Kathy Van Zelfden has been a part of Rainbows’ passionate staff since March 2009. Before coming to Rainbows, Kathy acquired a number of accreditations including a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation from Wichita State University, a Masters Degree in Social Work from The University of Kansas, and a licensed title of Masters Social Worker. Kathy’s love of children is what lead her to pursue a position at Rainbows. “Children are fun, energetic, curious, and creative,” Kathy said. “After working in a variety of other settings with children, I realized the biggest opportunity for impact in working with children occurs between the ages of birth to 5 years, so Rainbows was and continues to be a perfect fit for me.” Her role in Rainbows has changed over the years. She began in the Smart Start Program in Butler County providing Mental Health support to the Bright Beginnings team. She then moved to Rainbows’ Wichita location, where she currently provides Mental Health Services to the Infant Toddler team.
Each day, Kathy’s schedule looks a little different. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays you can find her making home visits, completing desk work at her Rainbows’ office in between each meeting. Wednesdays and Thursdays, Kathy participates in Infant Toddler Services (ITS), and often spends afternoons in critical meetings with the other Mental Health team members and in department meetings with all of ITS. “I love the variety of tasks I get to do,” she said. “I love working with a diverse group of staff who have an abundance of experience working with children and families.”
Kathy said she has learned a lot through her professional experience at Rainbows and feels privileged to help cultivate the growth of children and their families. “I am most proud of hearing parents share their successes as their child’s behaviors improve,” she said. “As the parent’s confidence improves, generally the parent/child relationship improves, which does wonders for the parents’ and child’s mental health.”
In her spare time, Kathy loves spending time with her family, being actively involved in her church, and keeping up her vegetable, fruit and flower gardens. She also attends numerous school activities for her children, who she enjoys teaching how to bake and cook.