To walk with, and ensure, each youth we serve is career, college, and life ready. Using a Youth-Centric approach, community supports, and fluid movements to align with their personal growth and goals. We will do whatever it takes – No Exceptions, No excuses.


Youth by Youth, House by House, Block by Block, building a stronger and sustainable future for all of us.


Mary Elsa

Program Specialist / Spanish Liaison

Mary is a Tepe Park resident, and mother of two Southside Stars. Prior to moving to Evansville, she grew up and was a preschool teacher in Mexico. She also spent many years training in a variety of dance.

She teaches Spanish class and Dance class, in addition to regular movements in both our evening and Educational Co-op.

She is an incredible asset to the growth of the SSYZ and our neighborhood!

Lisa Barnett

Founder/ Executive Director

Formerly a Critical Care RN and Educator, with experience in gang outreach. Currently a Resident Leader in Tepe Park and consultant for the Evansville Promise Zone, with a focus on Community Engagement, Housing, and Youth related aspects. 20+ years experience working with youth, specifically those in under-privileged areas and considered high-risk.

On Youth: “Our youth know where they want to go. It’s our job to ensure they have the right supports, opportunities, and resources to get there.”

On Community: “Attacking a problem from one side will only shift the problem. We are wrapping around the problems, to transform them into assets.”

SSYZ Board of Directors

(Coming Soon)