February Dedicated Offering for the Treehouse Foundation
Dedicated Offerings recognize and financially support worthy organizations engaged in projects that reflect our Unitarian-Universalist principles. Our offering on February 17 will be for the Treehouse Foundation in Easthampton.
It takes a village to raise a child; the Treehouse Community is one of those villages. One woman, Judy Ockerton, had the idea of providing a home for children and youth involved in the foster care system where the community helped support these children and their families. She knew that children who have experienced foster care have experienced great trauma in their lives and needed to live in a larger supportive community. She helped develop Treehouse and is still the Executive Director. The purpose of Treehouse is to improve the life outcome of these children. It is a loving community where families adopting children from foster care live next door to elders. These are elders who have chosen to live in this intentional community where elders help provide the hands-on care children need. Whether it’s holding a baby, helping with homework, teaching a youth to play a musical instrument, leading an outdoor play group, the “elders” are involved. A community room is the site of many birthday parties, group songfests, games and celebrations.
There are 12 family homes and 48 elder cottages. Since its beginning in 2006, more than 102 children have lived in the community with 125 older adult “grandparents.” Social workers are on site to help with problems that arise. Babies who have become teenagers shovel snow for elders or carry their groceries. There have been 24 high school and four college graduates. It is a vibrant community where people know one another and interact every day. Children thrive in this nurturing environment where they know they belong