My Story: Paying it Forward

By Nevaeh Brewer, Launch Success Coach and Treehouse Alumni

Nevaeh at graduation for her associate’s degree.

As someone who spent nearly a decade in foster care, I know firsthand the challenges and complexities of navigating this system.

I entered care when I was only 12 years old and started receiving support from Treehouse. During my middle and high school years, my Treehouse coaches made sure I felt heard, safe, supported and ready for the challenges ahead. They helped me learn how to budget, apply for college and scholarships and advocate for myself. These skills were essential for my success in breaking the cycle of foster care in my family. Thanks to their support, I was able to graduate high school with a 3.8 GPA two years early.

Nevaeh poses for a photo at a check presentation event with KeyBank, who awarded the Launch Success program with a $300,000 grant.

When I graduated in 2021, only 50% of youth in foster care were graduating from high school in Washington state. I am thankful and proud to have been one of them. I was able to then go on to get my associate degree with a 4.0 and am now working on my bachelor’s degree.

I didn’t get placed in a foster home until I was 17 – with six months left before my 18th birthday. Before that time, I moved from shelter to shelter, experiencing multiple placements and disruptions in my education and relationships. It was a difficult and lonely time. I then aged out of the foster care system at 18 without achieving permanency. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 23% of youth aging out of care did so without a permanent family just like me. On the day I turned 18, I elected to enter Extended Foster Care, which allowed me to continue receiving ongoing support from a case worker and access to additional resources until last year, when I aged out at 21.

Last year was also when I started working at Treehouse – I am proud to now be a Launch Success Coach. Because of all the efforts by Treehouse, it was important to me to give back.  As a Launch Success Coach, my goal is to support young adults with the same skills that I once needed, such as financial literacy, tenant rights, job applications and parenting support. Many young people age out of foster care without developing those skills. This part of preparation often slips through the cracks when the state foster care system, shelters and homelessness are tasked with setting up young adults for life after care.

Nevaeh’s son with her foster mom, who she maintained contact with after no longer being in her care.

As someone who has lived through the challenges of foster care, I am grateful for the support that I received and am committed to giving back by advocating for change and supporting youth in care. May is National Foster Care Month, a time to raise awareness about the foster care system and to support the 11,000 youth in foster care in Washington state. While the goal of foster care is to provide a safe and stable environment for children who cannot live with their birth families, the reality is that many youths experience trauma, instability and uncertainty during their time in care.

National Foster Care Month is a time to recognize the needs of youth in foster care and to support organizations that work toward improving the system. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of youth in care and ensure that every child has a safe, loving home and childhood.

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About the Author

Nevaeh is currently a Launch Success Coach for Treehouse and considers it a privilege to have worked with youth who have experienced foster care or homelessness. Through a trauma-informed lens, she has provided support and guidance to help these young adults navigate the challenges of transitioning into adulthood, while utilizing her lived experience to deliver a higher standard of care.  She holds an associate degree in social services and currently working towards her bachelor’s degree in the same field. This academic foundation has allowed her to deepen her understanding of the complex social systems that impact the lives of the youth I serve.

Comments (2)

James J

May 26, 2023

This is very eloquent in the way you wrote this article, you could honestly write a book. I love how you can give back to others in the way that you do, you care a lot. You motivate me to be the best version of myself & I’m very happy and proud to be a part of your life and journey thru adulthood, You’re awesome best friend. Keep up the great work in giving the kiddos and anyone else who needs it the love and support that everyone deserves. ❤️ Thanks for all you do and for being you.


Gregory Fuchs

June 27, 2023

I was grateful to read your honest reflective narrative and believe you offer so much value to our team!


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