What’s in a Name?

Gary WolskyBy Gary Wolsky, President/CEO
The Village Family Service Center
Someone recently asked me where we came up with our name, “The Village Family Service Center.” That question prompted me to write this message to tell you about our name and take a comprehensive look at what The Village does.
As you might expect over 124 years of history, our name has evolved. We were originally known as the North Dakota Children’s Home Society, a reflection of the orphan trains of that era that moved tens of thousands of orphans from the East Coast across the country. Later, we became Children’s Village, and as we began to wind down our primary focus as an orphanage in 1969, we eventually became The Village Family Service Center.
What we do actually gets a bit complex, but it all centers, either directly or indirectly, around kids and families. That’s important to know because any “business” has a responsibility to be clear about what it does. In our case, it’s extremely important because so much of what we do is reliant on the goodwill and the generosity of the communities we serve. The graph below shows our 12 major program components—of the tens of thousands of people who come to our door over a course of a year, these are the programs they are most often seeking. I also included a list of the additional services that sort of “fly under the radar,” so you can see the wide range of services we provide to children and families throughout the region.
Adoption is the only Village program that traces its roots back to our beginnings in 1891, and continues to be a service we provide today with a great deal of pride and success. All of our other services have emerged as the community has expressed a need for a particular approach to a problem. Gary Chart

The most important thing for you to know is The Village is here for you. Every one of these programs exists to provide individuals, families, and businesses with the help they need when they need it, so you don’t have to go it alone.
A final note of thanks. None of the work we do at The Village happens without the financial support of a lot of people. We have prided ourselves over many decades at literally being “owned” by the community. While so many nonprofits over the last 30 to 40 years have become reliant and dependent on tax-based income, we’ve remained very clear that our owners are the people we serve and not the state and federal government. We are owned by the communities we serve—and for that we are very grateful.
The opinions expressed in this column are strictly those of The Village Family Service Center CEO. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization, staff, or boards of directors.

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