Family Tree

This piece hangs in our home honoring the partners that kept us rooted through 2014 and 2015, supporting us through some of the most painful losses our community has experienced.

Partners are Family

Since our inception, JUSTembrace has relied on the generous donations from individuals whom we call partners. We believe that in order for us to operate with integrity to our mission, we must invest back into the lives of those whose financial contributions enable us to exist as we do. It is our hope that our partners are inspired and equipped to love their neighbors better because of our relationship. We are convinced that our relationship with our partners gives integrity to the work we are doing among our neighbors in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

In collaboration with the talent and heart of artist JJ Barrows, we have created something spectacular that not only celebrates your decision to partner with us, but is a piece of living art for our entire community to enjoy!

The JUSTembrace Family Tree

This tree, which is affixed to the side of our home, has become an iconic backdrop for the many events we host in our yard, reminding us that JUSTembrace is a family.  It is that family that makes our hospitality, inclusivity, and generosity possible.

The tree is a powerful image for the JUSTembrace community. It is full of analogies and reminders of what we strive to be.

A tree’s roots go deep in the surrounding soil. It is through commitment, perseverance, and the nutrition received from the environment that a tree becomes a blessing to all that encounter it. A strong tree provides relief from the harsh sun, protects the ground from erosion, slows powerful winds, and provides an enchanting display of the life cycle each year. In the same way, we believe the JUSTembrace family, in its fullest expression, is a tree rooting itself in Uptown and in the communities of those who partner with us. We have seen this happen through our commitment, perseverance, and the strength that comes from the nourishing life of the JUSTembrace family.

Our tree is manifest in the establishment of a home that has become a safe shelter from the elements of an often cold and heartless society, as well as a place of transformational instruction for those who desire to have a restorative presence in the world. We have found ourselves enchanted by the new life that springs from what was once thought dead, sometimes through a smile, or greeting, or the gift of a song. We have also seen our tree flourishing through the college communities and churches that have partnered with us through the years as well as the dozens who have felt inspired to live and love more intentionally as members of our family.

The JUSTembrace Family Tree is a reminder that we are connected to each other and depend upon each other. As a partner, you provide nourishment for us. Through partnership it is not just your financial contributions, but your experiences, transformation, and commitment to your own community that bring nourishment to us in Uptown; just as we hope that our stories, experiences, and transformation bring nourishment to you.

Each year the Chicago JUSTembrace community gathers to honor and pray for our partners. In addition to writing the names of our partners on the tree, we take time to get to know a little about our extended family! All partners are welcomed and encouraged to join us on this day!

Find out how you can officially join the JUSTembrace family and become part of the Family Tree by clicking here!