Things are Looking ‘UP’ Towards ‘Unleashing Potential’ for Children and Families Served by UCC-Related Neighborhood Houses

The new graphic announcing Neighborhood Houses’ name change to UP — Unleashing Potential.

In a move to remain at the forefront of children and family services in St. Louis, the United Church of Christ-affiliated Neighborhood Houses of St. Louis, announced recently that it is changing its name officially to Unleashing Potential (UP). Along with the name change is a shift in how services are delivered to children and families in need.

The change was kicked off at an UP Celebration Party, held Dec. 6 at Moulin Events and Meetings in St. Louis. The Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, president and CEO of the UCC’s Deaconess Foundation, addressed the audience at the celebration.

The name change comes after long deliberation by UP’s board of directors. The old name “is affiliated with our foundation, the settlement house movement of the early 1900s,” says Darlene Sowell, UP’s president and CEO. “In today’s environment, it is not as familiar, and we are mistaken quite a bit for a housing and utilities assistance organization. The board determined that the time was right to explore a new … name that better reflects the impact we are having on children and families.”

Unleashing Potential (UP) was decided upon because of the forward motion implied with the name, and because “most importantly, it allows us to focus on the inner strength and assets that our children have inside of themselves,” Sowell says. “It is a shift from ‘the where’ services happen to the children themselves.”

As UP, the work of the former Neighborhood Houses will continue. “We work to bridge the opportunity gap of our children,” Sowell says. “What has changed is HOW we deliver those services. We go where the children are, versus in the past [when] they came to us.”

Sowell sees many advantages to the new branding. For one, she says, it will help children have a stronger tie to the agency because “it’s easy to remember.”

But there are other, larger, community-oriented reasons as well, she adds.

“This rebranding will open new doors to us [in] name recognition,” which is especially important when soliciting new resources for mission, and increasing awareness of UP’s mission to the business community and to city and state legislatures, Sowell says.

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