History of Listening Ear


Listening Ear Crisis Center is a charitable nonprofit accredited organization that has grown over the last four decades from a single 24-hour crisis line serving one community, to a multi‑service agency staffed by nearly 400 people in multiple counties and impacting over 20,000 persons annually.

1969 Listening Ear was the brainchild of a few Central Michigan University (CMU) students who recognized that although other university towns had a 24-hour crisis line service, Mt. Pleasant did not. In those early years, the all volunteer staffed Crisis Center operated from various donated spaces, on a very small budget with funding from the United Fund, a CMU student association, and donations from service organizations.
1970’s Listening Ear had grown with nearly 50 volunteers. Most calls, (around 2,500/year) were from community residents or students seeking a confidential and empathic ear while working through personal struggles, such as health, mental health, and relationships.
1980’s The annual number of calls to the Crisis Line increases increases to 4,000 and expands services to include information and referrals. We began offering an after-hours call service for several local health and human service providers and produces a county-wide/regional Resource Directory. Listening Ear also established a permanent headquarters, complete with offices at 107 East Illinois, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
    Crisis services available to anyone 24-hours, everyday.
    Board of Directors looks for new opportunities and funding sources. Within 5 years and with new local, state, and federal contracts, Listening Ear began providing residential support services for adults with developmental disabilities in Shepherd, Mt. Pleasant, and Clare. We launched a Runaway Youth Services program to provide counseling, temporary shelter, and youth advocacy in Clare and Isabella Counties. Additionally, we created our Child Foster Care Program that recruits foster families, provides training, assures quality and compliance of requirements, assists with placement, and maintains records for all the of the foster care homes. We also developed a one-of-a-kind, specialized Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program for child victims of sexual abuse and/or incest.
1990’s Listening Ear GROWS! In order to meet this need, we began reaching into new counties. The Crisis Line alone served nearly 10,000 calls per year by the end of 1999.
1998 Listening Ear Crisis Center achieved accreditation status with Council on Accreditation.
2000’s We are a proud United Way agency in Isabella and Clare Counties.
2010’s Time and effort spend on improving the quality of our programs by organizing them into three “teams.” The team framework provides an integrated way of managing our resources and increases our ability to focus on a consumer-driven, person-centered, planning approach for those we serve — what they CAN do. The teams work together to share support services, 24-hour response and on-call services, and expertise.
2020’s Cindy Seger becomes Listening Ear’s new Executive Director

Listening Ear Teams:

Crisis Line/Information Referral

Residential Services

Child & Family Services

Additional Information

An annual audit is completed. Listening Ear Crisis Center carries broad liability insurance which includes professional, board, and facility liability insurance.