A new breakout session at a popular annual conference drew the attention of Sunflower Diversified Services representatives at the recent gathering in Topeka, said Lacie Gibson, training/advocacy manager.
Eleven clients and three staff members from Sunflower attended the Self Advocate Coalition of Kansas (SACK) meeting from June 21-23 at the Ramada Inn.
Sunflower serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities and delays.
“SACK always features a variety of topics but the session on self-defense really caught our eye,” Gibson said. “It was a two-part class that shared information about the different relationships we have with other people - staff members, significant others and family members.
“We talked about ways to stand up for yourself,” Gibson continued. “We were reminded that it is okay to defend yourself and use the voice you were given.”
Another breakout session focused on the arts, providing the opportunity for clients to paint canvases.
“They called on their creativity to make something beautiful,” Gibson commented. “The artists experimented with different resources to make their canvases everything they wanted them to be.
“This session gave clients the chance to explore what they are capable of, which builds self-esteem and confidence. They truly enjoyed tapping into their creative side.”
Other popular SACK topics with the Sunflower crowd were healthy eating and healthy relationships, along with the leadership and participant panel.
“All of us at Sunflower know it is important to attend SACK each year,” Gibson said. “The speakers keep us informed and up-to-date on everything happening statewide.
“Clients and staff also meet new people and see old friends that share the same experiences we face.”
But it is not all work and no play at SACK. “The dance and photo booth are always a hit,” Gibson laughed. “There was also time for the swimming pool, hot tub and arcade. These activities are so important for the people we serve; it is a great little get-away for them.”
In addition, seven out of the 14 Sunflower representatives won prizes in a drawing. Included were gift cards, gift baskets and movies.
“The people we support are some of the strongest, most incredible people I know,” Gibson said. “The passion they have for the SACK meeting and everything else they do makes everyone strive to be better. To see everyone so passionate and committed is truly life changing.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 53rd year.