Treehouse Partners with Teens In Public Service for Internship Program

By Catherine Krummey, Treehouse Communications Specialist

Treehouse partners with Teens In Public Service (TIPS) to give local youth the opportunity to work at paid summer internships both at Treehouse and other area nonprofits. TIPS provides high school students with real job experience while also supporting nonprofits with additional staff during the summer.

This summer, Paul and Tara both worked in The Wearhouse, our free store for youth in foster care, while Brianna, a 2017 graduate from our Graduation Success program, spent the summer as an intern for Imagine Housing. They all wanted to share stories from their summer internships, including building leadership skills and learning more about their community.

From Paul:

At only 15 years old, it was an honor to be selected as a TIPS intern out of 300 applicants, especially for Treehouse, a nonprofit that focuses on supporting youth in foster care.

Being placed in an organization that I’ve benefited from in the past is what excited me the most. I remember arriving in my first foster home with all my raggedy clothes in a garbage bag. I had never played a sport in my life. My grades were poor and I barely went to school.

Treehouse turned that around for me. Treehouse’s Wearhouse helped provide me new clothes that I could not afford at the time. The Little Wishes program paid for me to play sports. I currently play football and love it. The Graduation Success program helped me set goals for my future and allowed me to stay on track in school. Before, I never thought I would get to succeed in school. My educational advocate and I are setting goals for college and beyond.

Going through foster care and being able to give back by working with Treehouse means so much to me. I will never forget my supervisor and all my co-workers. They taught me that I could have fun and be professional at the same time in work. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. Thank you, Treehouse, for giving me a great experience, and thank you, TIPS, for giving me the opportunity.

From Tara:

This summer, I was #blessed with the amazing opportunity to intern at Treehouse. Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

My experience as a Teens In Public Service intern has helped me grow a greater sense of personal identity and strengthened my aspirations to go into a career helping the youth. Treehouse is an organization that strives to create a community where every child who has experienced foster care has the opportunities and support they need to pursue their dreams. Its Wearhouse program specializes in offering a free store with clothes, toys and school supplies for the youth.

It’s been an amazing feeling to be a part of the impact Treehouse has. The effects are so tangible in the children’s faces when they shop in the store. There was a personal interaction I had with a youth that has resonated with me. Back-to-school shopping season has always been a major part of starting off the school year right for me. He was shopping for himself and finding the materials he needed for school. I could tell that he had a big interest in drawing and art, because he was asking for art sketchbooks and had a cart full of art supplies. We couldn’t find any sketchbooks, but together, we found everything else he needed for his artistic hobbies and back-to-school list. Seeing the excitement and happiness in his face is something that will always resonate with me.

I will take Gandhi’s words and use them as encouragement to the best of my abilities to serve others so that I may better understand who I am and who I want to be.

I want to thank TIPS, my supervisors and all of the other staff and volunteers at Treehouse who have expressed faith in my abilities as a future leader in our community. You all have helped me realize the importance of finding yourself in serving others. Thank you.

From Brianna:

It has been extremely awarding to not only serve in local nonprofits, but to serve in nonprofits that spark personal interest. At Imagine Housing, I did both hands-on and behind-the-scenes work that impacted the residents in not maybe the biggest way but certainly made the events we hosted meaningful.

Through the Farms for Life program, we managed fresh produce deliveries every Tuesday. That experience, the community meals we had at several of the properties during the week and planning for a big event that just happened about two weeks ago were amazing, but the most worthwhile aspect to me was working in a community where I grew up.

I lived at one of the 13 apartment complexes Imagine Housing owns for many years, primarily when I was in elementary school. After doing the property tours in my first week of working and attending my first staff meeting, I was so excited to share with them that news and that as a kid, I was never aware of the fact it was a low-income property. I remembered everybody’s kids played together, and there was a real community feel to this apartment.

I was ecstatic when I did some work there to see that it was very much true to this day, 10 years later. I cannot thank those who’ve made this possible enough, thank you for the opportunity to serve those who’ve served me. 

Brianna will be one of TIPS’ Intern Alumni speakers featured at their Annual Fall Luncheon on November 3 at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in downtown Seattle. In addition, Treehouse is thrilled to be honored with the Teens In Public Service Nonprofit Partner of the Year Award.

For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please check out the luncheon event page here.

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About the Author

Catherine Krummey is the Marketing and Communications Specialist at Treehouse. She is passionate about storytelling and excited to share stories about Treehouse through social media, blog posts and newsletters.

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