5 Ways to Get Involved as Treehouse Reflects on 30 Years

By Janis Avery, Treehouse CEO

Treehouse celebrated its 30th anniversary recently, a remarkable time to reflect.

Our organization was founded in 1988 to fill gaps in the lives of children and youth in foster care. Little Wishes was our founding program, and Children’s Administration caseworkers applied for funding so youth could participate in community and school based activities, order a yearbook or class ring. The Board met monthly to approve applications.

Everything changed when a woman who was a CASA volunteer, foster parent, adoptive parent and a philanthropist became engaged in the organization. She made significant donations and eventually joined the Board. The Treehouse name was soon established.

The Board began to focus on expanding into education. When families had difficulty making it to tutoring appointments, we hired tutors who visited students in their schools. I joined the staff as Managing Director during these years.

The first version of our free store for youth in foster care had volunteers picking out clothing for kids using faxed-in requests. Youth feedback led to the first class store we have today, and our mission became: “Giving Foster Kids a Childhood and a Future.”

We continued refining our education strategies. In 2011, when we learned that King County graduation performance was the lowest in the state, we were ready to respond and launched Graduation Success.

As we look to Treehouse’s future, I continue to be inspired by the determination our youth have to succeed. I invite you to join me this holiday season.

Here are ways to get involved:

Host a Drive or Event: Visit treehouseforkids.org/holiday to get started.

Volunteer: Sign up online at treehouseforkids.org/volunteer or email [email protected] to schedule a shift in our store or find out about other opportunities.

Make a Gift: Mail a check to Treehouse at 2100 24th Ave S, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98144. Or give online at treehouseforkids.org/donate.

Give Stock: Contact Jessica at [email protected] or call 206.267.5116.

Tell Us Your Estate Plans: Contact Maurice at 206.348.5061 or [email protected].

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About the Author

Janis Avery has led Treehouse since 1995. As CEO, Janis devotes her time to promoting educational equity for youth in foster care through advocacy for systems change, ensuring integrated strategy and accountability, maximizing community collaboration and resource development. Janis has dedicated her life to improving the circumstances of children in foster care, both in her professional capacity as a social worker and in her own home, as the parent of two children adopted from foster care.

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