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Carlson CoWork
60 Carlson Road

(585) 802-0843

Rochester Roots: Empower citizens and communities, starting with youth, to create agency for their own sustainable wellbeing.




9:00 AM09:00

Sustainability Education & Entrepreneurship (SEE) Event

There is a great need to provide youth with opportunities to experience self-determination; to develop a growth mindset; and to build job skills and exposure to alternative career paths - all in a safe place where they can team with peers, teachers, college students and professors, business people, and experts - and to take an active part in producing something positive for themselves and their community.
— Jan McDonald, Executive Director

Rochester, NY has a sustainability CHALLENGE; it is the fifth poorest city in the nation, third for neighborhoods in extreme poverty, and poorest urban NYS School District – graduating less than 50% of its students. Grade 3rd – 6th students attending Rochester Roots’ SEE program have an entrepreneurial SOLUTION; they are learning about sustainability and entrepreneur-ship to become Rochester’s Changemakers.  Motivated to self-determine their own future, they are developing businesses to improve the sustainability and wellbeing of their community, including, manufacturing, services and educational games businesses.

RCSD’s Montessori Academy youth entrepreneurs will present their business concepts, research, products, and plans to a panel of judges and interested community members on June 10th. Through SEE, which includes the support of senior college engineers, professors, business mentors and experts, they aspire to develop knowledge and outcomes, including the potential of having viable, sustainable businesses before high school graduation. Criteria for judging is based on the social entrepreneur’s demonstration of research and development, critical thinking and decision-making expertise in developing sustainable businesses that improve one or more of seven community-wellbeing outcomes: 1) Financial, 2) Employment, 3) Education, 4) Health, 5) Ecosystem, 6) Public Safety, and 7) Sense of Community.


9:00 – 9:10 / Welcome – Jan McDonald, Executive Director, Rochester Roots, Inc.

9:10 – 9:20 / Introduction to Judges & Overview of Judging Criteria

9:20 – 9:50 / Judges and public preview student businesses. Judging begins.

10:00 – 10:15 / Rachel & Joey Gregoire – The Balm! Lip Balm

10:20 – 10:35 / Khiara Baldwin – Vermicomposting & Advergame Research & Development

10:40 – 10:55 / Yah’Tiara Wilson Lewis & Mikayla Taylor – Peacemakers Papermakers 

11:00 – 11:15 / Gadiel Pedraza & Enrique Santos – Seed Sifter & Vermicomposting Bin

11:20 – 11:35 / 15 Minute Break

11:40 – 11:55 / Blythe Fisher– Game of Bunny World Research & Development

12:00 – 12:15 / Areana Soto – Farm Market Rodeo – Recipe App Development

12:20 – 12:35 / Rusquel Ramirez & Quentin Nowden – Plant Racer Game

12:40 – 12:55 / Subash Rai – My Future Self Game

1:00 – 1:45 / Lunch Break – 45 Minutes – Judges meet to determine wellbeing awards

1:50 – 2:15 / Wellbeing award announcements by Judges

2:15 – 2:30 / 15 Minute Break

2:30 – 4:30 / Game Play – My Future Self


The Judges are:

Ecosystem – Rachel C. Guy, Financial Analyst, Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology

Education – James Palermo, Principal, Lakeshore Elementary School, Greece, NY

Employment – Mike Mandina, President, Optimax Systems, Inc.

Financial – Ira S. Miller, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley

Health – Monica Sullivan-Smith, Founder, Montessori Intervention Programs

Public Safety – Thomas P. Seager, Associate Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering & the Built Environment, Arizona State University

Sense of Community – Jennifer Sertl, Business Strategist, Agility3R

Student Judge – Dominic Dyer, Montessori Academy

The SEE game development is funded through the generous support of the Farash Foundation and managed by Ben Sawyer, Co-Founder of Digitalmill.

Rochester Roots, Inc. is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-33800-23983 and the generous in-kind and matching donations from foundations, organizations, businesses and individuals like YOU.


Jan McDonald, Executive Director

(585) 802-0843



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