Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I'm documenting my volunteer work and travels through a series of letters to family and friends while on the road. I hope you can stay a while - make yourself at home. 

Reid - 7,344 miles, 344 hours

Reid - 7,344 miles, 344 hours

Dear Reid,

As I write this, I’m lying belly down inside my tent, which is set up right outside an old redwood stump that’s nearly the size of the center cube. Alas, it is not quite as luxurious as the CARES campus, but as I’m on my way from Seattle to San Francisco, it ain’t so bad.  

I feel like a broken record at times, but I really can’t believe my time in Seattle is already over. I think I’m down to just about 12 weeks left on my trip, and only two more cities. Before I get too caught up in all things California, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my work at The Treehouse Organization. I hope you don’t mind if I bend your ear for a minute or two, as I think you’ll find some of this pretty interesting.

Treehouse is an incredible group doing really impactful things for the foster care youth in Seattle, and it’s all because of their amazing staff. Everyone at Treehouse cares deeply about the work they do, and believes that with everyone there working together, they can accomplish anything. I got to sit in on one of their monthly staff meetings, and was really impressed to hear from almost every c-suite officer during the meeting. Each one spoke about the actionable, measurable goals that they are working to meet, or the new ones that they’d set for themselves given their recent successes. I don’t know if Amazon is rubbing off on the rest of Seattle, but this non-profit is more data driven than most other businesses I’ve ever come across. Kudos to you Bezos.

During the meeting, they spoke about an upcoming equity training, that was set to take place in the coming weeks. Essentially, they had everyone from the CEO to the most recently hired program coordinator take off three full days to get spun up on what equity means for their organization and for the community they support. This included discussions on racial equity, gender-based equity, socioeconomic status, white privilege and fragility, and a whole lot more. I had no idea businesses were even having these types of trainings, let alone a non-profit. Their investment in their people reminded me quite a bit of Deloitte’s with DU, and I think this training is going to pay off big time, even if it means shutting down for three days.

In addition to the amazing steps the leadership is taking at Treehouse, I was continually impressed by other individuals’ effort and commitment to the work being done by the organization. They are ALL IN. I interfaced mainly with IT staff during my time, and on multiple occasions had thought-provoking discussions with the team around the non-technical work being done at Treehouse and how everyone is working together to meet the organizational goals. Everyone seems to understand how much stronger we can be when we work together, and it’s always good to be reminded of that.

As for the actual work I did at Treehouse, I finally got my hands dirty and helped their IT department set up a streamlined process for upgrading Windows. It was fun to work in the weeds again and do even do some more technical work than I had done in Wisconsin recently. I hope they find the solution I came up with helpful and efficient as they move forward, but I am confident that no matter how it pans out, it is well-documented (thank you CARES).

Now that I’m in California, I have no doubt that we’ll be in touch again soon to talk shop about what I’m doing with the San Francisco Marin Food Bank. I’m helping them with advocacy work for the CalFresh program (SNAP in California), and let’s just say they do things a little differently here on the west coast. There is still a lot to learn, but I can’t imagine having three eligibility systems for SNAP makes things very easy.

It was so great to see you and the whole team in Chicago a few weeks back. As I begin to think about what’s next for me at Deloitte, I am continually reminded of how great of a team we have in Wisconsin, and I’m excited to see how much everyone in Madison has grown when I start work again – wherever that may be.

Keep up the great work, and give everyone my best.

Love,

Jonathan

Mom - 7,456 miles, 372 hours

Mom - 7,456 miles, 372 hours

Dad - 6,359 miles, 312 hours

Dad - 6,359 miles, 312 hours