> What are
the services we offer?
Children and Youth (since 1966)
Sunflower is the only full service provider of services in this
area to children from birth to three years, as well as to their families.
In addition, services are available to children through school age. Additional information regarding services for infants
and toddlers is available at the
Early Education link.
Services for Students and Families
Sunflower believes that as students with special needs move through their school program, they should be
preparing for adult
life. This includes opportunities for work experience, as well as future planning and decision-making. Sunflower
believes that when a student completes his/her school program, they have earned the right to be treated as an adult. Post-school
programs should promote opportunities for that personal growth, not continue to offer primarily activities,
education, or recreational outings. Additional information regarding Sunflower’s philosophy can be accessed at this link under
What Do We
What Is the Sunflower Difference?.
Adult Services (since 1969)
Sunflower is the oldest provider of services to adults in this area. Sunflower’s years of experience have resulted in
services that ensure higher levels of independence and personal growth for every person served,
regardless of the level of
disability. Sunflower believes persons with disabilities have both the right and the responsibility to become as
personally responsible for their lives as possible. We encourage the public to ask us for examples of our continual success toward this
goal. Additional information regarding services for adults is available at the
Disability Supports link.
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> What do we believe?
Simply put, Sunflower’s mission is to assist persons in becoming as independent as possible, and then to provide the
on-going supports needed to assist each person in remaining as independent as possible for as long as possible. This
basic right is what we all seek for ourselves, as well as for those we care about.
Our values require that we assist persons to live in independent settings, to learn and grow developmentally, to work
and earn, and to be an active part of their community.
are the primary providers of that support and
encouragement. Our staff, as trained professionals, strive to promote Sunflower’s purpose by offering:
- Intervention, education, and personal development for infants, toddlers, and adolescents
- Medical and therapeutic care for children and adults with severe disabilities
- Opportunities for inclusion in the community
- Employment consistent with needs and wants, promoting concern for the person’s total life options.
We Believe that no individual should ever be unable to secure services, employment, housing, or access to community activities due to a handicap or disabling condition.
What We Stand For
Sunflower’s core values that have anchored our organization are still just as true today as they were the first day we
opened our doors over fifty years ago. We are proud of our history and stand committed to meeting the needs of
people with disabilities in leading the best life possible.
As one of the Top Service Providers in the State of Kansas, we are dedicated to supporting individuals
developmental disabilities in achieving the highest level of independence and productivity.
- About infants and toddlers with developmental delays, and thus we remain the only early intervention
program in this area;
- About school aged children and their families;
- About adults, assisting them as they strive to become independent and productive members of their
Sunflower stands out as the most qualified and experienced agency in this area to assist persons
with severe or
multiple disabilities. Sunflower believes that a disability should never prevent a person from living the most fulfilling
life possible; nor should that individual ever shy away from participating in everything the community has to offer.
Our goal is success for all.
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> What are the personal growth Opportunities for the persons we serve?
We are the only licensed/certified program for infants and toddlers with disabilities in this five-county area.
- Sunflower has a contract with the Kansas Rehabilitation Services to provide job training, placement and on-job coaching for persons with disabilities. The goal is to assist individuals in securing and retaining a job in the community. In the past
year, Sunflower has assisted
3 persons in maintaining employment in the community.
- Persons who are not ready for community employment, or who for whatever reason cannot meet the standards required of competitive employment, are provided employment opportunities through Sunflower’s manufacturing and
employment programs. In order for an individual to achieve their dream of living more independently, they have to earn at a level that allows them to pay their bills. Wages paid to persons involved in these employment programs
continue to grow on an annual basis.
- Sunflower believes that every individual has the right to live
as independently as possible, so we focus our efforts in
assisting individuals in gaining the skills to live in homes and
apartments that they rent in the community. Persons with severe
disabilities and physical needs are assisted in moving into more
independent settings as well, if that is their choice. Sunflower
offers the level of support needed for each person, even if that
is one-on-one, 24-hour support in these independent
settings. Over 90% of the persons served by
Sunflower live in homes or apartments they rent from community
landlords, rather than in agency-owned group homes.
- Persons with more severe disabilities and personal assistance needs also have abilities to develop and share. They have a desire for the self-esteem that comes from meeting their own personal needs. Sunflower provides therapy, assistive technology, and personal coaching to help every person develop their own skills. We do not believe that a person should have to spend their days in an activity program just because they have a disability.
- Sunflower has established a partnership with the Kiwanis Club, chartering the Aktion Club.
- Sunflower encourages self-advocacy efforts for the individuals it serves, and has chartered
it's own advocacy group, TUFF, to assist persons in developing those personal skills.
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> What is the Sunflower difference?
Sunflower believes that every person has a right and a responsibility to grow and be a part of his/her community
in the same way as others of the same age. While persons with developmental disabilities may be faced with
certain barriers in achieving those goals, service provider agencies have an obligation to continuously strive
to remove those barriers and to assist persons toward the highest levels of independence, productivity,
integration and inclusion into the community. Sunflower makes it happen.
