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To grow, we must first establish strong ROOTS.

At R.O.O.T.S. Youth Development Program, we’re proud to provide a caring and safe environment for your children. By following our mission, vision and values, we create a nurturing, stimulating and welcoming learning environment for all children.

We provide our students with the tools they need for future happiness and success. Our unique programs incorporate a variety of educational theories, while always keeping the child’s best interests in mind and allowing for hands-on, experiential learning.

Meet our team!


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Talon & Travis Holleman

Program Directors

Meet Talon and Travis Holleman, the Directors of ROOTS!

Talon Holleman is a wife, mother of two (Bella-8 and Emmett-6), Palliative RN Program Coordinator, and homesteader. Her husband, Travis, owns his own business, and runs the grounds of the homestead. They grew up in Baltimore, MD and have been together since they were 14yo. They both came from typical “rat race” lifestyles, working over 50hrs/wk, living to work, not working to live. Until after they had children and saw the world through their children’s eyes. They moved to DE in 2017 and began to create a life that they love and that they would be proud to raise their children in.

Talon and Travis like to travel, enjoy farming, are permaculture advocates, hikers, and are always pursuing new hobbies to try or passions to follow! Talon has early childhood education in her background; together they have been homeschooling for the past four years. Talon and Travis look forward to watching and helping children to grow outside of their comfort zones. They consistently apply the lesson of the day to real life experiences- whether through outdoor play, role playing, hands on learning, practicing the actual skill, etc. They enjoy teaching practical life skills, self-care, mindfulness, character building, critical thinking, problem solving skills, and student autonomy. Talon and Travis decided to homeschool their children to provide them with the necessary tools to live a successful, enjoyable life, while creating well-rounded, GOOD human beings. 

The ethics of permaculture is adjacent to their personal and schooling philosophies “Care for the Earth, Care for People, Share the Abundance, and Education.”

Talon and Travis are inspired by the characteristics of Permaculture to not only change agricultural landscapes; but to change the way children are taught (and learn), to empower children to better understand themselves, to build a community, to become better people, to learn, and then learn some more! They believe the power of a collaborative community can change the world (or the life of our children)!

They see this program as becoming not only a part of a huge family but being a part of a generational movement! They want children to learn how to live self-sufficiently!

Their vision for this program is to be able to offer it to ALL children, including those in Foster Care/underprivileged, through scholarships. They have begun partnering with other youth groups, small businesses, libraries, and more to increase community outreach efforts.

Talon and Travis will be present during workshops, helping, teaching, directing, and Talon will be teaching yoga classes etc. They look forward to building a relationship with you and your children!!

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Rhonda Cipolla

Growth Coordinator

Meet Rhonda McDowell Cipolla, our Pioneers' Group Leader (ages 7-12yo); Growth Coordinator! 

Rhonda McDowell Cipolla is a wife, mother, student, teacher, and explorer of new things. Rhonda and her husband, Dominic, have been married for 11 years and own a construction and flooring business. Rhonda and Dominic have been foster parents in Delaware for 6 years and they have fostered 12 children from newborn to 18-years of age. They have two biological children and two children they have adopted from foster care; Rhonda is expecting their fifth child in April of 2022. Rhonda holds a bachelors from Stayer University in Business Administration and an MBA with a focus on Human Resource Management. Rhonda is also halfway through her doctoral journey with Regent University in Organizational Leadership. Rhonda is the President of the Sussex County Foster Parent Association, a 501-C organization focused on youth in foster care in Sussex County, Delaware. Rhonda is passionate about people, both big and small and developing skills and characteristics to help individuals grow.

Rhonda enjoys cooking with her children, reading books, speaking at various events, volunteer work, writing and reading about transformational leadership practices, learning about growing her own fruits and vegetables, and planting new and different pollinator flowers throughout the spring and summer; she’s also quite excelled at killing all kinds of indoor plants! Rhonda has published articles on foster care, transformational leadership, and several exegetical studies of women in leadership in the Old Testament.

