The Family Treehouse
200 N. Imperial Avenue, Imperial
www.myfamilytreehouse.com or www.facebook.com/familytreehouse
In three sentences, tell us how you ended up in this line of work.
I became a stay at home parent in 1994 and found that it was very challenging; rewarding but challenging. As I progressed through my public health career, I envisioned creating a resource for others who made the decision to stay at home with their children.
Describe what your business does.
The Family Treehouse is partially funded to conduct developmental surveillance in Imperial County for children less than 5 years of age. It provides screening, referral and follow-up services along with early intervention classes for children of varying developmental profiles. For many children who do not qualify under the Special Education Program, we offer a variety of activities that assist in improving their development. The Family Treehouse resource center is designed solely for families with young children. It is a place where parents learn to play and nurture their children among friends and family. It offers a uniquely, safe environment for the youngest of our residents.
What are memories from your career that stick out with you the most?
There are so many wonderful family stories about faith, perseverance, acceptance, love and resilience that come to mind. However, the most tragic stories of preventable loss, injury, and death are those that inspire me to help families the most. A few days ago, I was stopped on the street by a woman who felt compelled to thank me for all that “we had done” for her family. I’d like to say that I remembered her name or what we had done. I didn’t. Nevertheless, I was humbled and told her that she was very welcome. All we did was make a referral for her son and give her information on a condition called Autism Spectrum Disorder -- something that we do a lot more of these days.
What do you most like and least like about your work?
I enjoy the children and their laughter the most. I abhor picking up toys up off the floor but I quickly forget about my chores when the children are tapping at the front door to come in. I also hate fundraising -- selling trinkets, food, and cookie dough just to try to keep the doors open. I wish we had a more stable source of revenue.
What makes your business unique?
Tremendous parental commitment is required to participate in our program. Our intervention program requires that parents stay on site with their children. Often, the public mistakes our organization as one that provides day care services. That, we do not. Our job is to help new parents just starting out and the more seasoned parent develop realistic expectations for their children; expectations that involve social responsibility, a healthy lifestyle, and academic excellence.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to open a business?
Social capital is supreme, passion is a prerequisite, hard work is intrinsically rewarded, and money? Well that….is always the seed and the fruit; never the tree.
How do you give back to the local community?
Because the Family Treehouse is a public benefit corporation, our bottom line is to provide high quality services to the community. We do this by creating jobs, improving the future workforce through training, spending our funds in the Valley, and partnering with local entities to provide a better quality of life for all residents of Imperial County. Our programs have helped thousands of families improve numerous facets of their lives -- from child passenger safety to computer literacy. Rarely is there a parent who hasn’t been touched somehow by this “play place” nor a child who has passed by our rainbow colored building and shouted, “Treehouse!!!!”
More about Rosie Nava-Bermudez:
Age: A number that is prime regardless of time
Years in business: 12
Hometown: El Centro. (Go Spartans!)