Opinion

It's time to circle the wagons for services

The economic downturn, the cost of health and other benefits continue to impact the Snoqualmie Valley, its people, families and children. It's time to circle the wagons.

Thirty-five-year-old Children's Services of Sno-Valley (CSSV) has not been immune to these economic difficulties. Shrinking sources for funds have caused CSSV's board and staff to evaluate community needs and existing programs in an effort to stretch limited resources. Children's Services of Sno-Valley is a Snoqualmie Valley organization that has grown out of the efforts of the community it serves. It provides important family and child support in North Bend, Snoqualmie, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall and to those people living in the 650 square miles surrounding farms and forests.

Programs at CSSV range from parenting education and enrichment, to early childhood education and child care, to support for children with developmental disabilities. For some, support means helping families find suitable housing, clothing, counseling, training and employment. As the economy turns downward, the needs of these families become greater.

Over the years, CSSV has served a growing number of people until the record number achieved in this last year of 2,800 people. These are people from all income levels, from all educational levels and from all employment and family backgrounds. What they have in common is that they are all our neighbors. They are the people who live and work in the Snoqualmie Valley and who benefit from the community's investment in CSSV.

July 1 marked the beginning of a new fiscal year for CSSV. The organization enters the year with a budget that is leaner than the prior years and includes financial sacrifice on the part of dedicated and loyal staff. Recognizing the need to meet difficult financial times, CSSV's board and staff have adopted a budget that will put children, family and the community first. It's time for the community to respond in kind.

Help CSSV and the work it does with our children and families by directing your charitable giving to this local cause. People of the Snoqualmie Valley need to invest in the businesses, institutions and agencies where they live. The support of local people for the efforts of organizations like CSSV goes a long way in recognizing the benefits they bring to the community.

And there are other agencies in the Valley who are in need of support during these difficult times. Get behind the efforts of Hopelink, Hub, Mount Si Senior Center and the local food bank. Watch for the fund-raising events that support these agencies like the Snoqualmie Valley Charity Golf Classic and the Sept. 14 Children's Services of Sno-Valley annual auction.

People choose to live and invest in the Snoqualmie Valley, not just for the geography and scenery, but because of the community values and a culture of supporting and helping neighbors. As a relative newcomer to the Valley, I can tell you that this feeling permeates the Valley and is almost visible in the air. It's a great place for families. Circle the wagons.

John Stout is executive director of Children's Services of Sno-Valley. He may be contacted by calling (425) 888-2777 or e-mailing jstout

@cssv.org.

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