Our History

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

The Mission

Our mission is to provide young adults who age out of the New Jersey foster care system with safe housing, educational support, case management, counseling, and life skills in order to empower motivated individuals toward self-sufficiency.

Roots in the Community, Wings to the World

Founded in 1999 by Irene DeGrandpre, a CASA volunteer and New Jersey Hero honoree, R&W began in Morris County as a community-based volunteer operation. Intending to provide an intensive, life-changing program focusing on the empowerment of education and the development of critically necessary life skills, R&W volunteers established a residential program to support these young people as they transition from foster care to independence.

What started as a collaborative, community-based volunteer operation has grown into a well-established organization made up of professional staff, trained mentors and dedicated volunteers. From the beginning, Roots & Wings has been client-centered, providing nurturing support, safe housing, educational support and practical life skills to young adults who have aged out of the child welfare system. Roots & Wings provides a foundation for this high-risk population of disadvantaged young adults on which they can build – replacing dependency with self-sufficiency.

Today, we have housing in Morris & Union counties and accept young adults from all over the state. Through housing (RISE) and case management (FLY), we provide the safety net protecting our clients from the risks former foster youth face when left without support and guidance, greatly reducing their risk of lifetime poverty and hardship. Clients leave R&W having broken the cycle of poverty, abuse and despair that research shows often continues generation after generation absent intensive outside intervention.

All this, because a volunteer in her community decided to change the world, one young adult at a time.