Family Tree

We are excited to announce our newest opportunity for you to become a JUSTembrace partner! If you are ready to join us, click here, otherwise, read on and learn about our 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.

Since our inception, JUSTembrace has relied on the generous donations from individuals who 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 challenged and equipped to love their neighbors better because of our relationship. While we have plenty of room to develop the ways we come alongside our partners, doing so is critical to our mission. 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 a tool that not only celebrates your decision to partner with us, but will be an evolving piece of living art for our entire community to enjoy!

Our Family Tree is attached to the side of our home, a focal point for our community to remember the extended family keeping us rooted.

The JUSTembrace Family Tree

This tree, which is affixed to the side of our home, will become an iconic backdrop for the many events we host in our yard in the years to come, reminding us that at its very core, 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.

Under the watchful eye of Scout, JJ and Zech designed and constructed our tree in just a few short days!

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.

Just like a family Christmas tree, we would love to fill our Family Tree with stories, pictures, names, memorials, ornaments, and symbols that tell the story of our extended JUSTembrace family and creatively display our interdependence.

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