The SOS Center opened its doors to start serving the community in December 1982, in a 16′ x 19′ store front located at 3724 W. North Avenue, led by Ken and Arlene Greve, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The SOS Center began simply as a Christian Drop-In Center for people in the community. The SOS Center is a nonprofit social services agency that provides Christian care, educational instruction and life skills activities for children and adults in the Milwaukee area.
Recognizing the need for education, including Christian education, the SOS Center began to establish educational programs, such as the Laubach Literacy program. This program provided the Lao and Hmong people and people of other nationalities the opportunity to learn English as a second language.
As the center began to grow and need for its programs increased, it became apparent that the SOS Center needed more space so the center relocated to 3614 W. North Avenue. During this period the educational needs of the community were further addressed by the implementation of the (ABE) Adult Basic Education and (GED) General Education Development programs.
In 1992, the SOS Center moved to an even larger facility at 4620 W. North Avenue. At this location, the SOS Center was able to serve more people and expand its programs to include its After School Program, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, General Education Development, Youth Summer Camp and Family Ministry.
Today, the SOS Center provides GED Preparation Classes in a remodeled classroom featuring 10 computers and workstations. The program serves adults who are at a fifth grade or higher reading level. One of the unique aspects of the SOS Center is that adults without high school diplomas can, FREE OF CHARGE, come and work at their own pace to prepare to take the GED exam. Students are required to take pre-assessment tests that help determine their reading level. Upon successful completion of Pre-GED assessment, students can begin working toward their GED by completing GED level exercises and diagnostic testing.
The SOS Center is also unique because of its partnership with MATC. Students who successfully pass the GED are assisted with financial aid, registration and class planning to ease the enrollment and admission process into the college to help insure their successful transition.
Youth can also take advantage of services offered through the SOS Center After School Homework Program and Youth Summer Camp. Students work with staff and volunteers to complete their homework and school projects before having dinner and going home for the evening. During summer months, the SOS Center works to make its Youth Summer Camp program a healthy and productive experience for the kids. While they continue to teach needed academic skills, they also work with children to ensure their growth and maturity in a fun and relaxing environment.
The SOS Center’s focus on education and assisting neighborhood residents has been invaluable to a neighborhood that sorely needs assisting and a helping hand. Thanks to the heartfelt desire of the Greve’s to make a difference in the neighborhood, the SOS Center has lent that hand, unselfishly and in a caring and compassionate manner since 1982.