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Sunflower raises $32,255
More needed to reach goal for children
biz slt sunflower-dialing
Joanne Wondra, left, and Jane Isern participate in the Sunflower Diversified Services recent Dialing for Dollars fundraiser. Wondra and Isern are Sunflower Foundation trustees. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

                The phones were ringing off the hook throughout central Kansas recently and the result is more than $32,000 raised for the Invest in Kids Club at Sunflower Diversified Services.

            The non-profit agency’s annual Dialing for Dollars campaign collected $32,255 for infants and toddlers at its Early Education Center and Incredible Years Preschool.

            “The generosity of central Kansans never ceases to amaze us,” said Connie Oetken, director of development. “Our supporters know the importance of early intervention for children ages birth to 3, along with an exceptional preschool curriculum.

            “Our professional teachers and therapists make life-changing differences for children and their families every day,” she continued. “Since they can help alleviate or overcome problems, children may not need expensive special education later.”

            Oetken also noted Sunflower’s learning environment fosters sensitivity and respect for individual differences in others.

 “Our staff realizes that early school experiences can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime,” Oetken said. “They work with families and community partners to help youngsters interact appropriately with others as they reach developmental milestones.”

Members of Sunflower’s board of directors and its Foundation trustees made the calls during the Dialing for Dollars event. Forty new donors were recruited; 157 individuals and businesses contributed.

The 2016 Invest in Kids campaign officially began during Sunflower’s Charity Gala in March.

“We appreciate everyone who has donated,” Oetken said. “Now we must raise another $24,000 to reach our $65,000 goal by the end of December. Our supporters have allowed us to reach this goal every year.

“We know the oil and agriculture economies have suffered a downturn but we are still counting on the generosity of our local communities,” she added. “Local and area families depend on our Invest in Kids Club.”

Heather Quillin, Sunflower children’s services coordinator, also expressed her appreciation to all donors.

            “Being a part of Dialing for Dollars is so encouraging,” Quillin said. “Our supporters’ contributions will help us continue to serve so many children and their families right here in our local communities.”

For more information or to make a donation, contact Oetken by calling 620-792-1325. All contributions remain in central Kansas.

Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. The non-profit agency is in its 50thyear.