The Power of Community: Join a Nonprofit Committee and Make an Impact

The Power of Community: Join a Nonprofit Committee and Make an Impact

In today’s rapidly changing world, nonprofits play a crucial role in addressing societal challenges. These organizations rely not only on dedicated staff members but also on the support and involvement of community members.

One powerful way to contribute to the success of a nonprofit is by joining a committee. By offering your time, skills, and passion, you can make a profound impact on the organization’s mission and the community it serves. At Trellis for Tomorrow, we believe in the power of community engagement and encourage individuals like you to join us in creating a brighter future.

Unleashing Your Potential

Joining a nonprofit committee provides a unique opportunity to unleash your potential and contribute to a cause you deeply care about. By becoming a committee member, you can bring your expertise, insights, and fresh ideas to the table. Whether you have skills in marketing, finance, event planning, or any other area, your contribution can be instrumental in advancing the organization’s goals and enhancing its overall effectiveness. Every community member brings a unique perspective, and together we can drive meaningful change.

Collaboration and Networking

Committee involvement offers a chance to collaborate with like-minded individuals who share your passion for creating a positive impact. Working closely with other committee members allows you to learn from their experiences, expand your professional network, and forge lasting relationships. These connections can open doors to new opportunities and provide a supportive community of individuals who are committed to making a difference.

The Ripple Effect

When you join a nonprofit committee, your influence extends far beyond your individual contribution. Your involvement inspires others to take action and make a difference in their own communities. As a Trellis for Tomorrow committee member, you become an ambassador for positive change, spreading the organization’s mission and values to a wider audience. Your passion and dedication can ignite a ripple effect of community involvement, leading to transformative outcomes that benefit society as a whole.

Act Today

At Trellis, we know the immense value community members bring to our organization’s success. By joining one of our committees, you become an integral part of our mission, working alongside dedicated individuals to create positive change. If you’re ready to make a tangible impact on the world around you, we invite you to reach out and learn more about the committee opportunities available. Whether you have a few hours to spare each month or can dedicate more time, there is a place for you to contribute. Together, we can create a future that is brighter, greener, more inclusive, and filled with opportunities for all.

Resolutions to Better Care for Our World

Resolutions to Better Care for Our World

It’s January! – that sometimes frosty, sort of quiet, mostly post-holiday time when the promise of new achievements in a new year (and perhaps some festive indigestion and the awkward embrace of too-snug clothing) inspires many of us to make resolutions for self-improvement.

 The word January comes to us by way of ancient Rome and is named after Janus, the mythological god of beginnings and endings, often portrayed as a figure with two faces pointed in different directions. These ancient roots for what we call the first month of our year holds a special invitation for us today.

Janus teaches us to look back as much as we look forward – or better yet, to be circumspect, which literally means to look around. But look out! – looking around is hard to do when moving at full speed, so it’s also an invitation to slow down, to stop, or even to rest, “perchance to dream”.

Such an invitation is good news in a world so completely busy and preoccupied, so driven and distracted, so addled with stress and anxiety. The invitation that calls us to greater stillness, to greater awareness of self and others can lead us to a place of new understanding, where we might craft resolutions to better care for our world and, in the process, ourselves.

At Trellis for Tomorrow, we are deeply committed to this process of looking around, of cultivating awareness, of lifelong learning, of caring for our world through the work we do and the words we choose. But we are also done-in by drive and distraction, prone to busyness and preoccupation, susceptible to stress and anxiety.

As we look to a new year with an unwritten history, awaiting the collective creative work of our world stewardship, we are compelled to look back, and to look around.

Looking back, we can see the path that has brought us here over these past 20 years of work in our region; we can see the pressing needs in our world that spurred us to the creation of numerous programs and initiatives that have engaged thousands of people and positively impacted nearly a million meals; we can see the incredible collection of like-minded people who came together to identify and name our Core Values. Could they be your core values too? Learn more here.

Looking around, we see people in need of connection and community, we see a food system in need of change, we see an ecosystem in need of better partners and stewards, and we see a generation of young leaders eager to step up.

This January, we invite you to slow down, look around, and make your own resolutions to better care for our world. Then, find your place for you to stand with us and support our work. Learn more here.

We’d love to from you! Share your comments or your own resolutions here.

David is a staff member of Trellis for Tomorrow. As Senior Programs Manager, he comes to us with 15 years of experience in community building, social justice work, and organic agriculture. When he’s not at Trellis, you might find him tending the crops for his local tea company or supporting other efforts for a more equitable and sustainable food system.

