This month, Stephen Hobson celebrates 15 years of service to Shelterwood, first joining the team as a young adult mentor. Today, he combines his accounting acumen with his heart for teens as the Director of Accounting. Meet Stephen Hobson.
What Stephen loves most about Shelterwood: “I love the focus we put on restoration of the whole family,” he says. “Nothing we do at Shelterwood focuses exclusively on the student’s issue. We see the most success when the whole family makes the commitment to grow, and I love how Shelterwood walks alongside parents and families in that process together.”
What brought him to Shelterwood: Stephen was a student at Oklahoma State University studying accounting when he met Shelterwood founder Richard Beech. “We talked for several hours. I even ended up missing my next class! I truly got hooked on his vision for the ministry,” he recalls. “I had spent a few summers doing youth ministry, and I saw the mentor opportunity as a chance to continue that impactful work with teenagers. I was also looking for the discipleship training that Shelterwood would offer me. I knew that caring for struggling teens would be a tough environment, but the challenge of it struck me too. I wanted to get Biblical leadership training while getting the hands-on experience of working with teenagers.”
His next Shelterwood steps: After his year as a mentor, Stephen continued as an intern. It was during that season that he met Amy, the Shelterwood Women’s Discipleship Director, who would later become his wife. At the time, Shelterwood had locations in Branson, Missouri, and Denver, Colorado; after Stephen and Amy got married, they moved to Denver. Amy accepted a full-time role in Shelterwood admissions. Meanwhile, Stephen planned to continue his Shelterwood work while studying counseling at seminary. “I thought my dream job was to become a Shelterwood counselor.”
Finding his calling in accounting: Stephen capitalized on his accounting degree and worked part-time in Shelterwood’s accounting department while in seminary. “Over that year, God was shifting my desires. I started to see how my gifts could be used in a different way to serve the ministry. I started to see that this could be a great fit for me: I could serve in that accounting capacity, and still be a key part of the ongoing ministry. What initially drew me to Shelterwood was my heart for the students. I still get to serve them in my role today.”
Family: Stephen’s wife Amy also is still part of Shelterwood, currently working in a part-time role as the Outcomes Research Coordinator in connection to NATSAP’s Evidence-Based Outcomes. They have four young children. “Living life with them is an adventure!”
Outside work: Stephen, along with Amy, spends most of his free time with the kids. They love doing activities outdoors together, especially going on bike rides, and he enjoys cheering them on as they start to become involved in sports.
Best part of his work at Shelterwood: Stephen points back to his first role with Shelterwood as something that drives his work today. “I love that my role supports our relational model,” he explains. “Our staff gets to know these teens at a deep level, where we can earn their respect and then model a Christ-like life and be someone they can look up to. I love how we have incorporated this into our program, and it is so unique to us at Shelterwood.”