Sunflower Diversified Services representatives were reminded at a recent statewide conference about the importance of marking their ballots during local, state and national elections.
Sunflower, a non-profit agency, serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities and delays.
Twelve Sunflower clients, along with three staff members traveled to Topeka for the annual meeting of the Self Advocate Coalition of Kansas (SACK).
SACK is a statewide organization that advocates for people with developmental disabilities, while helping them find avenues to the highest level of independence possible.
Vicki Richardson, Sunflower community employment specialist who attended the event, said the group heard a lot of information about exercising their right to vote.
“Voting in primary and general elections was discussed often at our gathering this year,” Richardson said. “The people we serve at Sunflower were reminded they have the right to make choices concerning their lives. And this includes voting for legislators that support the rights of people with delays and disabilities.”
Many other topics were discussed to help inform people of the most recent news and to encourage them to speak up on their own behalf. These topics included: the Disability Inclusion Act; use of service dogs; and nutrition.
In addition, participants heard up-to-date news on the partnership between SACK and the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
“This partnership began in 2012 when gaps in services for people with developmental disabilities were noticed,” Richardson explained. “We will be learning more about this topic in the near future.
“The information we gathered on all the topics is so important,” Richardson added. “We must stay informed to be effective, and SACK is one of the best venues for the latest information.”
The conference recorded the largest attendance in SACK history, with self-advocacy councils from Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri joining in.
Sunflower’s service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 50th year.