English Education from Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) in San Diego, California.  She also earned both a secondary teaching credential in English and an M.A. in Education from PLNU, and she received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University of Los Angeles. 

Tricia Marlar, Secretary

While living, studying, and working in Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Germany, Trish studied Bosnian and German and became a firm believer in the importance of learning other languages, ideally at a young age.  As a parent of two children, Trish feels passionately about the importance of making foreign language education available to young children.  Trish holds an M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law.  Trish received her B.A. from the American University, and she currently has a private law practice in Rhode Island.

Michele Zingara-Crotty

Michele fell in love with the Spanish language in high school, and she heard it all around her growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey.  She continued her Spanish studies into college and beyond.  She graduated from St. Peter's College (now University) with a B.A. in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish.  Recently retired from thirty-two years of teaching with the last twenty devoted solely to Spanish, Michele is now teaching adults in Massachusetts through the Second Half organization, and she advises on the Hooray for Languages curriculum.