In honor of SOS’s 50th anniversary in 2020, we are telling SOS’s story – by sharing the stories of people who have been impacted by SOS. We will share 50 stories of impact for the 50 years of SOS.
Kathryn (Kathy) Stevens joined SOS when she was a student at EMU in 1970 (the year SOS was founded). She responded to a flyer and participated in the training led by John Vandenburg, highly qualified guest presenters, and SOS volunteers. She thought the training she received from SOS was excellent! She learned about suicide prevention, crisis intervention, and the empathy model. The skills she learned at SOS and practiced by volunteering on SOS’s crisis line really helped her get a start in her profession as a special education teacher.
After about a year and half of volunteering at SOS, Kathy began student teaching at Adams Elementary in Ypsilanti followed by her special education student teaching at Wines Elementary in Ann Arbor. She did not have as much time to volunteer at SOS. She went on in her career to work on behalf of special education students. In the 1970’s, Special Education was expanding with the recognition and identification of students who were not successful in the classroom or with the curriculum.
Kathy started out teaching with a degree in Elementary Education, Special Education Emotionally Disturbed and soon finished a new Masters Program in Learning Disabilities from EMU. She taught at UM Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in the Day Treatment Program, Whaley Children’s Center in Flint, Jackson Public Schools contained classroom, and Teacher Consultant for Ann Arbor Public Schools. She worked with students who would now qualify for services based on the Autism Spectrum of today and other special learners with specific learning disabilities and emotional issues.
Besides the training skills and experiences, Kathy values the friendships she made during her time with SOS. She continues to be in touch with other people who volunteered at SOS during its earliest days.