Uncharted Roots: Why asking where your food comes from can make a big difference

Uncharted Roots: Why asking where your food comes from can make a big difference

Recently, a participant of our SEED Skills youth program asked the question, “Where does our food come from?” Without missing a beat, another participant replied, “the store.” Asking them to dig a little deeper, we pressed, “but where does the store get their food?” Reflecting for a moment, she answered matter-of-factly, “from the back.” And that was where their thread of understanding ended.

Trellis is dedicated to creating learning experiences for youth of all ages to improve their relationship with themselves, their communities, and the world around them. A significant component of our work is taking a close look at the systems we interact with daily. Particularly when it comes to our food system, we’re asking questions about how those systems work (or don’t), and where we can take steps to effect positive change.

Before you bemoan the fate or state of “kids these days,” I would put the same question to you: Do you know where your food comes from? Not merely naming the many parts of the system that work together to keep you fed, but holistically – down at the level where roots spread their fingers in the soil. Do you know?


Do you know the fields that grow your wheat or corn, the groves and orchards the grow your nuts and fruit, the farms or factories that nurtured or confined the animals whose lives nurture ours? Do you know the hands that tended your sustenance, or the names of their owners? Does it matter?

For millennia, the answers to these questions came to us easily – backyards, neighboring farms, family members, small grocers bringing together locally produced food – people you encountered with frequency, whose names and faces you knew. In recent generations, we’ve moved away from this type of community-based food system and into a system that has created numerous, unseen realities that have both positive and negative impacts our world.

If you’re reading this, you are the beneficiary of this globalized food system in at least one, but more likely in many ways. Resolving to grow our understanding of where our food comes from holds the promise of benefits for everyone and our planet.

When you begin with a determination to cultivate new understanding and a simple question, you will find yourself on a path to new questions – How far has my food traveled? How does that path impact the environment? Were the farmers treated fairly? Did the animals see sunlight and breathe fresh air? Further, how do the answers to these questions affect me, my family, and my community?

Because of our Core Values (learn more here), we believe that each of us has a role to play in the healing of our world, that we all can grow in new ways, and that working in partnership we can see things improve during our stewardship of our time together on this planet we all share. We hope you will join us!

David is a staff member of Trellis for Tomorrow. As Senior Programs Manager, he comes to us with 15 years of experience in community building, social justice work, and organic agriculture. When he’s not at Trellis, you might find him tending the crops for his local tea company or supporting other efforts for a more equitable and sustainable food system.













Dignified Exchange at Trellis for Tomorrow

Dignified Exchange at Trellis for Tomorrow

“Mutual aid means that every participant is both giver and recipient in acts of care that bind them together.” – Rebecca Solnit



Now that the bustling days of spring and summer plantings have come to a close, the calmer days have given us an opportunity at Trellis for Tomorrow to step back and see the larger picture of what it is we are trying to build in the communities we serve. Don’t get me wrong – we are still busy in the gardens working with partners to ensure that plants are healthy, produce is getting harvested and donated, and that everything is lined up for a successful fall season (it’s already around the corner!). But thankfully, with the support of our amazing network of gardeners, we are all able to take a bit of a breather and enjoy the fruits – and veggies – of our labor.

One of the main principles that we strive to embody at Trellis for Tomorrow is what we call “Dignified Exchange”. Dignified Exchange is a model for engaging our community which strives to move beyond a solely charitable relationship. While there are absolutely contexts in which charities are important and necessary, Trellis aims to provide services to our partners that build a reciprocal relationship. We are not simply donating produce, seedlings, and raised beds to our garden champions. Instead, we work together with everyone in our network to find opportunities for mutual benefit.

As the Agricultural Program Manager, one of my main responsibilities is to oversee the success of our Food for All program. The FFA project consists of a network of around 20 community gardens dotted throughout Chester and surrounding counties. These gardens are based at community centers, churches, corporations, nonprofits, and other locations. At least half of all produce grown is designated for delivery to food banks, which aids in our mission to fight food insecurity in our region.

Instead of Trellis staff simply installing a garden and tending to its every need, we work alongside volunteer partners to ensure that the growing season is bountiful and rewarding for all those involved. We aim to empower our gardeners with the expertise they need to grow a healthy organic garden. While working alongside our garden champions, I have been afforded many opportunities to learn from the volunteers – our Dignified Exchange model allows for knowledge sharing to flow both ways between Trellis staff and community members.

Last week, I was out at one of our amazing FFA gardens located on the campus of Aerzen, one of our corporate sites, in Coatesville. While demonstrating our tried-and-true method of trellising tomatoes using the Florida Weave Technique, one of the gardeners chimed in to explain how he had successfully been staking up his tomatoes in his own garden at home. Gardening is a never-ending process of learning, and although I’ve been at it for some time, I was excited to hear about his approach to tomatoes and made a mental note to give it a try next year.

