11.09.2016

Checking in With Tacoma and Spokane

By Angela Griffin, Treehouse Associate Director of Education Program Services

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This fall, we were thrilled to launch the Treehouse Graduation Success program in the Tacoma and Spokane School Districts thanks to a generous investment from the Washington State Legislature. I recently had the opportunity to check in with our new Education Program Services Managers in Tacoma and Spokane, Rodney and Ernest. I hope that you are as inspired as I am about how much their teams have accomplished in a few short months!

 

rodney%20robinson1Rodney Robinson, Tacoma Team

Greetings from Tacoma! I’m thrilled to get this opportunity to tell you about some of the amazing things we have been able to accomplish in our first few months as a team.  One of my team’s first priorities was to get familiar with the resources available to youth in Tacoma and Pierce County. We’ve toured HopeSparks, Oasis Youth Center, Pierce County Alliance, and Rebuilding Hope! Sexual Assault Center and it’s great to know about the additional resources available to our youth in Tacoma.

Equally as important to getting to know the resources in the area was getting to know the people we’ll be partnering with.  Tacoma school staff have been very accommodating and welcoming and we already feel like a part of their school cultures. Every one of my team members has been offered a dedicated work space in their schools where they can meet with students.

Another key partner of our work are DSHS social workers. In September, we were invited to give a presentation to a staff meeting for Piece County social workers and they have already started referring students on their caseloads to our program. We also shared about our program at the Mockingbird Society Hub home in Tacoma. This was a terrific opportunity to answer questions directly from caregivers and talk about the services Treehouse can provide to their families. With all of this support from local partners, our team is ready to make sure that youth in foster care have an equitable educational experience. Thank you to the Tacoma community for welcoming us with open arms.

ernest-henderson1Ernest Henderson, Spokane Team

Launching Graduation Success in the Spokane area has been amazing. A recurring theme that I hear when I talk to school district staff is that they want to help youth in foster care, but they just don’t know where to start. So, the enthusiasm shown by Spokane Schools for our program to help these youth has been encouraging. While bringing these new services into the Spokane area, there have been some logistical issues we’ve had to overcome. Luckily for us, Spokane Schools is committed to seeing that this partnership succeeds and have been working to meet our needs since day one. They’ve helped with everything from finding adequate office space for my staff to getting us access to technology and WiFi within the high schools, alternative schools, and group homes we will serve.

As we start our first year of service, our team has gone through many extensive trainings at Treehouse’s offices in Seattle and in Spokane. I believe that Treehouse has an industry-leading training and onboarding program, and my staff are prepared to hit the ground running at full speed. My team is energetic, enthusiastic, talented, highly motivated, and excited to improve the lives of youth in foster care in Spokane!

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About the Author

As Associate Director of Education Program Services Angela Griffin provides strategic leadership for Treehouse’s Graduation Success, Educational Advocacy, and Little Wishes programs. Under her leadership, the Education Services team helps foster youth unlock their potential, graduate from high school, and pave a path towards achieving their future goals.


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