Treehouse Board Chair a Dedicated Public Servant: ‘It’s All About the Kids’

By Michelle Ocampo McIvor, Special to Treehouse

When Nick Brown joined Treehouse in 2014, he didn’t foresee the weighty challenges the organization would face six years later. Treehouse, like so many others, has had to evolve while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten global health and the economy while igniting many social equity concerns.

But these are just the sorts of challenges that Nick, now Board Chair, is well-equipped to tackle as a former Army JAG attorney and dedicated public servant determined to develop equitable policies.

“Sounds silly, but I always try to be kind,” he said. “It’s the way I try to live my life, and it’s the way Treehouse functions as an organization.”

Nick became involved with Treehouse while working with other young professionals at Seattle Works. As part of his service, he attended Treehouse’s annual Champions Luncheon, then began volunteering with the organization and was later asked to join the Board of Directors.

“As the pandemic ravages communities and forces restrictions on services, I worry about both the immediate and the long-term impacts on youth in foster care,” Nick said. “One of the areas I’d like to see us tackle is what happens when youth are no longer in school. Our programs work well for students who are still attending classes, but what about when they’re not? We must figure out how to best support all youth.”

Despite his concerns, he remains an optimistic voice and is excited about how Treehouse has adapted during the pandemic, such as shifting to remote strategies for Graduation Success, Launch Success and Educational Advocacy. The Treehouse Store also is now shipping clothing and other essential items statewide. Previously, the Store was primarily accessible to King County residents since it required in-person shopping in Seattle.

“The staff and volunteers have persevered through an extremely difficult time as they keep our youth centered in everything we do. It’s all about the kids,” Nick said.

His commitment to public service stems from his parents’ involvement and belief in giving back to the community. His father was a career military officer, then retired and worked for the State Department of Health and later for a community college. His mother was a nurse in the military, then transitioned to working for the Department of Health and later as a dean at Tacoma Community College.

Treehouse isn’t the only cause Nick supports. He serves on several boards including Campaign for Equal Justice, an organization that provides legal aid.

He enjoys being part of expanding Treehouse’s influence, representation and geographical scope.

“I love it when we lead in addressing some of the root causes that push youth into foster care, such as poverty, inequity and housing instability,” he said.

Be a voice for youth in foster care. Join our Advocacy Action Center at treehouseforkids.org/advocacy.

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About the Author

Michelle Ocampo McIvor was born in the Philippines, raised in Toronto, Canada, and currently lives in Seattle. After a career in technology, Ocampo McIvor has returned to her roots to follow her calling in literature. She is the author of “Ugly Things We Hide.”

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