Graduation Success Launches in Tacoma & Spokane

By Angela Griffin, Treehouse Associate Director of Education Program Services

If you haven’t heard the great news yet, Treehouse’s Graduation Success program is expanding in a big way this school year. Thanks to an investment from the Washington State Legislature, Treehouse is now providing our evidence-based academic support programming to high school students in the Tacoma and Spokane School Districts!

Over the past few months, I have been busy planning, hiring, and preparing for this expansion. We’ve added eleven new staff members to serve students in Tacoma and Spokane, and I’m thrilled to introduce them to you today. I asked them to share a bit about why they’re here and what they look forward in the year to come:

Treehouse's New Graduation Success Teams in Tacoma and Spokane

What inspired you to come to Treehouse?

“I have a passion to close achievement gaps with youth in vulnerable populations. I love that Treehouse is a champion for these youth and I’m inspired by how optimistic Treehouse is—to show that all kids are important no matter their circumstances.” –Morgan Orchard, Spokane Team

“All kids can succeed with a good fan club and Treehouse is that fan club for youth in foster care. I’m proud to be fan!”–Brittany Wells, Spokane Team

“Treehouse programs are rare in that they focus on education, but also don’t forget about all the other issues youth in foster care can deal with. As an Education Specialist, I like that I’m encouraged to vary the services I provide based on each youth’s need. –Jamie Cleary,  Spokane Team

“Being a grad student at Seattle University for criminal justice, I have found out how the foster care system and criminal justice system can intersect—and how that affects and displaces children. I’m blessed to come to Treehouse and help keep youth in foster care from falling into the criminal justice system with efforts from a remarkable team all willing to help youth reach their highest potential” –Bradley Loetzke,  Tacoma Team

What do you hope to achieve in your role?

“I hope to be a real life example to the youth I serve, I want them to believe that each and every one of them can reach any goal that they set their mind to. As the first high school graduate in my family, I had to create those skills on my own. So, I want to do all I can to make sure that youth in foster care have the support and resources they need to reach their education goals.” –Jeremy Van Dusen,  Spokane Team

“I hope to help youth in Tacoma to discover what their intrinsic motivations are, and how to become their own best advocates.” –Rodney Robinson, Tacoma Team

“I hope to be a leader for many students in creating a path for a future—a path that starts with education!” –Zemira Avdicevic, Spokane Team

“I hope to build trusting relationships with the youth and strengthen their ability to advocate for themselves and plan for their future.” –Danielle Downs, Tacoma Team

“If we can help youth navigate the difficulties and challenges they encounter and prepare them to identify and utilize the resources available to them, we can’t help but change their lives in a positive way.” –Ernest Henderson, Spokane Team

“In this role, I hope to shed light on students’ narratives—their experiences, perseverance, and achievements, helping them advocate for themselves while reducing the inequalities and injustices in a system that tends to limit them from achieving their full potential.” –Erica Chang, Tacoma Team

As you can see, our new staff are eager to begin helping students set and accomplish their goals for this academic year and beyond. We look forward to sharing our students’ progress with you in the year to come!

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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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