Our Approach

Wondering Why We Do things the way we do? Read on…

TRASHformation at Nightingale Middle School, photo by Monching Flores

Cornerstones of the RuckusRoots Philosophy

  • Interactive

Why: Awakens participants to the reality that art, the environment and our social/community situation are not things that just happen TO us, they are things we can participate in, affect and even change.

  • Collaborative

Why: Fosters human connection. Working effectively in a team environment is not only an essential career asset, but also strengthens personal and community relationships, and emphasizes the positive impact that those relationships can have on our lives.  Collaborative efforts serve as an important reminder that when united in a common goal, much more can be accomplished that when working alone. (Skills learned: constructive critisism, compromise, accept critique, openly express ideas without fear of judgement, diplomatic communication).

  • Creative

Why: Contrary to popular belief, creativity is something we all possess and comes in many forms. Allowing young people to discover and apply their own creative powers to a shared goal demystifies many common misconceptions about “the way things are.” We want to instigate that “ah ha!” moment in participants that shifts learned (or assumed) thought patterns and behaviors from passive (this is just how it is) to active (I can affect my world and use my own creative powers to do so). Creative thinking is the first step towards this realization and change.

  • Empowering

Why: Exposing participants to methods and skills they can use to enhance/evolve artistic expression and personal sustainability will help them discover their own talents, and give them confidence and a sense of direction for moving forward in their own lives. It will also allow them to educate others and to become change-agents in their families, peer groups and local communities. Address problems instead of deny or ignore them. In regards to both creative expression and environmentalism our stance is “can-do” instead of “shouldn’t or can’t-do.”

  • Positive

Why: It’s not that we don’t acknowledge or believe the frightening and dangerous realities of our environmental situation. It’s that we believe the most effective way to address them is through a positive approach. Studies find that people who are optimistic or happy have better performance in work, school and sports, are less depressed, have fewer physical health problems, and have better relationships with other people. Further, optimism can be measured and it can be learned (Seligman, 1991; Lyubomirsky, King & Diener, 2005). People who report more positive emotions in young adulthood live longer and healthier lives (Danner, Snowdon, & Friesen, 2001) and in fact, physicians experiencing positive emotion tend to make more accurate diagnoses (Isen, 1993). In short, being happy makes us more productive citizens.

  • Community-Driven

Why: One of our most basic human instincts is the desire for a sense of community, to feel like we are a part of something. We are a tribal species, afterall. Margaret Wheatley, PhD and renowned author, speaker and educator about leadership and community, writes of this concept as a “great imperative [that] propels individuals out from themselves to search for community. Life is systems-seeking; there is the need to be in relationship, to be connected to others.” She goes on, however, “At the end of the 20th century this instinct to be together is materializing as growing fragmentation and separation.” Indeed, the over-scheduled, hyper-digital age in which we live undermines our natural inclination to connect with those around us. To combat this, our programs bring participants, local artists and local businesses together, creating open dialouge and a platform from which they can express themselves and address issues that affect their local community.