Our school-based program is designed to support the social and emotional needs of at-risk youth. We integrate our program within the school, customizing a referral system whereby students can be identified and referred to the Roots Program Coordinator who is a masters level trained mental health therapist assigned to the school site for the entire school year. The therapist spends two days per week at the school, dividing their time between the regular school day and after school program. During the regular school day, the therapist meets individually with students, conducting assessments of their needs. These students are, then, invited to join the Roots Groups, and are referred, as needed, to support services available at the school and in the community, such as tutoring, ongoing individual counseling, job readiness programs, mentoring, and other after school enrichment activities.

The Roots Groups are facilitated by the Roots Program Coordinator (therapist), meeting after school one to two times per week for 60-90 minutes per session. They give students a supportive opportunity to focus on developing positive self-esteem, stress management, improving communication skills, making helpful decisions, setting goals, developing healthy coping skills, establishing boundaries, and much more. The groups are open, allowing new students to join at any point throughout the school year, and maintain an attendance of 10-15 students per group. We combine our approach with enrichment activities that expose participating youth to experiences that support their growth, such as hiking, art, dance events, musical performances, college trips, service-learning projects, spoken word, meditation, leadership training and more.

This model has been structured to work within the guidelines of the California Department of Education after school grant funding, so schools can use their after school funding to provide up to 8 hours per day of social and emotional support services to students in need. There are many other funding sources that can be utilized to implement the Roots Model at school sites.

Enrichment Activities

Parent Support Groups

Expected Outcomes

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