When Heather Quillin at Sunflower’s Early Education Center (EEC) learned about the possibility of scheduling a special event for women who care for a child with special needs, she wanted to know more.
As coordinator of children’s services, she did gather more information and has helped to bring to Great Bend a free event, which will include information and training, along with some pampering.
The free mini-conference is called Mothers Matter Too, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in the Kansas Room behind Perkin’s, 2920 10th in Great Bend. A minimum of 20 women must register, with a maximum of 40.
Participants do not have to be Sunflower clients to attend.
It is designed for mothers, grandmothers and foster mothers who care for a special-needs child age birth to 26. Sunflower’s EEC and Families Together Inc. are co-sponsors.
“We are always looking for opportunities to help parents in any way we can,” Quillin said. “We want to support parents who face difficult challenges every day while caring for a child with special needs.
“Caregivers don’t take the time to care for themselves,” she added. “We want to provide a venue where they can relax and learn about resources available to them. We are super excited to offer this opportunity with the great staff at Families Together.”
Tami Allen, Families Together program director, said her organization offers free services to women who care for a child with special needs, up to age 26.
“Our services include one-on-one assistance, workshops and statewide conferences,” Allen said. “Our mission is to encourage, educate and empower families to be effective advocates for their children.”
Topics at the mini-conference include stress management, networking, financial supports and guidance for parenting.
These subjects will be discussed while women are being pampered with pedicures and manicures by licensed cosmetologists. Also included will be brief hand/arm massages by Fort Hays State University massage-therapy students. The EEC is organizing the pampering sessions.
Lunch will be provided and Resource Bags will be given to participants.
“Families Together is excited to partner with Sunflower’s EEC in this unique event,” Allen commented. “We have been collaborating with the EEC for several years and appreciate being able to reach out to such a supportive community agency.”
Jon Prescott, Sunflower executive director, encouraged women to take advantage of Mothers Matter Too.
“This program is so appropriate and long overdue,” Prescott said, noting he appreciates the support of Families Together. “The mothers of the children we serve demonstrate so much trust in our staff at the EEC and our Incredible Years Preschool.
“It is such an honor to serve them and their children,” he continued. “This conference is one of the ways Sunflower can say ‘thank you for letting us serve you. You matter so much to us.’”
Families Together is home to the Kansas Parent Training and Information Center and the Family to Family Health Center. It has offices in Garden City, Wichita and Topeka.
A grant from the Western Kansas Community Foundation is funding Mothers Matter Too, in part. The Assistive Technology for Kansas project is funding the pampering portion of the agenda.
For more information or to register, contact Families Together by calling 1-888-820-6364, or email Allen directly. Her address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunflower Diversified Services, a non-profit agency, serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 51st year.