Overcoming Barriers with Launch Success

By Linsey Hunt, Marketing & Communications Intern

Young adults in our Launch Success program have had lots to do this year on top of navigating a global pandemic. Applying for housing, attending college and figuring out finances have been some of the major themes.

Precious, a Launch Success participant, is in her second year of community college. A STEM major, she is living on campus and became a Resident Advisor in December. When COVID hit, the hotel where she worked laid her off. Things got financially tight over the summer, and when her financial aid was late for fall, she started to panic.

She worked with her Treehouse Launch Success Coach and the Passport Team on campus to pay for books and tuition until aid was released. Before getting the Resident Advisor position, she found a part-time job at a grocery store to provide extra income.

Precious consistently works hard to keep her grades up. Her goal is to transfer to the University of Washington and earn her engineering degree. Her Launch Success Coach said she has no doubt that she will succeed!

Meena recently took her little sister in because she had no place to live. She has been juggling work with the responsibility of taking care of a household and her little sister, so she reached out to her Treehouse Launch Success Coach to see if she could get some assistance, and they talked about budgeting. We also provided a gift card to Target to purchase some household items and a grocery card to stock the fridge.

Adam is a sophomore at the University of Washington studying graphic design. He is enjoying all his classes but says he misses the interactions that used to take place before the pandemic started. He is finding new ways to connect with other students through online study groups, trivia nights and gaming.

Flora has been working to get housing since she turned 18 in October. She very wisely planned some couch stays with friends for the fall and winter, but has been anxious to have her own room and space. She let her Treehouse Launch Success Coach know that this was her highest priority, and they spent many hours together searching the internet, talking through the process, making phone calls and filling out applications. Because of her age, limited income, and lack of cosigners, Flora was turned away from many units, but she persisted.

These past few months, she became more confident in making phone calls and scheduling viewings to ask questions of property managers. In January, she surprised her Launch Success coach by filling out an application all on her own. And they both celebrated when she and her roommate were approved to move in early February! Her coach connected Flora with an organization who can help with move-in costs, and they are now making plans for how to get Flora the furniture and house supplies that she’ll need.

Bastian wanted to go to school, but was struggling to move forward because of all the life stressors on him as a young immigrant in the midst of the global pandemic. He has been working hard to take care of his legal paperwork, physical and mental health and basic living expenses. Recently, though, he had a conversation with his Treehouse Launch Success Coach, who helped him think through some of the barriers standing between him and his desired career path.

After helping him to get a computer, introducing him to the staff at his college and explaining what financial aid and other resources would be available to him, his coach sent encouraging texts and reminders. He is now fully enrolled in his dream program, taking care of his prerequisites and is looking forward to some on-campus-hybrid learning.

Edwardo is a Launch Success participant who had to overcome a lot of obstacles this year. Between school and work, he had to make some major adjustments. First, due to the pandemic, his college campus was closed and all classes are now online only. Because of this, he lost his work study job in one of the on-campus kitchens and has had a hard time finding employment.

In order to supplement his income, his Launch Success Coach referred him to Together We Rise, and they were able to provide rental assistance. Treehouse Just-in-Time Funding was used to provide Edwardo with gift cards for grocery and gas assistance as well. Because of this help, Edwardo has been able to focus his energy on school and completing his first semester of digital learning.

We provide AAA memberships to eligible youth in our Driver’s Assistance program. One of our Launch Success participants had to use his AAA membership earlier this year when he purchased a car and the engine blew. AAA was able to tow the car free of charge! The participant told us he wants us to know how much he appreciates AAA.

The past year has brought on a lot of unexpected life changes for Destiny, one of our Launch Success participants, but she has tackled them all extremely well by working with not just Treehouse but accessing our partnerships with other organizations. We were able to help Destiny move into her own apartment with assistance from her Independent Living Program and Northwest Furniture Bank.

Treehouse Just-in-Time Funding was used to pay for the furniture delivery and a gift card to prepare for her baby on the way. Now her place is fully furnished as she waits for her baby to arrive. Destiny also decided to attend college and just wrapped up her first semester with a 3.0 GPA! None of this would have been possible without the wrap-around support she received when she needed it most.

Brianna graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University in March! She worked with a math tutor in the summer and fall to help her prepare for her last math course, and she can’t wait to further develop her career in the nonprofit or advocacy field. Her lived experience in foster care and her hopeful attitude will soon benefit an awesome organization in the Seattle area.

Please join us from 4-5 p.m. June 15 for our Graduation Spotlight! You will hear directly from some of our 2021 graduates about what graduation means to them. Register now at treehouseforkids.org/gradspotlight.

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About the Author

Linsey is the Marketing & Communications Intern at Treehouse. She is a graduate student at Seattle Pacific University, where she is studying to become a Marriage and Family Therapist with a focus on adolescents and young adults.

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