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End-of-the-year donation takes Invest in Kids over the top
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Grant the Giraffe, mascot for Sunflower Diversifieds annual Invest in Kids campaign, seems happy with last years total.

            Don Damon of Great Bend read a recent story in the Great Bend Tribune about the local Invest in Kids campaign falling short of its 2014 goal.

          So, he approached the Damon Family Foundation, which approved a $10,000 donation. This decision not only allowed the fundraiser to reach its $60,000 goal but to surpass it by a few thousand dollars. The total is $63,459.

          Invest in Kids is the annual Sunflower Diversified Services campaign to raise money for infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays. All proceeds go directly to Sunflower’s Early Education Center and Incredible Years Preschool.

          Jim Johnson, Sunflower executive director, said he and his colleagues are once again overwhelmed by the community’s generosity.

          “The Damon family learned about our shortfall and wanted to continue their years-long support of Sunflower’s early intervention programs,” Johnson said. “They, like many others, understand the power of these services.

          “We cannot emphasize enough our appreciation to everyone who donated any amount,” Johnson added. “The Damon contribution and a $20,000 anonymous gift were crucial to this fundraiser but smaller contributions are equally important. It took this community-wide effort to surpass the goal.”

          More than 160 individuals and businesses donated; many others supported the cause by buying hamburgers and pizza during recent Hump Day fundraising events.

          “When we identify the needs of infants and toddlers, the generosity of people shines through,” Johnson said. “They recognize their donations make a difference for children and families right here at home.

          “We knew the $60,000 goal would not be easy to reach but we must be diligent in our fundraising,” Johnson added. “Families’ needs continue to grow each year and tax support is not keeping pace. In too many cases, it is dwindling.”

          Sunflower, a non-profit agency, got its start 48 years ago as a community services program for children. It remains the only program in this area dedicated to providing a full range of services for infants and toddlers with developmental needs.

          “Our commitment to families depends on donors who supplement what tax dollars do not cover,” Johnson commented. “Sunflower annually serves more than 300 children and federal law requires that every child with an identified delay be served; fortunately, there is no waiting list for children.

          “Early intervention creates an opportunity for a child to overcome a delay and thus live a more independent and productive life,” he continued. “Sunflower wants that for every child and our Invest in Kids Club members want the same thing.”

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