03.21.2019

Treehouse Youth Finds Her ‘Why,’ Graduates High School Early

By Jesse Colman, Treehouse Public Relations Specialist

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Like many youth in foster care, Jade had numerous placement changes shortly after entering foster care.  She’d attended five different high schools—just by the end of her freshman year. Constantly switching schools led to far too many hours outside the classroom, and she failed that first semester. Her high school career was off to a bad start through no fault of her own.

The dust started to settle when Jade found herself in a foster home that was a good fit. They provided her with the structure she didn’t have before, and a more permanent placement meant the end of school transfers.

At the beginning of her sophomore year, she met Bradley Loetzke, her Treehouse Education Specialist. The stage was set for Jade to show everyone what she could do with the right resources.

Two years later, Bradley received a text from Jade that read: “Guess what Mr. Loetzke? I was accepted to the University of Washington Tacoma Campus!”

“I called her immediately,” Bradley said. “She must have been in class because it went straight to voicemail, so I just screamed for like two minutes and let her know how proud I was of her. I had to hang up because I started to tear up.”

With exceptional grit and determination, Jade went from failing classes to graduating from Challenger High School a year early. The transformational journey took off as she worked with Bradley to discover her “why.”

“Before foster care, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” Jade said. “I started volunteering with my foster family at an organization called the Wishing Well where I got to work with other foster families, and I loved doing it. Now I want to study social work and help youth that experienced things similar to what I have.”

Jade is graduating from high school as a junior. She’s on the honor roll, received the Principal’s Award for her outstanding GPA and was named Student of the Month. To top it off, she’s student body vice president.

“It’s amazing that I’ve had these opportunities,” Jade said. “My family dropped out of high school. I don’t want that for myself. I want a career.”

Equipped with the right resources, a powerful why and unwavering drive, Jade begins college next fall.

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About the Author

Jesse Colman is the Public Relations Specialist for Treehouse. He is passionate about building relationships, storytelling and community development.


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