I’m Judith Yañez, the Founding Executive Director at RootED, and my work here is RootED in my personal journey of navigating the U.S. educational system alone. Through this work, I honor my parents’ legacy. My education was not enough to get me here. It was my parents’ humble beginnings, integrity and character, but most importantly, the wisdom of letting your work speak for itself, that enabled me to do my work today. These things still drive me. I am honored to make my parents proud and sprinkle their legacy in every family that I serve through RootED.
I thank the families that have trusted me in holding space, allowing them to be vulnerable. This has allowed me to listen carefully and see how often they feel powerless over their child’s education, just like my parents did. I must admit, listening to their stories often causes anger, grief and frustration because I can relate. But, slowly, I have done the hard work to heal those wounds, allowing the wisdom of my journey to unravel. What have I learned?
I have learned that education alone is not enough. Parents have to be actively involved in healing generational trauma and providing a healthy space for their children, including through school environments. RootED models this by creating a space where families are treated with respect and dignity. A place to be raw and vulnerable. Where they know, no matter what, we have their back. In doing so, parents know what it’s like to be treated with respect and dignity. We hope they will not take anything less, especially in education settings.
I have learned that focusing on achievement gaps is not enough. Families need access to experiences, high quality information and environments beyond their comfort zone. RootED walks alongside families into space beyond their perspectives and understanding. Allowing them to take risks, become curious of their surroundings while facing fears and breaking barriers. Because we believe these are essential skills to any learning process and a trademark for a quality education.
I have learned that parent teacher conferences are not enough. Parents must become experts in education and of their children. At RootED we believe that parents hold natural wisdom to guide their children’s development. Once a child enters a school environment, that wisdom is often replaced for content knowledge and educators become the experts of their children. We provide the space for parents to understand their child’s social emotional needs and who they are as learners. Giving them the dignity to have power and voice over their child’s education and effectively partner with school personnel.
When parents have a voice in their child’s education, great things happen. Will you join our story?