Who We Are
To cultivate social & emotional wellness through creativity and interaction with nature.
Our greater vision is accessible, alternative, and integrative mental health support that supplements traditional treatments and services. We envision safe space and equitable opportunity for individuals, community, and ‘āina to grow and thrive in unison.
We place particular importance on the inclusivity of those who are marginalized, underserved, and who otherwise have limited access to alternative healing opportunities like our programs. We help people overcome barriers such as financial strain, limited emotional support, and physical constraints to provide ease and opportunity for program participation.
The foundation and prerequisite for any type of healing is safety. Only once a person has gained a sense of physical, emotional, and social security, then can the healing process begin. We strive to create safe space within the physical setting and group dynamic so participants can engage in meaningful work and impactful practices.
Growth and adaptability
No matter how much we know or what type of experience we have had, there is always room (and often a need) to grow and evolve. We value participant feedback, listen for community voices, and commit to looking honestly at ourselves in the mirror, even if it's easier to look away. Through this commitment, we are able to better serve our community and ‘āina.
Freedom and empowerment
We recognize the vitally healing aspect of feeling supported, encouraged, and liberated. By creating space to self-express, be vulnerable, and be validated, people can embrace their authentic, unrestricted selves and contribute to society as such, lending to positive societal impact. We develop and deliver our programs with the guiding question, “What will make people feel most capable, inspired, and free?”
Aloha ‘āina practice
We recognize the unique ecosystem and culture of Hawaiʻi, and acknowledge the inherent privilege and kuleana (responsibility) of living and working with ‘āina. Sustainable practices that enhance and raise awareness about our environment are embedded into our programs and products. Though our work is local, we model how small scale efforts contribute to a healthier, harmonious Earth and peoples.
Aliza McKeigue Gebin, founder & facilitator
Aliza holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Connecticut College and a Certificate in Horticultural Therapy from AHTA-accredited Chicago Botanic Garden. She has a decade of experience in adult mental health, the Hawaiʻi public school system, and in child and family services. Her experience in residential, outreach, and day programs for adult mental health in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Hawaiʻi led her to establish Root & Rise.
She began her horticultural endeavors on an organic vegetable farm in Massachusetts, and then moved to Hawaiʻi island in 2015 to work on a diversified organic farm in South Kona. Since then, she has worked as a school garden teacher, and has helped develop and maintain community gardens and privately owned landscapes.
Most recently, Aliza has developed and facilitated ʻāina- and art-based programs at group homes for adults with mental health diagnoses in Kailua-Kona and for keiki and caregivers at parks in the Ka’ū district.
Aliza is CPR certified and trained in Mental Health First Aid and safeTALK (Suicide Alertness).