Our Stories

“Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events.”
- William James

These experiences are shared by college-age Organizers, high school Organizing Fellows, and Teacher Sponsors. They offer insight into our culture and how each of us relates to our work.

Student Testimonials

Rhizome has shown me the power of community, and what can be accomplished when we set aside our differences and work together... I could not be more grateful for the lifelong leadership skills that my Rhizome family has instilled in me.

-Sady L
Ever since joining Rhizome, I have become confident in a way I’ve never been before. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to grow with such amazing people who I know have my back. Whether we’re joking around or building a serious conversation, these are my people. These are the people that have pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to mess up judgment free.

-Samantha R
Rhizome changed the way I saw optimism. Rather than just a feeling, Rhizome's optimism was deeply rooted in the way it carried itself through challenges, left every meeting with a poem, and extended kindness across its community.

-Jae-Hee B
Rhizome was the most meaningful thing I ever did in high school.

-David T
Rhizome has strengthened my belief in the power of young generations -- the work we're doing, the family we're building, it means the world to me.

-Allie A
Rhizome helped me grow as a leader and speaker. Before Rhizome, I was the student scared to ask questions and help. But Rhizome’s supporting community helped me become more out-spoken and help myself grow. I’ve co-lead a voter registration event that I never saw myself leading, and I did it because of how much Rhizome helped me grow!

-Lorena V
Rhizome means transformation to me. It is a testament to the power of storytelling and vulnerability to empower progress.

-Ella F
Being a part of Rhizome has made the best changes in my life. I have met many supportive, inspirational, intelligent, and kind people. Not only did I meet great people, but I have learned so much. I have set my standards up high when it comes to public speaking, presenting, organizing, communications, and many more that'll prepare me for my future career.

-Melanie V
Working with Rhizome has been so fun and really gave me a lot of hope for Gen Z in the future. I loved being able to educate my classmates on something I'm really passionate about and I'm so happy with the turn out we had… Thank you for this amazing opportunity and I hope Rhizome continues to grow and thrive and that you have even more success in the future.

-Amy A
Rhizome is a community that allowed me to find my own roots. It was a safe space that supported me when I was facing the most turbulent of conditions, and helped me realize my place in the world I wanted to change. It's one thing to have roots, another for them to be strong ones. Rhizome helped me bolster my own leadership, while surrounding me with the right people who helped me grow.

-Miriam A
Rhizome gave me the chance to organize my time, my priorities, and my relations with others. Being part of Rhizome gave me the chance to see what sacrifices, arrangements, and characteristics I need to have to become a successful leader. When I got the chance to host Welcome Calls and civic education trainings, I made mistakes, but I always learned from them with the help and guidance of those supporting me.

-Tamia C
Rhizome is a community of leaders; an opportunity to learn and grow my skills as an organizer; and a place where I, as a young person, feel heard in a way that other spaces do not allow for.

-Sofia A
Rhizome has been a place for me to not only connect with others but also get out of my comfort zone. It pushed me to learn more about voting and has pushed me to be confident in my abilities to organize events such as elementary school visits. Rhizome has allowed me to get more comfortable at talking with others and developing my personal story.

-Jamil F
The beauty of Rhizome comes from an atmosphere where you help those around you, and those around you help you… You can come to Rhizome lost, and while finding your place, you can lead others to find themselves too.

-Mikhael M
Rhizome and the work that we do within the organization is extremely important to me. Growing up I was always inspired by people who were actively working to make society better, and I always knew that I wanted to be one of those people. Whenever I come back from a voter registration training or a meeting that left me super inspired, I can't help but share with those around me how amazing it is that I get the privilege to do this work. Showing young people how to find their voice and how they can impact their community is an opportunity that I am extremely thankful for.

-Vanessa W
I loved how accommodating everyone in this program was!! Help was given when needed, and I truly appreciated it!! This was a wonderful educational experience, and I hope I can participate again!!

-Mikhaela H
Through rhizome I've been able to recognize the importance of many privileges I possess as a citizen of this nation and my responsibility in ensuring the change I want to see. It has helped me truly gain a passion for guiding my peers in forming their own identities and ideals. From the regional calls every Thursday, it was so amazing to see everyone's beautiful faces. The work we do is far from over but I'm so proud of how far we've come!

-Arsema D
Rhizome has given me the opportunity to improve my leadership skills by helping to introduce students into the world of civic engagement. Through this program, I have had the opportunity to interact with so many amazing students that want to help their communities and teachers that are committed to seeing their students succeed… It is people like them that inspire me to be a better person and leader.

-Eric F
To me, Rhizome is most uniquely defined by the support network and strong sense of community we have fostered. Although many of us have never met in person and even live across the country from each other, we are united by our shared passion for making the world around us a better place and encouraging others to do the same.

-Allegra S
Rhizome has taught me the importance of communication. After being frustrated regarding several social issues, I was overjoyed to join a community where I could voice my thoughts and gain new perspectives through conversation. I learned the difference we can truly make when we all come together. With Rhizome, I value the ability to work alongside such motivated and empowering individuals nationwide.

