Start Your Own Roots & Shoots Project
Written By: Florence McCambridge, JGI Canada Volunteer
Category: Youth Power
Since Jane Goodall founded Roots & Shoots in 1991, young people around the world have been working together to solve problems and educate others in their communities. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots equips young people with resources and training to help them change the world one community at a time.
“The Roots & Shoots program is a family and a life-long community,” says Sobia Mahmood. Sobia was inspired from her time in We Club at her school where she helped organize fundraising events to build a school in Kenya, a mobile health clinic in India and classroom water systems in Tanzania. She then participated in the Roots & Shoots Launch + Link Program, which brought youth from all over Ontario together with leaders, including Jane Goodall, Kathleen Wynne and Robert Bateman, to discuss solutions to social issues and design projects for change. From that experience, Sobia created the Awareness to Action program to educate elementary school students on plastic and water waste by designing a series of engaging activities, such as upcycling crafts with plastic waste, and hands-on water-waste experiments. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at an issue,” she said. “So I recommend breaking the big problem into smaller aspects and addressing a specific aspect of it.”
If you have an idea for a Roots & Shoots project, one way to get started is to download some of our resources, including a Community Mapping Guide and Youth Tool Kit.
If you don’t have a project idea yet but would like to get involved, you can always take Sydney Welsh’s advice and start by finding something that you’re passionate about. “When you are working on a project that brings you joy, you are more likely to exude that passion. People will see this and want to work with you and help you out.”
Sydney, a long-time vegetarian with a love of gardening (thanks to her dad), decided to share her appreciation for healthy, delicious food with other young people. With the help of the principal and faculty of Park Public School in Georgetown, Ontario, Sydney and her partner were able to get a community garden set up within three months. “Working with Roots & Shoots has absolutely changed my life. It allowed me to focus on what I was passionate about and create change in that area by giving me the tools I needed.”