“Can we watch it again?”

I had just shown the grade 6/7 class the video they had designed. They crowded around my laptop with smiles on their faces.

“Uh, sure… You really want to watch it again?” I asked.

“Yeah!” they replied.

“Ok then, here we go…”

I hit play.


One of my favorite parts of being on Penelakut Island is hanging out with the grade 6/7 class at the Penelakut Island Elementary School.  The kids are awesome.  And because they are part of ROOTS, I’ve learned a lot about the values behind the program.

The Penelakut Island Elementary School Grade 6/7 Class (watch the video to meet them individually!)

The true focus of ROOTS is partnership.  Tal and Tim are adamant about the fact that they are not experts or directors.  Instead, they are “catalysts,” engaged deeply on Penelakut Island to help the community heal itself.

As I have tagged along with Tal and Tim over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to see this philosophy firsthand.  They almost never make decisions about their work without consulting the community’s elders.  They make a concerted effort to be present at community events and do everything they can to get the input of the people they are there to serve.

Every decision ROOTS makes includes the input of Penelakut leaders like Mel Jack Jr., the Grade 6/7 Education Assistant.

The other day as we were visiting the grade 6/7 class, Tim spent some time planning a camping trip with the kids.  He stood at the white board, letting them list possible camping locations, supplies they would need, etc.

I honestly got a bit antsy as he waited for the kids to respond.  I couldn’t help thinking how much faster it would be if Tim were to just create the list himself.  But that is not how ROOTS works.  By his actions, Tim was making it clear that they were the ones making decisions, not him.

You Have Value

This is the same reason that ROOTS asks the kids to help fundraise for the camping trips they take.  The grade 6/7 class is pumped up to take a camping trip on nearby Tent Island in June, but to do so, they must raise $500 as a class.

By giving the kids this responsibility, ROOTS is letting them take ownership of their own development.  It’s giving them an opportunity to succeed at something difficult.  It’s reiterating the simple but profound message I mentioned earlier:  “You have value.”

That is why I am so excited to share with you the project they came up with.  A video designed and written by the kids themselves.

Sure, I helped a bit with the filming and editing, but this is their project.  And they can be proud when they reach their goal.


Update 4/10/12: The kids have reached their goal! $545 has been pledged so far.  But you can still feel free to give.  Every dollar ROOTS raises above the $500 goal will also go towards camping supplies, archery equipment, etc. and will directly support the work of ROOTS on Penelakut Island.

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Next Steps
    • Want to send an encouraging note to the class? Leave a comment below and I’ll make sure they get it.
    • Pass this video along to friends and co-workers (you can use www.worldnextdoor.org/ROOTS). The more people we can get involved, the better!
    • Pray for the Grade 6/7 Class as they gear up for their summer camping trip. Pray that ROOTS would do a great job of showing these kids their true value!
    Next Steps

About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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  1. Pat Pfeifer said... 


    April 13th, 2012 at 10:41 am  

    We love to camp and wish we were going with you on this camping trip. Your video was so interesting, it made me want to be there with you!

  2. JimM said... 


    April 14th, 2012 at 11:18 pm  

    Nice work class!! You guys ROCK!!

  3. Tasha Simons said... 


    April 15th, 2012 at 9:33 pm  

    I’m so glad to hear they reached their goal and even surpassed it. I enjoyed the video. Please tell the kids they did a great job! I recently finished reading No Time to Say Goodbye about children’s stories of the Kuper Island Residential School. “You have value!” is such an important message for these children knowing the history of injustice the First Nations people have endured. I’m so glad you went to Penelakut, Barry, and shared this message of hope and healing. ROOTS sounds like a wonderful program. Blessings, Tasha

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