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On March 25, 1987, the late Judge Lester Henderson saw a need for the growing number of teenage children in the foster care system in Sapulpa and the rest of Creek County. He, along with other community leaders, opened a youth shelter at 1800 S Main in Sapulpa. Teenaged children are usually harder to place in a foster home and would then have to be sent to a shelter in other counties, taking them out of the schools, sports, and community they knew. Thus, Youth Services of Creek County was born.
In 1996 YSCC moved the offices over to 1125 E Grayson, the former location of Bartlett Academy, where the shelter, counseling offices, and parenting classes take place today. It is run by director Erin Brook and headed by a board of directors who donate their time. YSCC currently has 13 staff members with a combined 97 years of experience at YSCC. There was also no turnover during the peak of COVID.
All services provided by YSCC are free to the public. They rely on government funding, grants, fundraising, and community donations. There have been some well-known names that have served on the board. Some of those names include State Representative Mark Lawson, Jody and Kelly Allen of the District Attorney’s office, Debbie Moss, Judge April Sellers White, and Oilton Schools Superintendent Matt Posey. Current board members include Senator James Leewright and Sapulpa Urban Developer Nikki Howard, who is currently acting Secretary. James Lawrance is currently the Executive Chair and Julia Choquette is the Vice-Chair. Each board member is allowed to serve for 6 consecutive years.
The shelter housed, on average, about 80 children a year before COVID hit. With the start of the pandemic in 2020, they paused parent drop-off and saw their numbers fall to about 50 residents. In 2022 that number has begun to climb again and Erin Brook expects numbers to increase to pre-COVID numbers soon.
Not only is YSCC a shelter, a safe haven, for children but they also offer free counseling services through 8 different schools in Creek County, and 4 in-house counselors. All counselors are licensed and certified in the state of Oklahoma. These counselors have about 980 children in the prevention and counseling programs. The prevention services are for youth that have committed a non-violent crime and have no other crimes on their record.
Another service provided at YCSS is a parenting program started in 2012. Since the start of this program, this class has seen 50-80 parents in each class. This program is designed to help parents of all aged children navigate all types of parenting problems and issues.
While all who have worked for, volunteered for, or donated agree that YSCC is a great asset to our community, Debbie Moss says it best: “I learned so much from serving on the board of YSCC. I had the opportunity to see the positive impact they make in the lives of the children they serve. The staff pours so much of themselves into their work, offering counseling, care, and much love. It has been a safe haven for so many kids over the years. I love the stories of kids who come back to visit as adults. Hearing the success stories—that is the best part. Erin Brook has done an excellent job managing YSCC over the years. Watching what she can do with the modest budget she is given is remarkable. Her leadership is inspirational. Thank you YSCC for 35 years of service!”
On March 25, 2022, YSCC celebrated their birthday with cake, balloons, a yard sign, and showing off their new van!
To find out how to volunteer, donate or use any service available at YSCC please call 918-227-2622, their phones are open 24 hours a day.