Meet SnackRoots Founder – Sonya North!

SnackRoots gives parents and teachers resources for providing a safe eating environment for all children.

How We Met

Last month, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine which was to speak at a national conference. Besides a wonderful speaking experience at BloggyCon, I met some incredible people.

One of those people was Sonya North, founder of SnackRoots.com, a web app that creates shareable lists of safe snacks that exclude food allergens for classrooms, teams, and events; and Executive Director of The Stand Project a substance abuse prevention coalition in Columbus, OH.

She came up to me after my presentation, and we bonded over living a brave life, being bold, and of course, all things Oprah!

Sonya explained to me that growing up, one of the things she looked forward to each day was The Oprah Show. It was a daily window into a world of positivity where people rose beyond their circumstances and led a life of joy.

Oprah’s platform taught Sonya to focus on helping and to lean into her fears and problems because they are there for a reason.  She loves getting curious and finding creative solutions. SnackRoots.com was born out of leaning into her fear.

Sonya is constantly inspired by Super Soul Sunday and the SS Conversations podcast.  Learning about other people’s lives and how they have found joy despite many challenges fills her soul.  Her favorite books of all time, those that have been mindset altering, she discovered through the Super Soul platform.  

She is now the Executive Director of The Stand Project, a community coalition striving to prevent substance abuse among our youth.  This is a growing problem in Ohio and nationwide, and she’s honored to lean in and create awareness and programs to help our community.

About Sonya

As a young girl, Sonya knew she wanted create things to make the world a better place, which then led her to putting herself through engineering college by selling books door-to-door in the summer.

Sonya is the daughter of an immigrant, her father moved to the US in the 1960’s from India.

According to Sonya, that was probably the hardest job she ever had, and she still draws lessons from the “bookfield” today. Lessons of resiliency, positivity, goal setting and how to keep moving forward no matter what the circumstance.

She discovered early in her engineering career, she did not want to work in the field and moved into information technology.

Sonya worked for Procter & Gamble on brand teams creating websites and digital campaigns enabling brands to expand their marketing offerings online. Sonya worked for nationwide brands such as Crest, Olay, Charmin, Always, Tampax, and Tide.

After getting married, Sonya moved to Charlotte, NC and worked at Bank of America as a digital marketing manager. She’s always enjoyed working in IT and innovation, turning ideas into tools to make lives easier.

Children and Allergies

Sonya is the mother of three children and two are among the 6 million American children living with life- threatening food allergies. They are allergic to foods like peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, beef, and shellfish. Trying to keep them safe became a full-time job, so she transitioned from the working world to stay-at-home.

Finding food that was nutritious and safe for them was difficult and riddled with anxiety.  Sonya’s son had an asthma attack and was hospitalized before he turned one – he was reacting to her breastmilk.  When he was three years old, he nearly died in her arms after she fed him something new.  She felt there was little support from doctors and often felt paralyzed.

As Sonya’s children got older, they began leaving the safety of her home. As she became their advocate, she realized most people weren’t aware of the serious nature of food allergies. The media, movies, and comedians have turned food allergies into a punchline.

The status quo for kids with allergies is exclusion from activities, field trips, and snack time.  Raising awareness and promoting inclusion became Sonya’s mission.

SnackRoots is Born

Creating SnackRoots.com was a way to make it easy for anyone to find foods for groups of children. One in 13 children has a food allergy. That’s two or more in each classroom, team, or group.

As Sonya advocated for inclusion at her children’s elementary school, the backlash from parents began.  She volunteered to create lists of safe treats for anyone who wanted to include kids with food allergies/celiac.

As she continued to make lists for classrooms and teams it hit her.  If she was creating lists of nationwide brands, she could create a database that could be used not only by her community, but by anyone in the United States!  SnackRoots.com is now being used in all 50 states.

A Day in the Life of Sonya

I wake up around 6am, and get the kids ready for school. My daughters bike to middle school, and I walk my son to our local elementary school.  At 8:30am I usually hit the gym; it improves my outlook and self-confidence and is worth the investment. I divide my day between working on SnackRoots.com and The Stand Project until 2:50pm when I pick-up my son.

The afternoons and evenings are spent helping kids with homework, chores, and taxiing to sports practices and games. During this time, I am unplugged.

After everyone is in bed, I take a look at what I accomplished with work, finish up anything pressing, and make my to-do list for the next day.  My husband and I usually watch a show or read before bedtime, which is roughly 10:30pm.

Follow Sonya on Instagram: instagram.com/snackroots

Make a safe list for your child’s class, team, or group:  SnackRoots.com

 

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