We are All Champions for Kids in Foster Care

By Jessica Ross, Treehouse Chief Development Officer

Wednesday was a big day for Treehouse. Honestly, every day for the past five years has been a big day for Treehouse as we work to ensure youth in foster care graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers with a plan for their future.

But on Wednesday, we chose to sit down with more than 1,100 friends at the 16th annual Champions for Foster Kids Luncheon and take a moment to celebrate the collective work done by our youth, volunteers, partners, donors, staff and community to achieve graduation equity.

Our CEO, Janis Avery, kicked off the program by honoring longtime volunteer Ann Huber, corporate partner PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and community partner Sacred Heart School for their amazing commitment to Treehouse youth.

Janis then shared a poignant letter she wrote to her two children on the 20th anniversary of their adoption from foster care. She painted a realistic picture of the challenges and rewards of being a foster parent. Many in the audience were moved to tears as she described her love for each of them and how proud she is of the adults they have become.

Angela Griffin, Associate Director of Treehouse Programs, took to the stage next to share some of our fantastic graduation results: The Treehouse Class of 2015 had an extended five-year graduation rate of 82 percent! This is equal to the extended graduation rate of all students statewide and 31 points better than the average for youth in foster care across the state.

All in all, this event is a celebration of the success and perseverance of our youth. Ishmeal, Fidel, Victoria, and Skyler, students in our Graduation Success program, each bravely shared their stories of strength and resilience.

At Treehouse we want for our youth what we want for all youth—the chance to have illuminating childhood experiences, to graduate from high school and to launch successfully into adulthood. These are the hopes and dreams the adults in our lives had for us. Collectively, we hold these hopes and dreams for everyone in foster care.

Join me in thanking our event co-chairs Sue Anderson, Annie Lombroia and Dave Wilner who teamed up with our very own Shaunessy Jones to create this amazing event. Thank you to all of the Treehouse champions for investing in the future of our youth.

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About the Author

Jessica Ross is the Chief Development for Treehouse and has provided strategic leadership and direction for fundraising and volunteer engagement efforts for the past ten years.

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