Samara Final Logo

The Samara seed has become a significant symbol at Tree Street representing all the knowledge, wisdom, and potential held in something so small. As it matures, eventually it flies and grows into something that can truly change the world, kind of like the kids we serve every day at Tree Street


Samara Stories embody our vision To cultivate leaders who fear less, love more,and dream big, boldly shaping the future and creating communities united across lines of difference.”


They are tales of resilience, leadership, unity, and growthTree Street believes we are at our best in the world when everyone’s unique wisdom and stories are honored and shared because no one ever knows the impact their story might have on others! 


Stories will be shared every Wednesday through email and on our social media! We hope you will be encouraged and perhaps even inspired to share your own Samara Story with us! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 

Chapter 1– Introducing

Samara Stories

— Part 1 —

Cultivating Leaders

Chapter 2–

Malcolm’s Story

Chapter 3–

Alli’s Story

Chapter 4–

Oren’s Story

Chapter 5–

Mike’s Story

Chapter 6–

Paula’s Story

-The Work-

A Reflection 

Over the years I have struggled to identify my purpose and role in the world. This may sound odd; after all, I am a founder of a youth organization that has grown steadily over the last nine years, receiving awards and accolades from multiple organizations and individuals. Tree Street has made a difference in the lives of so many youths and their families. So what’s the issue? 

-A Reflection from Julia Sleeper-Whiting, Founder Executive Director-

— Part 2 —

Fear Less

Chapter 7–

Prosper’s Story

Chapter 8–

Ronnie’s Story

Chapter 9–

Kay’s Story

-Fear Less-

A Reflection 

Tree Street’s vision is to cultivate leaders who fear less, love more, dream big, who boldly shape communities united across lines of difference. You’d be surprised to learn that the phrase of the vision statement that gets questioned the most is not the ability to create communities united across lines of difference, which one would think would be the most daunting challenge, but rather uncertainty more often than not revolves around the concept of “fear less.”

-A Reflection from Julia Sleeper-Whiting, Founder Executive Director-

— Part 3 —

Love More

Chapter 10–

Betty’s Story

Chapter 11-

“You Just Love”

Chapter 12–

Chris’ Story

-Love More-

A Reflection

Our recent Samara stories focused on part of our vision statement – “Love More.” For most of my life, I have had a passion and commitment to doing more, creating more, helping more. I’m not sure exactly where this came from, but the overachiever in me really fixates on this concept of MORE.

-A Reflection from Julia Sleeper-Whiting, Founder Executive Director-

— Part 4 —

Dream Big

Chapter 13–

Anna’s Story

Chapter 14-

Jake’s Story

Chapter 15–

Angela’s Story

-The Purpose of it All-

A Final Reflection


Growing up I always told everyone I wanted to be a veterinarian. This was the “dream” I held on to for so long that it took me all the way to an acceptance at Bates College and nearly declaring a major in Biology freshman year. The hilarious and ironic part of this “dream” was that I’m actually super allergic to cats and dogs, was absolutely horrible at my science classes, and even though our gracious local vet allowed me to “job shadow” him in high school, I could never remember half of what he taught me or challenged me to remember. I began to realize as I cusped into adulthood that this so-called “dream” was not really real at all, or at least not my true purpose. 

-A Reflection from Julia Sleeper-Whiting, Founder Executive Director-