10.26.2017

Volunteer Likens Treehouse to Family

By Trent Freeman, Treehouse Marketing and Communications

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Paula Rothkopf has always led an active, diverse life. An avid cyclist, she once biked the Baja California Peninsula—more than 1,000 miles—in two weeks. She enjoys gardening and even owned a landscape business. She has a definite artistic side that comes in handy decorating her house, and nearly 40 years ago, a torn anterior cruciate ligament playing soccer introduced her to her technical side.

“I needed health insurance and a desk job,” said Paula, chuckling. “I got hired at Boeing, discovered computers and fell in love with it. And that was the turning point in my life—tearing my ACL.”

She would go on to work 34 years at Boeing in all aspects of IT and most recently as a business process analyst. Upon retirement four years ago, she started volunteering at Treehouse—first in The Wearhouse, our free store for youth in foster care, and currently at the front desk.

“It’s such a good cause supporting foster kids, and it feels like being part of a family,” said Paula, crediting her longtime friend Sandra Wong, Treehouse’s Office Coordinator, with introducing her to the nonprofit.

Paula also is active in 100 Women Who Care Seattle, where she organizes events and oversees their public relations. The group gathers three times a year for a one-hour meeting, and then each member writes a $100 check—all of which is donated to a single organization by vote.

“What I think is cool about Treehouse is that there are a lot of aspects of a child’s life that you address. It’s not just the education—which is critical. You provide the clothes, support for extracurricular activities and even holiday gifts,” Paula said. “You try to offer a complete well-being service as much as possible.”

Her business and computer background has proven to be a tremendous asset at Treehouse. She’s helped inventory, assemble and distribute emergency preparedness kits; updated the documentation and resources for the front desk volunteers; and will be editing materials to support a major reorganization of files used to serve youth in foster care.

“There is more to come,” Paula said. “Working for a big company all of those years gave me opportunities to change jobs when I wanted to learn new things. That was a big benefit. I just hope to slowly help wherever I can using everything I’ve learned.”

Paula still bikes as many as 60 miles each week. It’s doubtful she’ll do anything slowly.

Want to learn more about volunteering for Treehouse? Contact Megan Meyer at volunteer@treehouseforkids.org or 206-267-5117.

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About the Author

Trent Freeman is the Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at Treehouse.


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