By: Sandy Johnson, Treetops Volunteer
I was introduced to Treetops Collective last August. I had heard about Treetops and wanted to know more–I wanted to see and hear about what they were doing.
What I found were young, diverse women leaders who were courageously challenging a new reality for our community by helping new American women become connected and active participants.
As I have become more involved, I am inspired and so grateful to learn from this community. And, I quickly recognized my own values for belonging, women, and community.
Personally, I have an ongoing passion that we–as women–continue to create welcoming neighborhoods and communities. I truly believe women are particularly gifted in relationships, and in connecting/gathering. I also truly believe that gathering is critical to the future of our country, of women, and of our children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends.
I began to ask myself:
What would happen if I brought women that I knew through various connections together to support the women connected to Treetops?
What would happen if my neighborhood home out in Hudsonville could also represent the kind of belonging and community we are creating at Treetops?
What if we recognize the ongoing need for belonging and community, no matter where we live or where we have come from?
I continue to feel this call to be welcoming with the women in my life. God continues to bring beautiful women in my life where we get to journey together, sometimes through difficult times. And, too often I hear that we are still lonely, lacking connection, and longing for a deeper purpose. I have those moments too.
So, it was easy to decide to host a Women’s Welcoming Coffee. And, with the help of Facebook invitation and some emails, I laid out the welcome mat.
I chose to do it in August because as many of us know, summer is always difficult for non-profits. However, in August, everyone was “gone.” I think it was the biggest weekend for travel in the summer! At one moment, the song, “I Cannot Come to the Banquet” came to my mind along with the names of more women that “should” be invited.
My home became a space where women were welcomed while being offered the opportunity to impact the welcoming space of Treetops, buying welcome wear, organic children’s wear and home goods.
But I also wanted this to be a safe place for all the women who came. A place where what we “do” doesn’t define us, but “who we are.” Our journeys and stories of challenge and joy are beautiful and belong here. I need to keep learning how to do that well because I’ve experienced what “right” feels like, it feels like “everybody belongs here.” And that is the Treetops pillow that now graces my chair out front.
And, now I am asking myself:
What would happen if many of us said, I want to impact our community too?
What would we experience if more women said: “I want to host women in my ‘space,’ and I want to have that impact something greater, inviting Treetops Collective into my ‘space’ to make it ‘our’ space.”