Roots jump starts a career for Aaliyah.

“My dad is a DJ,” said Aaliyah, “So, I was always around music.” Now a multimedia journalist, Aaliyah credits her time with Roots for the Home Team for dialing in her elevator pitch and honing her skills surrounding the passion sparked so many years ago, as a child surrounded by music. Her skills are in full effect on her own show on KRSM Radio, The Fly Subject.

“Aaliyah has an innate leadership aura about her,” said Roots for the Home Team founder Sue Moores. “Every time she’s offered an opportunity, she jumps. She’s fearless. She’s courageous. She jumps and opens the door for others to jump after her.”

A Roots youth graduate, Aaliyah now returns to the program as a mentor, “I think we’re in 4.0?” she said. She first joined the program through a summer job with Appetite for Change. Over the years she wrote salad recipes, assembled them at Target Field, and took part in workshops. “Much of [the Roots experience] revolved around post-secondary work,” she said. “How to get a job, life things. Sue is one of my favorite people and brought a lot of opportunities in front of me and others involved.” This year she returns as a co-facilitator bringing with her a sparkling, engaging and fun personality that connects her with the younger Roots participants.

“Roots was really the jump start of my career,” she said during a break at her other job at a Twin Cities area hospital. “They presented a lot of opportunities and were on my tail about a lot of other things.” Including having a solid elevator pitch at the ready at all times.

Dream it, then do after it.

One goal of Roots is for participants to voice their hopes and dreams, and then, as an organization to present pathways to achieving those dreams.

Aaliyah’s dream took form when she performed a skit as a radio DJ in 5th grade. She remembers her dad saying, “That’s what a journalist does.” She knew that her peers responded and that this was something she wanted to pursue. As a part of her time with Roots for the Home Team, she was able to shadow some commentators at the Minnesota Twins games and see real world examples of how those skills worked in a profession.

Exploring a career in journalism.

She went on to participate in a 360 journalism program at the University of Saint Thomas. Now, she does it all to create her content: journalism, photography, videographer, and on-air talent.

She’s proud of her time as a Roots participant and sees her success as well as that of her peers. “We all know what we want to do. That’s the magic: bringing that out in you. It’s kind of cool, we were all selling salads and now I see them all out there doing what they want.”

“Roots was really the jump start of my career. They presented a lot of opportunities and were on my tail about a lot of other things.”