Nuestro Futuro Foundation Grant

August 7, 2016

Exciting news!

Roots School in Haiku is pleased to announce it has received a $150,000 grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation to fund a new administrative position. Jennifer Oberg will be joining the staff as the new Development Director. The grant funds the position for 3 years.

“I have been observing Roots School since it started ten years ago,” says Oberg, former Parent-Community Networking Coordinator (PCNC) at Haiku School, and past Event Chair of the Haiku Ho’olaule’a and Flower Festival. “The founders Melita Nasiah Charan and Debbie Burnett Benton are dedicated, skilled educators, and offer a unique, student-focused program. The school board is solid and supportive. I strongly believe that more educational alternatives are needed on Maui and I’m thrilled that Nuestro Futuro is investing in Roots. It is a hidden gem ready to shine brightly.”

The small school, which has approximately 60 students from preschool to 8th grade, caught the attention of Peter Hagedorn and Miriam Trahan of the Nuestro Futuro Foundation, and they felt compelled to act. “Nuestro Futuro is pleased to award this grant to Roots School. Our foundation feels the school offers an important education option for Upcountry families. We are excited to be part of their next phase of growth,” says Miriam Trahan.

“I am so grateful that Nuestro Futuro recognizes the value of what Roots School is doing for the community,” says Executive Director Melita Nasiah Charan. “They have the wisdom to see that with more support, we can continue to build and enrich our amazing school. With Jennifer’s help, we will have the ability to strengthen our infrastructure, and work toward the purchase of a permanent campus.”

“Jennifer’s skills and experience will be bringing to our school something that is unprecedented,” says Mercedes Bate, Chair of the Roots School Board. “It is a precious gift to have her working alongside our highly qualified team at Roots and an opportunity that wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of The Nuestro Futuro Foundation. On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors, we thank them for believing in what this school offers for our students, our community. Together we will build a place where children really do come first.”

Roots School is an independent private school for students from Preschool to 8th Grade. Through our project-based approach, multi-age setting, small classes, and emphasis on critical thinking and creativity, we create a flexible learning environment to encourage students to develop their unique potential. Along with mathematics, science, history, social science, language arts, and foreign language classes, we offer fine and performing arts, physical education, gardening, student activities, and field trips. Roots School is located in the heart of Haiku town on the island of Maui, which provides distinctive educational and cultural resources. Our graduates attend high schools across Maui, and are accepted at colleges and universities across the nation.

Real Ongoing Opportunities to Soar (ROOTS) is a non-denominational, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation licensed by the Hawaii Council of Private Schools and the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services, and in the process of becoming accredited by the Hawaii Association of Independent School (HAIS).

For more information, contact Melita Charan at 250-7988, Jennifer Oberg at 757-5915, or visit
Photo – Peter Hagedorn and Miriam Trahan of Nuestro Futuro Foundation, Julie MacMillan – Administrative Assistant Roots School, Melita Nasiah Charan – Executive Director, Jennifer Oberg – Development Director. PC: Abigail Perrin