Kelsey Suther '19 Headshot

Undergraduate Program

Kelsey Suther '19

Elementary Education

Special Connections

This article was originally published in the Mount Mercy Times by Makenna Coates, staff writer, on March 14, 2019.

A passion to give to those who have special needs is something that senior Kelsey Suther will cherish throughout her life.

Caring for the disabled

The past six years, Suther has given Respite and SCL in-home care to families around the Linn County area that have loved ones with Down Syndrome. The primary focus of Suther’s job is to provide care to the individual with special needs to improve their daily life skills so they can become a more independent person in society.

“Watching a child succeed in a goal that we have been working on together is definitely the best part of my job," said Suther. "The special needs community is so special to me. It is amazing seeing the love that everyone has for each other."

The special needs community is so special to me. It is amazing seeing the love that everyone has for each other.

Kelsey Suther '19
Elementary Education

Within this community, Suther pointed out that she loves being a role model to others on how to be accepting of people with special needs.

“To those with special needs, being yourself is good enough,” Suther said.

“To those with special needs, being yourself is good enough."

Suther is currently working with six families, but over the years she has been involved with nine families total and also is part of the HADSA organization, which is the Hawkeye Area Down Syndrome Association.

“This group involves families, class friends, care-takers, and volunteers who have loved ones with Down Syndrome in order to form a community together,” said Suther. “In this group, we are all able to form relationships with other people who work with or have loved ones with Down Syndrome. It is one big family.”

Foundation to build on

Not only has Suther had the special needs community part of her life for the past six years, but she is also taking her passion with her to her future career.

Suther is an elementary education major with a minor in PreK-K and special education.

"I originally was just planning on being a kindergarten teacher, but after being involved in the Down Syndrome community, I knew that working with kids with special needs was my passion," said Suther. “I want to work with these kids in and out of the classroom."

I originally was just planning on being a kindergarten teacher, but after being involved in the Down Syndrome community, I knew that working with kids with special needs was my passion.

Kelsey Suther '19
Elementary Education

MMU connection

Suther is humbled to see that MMU takes initiative to host events for the special needs community. The past few years MMU has hosted the Special Olympics Basketball competition in Hennessey Recreation Center. This year’s competition had to be canceled due to inclement weather. Suther takes full of advantage of being able to volunteer at these events that are held on campus.

"The best thing about these events is that I meet so many new people and build connections with those who are involved with the special needs community.”

“I value spending time with them and seeing them smile when they are doing something they love, like playing basketball," said Suther. "The best thing about these events is that I meet so many new people and build connections with those who are involved with the special needs community.”

Suther encourages other MMU students to volunteer at these events on campus because they are more than likely going to be life changing.

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