Acorns to Oak Trees Founder
Acorns to Oak Trees’ founder, Season Goodpasture, is a marriage and family therapist and is Maidu and Paiute and a member of the Susanville Indian Rancheria in Northern California. Season’s husband, James Goodpasture, is Cupeno and he and their four children (Harley, Huntley, Holley, and Hudson) are members of the Pala Band of Mission Indians in Southern California. Season’s passion has been to serve tribal families and communities through infrastructure and capacity building and programmatic development in areas of child welfare, education, mental health, and tribal court.
Prior to founding Acorns to Oak Trees, Season served as the director of social services for the Pala Band of Mission Indians for almost 10 years. Through her work at Pala, Season developed an extensive social services program, a tribal foster care program, a child support program, a mental health and equine program, tobacco cessation program, a comprehensive early intervention program, as well as substantially increased Pala Tribal Court infrastructure and capacity. Season’s efforts to expand the Pala’s Social Service program led to Pala being the first tribe in California to be able to conduct their own criminal background checks and ultimately paved the way for all tribes to do so through the passing of SB 1460.
Acorns to Oak Trees was inspired by Season and James’s oldest daughter, Harley, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder and their journey of discovering the Regional Center and navigating its system. Having lived and worked in Indian country for many years, Season realized that there were many service access and equity barriers that existed for tribal families with special needs, primarily due to lack of awareness and the huge disconnect between most Regional Centers and tribal communities.
After learning the high number of tribal children who are diagnosed every year with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and knowing the difficulty she faced in navigating the system, she knew something must be done to reach and help tribal communities. Season reached out to California Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Developmental Services and shared Harley’s story and advocated for better outreach efforts to tribal communities.
After being touched by Harley’s story and looking at the data on tribal families, the department agreed that something needed to be done and policy was created that earmarked money in the state’s budget every year specifically for outreach to tribal communities. Harley is just one little Native American girl, but her life and story will have a significant impact on the lives of thousands of Native American children across California forever. Harley represents hope and exudes all that love truly is, she is one of the purest souls you will ever meet and is truly the inspiration behind it all.