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Spirit of 12 Partner Spotlight: Treehouse

This year's Spirit of 12 program will raise money for four programs dedicated to the healthy development of youth in our community.

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The Seattle Seahawks, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and Lumen are committed to supporting the healthy development of youth in our community. Through the Spirit of 12 program, 12s can support four non-profit organizations and their inclusive youth programming, which is needed now more than ever. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation matches individual contributions of up to $100 made by the 12s. This year's partners include Special Olympics Washington, Treehouse, Outdoors For All, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound.

Founded in 1988 by social workers, Treehouse is Washington's leading nonprofit organization addressing the academic and other essential support needs of more than 8,000 youth in foster care. The average young person in foster care changes placements three times, and with each move, they lose four to six months of academic progress. Because of this, fewer than half graduate from high school. Additionally, 40-50% of young adults within 18 months of aging out of the foster care system experience homelessness. It is Treehouse's goal to support youth in foster care, so they graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers and ultimately launch successfully into adulthood.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Treehouse's programs pivoted to ensure the basic needs of young people in foster care were being met. Treehouse Education Specialists met virtually with kids to make sure they had access to online learning, that their families could afford rent, and to provide support with navigating other barriers.

Additionally, Treehouse continues to operate its free store. They are receiving and funding more requests for essential items than usual. To keep youth and staff safe, they began shipping all orders directly to youth, so they do not have to leave the safety of home to receive the much needed items.

Treehouse is also still funding requests from youth to participate in extracurricular activities and other pandemic-safe activities. They recently provided funding for outdoor education classes to keep youth engaged with proper precautions. The caregiver of one youth participant shared: "Thank you for your support. I have to say our walk-in foster care (and hopefully adoption this coming year) has been long and bumpy. But our experience hasn't been as hard as others. Treehouse's financial and practical support has felt like an oasis for us. I am so grateful and once out of my own chaos of all these transitions, I hope to continue volunteering and giving back to the mission of this organization. Thanks for representing us so well and always being so gracious and helpful."

Check out 9 Facts About Foster Care to learn more: https://www.treehouseforkids.org/foster-care-facts/

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