A North Carolina family of seven stopped in Blackfoot to visit relatives during a special RV trip across the country. The Babbitt family has been on a nation-wide trek all summer, but this trip is no ordinary vacation because the Babbitts are running a business from the RV in order to build bridges between families across the globe.
When schools shut down in North Carolina the family decided to take virtual learning to the extreme and bought an RV they call the "Bilingual Bus."
While the family stops at national parks, like Yellowstone along the way, this trip is about more than sight seeing.
"When COVID was shutting everything down, we opened this business up," says Adrienne Babbitt who is the family's matriarch.
That business is headquartered on the bus and is called Learn with Me Languages.
Babbitt explains from the bus the two adults, five kids and a dog connect native-English-speaking families with native-Spanish-speaking families "so they can do online language exchanges and we give them all the curriculum, all the hands-on activities they can do, so they can learn a language together."
The Babbitts are teaching all of their kids Spanish. However, they knew the best way to do that was by conversing with friends who speak the other language. Adrienne Babbitt took to social media to see if other families in North Carolina would be interested and a few dozen families joined the program.
Then the family took off on their coast-to-coast adventure and in the last few months the program has exploded.
"It's not nationwide, it's worldwide!" Babbitt exclaims, "We literally have families from Australia to Spain, and almost every Latin American country you can think of!"
While the Babbitts hope all the families participating will learn a new language, the program has an even bigger goal.
"We need bridge builders. We need people who are willing to reach out to people who are different than them," Babbitt says, "and when you speak just a few words of another person's language it says I don't think I'm better than you. It says I care. It says we're equal."
Learn with Me Languages is building bridges across the globe and also forming new families for immigrants here in the United States. "They're in a foreign country but they know that there's people who will be like family to them and that comes when you speak just a little bit of their language," Babbitt adds.
For families that may not know how to get started learning a second language together but want to, they can learn how to begin the process through a book new book the Babbitt family wrote. It's called Recipes for Family Language Learning.
During the nation-wide tour, the family will be giving away 2,000 free copies of the book at learnwithmelanguages.com (you just pay for the shipping and handling).