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Dialing for Dollars reaps nearly $37,000 for Sunflowers Invest in Kids
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Jim Johnson, left, Sunflower Diversified Services executive director, talks with Scott Donovan, Eagle Radio, at the recent Dialing for Dollars fund-raising event. Participants donated almost $37,000 to Sunflowers Invest in Kids Club. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

It is amazing what the results of a one-day, intense fundraising effort will mean to infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays, said Jim Johnson, executive director of Sunflower Diversified Services.

          Almost $37,000 was raised during Sunflower’s Dialing for Dollars event last month. All proceeds are earmarked for the Invest in Kids Club that supports Sunflower’s Early Education Center and Incredible Years Preschool.

          In addition to one large matching donation, 120 individuals contributed to the cause.

          “I am always overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of Sunflower’s friends,” Johnson said. “They recognize the importance of early intervention to children ages birth to 3.

          “Our professional teachers and therapists make life-changing differences for children and their families,” he added. “They can always help alleviate a concern and in many cases overcome that concern. When this happens, children may not need expensive special education later.”

          Sunflower board members and its Foundation trustees participated in Dialing for Dollars; they raised $36,825. Nex-Tech Wireless sponsored the 100.7 Eagle Radio live remote.

          The proceeds have been added to other Invest in Kids fundraising efforts this year. For example, $15,887 was donated to the club during Sunflower’s Charity Gala in March.

          The recent Hump Day Pizza fundraiser brought in $479. Jim and Pam Jordan, Papa Murphy’s owners, donated the pizza, trailer and time, while Wheatland Electric donated the bottled water.

          The annual Invest in Kids goal is $60,000. Another $6,809 will allow Sunflower to reach that goal.

“Dialing for Dollars and other fundraisers have been successful, to say the least,” Johnson commented. “All of us are gratified by this community-wide support.

“However, we cannot stop seeking donations because needs continue to grow as tax revenues shrink,” he added. “With ongoing state and local reductions in funding for early education, this campaign plays a critical role. We must ensure every child with a developmental concern receives necessary services as early as possible.”

Connie Oetken, Sunflower director of development, said she could not adequately express the agency’s appreciation for the response to Dialing for Dollars.

“Sunflower is so fortunate to have supporters who realize that early intervention is crucial for many children,” Oetken said. “The individuals and businesses who donated, as well as our passionate board members and trustees are integral to our efforts to help families.

“While some donors have been friends of Sunflower for quite some time, we are extremely gratified that we formed some new relationships during Dialing for Dollars,” she added. “We are the only agency in central Kansas that serves young children and the community once again demonstrated it understands that early intervention changes lives.”

Sunflower’s service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. All donations to the non-profit agency remain in these communities.