Treehouse News 3.24

Welcome to the Spring 2024 edition of our newsletter!

This email is packed with happenings, new initiatives, Board changes and staff expansion, and quite a few mentions and accolades. We’ve been busy — we designed this new website, let us know what you think!

With gratitude,

Judy Cockerton
Founder and CEO


The Impact of Trauma on Learning

We held an informative day-long workshop for K-12 educators to learn effective strategies to create trauma-sensitive learning environments and support students impacted by trauma.

Featuring Joel Ristuccia, Certified School Psychologist & co-author of Helping Traumatized Children Learn. Improve learning outcomes by better understanding the impact of trauma + the strategies you can use to help.

As K-12 educators, it’s crucial to recognize the effects of trauma on students. By learning effective strategies, you can create a safe and supportive learning environment.

Participants learned the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiatives approach to meeting the needs of students with trauma histories and explored student needs from those who know best: students who’ve faced trauma & parents who support them.

Panel: What I Wish My Teachers Had Known
Young adults who experienced trauma as children shared their educational experiences.

Panel: Why My Child Has Trouble with School and School Work
Foster/adoptive parents shared why homework is hard and what strategies help.

For school districts who would like to view the post-session recording of the training session for professional development, please reach out to Tracey Levy for information and rates.

About Joel Ristuccia:
Joel Ristuccia is a Certified School Psychologist, co-author of “Helping Traumatized Children Learn,” and an adjunct professor at Lesley University. He teaches courses in developing trauma-sensitive interventions to support educational success schoolwide, in the classroom, and for individuals.

We’re hoping to hold this workshop again in the fall, we’ll send registration information over the summer.

Are you on our mailing list?


Introducing L!FT

A New Intergenerational Program for Academic Tutoring

In collaboration with Dr Celia Oyler, retired Dean of Education at New York City Teacher’s College and foster/adoptive parent, we have developed a responsive, engaging, and learning-focused model that goes beyond traditional academic tutoring. Our new model, L!FT, Stands for “Learning is Fun Together,” and will be taking the place of Treehouse Family Support’s former and more traditional tutoring program. 

L!FT intentionally pairs volunteer adult “buddies” with kids and young people living at Treehouse for academic and life skills mentoring. This provides both adult and youth participants with an opportunity to foster meaningful connections while exploring their learning interests and passions together. Each pair will intentionally engage in relationship-building activities that will lead into child-driven learning projects. Pairs will meet weekly or more. 

Many of Treehouse’s young people have negative experiences with learning and the traditional public education system. Due to trauma, learning differences, and the Covid-19 Pandemic, their academic progress has been thwarted. Many of the students report that school is “hard, boring, and not fun.” Their self-esteem and self-image are suffering because they do not see themselves as capable learners. And yet we know that these future leaders are so much more than a grade or test score! They are vibrant, vivacious and curious young minds telling us clearly: we need more. 

Our goal is simple: We aim to help all our Buddies remember that Learning Is Fun!

Treehouse Foundation Runway 5K Event

There are only a few slots left for the Runway 5K!





Estevan Garcia, MD

Many thanks to Dr. Estevan Garcia

Dr. Garcia is stepping down as Chair of the Treehouse Foundation Board of Directors. We’re grateful for his wise leadership during the Covid crisis and his continuing commitment to the children and families of Treehouse.

Estevan Garcia, MD

Sarah Carlan, new Chair of the Treehouse Board

Erika Kuenster, COO

Sarah Carlan is our new Board Chair & Erika Kuenster is the new Treehouse COO.

Sarah has an MSW degree and has worked with public schools, non-profits, and medical institutions. Sarah also shared her excitement to be supporting our expanding leadership team which welcomed a new COO in late fall, Erika Kuenster. Erika is a seasoned nonprofit leader, with 20 years of experience in the sector. We are incredibly fortunate to have both of these stellar women on our team.

Latest Press & Awards

Generations United Program of Distinction Award

Generations United annually recognizes outstanding intergenerational programs that are connecting younger and older people in the United States.

The Program of Distinction and Program of Merit designations are based on the criteria that underpin the effectiveness of any intergenerational program and are intended to recognize the rich diversity among programs that involve older and younger generations.

Judy named “Ally of the Decade” by ReEnvisioning Champions

Surrounded by enthusiastic applause, Treehouse Founder and CEO Judy Cockerton gratefully accepted an award for “Ally of the Decade” from the ReEnvisioning Foster Care Champions at the November conference. Judy was celebrated by the many Champions in attendance at the conference for her ongoing work on behalf of children and young people who have experienced foster care, as well as the foster care alums who bring expertise and wisdom to child welfare reform.

NY Times intergenerational living article cites Treehouse

In its November 25, 2023 article, When the Neighbors Are All Older, Too,
discussing the pros and cons of intergenerational living for older people, the New York Times mentioned Treehouse as a proof of concept of the benefits of intergenerational living. According to the Times, “There is little research to show which option is healthier.”

Our experience shows older residents thrive when they invest in other generations — read the full article here.