In December 1982, Ken & Arlene Greve launched the SOS Center out of a single store front room at 3742 West North Avenue in Milwaukee. Their goal was to reach out to anyone that came looking for help. Inspired by Christ’s compassion for the troubled & struggling, the Greves quickly recognized the need for educational opportunities. Supported by volunteers, the Greves initiated multiple life-changing tutorial programs, many of which continue today. In 1992, the SOS Center moved to a larger facility at 4620 West North Avenue. This larger location provided greater opportunities for free community programs & services.
The SOS Center is a nonprofit social service agency providing Christian care, educational instruction & life skills activities for children & adults in the Milwaukee area.
We Achieve our Mission through:
Christian Care: Individuals of all backgrounds experience the love of Christ & are encouraged to use their faith to enrich the quality of life for their families, community & themselves.
Educational Instruction & Life Skills: SOS Center programs support each student in reaching their full potential. Our outstanding diverse programs include General Equivalency Diploma Preparation Classes (GED), After School Homework Program, Youth Summer Camp, Sewing Classes & so much more.
The Needs in Our Community
Over 30% of the adults in the neighborhood surrounding the SOS Center do not have a high school diploma. Although a high school diploma is vital for any job, over 50% of Milwaukee Public School students will drop out of high school. A direct result of undereducated adults in Milwaukee is that more than 62% have a household income of less than $35,000, & half of the families in the City of Milwaukee earn less than $15,000 a year. Now more than ever, Milwaukee residents continue to need the services of the SOS Center. The SOS Center currently serves over 80 adults & 40 youths every month with a demonstration of Christian love & care that is critical to the improvement of our community.
Our Unique Approach
The SOS Center is unique because we are small enough to care yet large enough to make a difference in our community. We offer individuals a caring, compassionate Christian environment in which to learn & excel. Our educational programs are free, welcoming to all students & offer one on one support. In addition, we provide a free Clothing Closet, Thanksgiving Dinner, & Christmas Show & Dinner. We also play an active role as a member of the Uptown Crossing Neighborhood Association.
One of Our Thousands of Success Stories – Darlene Rivas
“I dropped out of school when I was in the 10th grade. By 16, I was pregnant & married. I raised two children who finished school & some college. I took care of my grandchildren so that my children could work. I’ve been a housekeeper for over 20 years.
Now I’m in my mid-fifties, divorced & no more children to care for. One day I passed the SOS Center & saw a sign on the lawn, Free GED Classes. I went in & signed up. I’ve been going to the classes three days a week, for a year. The classes are not easy; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to just give up, but I keep coming back because I’m doing this for me, & I want a victory!
I’m so grateful for this lab; I have this opportunity to achieve something that I passed up a long time ago. I’m sure everyone here feels the same way. Thank you for your continued support of the lab.”
When Darlene earned her GED, she scored a perfect 800 on her Reading Test where a minimum score of 410 is required to pass!
The SOS Center Summary of Achievements
Over 29 years of providing outstanding services & Christian care in Milwaukee
Collaboration with MATC for GED program testing
For the last two school years, our After School Homework Program & Youth Summer Camp have been filled to capacity
In our first two years, 7 students graduated the GED program. Currently, 60 students are studying to take the GED test
With donated materials & thousands of volunteer hours, the SOS Center was able to complete several major remodeling projects
100% equity in our own building which we purchased in 1992
SOS Center’s Goals for 2012 & 2013
Continually assess & improve current program outcomes
Recruit additional board members & volunteers
Identify & secure funding for operations, programs & staff including onsite maintenance totaling $900,000 over the next three years
Secure additional resources for ongoing capital improvements
How You Can Help
Give: Visit our website www.soscenterinc.org & make your secure gift through PayPal or mail your check today to the SOS Center.
Wish List: You can help the SOS Center save hundreds of dollars by donating items from Our Wish List of day to day supplies. Please visit our website at www.soscenterinc.org & click on Our Wish List for needed items.
Volunteer: Please contact our Executive Director, Jodi Kessel Lyon at 414-449-9964 for current opportunities. Tutors from all backgrounds are always needed!
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