Works of the Order in Action: The Treehouse
Ten short years ago in Wichita, Kansas, a group of Orthodox Christians wanted to reach out to struggling moms who had chosen to let their babies live. In addition to praying for them, we wanted to provide tools to help moms take their lives in a positive direction. The Treehouse was born.
Today, we have celebrated 15,755 birthdays and helped change over a quarter million diapers! Our goal is to practice our Orthodox faith daily in everything we do at The Treehouse, teaching moms that they are not alone in their struggles. We want them to know that, when their world seems like a very dark place, they have somewhere to turn for hope. We provide them and their babies with positive Christian role models and basic necessities, such as diapers, formula and an inexpensive thrift store. We offer, too, educational classes to nurture our moms so that their babies can flourish.
This Orthodox ministry, called The Treehouse, started out in a small space in the middle of Wichita with one faithful employee. That first year in 2002, she served 300 women. Ten years later, the staff has grown to four full-time employees and 3,500 volunteer-hours. In 2011, we served 1,200 moms. The needs are diverse, and we prayerfully ask God to guide us in His work. Each day He reveals new steps for us to take, that we may move our ministry forward and have a positive, loving impact on the lives of mothers and their babies.
We certainly haven’t done it alone. Since our inception, The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Wichita Orthodox churches, and individuals in the Orthodox community throughout the country have supported The Treehouse, financially and physically, and with prayer. For more than five years, The Order of St. Ignatius has played a large role in building our continuing education programs. With regular grants from The Order, we have grown our offerings to include support groups and Bible studies, as well as parenting education and classes on relationships and life-skills. Two-thirds of the membership of the Board of The Treehouse are practicing Orthodox faithful, and several of our board members are members of The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch; their efforts on behalf of The Treehouse are a testimony to the Orthodox faith!
Recently we have been blessed by the presence of an old friend at The Treehouse. Yuri Rodriguez was one of the first moms helped by a gift from The Order of St. Ignatius. When Yuri came to The Treehouse, she had just one simple request – guide her to become the mom she wanted to be. Yuri joined our support groups, watched every parenting video in our library, clothed her son with quality, inexpensive items from our thrift store, and asked us to pray for God’s guidance in motherhood. Now she is giving back as a Treehouse volunteer while she completes her nursing degree. We have been blessed to witness Yuri and her two children as they blossom into a thriving, dedicated, God-loving family.
Like Yuri, when moms embrace our programs to the fullest, learning new skills and adapting their parenting habits, we joyfully witness generations of lives changed for the better, forever.
I have witnessed The Treehouse grow and mature, from its beginning as a ministry of Wichita’s St. George Cathedral, to its present place as a highly respected Pro-Life agency endorsed by our city’s entire Orthodox Christian community and supported by the prayers, contributions and hard work of people of all faiths. The Tree House makes the light of Orthodox Christianity shine brightly throughout the heartland by putting our Holy Faith into compassionate action, matching our words with deeds.
+ Rt. Rev. Bishop BASIL Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America
Renee Croitoru Scott
The Treehouse, Founder & Executive Director