This is just one small example of how our approach at Trellis for Tomorrow makes room for many people throughout our community to teach and learn in the collaborative environment of a vegetable garden.

As Tim Manthey of the Aerzen Garden put it, “The most meaningful part of helping with this garden is spending time with coworkers outside the office. It’s a good teambuilding activity – everybody getting to see each other outside of the work context, rallying together to try to exceed the previous year’s outputs, and knowing that everything we’re harvesting is going to local foodbanks and helping people who need that food.”

The work that we are engaged in at Trellis for Tomorrow goes beyond showing up for one-off garden installations or volunteer events. We create opportunities for garden partners to continue the work, to teach us new things and to take what they learn out into the wider community. I love to hear from our garden champions how their involvement has affected their lives and those around them. I sure know that my connection to our amazing volunteer network has enriched my life.

In the spirit of Dignified Exchange, we invite you to share your stories, wisdom, and other resources too. Your contributions help us all continue to grow in new ways!

Three Cheers to Ray!

Three Cheers to Ray!

As 2021 draws to a close, we would like to take a moment to appropriately appreciate and honor our dear friend, leader, and supporter, Raymond Schneider. Since 2009, Ray served as the president of the Trellis for Tomorrow Board of Directors, effectively stewarding the organization through 13 years of wonderful, and challenging, twists, turns, and transitions.

Even though 2021 was Ray’s final year on the board, we will forever be grateful for his longtime dedication to the mission of Trellis. From visiting the youth in the gardens, to leading the planning of several large fundraising events, to lending his photography skills to take headshots, Ray has been an integral part of our organization in an incredibly wide variety of ways throughout his tenure.

Ray described his favorite part of serving on the Trellis board saying, “I love the people at Trellis. Their passion for the mission serves as a benchmark for the rest of us as we think about how to make a difference in this crazy world we live in. And of course, the fact that Trellis is making such a significant impact on the lives of so many is the primary reason why we’re all in it together!”.

Trellis Executive Director, Jennifer Anderson, expressed some of the many things she appreciated most about her partnership with Ray. “What was best for the organization and those we serve was always top of mind for Ray. He brought his all to each meeting, interaction, or event — you never got the sense that he wasn’t fully present. It’s quite an impressive thing to maintain that kind of enthusiasm for so many years.”

Ray, we will miss your wisdom, kindness, creativity, and steadfastness, but we look forward to continuing to have you in our lives and in our corner. Thank you for 13 impactful years. Three cheers to you, Ray!

Read what this teen had to say about caring for our world

Read what this teen had to say about caring for our world

We know our youth are the future.  We know that they hold a special power to help us adults see what is right before us and to answer the call to be better and do more.  At Trellis, we are fortunate to be able to see examples of the power of youth at work every day.  On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel of young people encouraging their peers to act on climate change.  Eleanor VanRheenen, a senior from Conestoga High School, talked about her inspiration to act on climate and how that manifests in her life.  In hindsight, I wish we had recorded the panel (they were all excellent!).  In lieu of having a recording, Eleanor gave me permission to share what she presented with you.  I hope you will find a few minutes to read what she wrote and to let the beauty and power of her words find their way to your heart. – Jennifer Anderson, Executive Director

What We Can Do  by Eleanor VanRheenen

To me, the great thing about an event like this is that we can all come together to compare ideas and notes about what we do to protect the environment. Maybe we each hear something big or small that we can take away to apply in our own lives.

So, I want to share some things I do as a high school student to care for the environment and talk about a few things we can all do, no matter our age. I specifically want to share 4 or 5 things I do in my life.

But before I get into that, I want to talk about what motivates me to care for the earth. The motivating factor for me is a love of nature. I’ll explain a little bit how this motivating factor expresses itself in what I do. The point I want to make here is that this motivating factor is always with me and doing things that align with it feels easy and natural. And tied to who I am as a person.

I want to ask you to reflect on why specifically you care for the environment and how you express that care. Understanding what your motivations are helps you figure out things you can do that are sustainable for you. Things that can easily become habits because they align with your beliefs or motivating passions and have a degree of ease and permanence to them.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do everything you possibly could. 100% commitment to and action on environmentalism is not required to make a difference. Even tiny little partial changes in our consumption or behavior can be significant over time. The things that we each decide to do to help can fit within the lives we have and don’t need to be radical.

