Welcome to the first blog of The Tree House, Inc. My name is Brittany McClure and I am the Outreach Specialist at The Tree House. My role here is to provide community outreach and use social media to increase awareness on child abuse and ways that we can prevent it. When I first started at The Tree house I didn’t know much about the organization, except that they help children and families that have experienced abuse.
My first day there I was given a scrapbook with all The Tree House history inside. Through this scrapbook I learned that The Tree House was originally named the Barrow County Child Advocacy Center. The agency was established in 1996 when community members and Carol Burbulis, the center’s director, united and began working towards preventing child abuse in Barrow County. Now that you know a bit about the backstory into how The Tree House was established, are you wondering now how The Tree House got its name? I sure was, it was while reading through the scrapbook that I learned shortly after being established, The Tree House had gotten its new name when the Winder-Barrow Middle School was asked to think of a safe, home-like environment which would offer warmth, protection, and support to the children there. I learned that when Carol and the committee read “The Tree House” they knew they had found the perfect name for the center.
The Tree House now has two locations and serves Barrow, Banks, and Jackson counties. When I came across the job posting for the outreach specialist, I was immediately intrigued because I have always lived in Banks County, and have been working in Jackson County for several years. I knew that I wanted to make an impact and difference in my community and I felt that this position with The Tree House would give me just that. The mission of The Tree House is to reduce the impact and occurrence of child abuse through counseling, educating, supporting, and nurturing children and families in Banks, Barrow, and Jackson counties. Hearing the mission statement of The Tree House, I knew this was where I wanted and needed to be. There is no doubt that child abuse can be a hard subject to talk about. However, I feel that it is an important topic of discussion because no matter how hard it may be to talk about, it is happening. Learning ways to prevent child abuse is the only way to eventually end it all together. Ignoring it or pretending it doesn't happen will not lead to prevention. While the traditional child advocacy center model focuses on intervention services following abuse, The Tree House is unique in that it also provides prevention services, such as in-home parenting and supervised visitation, to help families provide a healthy and loving environment, free from abuse.
When you walk through the doors of The Tree House, you'll see animal murals, bright flowers on the wall, warm lighting, and plenty of toys for all ages. This is because The Tree House strives to create an environment where the child’s trauma is not compounded, a warm comforting place where the child does not feel threatened during the investigation process and beyond. We have outstanding staff who go the extra mile to make the kids and adults feel welcome and comfortable as soon as they walk through our door.
Even with our superhero staff, we couldn’t do all that we do without the help of our communities. People like you play a huge role at The Tree House. We are always needing donations, whether that be in the form of monetary donations, supplies and toys for our kids to use at their counseling sessions and supervised visitation, or office supplies for our team. We look to you, our supportive community to help us continue to grow, support, prevent, and educate. With your donation together we can help make the biggest impact in these kids' lives. #GreatChildhoodsBeginWithAllOfUs