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Challenged Child and Friends announces new brand identity

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June 12, 2017

Jamie Reynolds, Executive Director
2360 Murphy Boulevard
Gainesville, GA 30504
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                   June 8, 2017
Introducing Sisu: Challenged Child and Friends announces new brand to reflect mission, spirit

Gainesville, Ga.— This fall children, parents and staff will enter the halls full of the extra excitement and anticipation that each new school year brings. However, this year their excitement also will surround one more new thing - a new name for their school.
After a year-long extensive rebranding effort that included input from staff, parents, donors and the community at large, Challenged Child and Friends is pleased to announce it is now Sisu, a new name and brand identity that the nonprofit believes better conveys its promise to celebrate and nurture the individuality of all children of all abilities and guide them to reach their full potential.
“Our mission hasn’t changed,” said Jamie Reynolds, executive director. “In fact, we believe our new brand better defines what we do and have always done.”
Born out of a need to bring light into the word for one child forever impacted by a tragic accident, Challenged Child and Friends began providing educational, nursing, therapy and family support services in 1985.
Today, the one-of-a-kind educational offering is SACS accredited and Quality Rated and continues to serve the educational and medical needs of thousands of families. In fact, it is one of only a select few schools in the nation offering the convenience of education, therapy, nursing and family support services in one location.
What started more than 30 years ago as one woman’s dream to defy perceived capabilities and help each child develop to his fullest potential has grown into an integrated learning environment where children ages 6 weeks to 6 years with and without special needs learn and interact alongside each other.
“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.
“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.”
Talk to any of the staff at the school, and they are quick to tell you about Sisu moments they witness every day. 
They speak of babies who roll over for the first time after weeks of persistently rocking back and forth and children who can’t walk but let nothing stop them from discovering a way to slide. Sisu moments can be found when teachers are inspired to grow because of their students, or parents find the strength to leave their babies in someone else’s care for the first time.
“Sisu is a perfect name for this incredible organization. As a family, we try to instill qualities like perseverance and grit into Eleanor’s life every day,” said Alexis Seymour, Sisu parent. “Life is not always easy, and we are all faced at some point with what seem like impossible challenges. These amazing little humans are shining examples of the power of the human spirit and the power to overcome challenges that seem at first to exceed our capabilities. The children at Sisu not only survive but thrive because they see this every day in their friends and classmates.”
Although much has changed in three decades, one thing remains the same – Sisu will be still defying perceived capabilities and fostering a courageous approach to life.
For more information about Sisu, its mission, its programs and to view its new promotional video, narrated by Curriculum Director Emily Cohen, visit For questions and inquiries regarding the new name, please call the school at 770-535-8372 or Sisu marketing chair, Jenny Floyd, at 770-654-6950.
About Sisu
Sisu, formerly Challenged Child and Friends, is an integrated learning environment where children from 6 weeks to 6 years with special needs learn and interact alongside their typically developing peers. Through an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, Sisu offers the convenience of education, therapy, nursing and family support services in one location. SACS accredited, licensed by Bright from the Start and Quality Rated, Sisu serves families across 14 northeast Georgia counties. To learn more, visit 

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