I mentioned that I love nature and find motivation in this love to take green steps in my life. I’ve had this love of nature since I was young. I really love being barefoot outside. Actually, one of my parents’ favorite stories about me as a kid is about my dislike for shoes. They say it was impossible to get me to keep them on. I wanted to be able to feel the grass with my feet as I was playing.

This love of nature may not be the reason that motivates you. There are lots of different reasons people are environmentally conscious, but it is helpful to be in touch with what your motivators are. Are they based on scientific data? On economic studies? On keeping yourself and your family healthy? On a moral sense of right and wrong? Or something else? Knowing what motivates you will allow you to identify what steps you can take that will be authentic for you and therefore sustainable for you.

I’ve mentioned that there are several things I want to talk about that even kids like me can do.

The first thing that I do is really acting on my passion and being in nature. Spending time intentionally enjoying and appreciating the outdoors. This is about being in touch with my own love for the nature and allowing it to be front and center in my thoughts regularly. I like to spend a lot of time at Valley Forge National Park. Lately, as it’s been getting colder; I’ll go there, wrap myself in a blanket, and just spend time alone with nature, enjoying its beauty and fragility and strength. Keeping myself outside appreciating nature gives me the regular reminders I need to arrange my life in small but increasing ways that protect and preserve nature.

In this area, it can sometimes be hard to see the direct effects of climate change that other places in the world might experience. But being in touch with nature, my motivator, makes it easier to think about and be inspired to do other things to help the environment.

I want to describe a few of the more specific things to do. These are not hard or even unusual. But they are each tied to my love for nature.

Daily activities around the house can be a place to be greener. I can draw upon my love of nature as I do things around the house. In my life, this means using reusable grocery bags, for example. In my family, we also try not to buy unnecessary items. So, we still some of the same furniture that my parents had in college. Our house is also powered by 100% renewable energy. My dad drives a Chevy Bolt, which is an electric car, and I drive a hybrid. And, of course, we are very deliberate about recycling. Some of these things are easier to do than others, so even making a couple of these choices can be impactful. And some are things that high school kids don’t have control over but are things we can think about as we move into the adult world.

A third thing I’ve done is think about my diet. I spent time learning about the impacts of food production on the earth. This led me to think about the things I eat and the impact that buying those things has. Before reading and learning about these impacts, I didn’t think critically about my food consumption very much. But, it’s actually one of the single biggest things you can do to reduce your environmental impact.

I have since altered my diet. First going vegetarian, and eventually deciding to cut out all animal products and go vegan. Some people may make this choice for health or for moral reasons, but for me, it’s about having a smaller footprint.

Altering your diet this much isn’t required to reduce impact. Even eating less red meat or cheese can reduce impact in significant ways. I would encourage people to think about occasionally choosing a plant-based option.

At school, I have found a few easy things I can do to reduce my environmental impact. For example, I carry my own reusable utensils for lunch. I also use reusable plastic bags, containers, and water bottles. These things require very little effort from me.

And finally, another part of how I show my care for the environment is by getting involved with others who share this interest. Most often, this is through a club at my school called Greening Stoga Task Force.

At the end of last year, we set a few concrete goals for this year. Our biggest goal was eliminating Styrofoam usage in our cafeteria. Styrofoam is not biodegradable, is made using nonrenewable resources, and is not easily recyclable. Our club has been working towards this goal for many years, so we projected that it would take at least a year to achieve it.

Our members, along with a couple passionate parents in the district, made a plan to achieve this goal. We started over the summer with lots of research. The parents and members of our club spent a lot of time understanding the process of purchasing utensils and plates. We also researched lots of alternatives.

When school started, our members attended and spoke at school board meetings and with administration frequently. The administration began to see the merits of our arguments and how much we kids cared about it and actions started to be taken.

Just recently, we actually made the complete switch in our cafeteria away from Styrofoam. This was a huge step for us.

And it now opens the rest of the year for us to focus on more eco-friendly changes we can make in our school, and we have a few plans.

One is that we are working on making the utilities at our school greener. Our members recently attended the facilities meeting, where they discussed this goal. The school is considering hiring the help of a nonprofit organization called the Green Restaurant. This organization evaluates the efficiency of the utilities at schools or restaurants and helps them find greener alternatives. Other schools in our area, like Shipley, have used the Green Restaurant.

Another of our goals is to give younger kids more information about the environment. So, we are currently planning a field trip to some of the local elementary schools. We hope to organize a small science lab experiment to do with them or something to get them involved with the environment.

We are all very busy. As a high schooler, I have many demands from academics to sports to clubs and other interests to college applications. It can be hard to find the time to always prioritize the environment. But by each figuring out what motivates us and what little things we can do, individually or together, that are consistent with that motivation, we can make a big impact.