When you walk into Malibu’s new holistic wellness nonprofit, Roots & Wings, you might feel like you’ve walked into a cocoon of warmth, peace and acceptance. You’re greeted immediately with “How can I help you?” And a smile. There’s no request for a doctor’s referral or diagnosis. Roots & Wings invites you just as you are.
“We don’t care about any diagnosis or previous treatment. We take families who need our services,” says CEO and founder Jennifer Johnston-Jones, Ph.D. Having worked with parents and children in and outside of schools for 20 years, Johnston-Jones recognized that a new approach was needed for helping today’s families, who live in a technologically advanced and fast-paced world. Her desire to reach families in a deeper way became the impetus for launching Roots & Wings.
“We’re not meeting the needs of our children,” Johnston-Jones says. “Kids today feel isolated more than ever, alone and disconnected from their parents, and sometimes from the world.”
Root & Wings offers nontraditional classes that promote a new approach to parenting. The weekly “New Parenting with Confidence” class is taught by parent educator Estela De Wulf, who specializes in providing tools to parents with preschool-age children. “We sit on couches and chairs and start with parents sharing their challenges,” says DeWulf. “They also share their progress and we have conversations [about] what works and what doesn’t work. Then we role play, asking the parents to step into the child’s shoes to make a deeper connection.”
Roots & Wings aims to set itself apart from traditional psychological treatment facilities, offering sliding-scale fees and some free services. “We believe that everyone should have access to emotional intelligence,” Johnston-Jones says. “All of the profits from the classes here at our fancy Malibu center go to services for our free parenting education and teacher development.”