Roots of Action - Your Research-Based Source on Positive Youth Development

Hello, I’m Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell.  I founded Roots of Action in 2011 as a way of helping parents, schools, and communities nurture positive youth development–the growth of successful young people ready to become caring family members, innovative workers, engaged citizens, and ethical leaders in the Digital Age. I’m a developmental psychologist, researcher, and coach to parents, schools, and youth-focused nonprofits. A fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University and author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation, I also contribute to other educational sites, including Edutopia and Psychology Today.

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At Roots of Action, we share resources that support a research-based framework of positive youth development. We also conduct our own research through The Compass Survey of Core Human Attributes, a collection of surveys for youth and adults that help identify the internal abilities we use most and least often, and how to strengthen them. Our framework, The Compass Advantage, reflects an integrative approach to nurturing a child’s mind, body, heart, and spirit. It suggests children need an interconnected group of eight core abilities to thrive in an ever-increasingly complex society. Offering a blend of stories and insights from multidisciplinary research, articles are written and categorized in support of the compass abilities:  Empathy, Curiosity, Sociability, Resilience, Self-Awareness, Integrity, Resourcefulness, and Creativity.

A collection of compass-inspired articles provide core content at Roots of Action, providing readers with materials that integrate the abilities and enhance understanding of the whole child. If you are new to this website, we suggest you start by reading Successful Kids Need 8 Core Abilities: How to Parent With Purpose.  Teachers and mentors will also discover articles geared toward the special roles they play in children’s lives.

Schools and nonprofits are invited to freely reprint our articles in their newsletters, following our reprint guidelines. We welcome guest articles from professional educators, social scientists, and recognized parenting experts who follow our submission guidelines.

How You Can Support Our Work

You support and elevate our work at Roots of Action everyday by practicing the principles of positive youth development in your homes, classrooms, and after-school programs. Your actions and feedback have helped co-create new ways to support youth and inspired me to continue my work and research well beyond “retirement.” In appreciation, beginning in 2019, all profits generated by Roots of Action support doctoral and faculty research in K-12 positive youth development and positive education through an endowed fund at Fielding Graduate University, an institution committed to advancing the fields of Educational Leadership and Human Development.

If you enjoy the content at Roots of Action and would like to support the future of youth development, please consider making a donation to the Price-Mitchell Endowed Fund for Youth Research.

With gratitude,
Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD

Contributing Authors

We’re highly selective about authors at Roots of Action and only invite professionals who share a research-based perspective on positive youth development. Please read some of the wonderful articles we’ve published by guest writers:

Rick Ackerly, M.Ed., is a long-time educator and school principal. He is the author of Genius in Every Child: Encouraging Character, Curiosity, and Creativity in Children. Read Rick’s articles, Social Anxiety in Children: The 3 C’s to Growth and Cheating in School: Learning vs. Mastery.

Mark Bertin, M.D., is a developmental behaviorial pediatrician, assistant professor of pediatrics at New York Medical College, and author of Mindful Parenting for ADHD: A Guide to Cultivating Calm, Reducing Stress, and Helping Children Thrive. Read Mark’s article, Stress Relief for Families with ADHD: The Value of Mindfulness.

Michele Borba, Ed.D., is an award-winning educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, bullying, and character development. She is the author of 22 books including her latest, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. Read Michele’s article, The Key to Success is Within Your Child’s Developing Mind.

Mona M. Delahooke, Ph.D., is a child psychologist and senior faculty member of the Profectum Foundation. She translates the latest neuroscience research into practical and supportive advice for parents and professionals connected to children, including those with special needs. Read Mona’s article, Child Development from Below the Surface.

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous parenting books, including Parenting Through the Storm: Find Help, Hope, and Strength When Your Child Has Psychological Problems. Read Ann’s article, 3 Powerful Ways to Help a Struggling Child.

Rebecca Eanes is the author of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide and The Positive Parenting Workbook. Read Rebecca’s article, Self-Esteem, Unconditional Love, and Child Discipline.

Joanne Foster, Ed.D. is an expert in gifted education and author of several books, including Bust your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate and Not Now, Maybe Later. Read Joanne’s articles, How Children Learn: Fit, Fairness, and Flexibility, and How to Stop Procrastinating? Draw on Your Personal Strengths!

Jennifer Fraser, Ph.D. is the author of Teaching Bullies: Zero Tolerance on the Court or in the Classroom and works with organizations to proactively avoid bullying cultures. Read Jennifer’s article, How to be a Positive and Winning Youth Sports Coach.

Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., is a Mental Health Counselor, Certified ADHD Coach, and Teacher Trainer.  She is author of 8 Keys to Parenting Children with ADHD. Read Cindy’s article, Parenting Children with ADHD.

Ondine Gross, M.S., Ed. M., is a school psychologist, psychotherapist, and author of Restore the Respect: How to Mediate School Conflicts and Keep Students Learning. Read Ondine’s article, Classroom Management Begins with Respect.

Brenna M. Hicks, Ph.D., is a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in play therapy. She is an author, speaker, and expert in child development and parenting. Read Brenna’s article, Imagination and Play are Essential to Healthy Childhoods.

Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert, and writer. She is the author of No More Mean Girls and The Happy Kid Handbook. Read Katie’s articles, How to Raise Assertive and Confident Girls and The Benefits of Play are “Oh, so Big!”

Nancy Kopman is an early childhood educator and musician whose music focuses on all aspects of child development. Read Nancy’s article, Developing Emotional Intelligence Through Children’s Songs. 

Vanessa Lapointe, Ph.D., is a registered psychologist and author of Discipline Without Damage: How to Get Your Kids to Behave Without Messing Them Up. Read Vanessa’s article, The Positive Power of “No” — Fostering Resiliency.

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, MS, LPC, GCDF, is a professional counselor and author of numerous books, including The Anger Workbook for Teens. Read Raychelle’s article, Emotional Health: 5 Principles that Matter for Your Child

Laura Markham, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life. Read Laura’s article, Sibling Rivalry: Helping Children Learn to Work Through Conflicts.

Susan Newman, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and author of numerous books, including The Book of No: 365 Ways to Say it and Mean it–and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. Read Susan’s article, Are You a People-Pleaser? Why Parents Shouldn’t Always Say Yes.

Steve Oshin, M.A., L.M.H.C.A., is a counseling psychologist who practices in the Pacific Northwest. Read Steve’s article, Positive Words Impact a Child’s Brain Development.

Rachel Macy Stafford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life, and most recently, Only Love Today — books about living life, not managing, stressing, screaming, or barely getting through life. Read Rachel’s articles: Managing Screen Time Increases Family Joy and 7 Life-Affirming, Everyday Ways to Love a Child.

Judy Stevens-Long, Ph.D. is an internationally known researcher in human development and author of Living Well, Dying Well and Adult Life: Developmental Processes. Read Judy’s article, Explaining Death to Children Begins with Loving Presence.

Patricia Wooster is a teen advocate and author of Ignite Your Spark: Discovering Who You Are From the Inside Out, a book that helps youth forge their own path toward personal identity. Read Patricia’s article: “What Am I Passionate About?” Igniting Your Child’s Spark


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