Gala fundraiser a success, donors thanked – Kiowa County Signal

By Maggie Reinhardt Sunflower Diversified Services

Sunflower Diversified Services supporters donated just over $69,000 for children and adults with developmental disabilities and delays at the 17th Annual Charity Gala.

“We are once again overwhelmed by the generosity of the Kansans Center,” said Cody Harris, Director of Planned Giving and Community Support. “It’s always gratifying to know that our neighbors understand that Sunflower makes a real difference in people’s lives.”

During the live auction at the Feb. 26 event, $16,915 was raised specifically for the nonprofit agency’s Invest in Kids club. These recipes are for the Early Education Center (EEC) and Incredible Years Preschool.

“These donations follow compelling testimonials from Jaimee and Dr. Sam Beugelsdijk,” Harris said. “They spoke of the tremendous progress their young son has made with the help of our autism team. We are grateful to them for sharing their family’s story.

Beugelsdijk’s son, John, was the first participant in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program in early 2020. ABA is designed for children up to age 5 who have a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder .

Star, the therapy dog, also interacted with the Gala crowd; he was accompanied by Alyson Burkhart, an EEC autism specialist.

“We appreciate all of the gala attendees, donors, sponsors and volunteers,” said Harris. “They volunteered their time, money and talents to infants, toddlers and adults with special needs. Our staff and customers couldn’t be more grateful.

Harris also noted that auctioneer TR Esfeld and master of ceremonies Dr. Mike Burdett entertained the crowd of more than 190 throughout the evening at the Great Bend Events Center.

“Everything and everyone came together for the Gala, which is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Harris noted. “Fundraising is essential to fill financial gaps to help pay for medical and dental care, therapies, adaptive equipment, communication devices and many other items and services.”

Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. He is in his 57th year.

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