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Community group hopes to branch out in south metro

It’s kind of hard to build a treehouse without a tree. So Grant Beyl is hoping to get some help planting that tree.

In this particular case, the “tree” is a group of people who will contribute time, energy and money to an organization called TreeHouse.

TreeHouse is an outreach program for at-risk teens. The organization has a few “treehouses” — sites where kids can go to get support and the help they need. The organization has been around for more than 20 years, and has a dozen sites around the metro area.

Unfortunately, none of those sites are near Farmington or Rosemount. The closest location is in Bloomington.

That’s how Beyl became involved. Beyl is the Thrivent Financial representative for this area, and Thrivent is a not-for-profit organization. In order to maintain its nonprofit status, each Thrivent office has staff members who seek out and assist other local, nonprofit organizations that are looking to come into the area.

About a year ago, Beyl met with the folks who run TreeHouse. The TreeHouse folks asked if the local Thrivent office would be able to help establish a TreeHouse presence south of the river. After a series of meetings, Beyl decided to get behind the project.

“They’re a great organization. They’re a faith-based organization, they look to work with local churches. We came back from (the meetings) and said ‘How can we help them?’”

That help is now coming later this month, with a banquet and TreeHouse introductory program at Brackett’s Crossing in Lakeville.

The event will be held Feb. 27. A number of local civic leaders, counselors from area high schools and middle schools, juvenile officers, law enforcement agencies, and youth ministers are invited to the event so they can learn about the TreeHouse program, and what it would take to plant that tree to serve Dakota and Scott counties. The event will be free for those individuals.

“We want to invite them, at no cost, to listen to a presentation about TreeHouse. That’s basically what we’re doing,” Beyl said. “We want to have a fun evening, to entertain some of the people in the community who deal with kids at risk.

“That’s basically what TreeHouse is all about. These kids may come from homes where some sort of abuse is happening. (TreeHouse) gives them a safe place to get away, to talk to people who can help them, and also talk to kids who are in the same situation they are.”

But planting the tree takes money, Beyl said. The TreeHouse locations are usually leased space in churches or gymnasiums. The organization pays for transportation for kids who need it, and there is a small staff of counselors at each site.

As such, Beyl is reaching out to corporations, businesses and nonprofits in the Rosemount and Farmington area to help launch the project financially. Those businesses can do so by sponsoring tables at the Feb. 27 event. Organizers of the banquet are hoping to get a donation of approximately $100 per seat. The Bronze donation of $1,000 reserves one 10-seat table and 10 tickets to the banquet. The Platinum donation of $10,000 reserves two community-sponsored tables, 20 tickets and acknowledgement for the sponsored table.

The event will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Brackett’s Crossing. The registration deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 13. For more information on sponsorship or registration details, call Germaine Beyl at 651-463-1010.

The event will include music by local artists Mary Beth Carlson and Sally Jane Mixon.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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