Babies who are developing normally can rely on their parents and extended family to help them achieve developmental
milestones. Infants and toddlers with developmental delays need assistance in that process. Professionals and
paraprofessionals assist the parents in learning new techniques for intervention, techniques that parents would not
typically have. That’s because children developing normally do not need that special attention. Such services,
provided by trained providers, offer varying degrees of consultation to the family, providing the family with the
confidence it needs to support the development of its son or daughter.
Sunflower offers this support.
The American public education system is one of the best in the world. Children receive the knowledge, the guidance,
and the mentoring to become adults who are ready to take their place in society. A child
with a developmental
disability has the exact same potential, but again needs varying levels of intervention to modify the learning
environment to bring out his/her particular skills. Once again, parents often need the help of professionals and
paraprofessionals to provide the extras that are not a necessity for children who are developing at a non-disabled pace. Provider agencies outside the public school system need to offer the additional supports that the schools cannot provide,
such as home modifications, family supports, and service coordination that help the family to understand the many things
that are available to assist their son or daughter maximize their potential.
Sunflower provides all these services.
When a child graduates from school, school should be over. Whether that be high school, trade school, or higher
education, when a person becomes an adult, they have a right to be treated as an adult. They also have right to adult
expectations. They should not be subjected to extended or never-ending years of classroom activities because
professionals fail to recognize the potential that exists in every person. They should not be looked upon as persons to be
pitied or protected. Rather, they deserve
assistance that expands personal skills
and specific modifications that promote independence and productivity.
Sunflower promotes this concept.
Adults with more severe disabilities deserve access to programs that maximize their abilities, rather than labeling
them for their inabilities. Where a barrier exists, another skill very well exists to overcome or work around the barrier. Community Service Provider agencies have a responsibility to continuously utilize professional approaches to maximize
skills and personal independence. Service agencies never have a right to stop trying when someone’s quality of life can
potentially be improved. This is Sunflower’s mission.
As much as we hate to admit it, some people have disabling conditions that prevent their inclusion in a work environment. Once again, provider agencies never have the right to stop trying to bring work opportunities into a person’s
life. For those who are not disabled to that degree, work is a critical part of societal norms. People who can work and
choose not to are subject to society’s negative opinions. People with disabilities who choose not to work or are not
assisted to work should be subject to the same negative views. But instead, and worse, they are looked upon with pity as
people who cannot be expected to participate in the working society. Provider agencies that fail to create that work/earn
environment have subjected people to wear a label they do not deserve.
Sunflower actively promotes personal growth.
Even if a person cannot today maintain a job in the competitive market, he can still perform tasks modified to
his current work ability. People with disabilities have a right to continuously have their work opportunities
modified to expand earnings so as to become more independent, productive and included in the community. Provider
agencies who fail to bring about those job modifications have cheated the person out of their right to
the pride and self-esteem that goes with being self-sufficient.
Sunflower excels in creating job opportunities.
Parents need to be encouraged, guided, and supported in the sometimes difficult task of allowing their son/daughter
to become an adult. We believe in the concept of “Dignity of Risk.” We believe that every person has the right to
experience life, to make mistakes and learn from them, and to be seen as a person who is “out there trying.” That
holds true for persons with disabilities as well. When we protect them from the possibility of failure, we label
them as someone undeserving of life’s opportunities. Parents do not want that for their non-disabled children;
neither do they want it for their children who just happen to have a disability.
Sunflower works closely with families.
With all that today’s medicine has to offer, people with disabilities are living longer, more productive lives. That
means that they will ultimately be faced with everything associated with the aging process. As persons approach
retirement age, or as age/health prevent them from actively participating in the things they have come to enjoy,
provider agencies need to ensure that retirement planning has been done. Retirement needs to be an
enjoyable, relaxing time, where the individual gets to determine how they spend their day. It needs to include involvement
with friends and family, activities that give pleasure, and supports that maintain general wellness.
Assisting a person into a retirement lifestyle has to come when the person wants it to happen. It should happen
when it’s time, not when it’s convenient. Provider agencies should not be allowed to settle for providing
retirement-like activities when people are still capable of being more productive.
Sunflower will always promote
the highest level of independence and personal productivity.
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> How does Sunflower impact the local economy?
- Sunflower is the only non-profit organization providing these services in this area.
What does that mean for you? It means that your tax
dollars are used for their intended purpose, to provide services
and supports for local residents with disabilities. It
means there are no profits that go to owners or investors
for their own personal gain.
- Sunflower has 140 staff positions, plus numerous professional consultants.
- Sunflower has an annual budget of $5.5 million, with an annual payroll of
- Wages paid to individuals with disabilities working in the various Sunflower manufacturing divisions totaled $264,290 in 2016.
- Sunflower Recycling serves 328 commercial customers in 16 communities and
5 counties. Our recycling efforts has diverted an average of
3 million pounds of materials a year
from the county landfill.
- Sunflower provides general public transportation services across the entire 5-county area.
Transportation was provided to 52,551 riders covering 324,798
miles from January 2016 through December 2016.
- 90% of the persons receiving residential services from Sunflower live in their own apartments or homes in the community, which they rent from property owners, and whose rental earnings and taxes then become a part of the local economy.
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