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Agency reaching out to people with disabilities
loc slt sunflower-outreach
Glennda Drescher reviews paperwork with Shaun as part of the Sunflower Diversified Services Outreach program. Outreach is a little over a year old and has many success stories. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

A Rice County woman’s grandmother is terminally ill and unable to care for her granddaughter who has a developmental disability. The young woman, 18, is now in the residential program at Sunflower Diversified Services and soon will be in the non-profit agency’s day-services program.
A Pawnee County woman now has her Medicaid and Vision cards to supplement Social Security Income. Since these benefits allow her to save some money, she can now seek much-needed dental work.
And a Stafford County man is receiving his Social Security and has been referred to Vocational Rehabilitation to assist him in his search for employment.
These are just three results of Sunflower’s Outreach Program, which started a little over a year ago, said Glennda Drescher, director of service coordination and chief marketing officer.
“It is gratifying to know that it is working and people’s lives are being enhanced,” Drescher said. “One goal was to make Sunflower more visible and available in our service area and these examples illustrate our success.
“Another goal is to minimize travel for families that have very little time in their stressful days to travel to our office in Great Bend,” she added, noting Sunflower’s service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.
It should be noted, Drescher said, that the Pawnee County woman and Stafford County man don’t qualify for Sunflower’s services. “They just needed help that we are qualified and prepared to give,” Drescher explained. “This demonstrates that Sunflower’s only goal is to help people, even if there is no direct benefit to Sunflower.”
Whether in Great Bend or on the road, Drescher and her colleagues provide information about in-house and community employment, and residential, day, case management and medical services.
Sunflower is also a liaison between families and the Social Security Administration’s SOAR Across Kansas program. “A person can assign me to be their representative at Social Security,” Drescher explained. “This allows us to take action quickly and get people the help they need sooner, rather than later.”
Drescher and other Sunflower staff members have received special training to meet requirements for Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Income procedures.
“We know the ins and outs of getting their medical background, and how to interview and listen to their concerns,” Drescher commented, noting Sunflower can also make referrals to other resources.
Drescher or another Sunflower representative is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a regular schedule.
In Rice County, Outreach is offered on the first Wednesday of each month at 117 West Ave. S in Lyons; in Pawnee County, it is the second Wednesday at Glory Be in Larned; in Rush County, it is the third Wednesday at the Rush County Extension Office in La Crosse; and in Stafford County, Outreach is set for the fourth Wednesday at the St. John Public Library.
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities and delays.