Future female leaders are growing up in our community right now. They are teen girls living with poverty, abuse, addiction. They are also strong, aware, and full of potential. They need a skill set, safe space, and adults who believe in them.
Root to Rise is a mentorship program for teen girls that helps breaks cycles of family trauma, poverty and substance-use disorder by teaching yoga and meditation-based skills to help them take charge of their lives. Participants are aged 12–18 and live in Turners Falls, MA and surrounding communities.
Our newly renovated community space provides the girls with a secure place to land between home and school. Basic needs are met through access to showers, laundry, healthy snacks, and place to rest. Volunteers offer homework support and lead fun activities that build community and self-care skills. Director Andrea Chesnes provides one-on-one mentoring and trauma-informed yoga and meditation-based skill building to support the girls as they connect to their own value and build resilience.
Care During COVID-19: Root to Rise follows all mandated COVID-19 protocols for masking, social distancing, and cleaning. Mentoring and activities are currently provided via one-on-one or small group Zoom calls. Showers and laundry are available to the girls individually on a sign-up basis.
Join Root to Rise: Want to partner with us? Do you or a girl you know want to know more about Root to Rise program? Email our Director, Andrea Chesnes, for more information. She’d love to speak with you.
Root to Rise makes its home at Root Studio, a newly opened community space built over the last two years with grassroots love and financial support from over ## individuals, foundations, and volunteers. Located at 51 11th Street in Turners Falls, in the heart of The Patch neighborhood, the studio provides a physical and emotional container where the girls can find support, build skills, and connect to their own sense of safety and strength.
The space is key to our program. The girls experience challenges such as going hungry during the school day, having no clean clothes, and sleeping in unheated homes. At the studio we provide healthy snacks and (seasonally) help the girls grow food in window boxes and learn to prepare it. We provide on-site shower and laundry facilities, cubbies where they can safely stow their belongings, and radiant heat ceiling panels for warm naps in the winter. We are not only meeting basic needs but providing space, supplies, and coaching so the girls can practice their own self-care and autonomy, which contributes to resilience and long-term skill-building. The community growing in and around Root Studio believes in the girls, builds relationships with them, and helps them create new futures.
Also at the Studio: Root to Rise is just one way in which Root Studio serves the community. Yoga, meditation, and community healing activities are also hosted in the space. If you are interested in utilizing this community space, contact Director Andrea Chesnes.
Root to Rise has grown out of the work and life of Founder Andrea Chesnes, a strong girl from a tough background. Growing up in Chicopee, MA, her school life included bullying, silencing, and unsupportive adults. Raised by a single mother, Andrea’s home life was not much simpler. In her community, the impact of poverty, addiction, and unhealed trauma was evident.
Andrea was strong and self-sufficient, but the only skills she’d been given were to fight or withdraw. The more she did, the more the adults around her believed the worst of her– too rough, too stubborn, too wild.
Through the caring intervention of other women, Andrea trained in meditation and yoga. She used these tools to overcome the trauma of her early home and school life and developed a deep understanding of how these practices create a foundation for self-empowerment. At Root Studio, Andrea is sharing that wisdom and building a cohort of powerful young women who can change how girls think of themselves and what it is to be female in this world.
Rise with Us
Community is key to Root Studio and the Root to Rise program! There are lots of ways to participate:
Donate: With a gift to Root to Rise, you help us to keep our lights on, provide remote mentoring and other activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and stock our cupboards with basics so we can meet the girls’ basic needs. Thank you!
Volunteer: Got skills, time, or ideas to contribute to our community? Email Andrea to discuss.
Practice with Andrea: Director Andrea Chesnes is a popular yoga and meditation instructor. She occasionally offers benefit classes and workshops, with proceeds going to support Root to Rise. Deepen your own practice and make a difference for girls in your community. Learn more here.
Newsletter Sign-up: Click here to join our mailing list! We’ll keep you updated on the Root to Rise program and other events at Root Studio.