Treetops Collective seeks to empower refugee women entering West Michigan
"We recognized that in order to create a more welcoming community where new Americans who resettled can find a place of belonging and home again it takes the whole community," Tarah Carnahan, Executive Director and Co-founder, explained.
Community and women empowerment are at the heart of Treetops Collective. The nonprofit, who celebrates its 5-year anniversary this month, has a mission of investing in and connecting with New American leaders. An idea that came about during listening sessions with resettled refugees.
“The gap of making this place home was really evident," Tarah Carnahan Executive Director and Co-founder, explained. "We recognized that in order to create a more welcoming community where new Americans who resettled can find a place of belonging and home again it takes the whole community.”
Treetop’s primary program, Concentric, invests in eight women from eight different language groups each year. Participants go through a paid, 15-month program, where they learn how to navigate their new home.
“Whether that’s finance or legal support or education or relationships…they’re learning how to live life in a new place," Carnahan explained.
The process is a give and take, as eight women go into their own language communities, teaching their peers how to work the local systems and achieve independent ventures for themselves.
“What is it that they are excited about or are passionate about, so we can be good connectors," Carnahan said.
The movement has a big relational element, connecting women with intentional systems of support. Each woman coming into Treetops' program is paired with another West Michigan woman for nine months of friendship and relationship building.
Treetops Collective is celebrating its 5-year anniversary as a nonprofit through its Welcome Passport program, encouraging the community to learn from other cultures, attend local events and more. The group said it relies heavily on donations to continue its programs and hopes to see more donations as the base of New Americans in West Michigan continues to grow.