To the Editor:
The New Hope TreeHouse has been serving community teens for decades. TreeHouse was started right here in New Hope by a middle school teacher who saw teens feeling lost and in need of support. From there, TreeHouse was born, and has grown into a place providing mentorship, encouragement, resources and hope for thousands of teens.
At TreeHouse, our mission is to end hopelessness among teens. According to the CDC, one in three teens report feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row—that’s not OK. Hopelessness uniquely impacts teens and can manifest itself in many different ways including depression, anger, bullying, trouble in school, anxiety or isolation. Teens are uniquely impacted by feelings of hopelessness, and it’s why at TreeHouse we offer support, listen, and most importantly, let every teen know that they are lovable, capable, worthwhile and that they have a bright future ahead of them.
At TreeHouse, teens are provided with a safe space to talk about issues that matter to them. I have had teens tell me that TreeHouse is the one place where they feel safe sharing openly about what impacts them, and their friends in TreeHouse become like a second family.
A place that offers encouragement and sharing also provides teens opportunities to learn about building healthy relationships and build critical skills that will serve them throughout their lives. The New Hope TreeHouse provides weekly programming, fun trips, activities, one-on-one mentorship, and resources to help teens prepare for the next stages of their academic or vocational life after high school.
For teens that come through TreeHouse, I have seen tremendous personal growth in each of them and most importantly, I’ve seen countless teens develop hope for their futures.
Renee Keen-Natzke is the area director of New Hope TreeHouse.