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Bryant find new level of independence
Sunflower unveils Focus on Abilities program
new mlee Sunflower Bryant
Vivian Bryant tidies up around the house. Bryant is the first person to be recognized by the new Focus on Abilities program at Sunflower Diversified Services. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO




Vivian Bryant’s family was understandably concerned. He had lived at his parents’ home for all of his 37 years and was preparing to move into his own place.

Their concerns have been alleviated, however, now that he is receiving support from Sunflower Diversified Services in his new home.

Bryant, who has developmental disabilities, is enjoying a new level of independence and the rewards it offers, said Ladeska ‘Decky’ Makings, chief operating officer at Sunflower. He is doing so well that he is the first person to be recognized by Sunflower’s new Focus on Abilities program.

"Vivian is the perfect example of someone who has responded extremely well to Sunflower’s services that focus on abilities, not disabilities," Makings said. "We always have high expectations and never underestimate people.

"We know that everyone can be successful with the proper support," Makings added. "Vivian will always need full-time support but because we focus on what he can do rather than what he cannot do, he has great potential for the future."

Bryant has received Sunflower’s Day Services since 1994, which is also when he began working at the non-profit agency’s manufacturing plant. He is still employed there and now has full-time staff support in his home.

"Our Day Services staff volunteered to support him in his home during the transition," Makings commented. "Vivian was more comfortable at first with familiar faces and it was a smooth transition. Now our Residential Services staff helps him with typical activities of daily living – housekeeping, meal preparation and personal hygiene."

This Sunflower teamwork has resulted in a better and even more productive life for Bryant, Makings noted.

"Vivian’s family was overwhelmed by our spirit of teamwork when they met with us about his transition," Makings said. "Almost 20 supervisors and staff members attended to assure his family that Sunflower would be here for their loved one. They just couldn’t get over it."

Makings also pointed out that, for family health reasons, it was becoming too difficult for his loved ones to continue to provide all the support he requires.

"They knew this change was for the best," Makings said. "And now all of us continue to marvel at Vivian’s progress and how much he is able to do."

The Focus on Abilities program will recognize a Sunflower client or staff member on a regular basis, said Jim Johnson, Sunflower executive director.

"Vivian was an appropriate first choice for this new program," Johnson said. "He was ready for the next level of independence and is enjoying his new lifestyle. His family had done a great job but knew they couldn’t give him everything he needed.

"This collaboration between families and Sunflower is key to success," Johnson added. "We will focus on this teamwork as we recognize others through Focus on Abilities."

Sunflower serves babies, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.