Planting Our Roots
Founded in 2011 by two Bates College alumnae, Tree Street Youth grew its roots from a local homework help program. The original program – supported by the Refugee Assistance Program, local AmeriCorps staff, and a host of community volunteers – offered 40-60 local youth access to learning opportunities specifically tailored to meet their needs. For many of these youth, their parents wanted to support their children academically, but lacked the language and academic skills to do so. Due to the relationships built over time and the demonstration of an exceptional level of cultural competency, families urged the local program to continue expanding the homework help program to ensure that their kids would receive the support that they themselves could not provide.
How We Grow
At Tree Street, we believe that true empowerment begins with the self, but then transcends it to create a greater, collective harmony. Our holistic approach to youth development integrates a restorative justice model that demonstrates leadership, accountability, and life skills, both strengthening youth and bringing them together. We aim to empower the individual self, as well as the collective whole. We blend the focus on the individual with an equally important emphasis on building unity by creating bridges across lines of difference. We believe in this model because we ultimately believe that the most important thing that our youth learn is acceptance – of themselves and of each other.