Root NS

The Organization: 

Root’s mission is to provide youth, ages 16 to 26, with a pathway to employment and financial independence. Through developing life and work readiness skills, youth leave Root prepared for success in the workplace. 

Root’s long-term vision is to maximize youth opportunity through meaningful, skill-oriented employment; accompanying support services and coaching; and progress toward a living wage. Since 2017, Root has worked to expand employment and economic opportunities for young adults with barriers to success in Essex County, Massachusetts.  Through an emphasis on food service training and targeted life-skills development, Root has built a Culinary Training Program, award-winning youth employment enterprises (Root Café, Catering by Root, and the HarborPoint event space), and most recently a new initiative to help address area food insecurity through youth-driven Community Catering. Youth trainees and alumni employees receive culinary instruction, life and professional skills development, financial literacy, and, as needed, support in completing high school and continuing education.  To date, Root has graduated over 150 youth, generated more than $500,000 in organizational earned income, and prepared over 50,000 meals for those in-need.  Through its enterprises, Root has created more than 25 transitional employment opportunities for young adults and continues to expand.  


Root’s organizational core values include: 

  • Youth-First is our “North Star.” As an organization and as a team, Root leads with the interests of youth in our programs and our enterprises.  In order to prioritize young people, we create opportunities for youth to influence and improve our programs and their experience. 

  • Hands-on Skill Development Differentiates Our Graduates & Empowers Them. We believe hands-on skill development is the most effective approach to job training.  Providing youth with practical tools through our enterprises empowers them in the face of systemic marginalization. 

  • Team Transcends Individual and Collaboration Leverages our Individual Efforts. By working together and with our partners, we believe we serve youth and Root’s mission most effectively. 

  • Diversity and Inclusion Strengthen Us.  We acknowledge, respect, and embrace the differences within one another and the communities we serve. 

  • Big Success is a Series of Small Wins. We meet youth where they are and celebrate their individual victories as steps on their path to success. 


To learn more about Root, please visit: