NewsLocal News


Youth Services of Tulsa remains committed to mission despite flood damage

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jun 28, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — An area nonprofit serving at-risk youth in Tulsa is working hard to overcome a water leak leaving one of its buildings stripped to the studs.

The Youth Services of Tulsa lobby looks a bit different lately. Lights dangle from the ceiling while drywall stands exposed as some of the building's skeleton can be seen from room to room.

“We had a flood that actually has damaged significantly, as you can see, about two-thirds of our main administrative building, which has basically left the offices upstairs on the north and central wings unusable,” Caroline Olsen, community relations and event coordinator for YST, said.

A water leak displaced care provider, youth development and administrative staff for the foreseeable future. These roles are critical in serving the at-risk youth in the city of Tulsa.

“We deal with a variety of situations, let’s say, with young people often in crisis, young people in the classroom, young people in small leadership groups, so we are quite used to thinking on our feet, being flexible,” Olsen said. “It’s part of the job."

Staff members jumped into action last Friday, grabbing everything they could once they saw the water. Many found new spaces to work, whether sharing space in an untouched part of the flooded building or another YST building nearby.

“We support youth in Tulsa County ages 12 to 24 with a variety of different programs,” Olsen said. “One of the main things that happens in this office and in this building is counseling. Now all our counselors have sequestered to that wing… and we didn't miss a beat, you know you can't.”

While staff handled what was happening in the office, the Tulsa community stepped in to fill other needs.

“The Tulsa community is amazing,” Olsen said. “I received phone calls, like what can we do, what can we bring?"

YST asks the public to help fulfill the Amazon wish list found online at, or by stopping by T-Town Tacos, located outside the YST building every Tuesday at 311 S Madison Avenue.

Although the extent of the damage and a dollar figure are still to be determined, staff members are staying optimistic.

“We’re trying to find the silver lining and use it as an opportunity to kind of refresh some spaces,” Olsen said.

Rain, shine, or flood, staff said its services are always available.

Right now, YST cannot take in-kind donations but encourages residents to take them to the Tulsa Day Center.

The shelter, drop-in center and station remain open, and despite the flood, all counselors will keep appointments.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --