A Message of Gratitude

By Janis Avery, Treehouse CEO

It’s the tradition of the winter holidays to recognize and acknowledge our blessings, share with others, and express appreciation. I have much to be thankful for. Uppermost in my mind is thanks for each and every one of you who are making a difference in the lives of youth in foster care in our community.

I am so grateful for everyone who partnered with Treehouse to ensure that youth in foster care experienced a magical holiday season in 2016. More than 1,000 youth and families picked out festive holiday clothes, comfy pajamas, and toys at Treehouse’s free store, the Wearhouse, and more than 5,500 kids statewide had the excitement of unwrapping a gift with their name on the tag—all thanks to you.


At Treehouse, we believe that all youth deserve the opportunity to experience a real childhood and have access to the supports they need to pursue their dreams. We are blessed to live in a community that shares this belief.  I am inspired every day by the generous investments of time, talent, and financial resources that help youth in foster care in our community reach their full potential.

Looking forward, I am filled with optimism for the youth that we serve. As you know, in 2012 Treehouse set a bold and ambitious five-year goal for foster youth in King County to graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers with a plan for their future.  This year, we confirmed that graduation equity for youth in foster care is indeed attainable. Nearly 82% of the Treehouse Class of 2015 successfully graduated from high school which puts the Treehouse 5-year graduation rate on par with the statewide average for all students.  Investments in innovation, accountability and transparency at Treehouse are effective. The Treehouse Graduation Success program is making an impact!


In 2017 we hope to broaden this impact. As you may recall, in 2015 the Washington State Legislature approved state funding for the expansion of the Graduation Success program to Spokane and Tacoma.  As the legislative session kicks off this January, we hope to once again partner with the community and our state legislators to expand this funding to bring the Graduation Success program to additional communities throughout Washington state. I invite you to join me in advocating to legislators this session. Your elected representatives want and need to hear from you to help them determine their objectives in establishing a biennial state budget that reflects our values and priorities. As a Treehouse supporter, I know you join me in advocating for a continuum of services and quality education that helps all youth thrive. To learn more and sign up for advocacy action alerts email us today.

Thank you for your partnership with us on this journey and for all that you’ve done and that you will do to ensure that youth in foster care have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I hope that you have a restful and restorative last few days of the holiday season and I look forward to the opportunities of 2017.

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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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Dee McQuesten

December 29, 2016



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