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Sunflower Diversified Services hosts first-annual Prom
SDS prom king 2024
Cory is named King of the Sunflower Diversified Services Prom and the Queen is Shelby.

When Mandy Grizzell was looking through some old photographs at Sunflower Diversified Services, she came across a few that sparked an idea.

The photos depicted Sunflower individuals, who have special needs, dancing at the Great Bend Rec Center.

The idea was to revive this activity and the result was the first annual Sunflower Prom. Mardi Gras was the theme.

“I was in Louisiana earlier this year and thought this would be a fun theme for the individuals we serve,” said Mandy Grizzell, Sunflower director of production and recycling. “The participants wore masks and beads in the spirit of Mardi Gras and had a great time.

“We also made non-alcoholic Jell-O shots, which were a big hit.”

Prom dresses and tuxedos were donated for the special event. Grizzell accompanied a couple of people at a time to choose an outfit for the special activity.

“Selecting dresses and tuxedos was almost as much fun as the event itself,” Grizzell said. “A lot of people we serve never had the chance to experience a high school prom. It was gratifying to see everyone join together and enjoy the camaraderie.”

Approximately 60 people attended the May 31 event at the Rec Center, including Sunflower individuals and staff members. Cory and Shelby were named King and Queen of the Prom; they were chosen by a drawing.

Everyone was treated to a southern-themed dinner that included jambalaya catered by Cajun Connection of Great Bend. Deejay Donald Hawes Sr. took requests that represented all types of music.

“They danced to the oldies, current hits and everything in between,” Grizzell said. “We were more than pleased with the turnout and the feedback we received. We are already planning ahead for the second annual prom.”

Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities and delays in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 58th year.

SDS prom 2024
Jordan takes a break and enjoys watching all the activity at the first annual Sunflower Diversified Services Prom.