Encompass Virtual Autumn Gala – The Power of Us – Brings the Community Together for Children & Families

On November 7th, the Encompass Autumn Gala, The Power of Us, took place in a new venue – YouTube. A record 500 people came together not in a ballroom but in the comfort of their own homes to raise funds for the support of Encompass programs for children and families. 

Mark Schenfeld, left and Tatevik Aprikyan, right, hosted the event live on YouTube.

Hosted by Mark Schenfeld of Stokes Auction Group and Tatevik Aprikyan of Q-13 Fox News, the hour-long program featured a live auction,  an inspiring family speaker video, a tribute to a 20-year educator, and more. 

Executive Director Nela Cumming and Encompass Board President, Tavish MacLean, took the virtual stage, thanking donors, supporters and staff while highlighting Encompass’s pivot into the virtual world. 

“Our staff have been creative and engaging in working with children, and have been providing services throughout the pandemic using telehealth and as well as some limited in-person services,” said Nela Cumming.  

Encompass family speakers LuvLee Molander and Erich Flaker shared their story of how Encompass supported their family as their son Johann was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), a neurological disorder that affects motor movements in the mouth. 

Family speakers, the Flakers, left to right, Erich, Johann, 4, Magnus, 2 and LuvLee

After years of pediatrician visits and milestone appointments, at two and a half, Johann only spoke three words. Faced with high out of pocket costs, the Flakers were unsure of where to turn until they discovered Encompass. 

Within two weeks, the Encompass Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) team was in the Flaker’s home evaluating Johann for free. After his CAS diagnosis, he started therapy, and within a year and a half, Johann was speaking in complete sentences. While he started his therapy in person, Encompass was able to pivot to telehealth Zoom sessions for Johann when the pandemic hit.

“It’s overwhelming to know the help that you need isn’t available for you. I don’t know where we would be with Johann right now if we weren’t able to find the resource of Encompass,” said LuvLee. 

Julie Forslin was also recognized during the event and celebrates 20 years as a preschool educator at Encompass. Guests got to hear from two of Julie’s first students, PJ Stedman and Bailey Scott, who were both a part of the preschool class of 2000. 

Julie Forslin celebrates 20 years
at Encompass

Thirty-two corporate event sponsors, including Premier Sponsors Brown & Sterling Attorneys at Law and Nintendo, helped support Encompass raise funds for pediatric therapy, early learning, and family enrichment services Encompass offers throughout the year.

ABOUT ENCOMPASS: Encompass is a nonprofit that partners with families to build healthy foundations for children, providing early learning, pediatric therapy, and family enrichment for children of all abilities in the Snoqualmie, Issaquah, and Eastside communities. With two locations in North Bend and one in Carnation, Encompass offers programs for children ages 0-8 and their families to help foster a community where ALL children thrive.

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