Youth Leadership Program


Helping. Everyone. RECEIVE. Our. Everyday. Stories.

Year-round, free programming for teens and young adults who have experienced foster care, kinship care or adoption.

HEROES offers opportunities for civic engagement, character growth, and leadership development, and is a catalyst for teen engagement in the ReEnvisioning Foster Care Movement.

We value:
• Community-building
• Growth through the arts
• Advocacy: foster care & child welfare
• Intergenerational connections and support
• Social, emotional, and life skill strengthening
• Learning through cultural experiences


As HEROES we are devoted to empowering young people to create a better foster care system. Through connecting with others and building relationships, we will make everyone feel comfortable and a part of our community. By changing people’s perceptions, we will make a difference.

We create intergenerational partnerships where the voices of young people are included and respected. Through the arts, adventure, and advocacy we encourage these kids to be leaders in their own lives, the lives of their peers and families, and ultimately their communities.

HEROES Opportunities
Youth Truth

Truth Tellers Theater Ensemble

Partnering with Arts Integration Studio, young people are able to express their truth on stage and on camera, tackling many of the widely held myths and stereotypes that impact their lives.


Camping Trip 2024

Through our partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program, HEROES Youth Leaders continue to develop and learn in the great outdoors!

youth retreat

National Conference

Partnering with Foster Youth in Action, based in California, HEROES hosts an annual meeting for young leaders from across the state to engage in conversation together and begin to create their agenda for change.


Arts Integration Studio

HEROES is heavily influenced by the theory of arts integration, and we incorporate the arts into everything that we do.


Conference Youth Track

HEROES Youth Leaders not only help to design the annual conference, but they also have a front and center role as youth facilitators and educators.

wall with inspiring sayings about foster care

Inspirational Words

Foster care affects us all but does not label who we are. Inspirational words of wisdom from youth and adults are created during our annual conference.

The partners we actively collaborate with are:

Frequently asked questions about HEROES

What is HEROES?

Treehouse Foundation’s HEROES Youth Leadership is a program for young people impacted by foster care and adoption, as well as those with experience with DCF. HEROES is designed to offer opportunities for:

  • Civic engagement
  • Character growth and development of social/emotional skills
  • Leadership development
  • Community building
  • Development of life skills
  • Intergenerational learning and support

HEROES (Helping Everyone Receive Our Everyday Stories) is a growing and evolving catalyst for teen engagement in the Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Movement.

Our three-fold mission — to change, to teach, and to build community — is accomplished through intergenerational partnerships, and programming where the voices of young people are engaged, elevated, and respected. Through the arts, adventure, and advocacy we help develop life skills, new horizons, and leadership in participants’ own lives, the lives of their peers, their families and communities.

The program is tiered to include three age ranges;

  1. Middle school age (11-14)
  2. High school age (15-18)
  3. Post high school age (18+)

Post high school aged young adults are given the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the program, where they take on more responsibility and are eligible for stipends.

Who can join HEROES?

Membership in the HEROES Project is open to young people ages 11 – 18 whose lives have been impacted by foster care, adoption, or other types of family separation or housing impermanence*. We take a very broad view of the term foster care to include any youth who has had to spend time being parented outside of their birth family. Leadership opportunities for those ages 18+ are also available*.

*qualification is considered on a case by case basis

Is there a cost to join HEROES? Is there a commitment?
We are thrilled to be able to offer the HEROES membership to qualified youth and young adults cost free.
What is the purpose or mission of HEROES?

The young people who participate in HEROES benefit from skills development applicable to their daily lives. They become embedded in a community full of supportive, reliable peers, adults, and elders. But the HEROES program also has a public or outward mission:

As HEROES we are devoted to empowering young people to create a better foster care system. Through connecting with others and building relationships, we will make everyone feel comfortable and a part of our community. By changing people’s perceptions, we will make a difference.

What can HEROES members do?

HEROES offers a variety of participation options, including enrichment and recreation activities, skill building trainings, and on-going programming. Activities are offered through the school year, as well as the summer.

In addition to Truth Tellers Theater Ensemble, we offer a mixture of social and community-building events, community service options, and public speaking opportunities. There is no requirement to speak publicly to be a member of HEROES. Everyone is encouraged to choose from options that meet their needs and help them grow. Young people involved in HEROES often stay connected to the program for years to come.

What about transportation and food?

Sharing snacks or a meal together is one of the special parts of the HEROES program that we all enjoy. We keep everyone fed and happy, free of cost.

While HEROES members are encouraged to arrange their own transportation to and from programming, HEROES can provide transportation directly in some circumstances. HEROES can also assist in coordinating transport through the use of carpools, volunteers, and monetary assistance in the form of gas/taxi cards. Young adult leaders are expected to provide their own transport to and from programming.

Is HEROES a "therapeutic group or program?" Is HEROES "therapy?"

While we understand that the work we do and the relationships we build are powerful and healing by design, HEROES is not a therapy group or program. Teens may naturally share parts of their life experience with peers during activities, and staff and/or volunteers are always present to help young people process their experience. HEROES staff are supported by regular clinical supervision.

We rely on the judgment of families, caregivers, and other referral sources to determine if the HEROES experience is a good fit for any particular candidate. If you have questions about what we can and cannot offer, please contact us.