Steve Houser

Six honorees that are leaving their mark on Jefferson City

While it may only take one person to make a difference, Jefferson City Magazine recognizes six individuals and entities that are making substantial impacts in the lives of many. With their generosity and diligence, this group makes it their mission to put others before themselves, despite their already busy schedules. Not only have they given back to their community with enthusiasm, they are a privilege to work with and lead others by example. With this recognition, this set of six can now join their fellow Impact JCMO honorees in making Jefferson City a more beautiful place to live.

Quality is greater than quantity. While it’s tempting to dive head-first into the sea of nonprofits, committees, and boards, Steve Houser learned firsthand that sometimes it’s better to devote 100% to one or two organizations rather than devote a fraction of that energy to dozens of places.

“Where can you give more quality time instead of just quantity?” Steve asks. “We have so many different needs, and I think a new board member can offer whatever their strengths are. We’re not looking for board members who sit there. We want people who can really contribute.”

Prior to becoming this year’s Most Impactful JCMO Board Member, Steve served on countless boards and committees for several years until he decided to turn his focus to the Special Learning Center. Now, as president of the center’s board of directors, Steve says he’s finally devoting his energy to his passion. Currently, the Special Learning Center provides early childhood intervention resources to more than 700 children with disabilities across 22 school districts and 11 Mid-Missouri counties each year. Those resources encompass anything from preschool classroom special instruction and summer camps to in depth therapy and a plethora of parental resources — and Steve is adamant about keeping those resources available. He’s part of an 18-member operating board of directors overseeing administrative operations at the center. Knowing the board helps to ensure the needs of the staff, children, and families is something particularly special to Steve.

“My love is there. My passion is there. It’s where I’m supposed to be.”

The center was created in 1985 when two schools in Jefferson City offering services to children with physical and mental disabilities combined resources as a way to more efficiently serve the children. Now with the expanding needs of the community, Steve says there’s a waiting list to attend the Special Learning Center. The center has outgrown its building at 1115 Fairgrounds Rd., and the board of directors is looking toward a way to expand its facility, equipment, and resources.

“There are a lot of children who want and need care, and we want to make that possible.”

As the general manager and partner at U.S. Rents-In in Jefferson City, Steve encourages others to identify what their skills and passions are and bring those to various boards and commissions within the community. The Special Learning Center is also always looking for volunteers.

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