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Sherwood founder Hazel Venables and her daughter Leslie

Our Community Story:

Sherwood was started in 1957 by eight families of children with disabilities who were excluded from a public education. Together, they created Sherwood to prove that their children not only had the right, but the ability to learn. People with disabilities were segregated and isolated due to the societal expectation that they would be cared for out of the public eye; there were in effect considered 2nd class citizens and deemed incompetent without any rights. 


While society has advanced significantly in the past 60+ years, current education and employment statistics throughout our state and county are not reflective of a truly inclusive community for people with disabilities. 


Sherwood strives to create an inclusive society where children and adults with disabilities have the ability to live full, independent lives as a part of their community. 

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We invite you to watch this video on Sherwood's history! 

What sets Sherwood apart?

Sherwood advocates on behalf of children, adults and families:
With an extensive background in advocacy, Sherwood takes a lead role in advocating on behalf of children, adults and families. This work helps not only those Sherwood services, but also across Washington State.

Sherwood advocates with Washington State legislature for policies and funding that make early diagnosis and meaningful employment accessible for people with disabilities.

Sherwood meets people where they are:
Sherwood honors diversity, inclusion, abilities and equity. Every child deserves an equitable start in life and every adult deserves an equitable start when entering employment.


Sherwood takes pride in serving all people with disabilities and their families, including individuals with significant disabilities, those in rural areas and non-English speaking communities. Sherwood strives to remove as many barriers to accessing services as possible. If a family faces a financial barrier, Sherwood is able to continue providing critical services to that family thanks to investments from  partners.

Sherwood integrates technology when appropriate:
Technology has played a substantial role at Sherwood throughout the years and is an innovative tool that therapists utilize with our clients.

Telehealth and remote services were integral in the continuation of work in both programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 


Assistive Technology is any type of assistive or adaptive device or piece of equipment that can aid a person with disabilities in communication or enable them to live a more independent life. At Sherwood, if a therapist or employment specialist believes assistive technology may help break down barriers to independence, they can access Sherwood's Lending Library for equipment and integrate it into a therapy session or in a work environment. 

Sherwood is a recognized leader in the community:

Sherwood is proud to have served Snohomish, Skagit and Island County for over 60 years. Recently, Sherwood has been recognized by the community and named "Best Non-Profit” in Snohomish County by The Daily Herald in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Sherwood was also named "Best Workplace" in Snohomish County in 2020. As a leader in the field of services for people with disabilities, Sherwood works to educate the community on respectful language, inclusive practices and disability etiquette.

On May 22nd, 2019, the Snohomish County Council passed resolution #19-024, recognizing Sherwood Community Services’ 60 plus years of contribution.

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