The Get Rooted Youth Program (GRYP) is a program which aims to support youth in (re)connecting and finding their roots within their community and the environment around them. GRYP is for all youth, with a particular focus on underserved youth. The program is designed to provide them with a safe space to explore how they can become active members of their community.
Social isolation in youth has worsened since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. A sense of belonging is a human need, yet isolation only increases the chance and severity of mental heatlh issues, suicide, homelessness, poor academic performance, etc. in youth. Furthermore, many youth’s social development has been stunted due to studying from home, as well as the absence of critical social interactions they would have normally experienced pre-pandemic. Beyond this, in an increasingly urbanized and technology-driven society, people of all age-groups, but especially youth, are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature and the people around them.
The GRYP aims to address these challenges and bolster youth’s social and emotional development by “getting rooted” within their community. Community involvement empowers youth, creates a sense of belonging, helps develop positive relationships, and has shown to decrease “traditional problem behaviours”. The GRYP will provide youth with a meaningful and safe space that will facilitate the creation and sustenance of strong social connections, which will ultimately foster a sense of place. Additionally, the psychological and physical benefits of connecting and interacting with nature are well known. By helping youth to gain or enhance their relationship with the environment, they will also enhance their mental and physical well-being. Thus, the GRYP focuses not only on environmental and social sustainability, but personal sustainability as well.
Through a variety of after school sessions, the youth of Get Rooted will be equipped to be sustainable leaders of their communities today, and tomorrow!
The Get Rooted Youth Program will help youth to:
- (Re)connect with their community and their natural surroundings
- Make meaningful personal connections and become contributing members of society
- Develop personally by engaging with life skills and those in their community
- Learn to make positive choices for their present and future lives
- Build soft skills that are essential for their personal and professional development
- Improve confidence, self-awareness, and communication skills
- Create networks within their community
- Care for present and future generations
- Reach their social and emotional potential
- Become more curious about the world around them
For all youth, with a particular focus on underserved communities within Richmond to ensure that accessibility to personal development opportunities and resources for youth within the city are not pre-determined by the location one resides in nor the socio-economic context of their upbringing.
The Get Rooted Youth Program is currently under development. It is set to be piloted in the spring of 2022, in collaboration with the City of Richmond.
Primarily outdoors; the focus is to shift from in-class learning and engagement to experiential and place-based learning.
Through various after school sessions. More information to be posted soon.