Rhonda began homeschooling her first-born son four years ago when he was in PreK-3 and has continued homeschooling since. Rhonda and Dominic decided to homeschool because they found there was no school available to their children that would meet their desires of schooling: by meeting their children where they were academically, having creative and alternative methods of teaching, providing generous flexibility to allow their family to explore, and most importantly, a school that was committed to not only teaching core subjects but to teaching “little” people to become well-rounded “big” people.

Rhonda believes in the power of providing children with all of the life skills and practical advice we can so they will grow into children who love to explore, who can find ways to solve problems, think critically, and be independent. The addition of practical life lessons has begun to transform her children into little people who want to do “farm work”, who enjoy learning how (and why) composting works, what and when we should plant different vegetables, fruits, and flowers, and who have a growing curiosity of the world around them. Rhonda is excited to be the leading the Pioneers Group/teaching Pathfinders; while learning, growing, cultivating, and developing together.

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Tracey Cannatelli

Teacher and Yoga Instructor (Children & Adults)

Tracey Cannatelli, a Mid-Western native, is a wife and new mother to her son Atticus & new kitten Luigi.  Before meeting her husband and planting roots in his hometown here in DE, she lived and worked all over.  From Chicago and D.C. to Africa, Korea, China and Mexico, Tracey has dedicated her life to teaching and learning wherever she goes.

Tracey studied EDU Leadership & Policy, earning her M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction.  Tracey holds teaching licenses in both Early Childhood Education as well as K-12 Special Education and has taught all ages from preschool through undergraduates to mentoring and training future & veteran teachers around the world.  She enjoys fitness and sunny, outdoor activities, holding certifications in personal training, group fitness instruction, yoga vinyasa and ashtanga 1st & 2nd series teaching.

Throughout her career she has come to learn the importance of play and mindfulness in young children’s lives.  In search for nature school options for her own son, Tracey discovered Grounded ROOTS.  Upon learning about the ROOTS’ yoga program, she was eager to combine her teaching knowledge with her passion for health & fitness and join our team!


Autumn Potter 

Yoga Instructor (Children & Adults)

A note from Autumn Potter: 

Hi everyone!!! 

Im very excited to share I’ll be joining the ROOTS team. Ive always been the type of person people say kids gravitate towards and I consider myself a child at heart. I’m a personal trainer and yoga teacher as my full time career but my heart misses the time I spent after college working at Disney world making kids smile. Since I was young, I have had an educational roll of some sort whether it was tutoring, instructing martial arts and then yoga and group exercise. I’m continually learning but to date I hold a B.S. in Kinesiology which is essentially the science of how the body moves from early childhood to old age and two 200 hour yoga certifications. I’ve been through all of the childcare training at a YMCA where I used to live and do all of this because I have fun doing it. I look forward to creating lasting memories and experiences for all of the kids I meet through ROOTS and look forward to connecting with you soon. 


Lisa Swanger

Yoga Instructor (Children & Adults)

Meet Lisa! 

Lisa Swanger is an environmentalist, traveler, and rising yoga teacher living in Lewes, DE with her husband, son, and two rescue dogs. Her personal motto is “live with intention and do good.” What inspired Lisa to expand her personal yoga practice and teach was a natural force—a hurricane. Yes, really. In response to the 2017 hurricane that made landfall in Puerto Rico near "Dead Dog Beach"—nicknamed because dogs are often abandoned there—Lisa approached her favorite yoga studio while living in SC to coordinate DOGA (dog yoga) classes to raise much-needed funds for the Sato Project, an animal rescue group in Puerto Rico. It was these meaningful (and adorably hilarious) classes that energized Lisa to receive her 200-hour YTT certification through Uplifted Yoga in order to continue to coordinate and teach classes in the service of something greater than herself.


Lisa has a Master’s of Science degree from Oregon State University, specializing in environmental education. She holds 15+ years’ experience engaging with people of all ages—youth to adult—and is excited to infuse her environmental and yoga passions at Grounded ROOTS Yoga to continue to “do good” for both people and nature. 

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