As you look around our squeaky-new website, you’ll see lots of great new features — check out, for instance, the Girls in Society section, a building-out of our groundbreaking research on the sexualization of girls — and lots of our old standbys as well. We’re thrilled with all the changes, our new logo, our new vibrant colors, and our streamlined look that puts clients and youth up front in a way they hadn’t been before.
But as we embarked on this change that required a protracted process of organizational discovery and development, we found ourselves continually answering one question, albeit presented in different forms. Basically, it was this: what was wrong with the old name?
Well, here’s what. First, though, a bit of background:
In 1997, the New England Consortium for Family and Youth and the New England Association for Child Care merged to become the New England Network for Child, Youth & Family Services (fondly referred to as NEN). A few years later we welcomed the Massachusetts Foundation for Children into the fold. That’s a lot of history and a whole lot of words — and ones that over time have started to feel wrong to us.
The truth is that we’ve changed over the years. Our work includes New England, but is not limited to it. We’re not really a ‘network’ or membership organization anymore, but instead provide expert research and training through fee-for-service consultation and grant partnerships. And finally, while we still work closely with child, youth and family service providers, we increasingly work as consultants to communities, schools, public agencies and foundations.
Many of you participated in our ‘new name process’ over the last several months, and know firsthand the lengthy and involved exploration that it entailed. Out of the hundreds of words that could constitute a new name, one — ‘catalyst’ — kept rising to the top. Its definition? Somebody or something that makes change happen or brings about an event. That’s us.
Don’t worry. All the things you like about us — the one-on-one attention, the customized trainings and consultations, the grant development, evaluation and research expertise — will still be here. Our costume’s a little different, our focus is a little sharper, but at heart we’ll still be a lot like the old NEN.
Thoughts? Opinions? We welcome your feedback! Post them below.
~ Melanie Goodman, Executive Director