In early 2012, our founder went from THINKING “what if” to WRITING “how to” in an old, beat up notebook. The idea for TREES began to sprout. Today we have a sapling. Tomorrow a forest.
Transgender Resource, Education and Enrichment Services, also called Trees, Inc., is created as an educational organization to enrich the lives of transgender identifying people who reside in under-served communities. Trees Inc. plans to travel throughout the United States to conduct transgender awareness presentations, conduct specified transgender training and deliver transgender resources to these communities in the hopes of educating the residents, community leaders, businesses and other organizations who may potentially interact with the transgender community.
The transgender community faces continued marginalization and has a higher rate of suicide and murder than that of the general population within the United States of America. There has been an increase in efforts to stem a tide of violence against the transgender community but mostly in larger more urbanized areas of the country. Trees, Inc. has identified a need for this education in the under-served communities which lie in the rural fabric of this country. Our mission is to focus our educational efforts in cities, towns and communities of 25,000 population and under in all 50 states. This education will begin to change the culture in these areas and create a more inclusive environment for transgender identifying individuals to live an enriched, safe and successful life free of violence and discrimination.
Trees, Inc. is developing a series of educational presentations to help these smaller cities and towns and the businesses and organizations within them gain the knowledge and resources to create an inclusive environment. This inclusive environment will promote healthy life opportunities for not only the transgender identifying residents but for ALL of the residents of the community. The presentation events will consist of speakers, slide show presentations, handouts and discussion. Each event is open to the public and will be advertised within the community and surrounding areas. We will also work with local organizations to promote the events in order to maximize the reach and impact of the events in each region. We plan to work with these same organizations to develop and distribute quality resources that will be left in each community. By leaving these quality resources, it will increase the chances that a member of the community who was not able to attend the event can still be impacted by Trees, Inc. and its resources.
Our hope is to keep Trees, Inc. as a mobile educational entity. The current plan is for our training team to travel from small town to small town to do our work. We feel by taking our education and resources to these communities it will have the largest impact as many transgender identifying individuals do not have the resources available to travel to regions where other transgender resources or events may already exist. This lack of available resources to the individual is in part the result of either holding their gender identity a secret due to the potential negative repercussions or the need to retain a job due to the lack of overall protections for employment or accommodations in many states, counties and cities throughout the country. By traveling to these communities Trees, Inc. will have a greater chance to positively impact the most lives and decrease the number of transgender murders and suicides.
Trees, Inc. plans to conduct 50 presentations in year one of our existence with a 5% increase in the amount of presentations each year through year five. In addition to these core presentations, Trees, Inc. will work with community organizations on an as need basis to conduct more specific levels of the training. Trees, Inc. plans to conduct between 5 and 10 of these annually through year five. The programming calendar is set to begin in January of 2016. Because we are a newly created organization our target programming area is year one and two will be in the State of Indiana, the state of our incorporation, and those states bordering it (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois). We will not decline opportunities outside of this region as every presentation we conduct has the chance to save a life but our primary focus will be this region. In years three through five our target region will be nationally. The quantity of presentations overall will increase as we add states to our impact zone but we will continue to target between 10 and 12 presentations per state each year. We will do an assessment of the impact after year five to determine the direction of the organization going forward from that point. Our hope is that at some point Trees, Inc. will not be needed.
Transgender education is an especially important topic for the organization’s founder. She identifies as transgender and grew up in a small town in Indiana. She held her feelings inside for a long period of her life and struggled in many areas of social interaction. Our founder lived with suicidal thoughts and faced violence and discrimination in her life. With the help of friends and family she was able to gain the confidence to begin living an authentic life. Although her support circle was strong the amount of transgender knowledgeable resources were very few and lacked the quality in which she was seeking. This opened her eyes to the need for good quality resources and also to the need to get these resources into the hands of the people who really needed them. This is the driving force behind the creation of Trees, Inc. Our founder plans to utilize her degree in Planning & Development and Community Development along with certificates in Nonprofit Executive Leadership and Nonprofit Fundraising Management and seven years of accounting management experience to create an efficient, well-structured, effective and sustainable organization which will have a lasting impact in a large number of communities in this country. This impact will ultimately decrease the amount of transgender related murders and suicides which currently plague the landscape.
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