Southside Stars Youth Zone

Ensuring our youth succeed!

No Exceptions, no excuses!

Welcome to the SSYZ

Click on the Tree above to find out more about our Sponsor Wall!

SSYZ Common Language and Terminology

Place Based: A defined geography marker with physical boundaries. Ours is the Tepe Park

Youth Zone: A Youth Zone is not a program. It is a place-based Movement, driven by the
youth, supported by the local community, and remains fluid to adjust to the needs and goals of
our growing youth. Its purpose is walk alongside our youth, supporting them, and providing
opportunities for them, to be their vision of success in life.

Youth-Centric: Youth by Youth relationship building to develop personalized pathways to
success, with an equitable approach. This means looking at each youth as an individual.
Wrapping supports and opportunities that align specifically to this one youth. This applies to
every youth in our zone.
● Assess their passions, talents, dreams, goals, and obstacles at least twice a year.
● Character Building: Respect, Responsibility, Empathetic, Driven, Community-minded,
Self-regulation, Honest, and Self-reliant
● Personalized Life/ Career Pathway Development and Implementation: Goal setting and
steps for achievement. Barriers that need assistance. Experiences/ Knowledge required.
Consistently assessing and adjusting to meet the individual need.
● What we do is in the best interest of the youth we serve and contributes to their personal
success. If it doesn’t then we shouldn’t be doing it.

Movement: This is used in place of the traditional word “programs/ programming”. All the
“programs” we offer are fluid and change with the growth, needs, and goals of our youth. We
need a word that reflects this flow, as well as, helping stakeholders, families, and others
understand the difference.

The Foundations of the SSYZ

Evansville Parks Department

Blog Archive

Our Stars


We call our youth activities, Movements.

Everything the SSYZ provides has to be fluid in its progression because they are driven by the needs and goals of growing youth in our Zone. We are constantly listening and incorporating the youth in the direction and development of Movements. This serves two purposes.

The first being, the creation of ownership among the youth. When they become a primary stakeholder, it creates a different kind of drive in them and accountability to themselves to push harder, think beyond the limitations, and have pride in what they are building.

The second is that the purpose of the SSYZ is to serve them. Their individual challenges, goals, dreams, and where they are right this moment. Movements should be resonating with them and serving a direct purpose in their growth.

Below are some of our Movement areas.

Go to our Calendar section to see full schedule for the current session we are in or going into.

These run in after-school hours from 3-6pm. It consists of various movements the youth can pick and choose from to engage in. Some examples of these are Spanish class, Dance, Art, Music, Chess, Game/Strategy Building, Quidditch (sport), and Community Projects. 

This movement also includes 2 days spent at the East Branch Library (EVPL) where they participate in a unique literacy movement, as well as, STEAM activities!

Our home-school parents advocated hard for some type of Educational Co-op their youth could participate in and go further than just the Evening Movements.

We listened to the need and created a learning space/ movement for those youth. They meet during the daytime when other students are in traditional school. 

The SSYZ learning is all developed around Phenomenon (Project) Based Learning. Where youth are working on real life challenges, both globally and in their community, touching on all school subjects, while experimenting and creating possible solutions. This type of learning is very hands-on, student driven, and combines a variety of work-place skills (communication, collaboration, data collecting/ reporting, research, etc).

The more engaged the youth are in the material, ability to put their hands on the work, and with materials that interest them, the more likely they will retain the information and flourish in their academics.

The youth develop their own community service projects that directly align to their interests and the neighborhood’s needs. By working with the Tepe Park Neighborhood Association, our neighborhood’s quality of life plan, and living here, our youth get a unique sense of the various needs.

Then they pick 2-3 a year to focus on and that falls into their interests. Sometimes they are simple like cleaning the park and tending the community garden. Other times they take a lot of planning, research, and creation like their upcoming Art in the Park project.

The average youth spends: 17% of the year at school. 33% of the year sleeping (8hrs per night), and 50% spent in their home/ community.

It is crucial that we are supporting, and wrapping supports around, our youth and families, but knowing the above data, it is crucial we are also doing it for the neighborhoods they live in as well. 

This type of thinking has been game-changing and creating amazing results!

Tepe Park Neighborhood

The duties of helping one's self in the highest sense, involves helping one's neighbor.

Samuel Smiles

The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefor, brothers.

Martin Luther King


To learn more about our programs, enrolling your youth, volunteer opportunities, or how to connect your organization, please contact us below.

All donations are tax deductible and deeply appreciated by our youth and staff. If you would like to make a donation of supplies or monetary support please contact Lisa Barnett

or mail to: 1915 Washington Ave #2144 Evansville IN 47728