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CSSV's name changes to encompass more needs

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NORTH BEND - Encompass.

The word itself means to surround or envelop; to include; to accomplish or achieve.

That definition is what the people of Encompass (formerly known as Children's Services of Sno-Valley) want the public to associate with the 38-year-old North Bend-based family organization. While the services and faces at Encompass will remain the same, its name needed to be changed to show just how much it - encompasses.

"While our new name, Encompass, doesn't tell people what we do, it does have people asking, 'Tell me more about it?'" said Encompass Executive Director Nancy Whitaker.

Whitaker first became involved with Encompass as a volunteer in 1980 when it was known as the Sno Valley Developmental Center. Before that, it was called the Sno Valley School for Special Needs, which was started in Snoqualmie in 1967 by Valley parents who wanted their disabled children to have an educational experience.

"This was before special ed [education] services were provided by school districts," Whitaker said.

While the organization always kept its dedication to children with special needs, its scope grew to include early childhood education, parenting classes and community programs for all families. In the early 1990s, supporters raised money to build a new campus in North Bend for the growing organization. They also went through a name change to reflect the addition of services it then offered, and in 1995, the name was changed to Children's Services of Sno-Valley (CSSV).

The organization continued to grow as the needs of the Valley changed. Encompass now offers a nationally accredited preschool, summer and school-break programs for children, family night events, parent education classes, a childcare cooperative and other programs. Every holiday season it puts together a "Respectful Giving" program that allows people to anonymously give the essentials of a holiday meal to families in need throughout the Valley.

Support for Encompass grew, but its old name got to be a little tedious for a number of reasons. Children's Services of Sno-Valley didn't exactly roll off the tongue and many referred to it as CSSV, when they got the initials right. Sno-Valley Children's Services was another incorrect handle used, and that one was printed on the State Route 202 signs near Encompass' campus on Boalch Avenue.

"It's cumbersome and it gives the impression that we are tied to government services," Whitaker said. "In fact, we were often confused with Child Protective Services (affiliated with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services). We are excited that our new name has a very positive connotation."

The board and staff of Encompass believe the new name provides a glimpse into what the organization is, instead of what it is not.

"We really wanted our new name to be inviting and offer us some flexibility for the future," said Gregory Malcolm, director of development, "and we wanted to avoid the confusion we were hearing about."

Even the location has been a challenge for some people to figure out. Having "Sno" in its old name didn't narrow the field for those outside the Snoqualmie Valley, so Encompass continues to get mail meant for organizations in the county or City of Snohomish.

To rectify the situation, the leaders of CSSV started a year-long process of discussions and planning that involved its own board of directors, staff, supporters, community members and volunteer consultants.

"It wasn't a decision that we took lightly," Malcolm said.

First, the organization looked at what it did and what it strives to do and boiled its mission down to three statements: "We nurture children. We enrich families. We inspire community."

As the discussions progressed, it wasn't so much a name that kept reoccurring but a verb - encompass. People wanted a name that encompassed all that the organization did. After a while, the name Encompass became an obvious choice.

"We wanted something that would draw people in," Whitaker said.

Encompass is the new name, and there is a new logo, too. The word Encompass is spelled in a smart sans serif font and is accompanied by a simple drawing of three smiling faces joining together to form two more faces.

The name change will take some getting used to, but Whitaker and other staff members of Encompass believe they received good preliminary support for their new name after showing it off to a group of children at the campus.

Malcolm said he thinks resistance to the change will melt away once people realize that while there is a new look for the organization, nothing else has really changed. The same staff members are in place, the organization has a solid group of supporters and board members and families still come first.

While the organization is taking the local connection (Sno Valley) away from its name, it still relies on the community to survive.

More than half of its budget comes from tuition, program fees and a strong private donor base with close ties to the Snoqualmie Valley.

Since its reputation and name are known throughout the region, Encompass has plans for a bright future. Now the organization will be working to get the word out about its programs, and that first word will likely be Encompass.

"There is a happy buzz about it," said Laurie Vanderboom, director of programs.

* For information about Encompass, call (425) 888-2777 or visit www.encompassnw.org.

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