What does Sisu mean?
Si•su (sēē'sōō) n. [< Finnish word]
To the Finnish people, Sisu can be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and bravery in the face of adversity. Sisu is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage when times are tough. Our Sisu kids are more than their barriers and with your help, they can and will succeed!
Our Mission: To ensure that youth experiencing homelessness have a safe place to sleep, the security to dream, and the support to make a positive impact on the world.
Our Vision: To eradicate homelessness and hopelessness among transition-age youth in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.
What is Sisu Youth Services?
Sisu Youth is a 501(c)3 charitable organization formed in 2015 to offer shelter and support to youth experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City.
Who does Sisu serve?
We welcome youth and young adults between the ages of 15-24. We are proud to be a low barrier, identity-affirming, safe place for our city's most vulnerable populations.
What does Sisu do?
We offer emergency overnight shelter, clothing, hot meals, laundry, showers, school supplies, referrals, and case management support. Our Youth Support team connects each client with the resources they need including school enrollment, job training, physical & mental health supports, financial coaching, and much more!
Where is Sisu located?
We currently lease space from a great partner near NW 30th & Penn Ave. We've operated a drop-in center & overnight shelter in this space since 2016.
“I never had a real family that cared about me until I came to Sisu.” - J, 20 years old
The work of Sisu Youth Services began in 2010 when a group of concerned citizens set out to collect and share resources for at-risk youth in Oklahoma City. By 2013, their simple mission had become a full-scale intention to create a program that would simplify the process of connecting youth in crisis to emergency support services at every level of care.
The Sisu Youth Day Center first opened its doors in 2014. One day each week, donors, case managers, service providers, and volunteers rallied together to connect with and support unhoused youth in our city. The continual outpouring of love we received from our community every week blew us away - but we knew that our work wasn't done.
Our youth needed a space that was open to them every day. A place where they could come as they are and be accepted and welcomed with open arms - no matter their gender identity, sexual orientation, cultural background, or religious affiliation. The dedication of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors have allowed us to expand Sisu into what it is today: a low barrier, identity affirming emergency overnight shelter and drop-in resource hub for unhoused and at-risk youth across our city.
Together, we can end youth homelessness.
Together, we are Sisu.
“They get you clothes, they feed you, and they make sure that you’re warm and safe… I thank God every day that they do have people here that really care and that try to reach out to you and make you feel welcome.” -K, 22 years old
Penny Reynolds, Founder
Jamie Caves, Executive Director
Kylee Holland, Program Director
Rachel Bradley, Director of Resource Development
Sisu Youth Services Board of Directors
Alexandra McGowan Rayburn, President
Katie Wilburn, Vice President
Aquilah Ahmad-Johnson, Secretary
Heather Johnson, Treasurer
Board meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at the Church of the Open Arms
(3131 N. Penn, Oklahoma City, OK 73112) at 6:00 PM.