Treehouse YPB Member Moving to Alaska to Serve Tribe

By Jake Satisky, Marketing and Policy Intern

Despite growing up in Seattle, Elana Jimenez has always felt a strong connection to her native Haida Tribe in Alaska. After serving on Treehouse’s Young Professionals Board for a year, she is moving to Alaska full-time to work as her tribe’s first school counselor.


Elana has been a counselor for six years at Bellevue High School, and some of her students were in foster care. She learned how difficult and traumatic the foster care system can be for youth. One of her students moved 16 times during one school year. 

Working with these youth and their Treehouse Education Specialists motivated Elana to volunteer at the Treehouse Store. She looked on the Treehouse website to find more opportunities to get involved, and she found our YPB. Elana promptly applied and got accepted.

“Every single person working there has passion in their heart for the mission of Treehouse and partnering with youth in care,” Elana said. “Whether I’m on YPB or not, I know I will continue to be an advocate for Treehouse and support the organization in their goals.”

During her time on YPB, Elana co-chaired the Life Series Event—a workshop for youth in foster care designed to teach them how to prepare and interview for a job. She also advocated for a Native American Community Conversation after seeing the success of our African American Community Conversation.

“In the year she’s been on the Young Professionals Board, she’s had tremendous impact,” said Shaunessy Jones, Treehouse’s Director of Community Engagement. 

Elana’s life in Alaska figures to be quite different than the city life she’s always known. She’ll be the sole counselor for the school of 90 K-12 students. The entire village has 300 people total. At Bellevue, she worked with 350 students. 

Elana is incredibly excited for this new chapter in her life.

“I’ve just been feeling led to work for my people and my culture, and all the doors just opened up,” she said. “I feel like it’s more of a mission to serve my tribe.”

If you’re interested in serving on the Young Professionals Board, now called the Treehouse Ambassador Board, email Shaunessy Jones at [email protected].

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About the Author

Jake Satisky was the Marketing and Policy Intern for Treehouse this summer. He studies Public Policy at Duke University, and he worked at Treehouse through the DukeEngage program.

Comment (1)

Helen Rey

August 28, 2019

This is excellent news. May your tribe benefit from your compassion and expertise. And may your community support you and lift you even higher. Well done Elana and congratulations!


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