“Education is not a tool for development – individual, community, and the nation. It is the foundation for our future. It is empowerment to make choices and emboldens youth to chase their dreams.” – Nita Ambani
The Roots Foundation is building that future.
Through our work, we build:
Working closely with students and teachers, the team at the Roots Foundation is building curriculum directly tied to North Carolina educational standards. Our model is to introduce into the classroom a way of learning that is based on an active, hands-on, team-oriented approach. Together students and teachers select real life challenges, which are based within their surrounding environment, to study. They learn core curriculum in the process of solving the challenge. Of equal importance, working as a team, they develop critical thinking skills, they learn to collaborate, resolve conflict, and to communicate within the group and to a larger audience. They gain personal skills and build self-esteem. The process not only activates critical thinking, it is fun. We know for a fact, when learning is fun, students remain engaged.
• A Cadre of Volunteers
”It takes a village to raise a child.” The Roots Foundation is dedicated to building the “village”. In the course of our involvement, we discovered two needs – the need to assist our teachers and the need to build the school community. Our answer to these needs is to seek out the volunteer energy that surrounds each school. We are recruiting and building a team of volunteers to aid with these goals. We are recruiting parents, neighbors, college students, retirees and many others. For the volunteers active within the classroom, we are training them in the skills they need to do so. For our garden & installation volunteers, we are making sure they work with us in a manner beneficial to all.
When we started, we thought: “if we plant it, they will come…” What we have learned since is what we plant and what we install needs to be intentional. A beautiful schoolyard is within our scope, but of primary importance, if we build it, there must be a clear educational goal associated with it. In the instance of our first garden at Verner Early Learning Center, that garden is intended to be a source of food for the school kitchen. At Vance Elementary, the vegetable garden already existed. All our work there is to assist moving class lessons outdoors. We do this in a number of ways: building outdoor class settings, building installations directly tied to class projects, such as the Peace Garden irrigation system designed by the 2016-17 3rd grade, or the long-term plantings in the Edible Urban Forest, a school wide project.
A goal of the future for the Foundation is to build an endowment. This endowment will serve two main purposes: to become a sustainable funding source for the classroom projects and to provide long-term financial resources for our administrative costs.