Today, both Jesse and Shane are students at the University of Minnesota; Jesse is in his third year of medical school and Shane is working with animals as an Animal Health Supervisor. “Anything with animals will be what my aim in life will be towards. Whether that be moving somewhere with awesome wildlife in my backyard, or working for a great zoo, or shelter or protecting animals in the wild,” Shane shared, “Roots & Shoots has encouraged me to continue to do things with a bigger picture in mind.”
Jesse, who is a co-founder of Vetiver Solutions, an organization that works within rural Haiti working to benefit the community, the environment, and other animals, shared similar sentiments: “Roots & Shoots has had a massive impact on my life, especially when it came to starting my own organization. Starting a Roots & Shoots group really empowered me to not be afraid to start something new and to take a stand on things that I truly believe in.” Jesse and Shane hope that this effort will continue to expand, giving scholarships to more inspirational students in their community.
When asked the advice they would give young change makers, Shane West responded; “The truth is a lot of the time we don’t notice the difference we are making on others. So, I would encourage all to pursue what they believe in, you are already unique and different and so as long as you pursue what you believe in, I believe you will make a difference.” Jesse added “Anyone can make a difference! I have three pieces of advice: First is to surround yourself with people you trust… Second is don’t be afraid to fail…. Finally, my biggest piece of advice is to choose something you are passionate about and just start it, even if you don’t feel like you’re ready”.
With strong roots and innovative ideas, these two incredible Roots & Shoots members have created a legacy of change in their community. Their story embodies the message Dr. Jane spreads all over the world; “Every individual has a role to play, and every individual can make a difference. We all have a choice, what sort of difference do you want to make?”
This story was written by former program coordinator for Roots & Shoots USA, Amanda Ketterer.