MOVING FROM RESENTMENT TO REBUILDING
For some reason, when people hear Jesse Tree, they immediately think about the Angel Tree – you know, the tree where you choose a child’s name from the Christmas Tree and get them gifts. That is a wonderful program but that is not what Jesse Tree does. As a matter of fact, it may well be the only thing Jesse Tree does not do. I might also mention…they do a lot of it backwards!
Ted Hanley, David Mitchell Hussein Eloy, and Rosa Salinas are another Mighty Band of Warriors fighting for the wellbeing of those of us who may have stumbled into a situation we are unprepared to handle. As I listen to these very passionate people explain what they do, how they go about doing it, and what they have learned and continue to learn from their experiences, I can feel my excitement build. And as they began to explain to me how they accomplish the task of determining how best to help those who reach out to them, I realize, I am talking to genuine Compassionate Professionals who have been on this road for many, many years.
I was reminded of a College Psychology class I took where we learned about Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which, simply put, says that you cannot get someone to care about a job when they are starving or about food if they cannot breathe. In other words, there is an order in which we must address human suffering so that we can move from the physiological to whatever the next need is.
This organization has figured out what we all know in our heart of hearts and they have found a way to isolate an issue, determine what the actual need is, and help the person in need to meet that need. It seems so simple, so obvious and yet it has puzzled humanity since its inception. How do we ensure that all people are healthy, safe, self-sustaining? If we can accomplish that task, we could eliminate resentment, which seems to be the starting point for most of humanity’s ills. Happy, healthy, loved, and accomplished people are significantly less likely to be government dependent; much less likely to be drug dependent, and certainly less likely to commit crimes, fight wars, suffer from prejudice or be uninvolved in whatever community surrounds them.
This is an oversimplified explanation to a very complex set of issues as well as what the Jesse Tree accomplishes every day…one individual at a time. Because they begin with nourishment of body and soul, they are reversing an age-old approach to what used to be referred to as “social service” and now is called Coaching, or Triage, Relationship building and even Prevention – my personal favorite. After twenty plus years of doing what they do, they immediately offer a client something to drink, something to nibble on, and then they let them talk. Next on the agenda? Letting the client know that they are being heard, treating them as an equal, a partner if you will, in moving toward a solution for the issue that particular client believes she or he has; with dignity; (that word came up a lot) Once that is accomplished, Jesse Tree is ready to make the CONNECTION in order to help the client REBUILD whatever it is they have lost so as to be UPLIFTED “through which those seeking help would find their dignity restored and their independence and self -sufficiency re-established. Dignity. Dignity. What a revelation! How in the world can we expect any person of any age in any situation, to confront their demons and pull themselves out of their current situation?
The challenge for Jesse Tree is funding and the reason funding is an issue is because this is a faith-based organization that could not be effective if they were a governmental-based organization. Self-sufficiency is a prime target for the Jesse Tree family; so even while they struggle to make payroll, they are looking for ways to guide their clients toward self-sufficiency. So, they came up with an app; a piece of software that reflects years and years of research and life experience – to develop and design in a manner that will “connect, rebuild, uplift and support itself. This app will allow them to replicate what they do so well and take it to other organizations, other cities, and other individuals looking for a way to help others.
Over the next few months, The Post will be following the progress of The Jesse Tree in the belief that every flower grows with a little rain and some sunshine. We are committed to providing the sunshine. We are going to look to you to provide the rain. Any time you see the Jesse Tree logo, in print or online, you will know that there is new information on their progress as well as an opportunity for you to help.
We will be posting regularly on our website – the link will be found on our Community Table of Contents; so please, look for the tree, find out what you can about this wonderful organization, and then find a way that you can contribute to an idea that just might save us all!
From time to time, you will see the Jesse Tree logo appearing in our Table of Contents on page one of each issue of The Post. It will be an indicator that there is a story waiting for you on either our Facebook page or our website. Usually it will serve as a curtain raised so as to allow us to peek into the world of those who struggle – with homelessness or illness, advancing age, addiction, depression – some challenge that gets in the way of them functioning – and as is our plan, if not a happy ending, at least it will offer hope and perhaps even an insight into the value of grace, compassion and insight. We hope you will benefit.