Sisu is a word that probably is not very familiar to people who live in North Georgia, but the board members for Challenged Child and Friends are hoping it's a name that will catch on quickly.
In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, Challenged Child and Friends announced it has become Sisu - a new brand identity that the non-profit says "better conveys its promise to celebrate and nurture the individuality of all children of all abilities and guide them to reach their full potential."
The idea to re-brand came more than a year ago, and for the past year, the non-profit board has been listening to input from staff members, parents, donors and the community at large,
"Our mission hasn't changed," said Executive Director Jamie Reynolds. "In fact, we believe our new brand better defines what we do and have always done."
Challenged Child and Friends began providing educational, nursing, therapy and family support services in 1985 to children who were deemed medically fragile. The non-profit is one of only a select few schools in the nation offering the convenience of all those services in one location. The school also accepts children who have typical abilities into the program. The children, who range in age from 6 weeks to 6 years, learn and interact together.
"From the beginning, this community has thrived at discovering the potential in all children, enabling a 'can do' spirit, and therefore empowering children to try, to learn and to love," said Cathy Drerup, who served as the school's executive director from 1988 to 2007. "Recognizing every child's unique spark builds a solid foundation for them to shine in school and in life."
"We couldn't be more thrilled with this new brand identity to propel us into the next 30 years," said Jenny Floyd, Sisu board member and marketing committee chair. "Throughout the board's process, we heard over and over again the importance of a name inclusive of all children that focuses on the potential that exists in every child, regardless of ability."
According to Floyd, Sisu is a Finnish concept generally considered not to have a literal equivalent in English. It is most easily described through a combination of various English terms including determination, persistence, grit, bravery, resilience, hardiness and indomitable spirit. It is a consistent and courageous approach toward challenges which at first seem to exceed our capacities, Floyd noted.
"Sisu is universal," Reynolds said. "The potential exists within all individuals. You just have to recognize and nurture that unique spark within every child to inspire him or her to accomplish more than ever dreamed possible, and that's what we do."
To find out more, go to www.mysisu.org.