We’re Treehouse Volunteers: Jeanette & Connor

By Jeanette Wartelle, Treehouse Volunteer

Since January 2013, I have been volunteering as a receptionist for Treehouse. Each Thursday, I answer phones, complete projects, and assist foster parents, foster kids, and anyone who walks through Treehouse’s front door. There are many reasons why I choose to volunteer at Treehouse, the first being that I feel very passionate about the lack of social services in general here in Seattle, especially for kids and teens. Treehouse is working to alleviate hardships that a lot of families have and has succeeded in their mission. I feel honored to be a part of that.


The second reason is personal. I didn’t have a ‘normal’ childhood and slept on many a couch during high school with my friends. Had I not had those friends to take me in, I’m not sure where I would’ve gone. I would’ve hoped that someone would’ve led me to find foster care or an organization like Treehouse. To go through high school with such instability is scary and painful, to say the least. So supporting Treehouse youth so they can have as normal as a childhood as they can, and succeed in school, is very important to me. I surpassed odds against me and know these kids can as well with the help from Treehouse staff.

A proud moment for me came recently when my 15-year-old son needed to do community service for his high school. He had several options and tried a few, but the one that stuck was at Treehouse volunteering in the Wearhouse. He chose to write a school essay about his experience:

“I finished up my required hours by working at a place called Treehouse. Treehouse helps foster kids up to the age of 24 in many different ways. I volunteered in the Wearhouse, where foster parents can get a certain amount of things for free, such as books, clothing, toys, etc. I helped restock the shelves, help people find things, and organize shelf items. This really opened my eyes to what is going on and I met and helped people who literally have close to nothing left. These are foster kids who come from many things, even abuse. Treehouse was great for me because I really felt that I was doing a lot for the community and for the people who need it the most, which is why I’m coming back every month, even though I have my required hours already and don’t need more. I tried a variety of different things with a goal to open my eyes to see what is going on and what I can do about it. I started out not being excited for it at all, but now after doing it and realizing what I have done for people, I am coming back for more.”

Connor is planning on volunteering this summer every Monday afternoon and is really looking forward to it. I’m proud of my commitment to Treehouse and that I’m able to share this experience with my son!

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About the Author

Jeanette Wartelle has volunteered as a receptionist for Treehouse since January of 2013. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with family, hiking and going to lots of music concerts.

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