The Wilson Family Discovers the Joy of the Season

By Kintisha Williams, Treehouse Development Coordinator

A few years ago, Julie Wilson and her daughters Julia and Grace (now 10 and 12) first learned about Treehouse when they participated in a back-to-school donation drive in their community. Curious about where the donations were going, Julie signed her family up for a holiday helper volunteer shift in the Wearhouse, Treehouse’s free store for youth in foster care.

Julia and Grace

“The Wearhouse team did a great job of explaining to my daughters what foster care was. It was a really eye opening experience for our family,” Julie shared. “It was the first time it dawned on my children that there are kids in our community who not only have to be away from their biological families every day, but also during traditional times of celebration like Christmas.”

The next year, when the Wilsons began talking about their own Christmas plans, the conversation quickly turned into a family brainstorming session about how they could do more as a family for Treehouse kids. After their eye-opening experience in the Wearhouse, the family decided to host their own holiday donation drive. Once they agreed on a fundraising goal-an ambitious $1500-Julia and Grace decided to kick off their drive by giving up some of their own holiday gifts. The girls called up their large extended family to tell them the news and requested that family members donate a portion of what they would have spent on Christmas gifts for them to their Treehouse drive instead.

To encourage local friends and family to participate, Julia and Grace hosted a holiday cookie decorating extravaganza. They invited friends and family over to their house to decorate hundreds of sugar cookies with bright frostings and every topping imaginable. In return, they asked the guests consider bringing a toy or warm clothes for Treehouse, or to make a donation to Treehouse on their online fundraising page. “Having an online donation page was such an easy way for friends and family to support our drive. And by placing the donation link on my company website, Julie Wilson Real Estate, I was able to further spread the word and get more people involved,” Julie shared. The party attendees ended up frosting so many cookies that as an added bonus, they were able to deliver the extra cookies to senior homes in their community.

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With their combined efforts, the Wilson family met their $1500 goal and had a lot of fun along the way. “Hosting the donation drive made me grateful for what I have and proud of what I did,” twelve-year old Grace shared. And her sister Julia agreed. They are already in the planning process of this year’s cookie decorating party, which they are expanding to a local community center so they can invite more friends and raise more funds for Treehouse!

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This season, more than 1,000 kids and teens in foster care and their families will shop our Wearhouse for holiday gifts, warm winter clothes, and other essentials. Is your family, club, business, or church looking for a way to give back this holiday season? Consider joining the Wilson family and host a donation drive for Treehouse. Learn more on our website or contact me at [email protected] or  206.267.5109 to see how you can get involved!

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About the Author

Kintisha Williams is a Development Coordinator at Treehouse, providing donation drive coordination and community outreach efforts for the organization.

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