-Ishita G
Rhizome has given me a space for responsibility and action. When I did my first Train-the-Trainers event, it was so gratifying to see fellow students my age ask me questions about the voter registration class visits and be truly interested in what we were doing!

-Surabhi A
Our student network is formed by remarkable individuals. Everyone I’ve had the privilege of working with is altruistic to the needs of others, understanding of the challenges the country faces, and willing to put it in the work to affect positive change at the local and national levels. Through my time in Rhizome I’ve come to understand what it means to be an effective organizer. While our individual acts are powerful on their own, collective actions are where our talents and skills can truly shine through. I’ve come to realize that my work in Rhizome is a part of living whole and find myself inspired every day to contribute my best to it.

-Jeffrey C
Rhizome has helped me grow into a more confident, intuitive, thoughtful, and patient person

-Zoe S
Since beginning with Rhizome, I’ve been able to develop skills in fields such as communications, organizing, and gaining a greater general knowledge about the inner-workings of legislatures, local and federal. Rhizome fosters community where young people can work towards common goals and become family along the way. In addition to bringing together students, the mentors at Rhizome have offered unconditional support and patience in times of chaos and have always practiced kindness to the highest degree. Through this organization, I’ve gained practical and applicable skills and met family as I’ve done so. I’m so thankful for what this organization has provided me.

-Rachel M
Rhizome has quickly developed a safe and fun environment to not only organize towards a bigger goal of increasing youth civic engagement but also to freely talk about each other’s passions and personal reasons for doing this incredible work. This family environment is like none other I’ve personally been a part of and my goal is to create this feeling for future fellows to come. I believe that Rhizome will continue to thrive with the culture we are building.

-Alexa N
Being part of Rhizome is like nothing else I have ever done before. It's more than just an organization, it's a community where everyone takes care for each other even though we have only seen each other through a screen. Rhizome allowed me to grow in many areas of myself, I have become a leader for my region, I have learned how to promote care and values to a community, and most importantly how to grow as a person.

-Samuel M
Rhizome has been a place where I've been able to meet other young people who care about the world immensely. It is a nation-wide community that I did not know existed, and I am so grateful to have joined it.

-Elea C
Working with Rhizome has allowed me to find an outlet where I can directly work to uplift the voices of young people in order to jumpstart change. Rhizome is a place of friendship, trust, and community. The support Rhizome provides to its organizers allows both the people in it and the organization as a whole to flourish.

-Hiba S
Rhizome is the epitome of integrity in my eyes. This is not because we are all like-minded, but because we respect and try to work with our differences. We focus on our individual strengths and work from there. The greatest lesson Rhizome has taught me is that a leader is nothing without their team. Not everybody needs to take the center stage, and sometimes those people working "backstage" are just as important or more important than leadership positions. Rhizome has taught me that everyone matters and can bring something important to the table.

-Ana L
This is extremely valuable and necessary for the future of this country

-Alex M
I love giving students the opportunity to become more engaged with their community. A lot of people, especially young people such as students, find the voting process stressful and complicated. Through these drives we clarified the process for them and show that it’s not as intimidating as it seems.

-Angeline S
Rhizome helped me grow as a leader and speaker. Before Rhizome, I was the student scared to ask questions and help. But Rhizome’s supporting community helped me become more out-spoken and help myself grow. I’ve co-lead a voter registration event that I never saw myself leading, and I did it because of how much Rhizome helped me grow!

-Lorena V

Teacher Testimonials

One of the best ways to encourage civic participation among our youth is to have them take ownership. Rhizome’s program provides a pathway for them to do just that.

-Dr. Keith Astuto
This is a wonderful program, which both gives us the opportunity to encourage the vote, while tangibly preparing students to do so.

-Mr. Andrew Gottlieb
Working with Rhizome has been great because they educated and empowered my team of students to feel confident to make classroom visits and encourage their peers to register to vote.

-Mrs. Monica Toranzo
The fate of our republic depends on ALL OF US to take stock of the areas where we are lacking, and then do the work to fix it. I believe Rhizome understands this simple, yet difficult truth that there are no heroes coming to the rescue...we are the heroes we have been waiting for. Thank you for being catalysts for change. Keep going!

-Mrs. Rukayat Adebisi
Rhizome is a company founded from the heart, with a focus on enriching hearts, minds, and civic opportunities for others. When young people have someone to believe in them, they believe in themselves. When young people have someone to mentor them, they grow, learn to turn their ideas to action, and mentor others.

-Mrs. Donnetta Elsasser
I loved seeing the students gain confidence with every presentation they made and the genuine passion and enthusiasm they had for this project… Working with Rhizome made this voter registration drive run much more smoothly than in previous years, and I think that has everything to do with students becoming empowered as VELs. They were able to take ownership of this project and gained valuable public speaking and leadership experience that they will take with them into the world after high school. I am grateful to have the opportunity to sponsor my school's chapter of Rhizome, and extra-thankful that Rhizome worked with our school district for the spring voter registration drive.

-Mrs. Paula Kalakowski
Rhizome understands empowering students through civic engagement is the best kind of lesson.

-Mr. Jack Hart