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Karen Thorns accepts a Legacy Society gift on behalf of father

7/5/21

As Karen Thorns accepted a Legacy Society gift from Developmental Service of Northwest Kansas on behalf of her late father, John Thorns, you could feel the love that she had for him.


She stared intently at the name on the bottom of the clock and felt the hands of her aunt Margaret comforting her. Karen remembered her father who passed away in 2014 and proudly showed the gift to everyone who walked by.

The gift was given by Jerry Michaud, DSNWK president, to Karen at Reed Developmental Center on June 15. The gift, a book clock, was given in memory of John Thorns, who demonstrated his support to DSNWK by remembering DSNWK in his estate plan.

DSNWK has been presenting special gifts to all of its Legacy Society members during the past several months. The Legacy Society recognizes and honors people who have shared with DSNWK that they have included a gift in their estate plan or have made a cash gift of $10,000 or more.


This type of giving ensures that future funding will be available to support the growing needs and priorities of DSNWK and its mission.

John Thorns was a former chairman of the Fort Hays State University Department of Art and Design.


He taught classes in basic design, art history, architectural and interior designs. His daughter Karen receives services from DSNWK at Reed Developmental Center.

John Thorns passion for art continues to be seen through Karen. Springing from their painting together as father and daughter, she loves to participate in art classes at the Reed Center and she is an active participant in the Art Collaboration Project through FHSU.

A Day To Remember

6/24/21

Keith Schulte, an individual served at Kobler Developmental Center in Hill City, received a huge surprise on Friday, April 23rd. The day started out like any typical Friday at the Center, but as the afternoon approached, a special guest paid Keith a visit. Thanks to Keith’s long-time friend, Daniel “Taz” Thyfault, a world championship rodeo clown and bullfighter, Ryan Rodriguez, came to Kobler Center and surprised Keith. Rodriguez spent the afternoon at the Kobler Center presenting about his experiences and visiting with the individuals.


Rodriguez surprised Keith with one of his old rodeo outfits, an official world rodeo championship patch to put on his cowboy hat, a lasso, and a pair of rodeo clown sneakers. Four of Keith's sisters were in attendance and brought cookies for everyone.


Taz and Keith have always had a very unique friendship from the days when Taz worked as a groundskeeper for the highway house group home. Keith would help Taz clean up the fallen walnuts from the walnut tree outside. During their time together, Taz learned of Keith’s love for all things cowboy and bullfighting and the two bonded. Justin Hrabe, Keith’s Individual Service Coordinator said about their friendship, “Taz and Keith have always hit it off. They have been friends for close to 20 years”. Taz is involved in many capital charities and has a lot of connections within the community, so he decided to organize this special rodeo surprise for Keith. “In light of everything the individuals have gone through, it was a wonderful event to get everyone out of the COVID funk. Keith and the other individuals were so excited that Ryan came to visit”, said Hrabe.

DSNWK benefits from generosity of RCCF

6/23/21

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce a grant award from the Rawlins County Community Foundation in the amount of $5,760.00. The grant will go to support DSNWK’s residential living location for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Atwood.


DSNWK will utilize the grant to repurpose a commons area at the residential home for persons with disabilities on Plumb Street in Atwood by installing natural lighting with a new large window. Also within the commons area, DSNWK will be adding furniture and a television making the area a more desirable place to socialize and provide entertainment.


“This project will allow DSNWK to more fully utilize the space within the residential home,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President and CEO. “This will create natural lighting in a space more suitable for relaxation and enjoyment by those living in the home.”


DSNWK is a 501c3 nonprofit serving 18 counties in northwest Kansas with a mission to advocate for persons with disabilities and those who care about them by planning and supporting a life of dignity, interdependence, and personal satisfaction in the community.


Heartland Foundation supports DSNWK’s Custom Creations Store

6/15/21

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce a grant award from the Heartland Community Foundation in the amount of $6,990.00 to benefit DSNWK’s Custom Creations new downtown store.


DSNWK will be utilizing the grant for start-up costs, including the purchase of a printer for engraving, printing, and laser cutting on various materials for the Custom Creations work crew and artists.


“DSNWK is very excited to have a storefront in downtown Hays,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President and CEO. “This store will allow for greater opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to gather in a community inclusive environment and showcase their work.”


This location will also provide new and innovative employment and work opportunities for those with I/DD in Ellis County. DSNWK has become known for accepting donations of used solid wood furniture and through Custom Creations the artisans have transformed these into beautiful pieces sought after by the public. In addition, the storefront will include art for sale by individuals from all over northwestern Kansas who receive DSNWK programs and services.


UPDATE: Custom Creations seeking donations in advance of store opening

6/7/21

Update: 10:11 a.m. June 7: DSNWK Custom Creation will be participating in the downtown art walk on June 18. It will be doing a fundraiser on the bricks to help raise money for its new store start up costs and hopefully some of its wish list items. The Downtown Hays Development Corp. is letting Custom Creations use its space to showcase some art that will be for sale and up for auction.

By CRISTINA JANNEY

Hays Post

Do you have some unwanted furniture in your basement? Have leftover furniture that didn't sell at this weekend's garage sale?

You could help Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas' Custom Creations program.

The program, which has been in operation since 2016, is stock piling merchandise to open a new downtown Hays store that will sell refurbished and upcycled furniture, as well as crafts and art created by DSNWK clients.

DSNWK is hoping to open the new store, 1107 Main, by Oct. 15.

Custom Creations is taking donations of used solid-wood furniture that they will transform and update for resale.

"We hope to get a lot of real wood that the guys can refurbish and turn into new things," LaVonne Giess, DSNWK program manager, said.

"We used to get tables, and they were all scratched up," she said. "If it was real wood, Dustin [Olsen, employment services assistant,] has taught the guys to sand things down, how to stain, how to paint and even how to turn things into new pieces."

A head board might be transformed into a bench, and an old piano might become a bar. Pallets might be made into Christmas trees or pumpkins.

"A lot of these guys enjoy doing this stuff," Olsen said. "We have a really good group back here. We're pretty tight-knit back there."

Six individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities work in the Custom Creations shop, but Giess said she hopes those numbers can grow.

With the opening of the store, the program will also be able to sell smaller arts and crafts made by DSNWK's day program clients.

DSNWK has six day services sites within its 18-county service area. That includes sites at Hays, Norton, Russell, Hill City, Atwood and Hoxie.

"We have some people who do amazing cross stitching, painters, so many unique artists," said Sara Biggs, director of programs and services. "They will also have the opportunity to have their pieces displayed and sold."

DSNWK officials hope to rotate feature artists throughout the year.

Biggs said she is excited the new store and DSNWK clients will be able to participate in downtown Hays activities, including art walks.

On the program's wish list is a Chromebox, so DSNWK can connect day sites, such as Atwood, to the store so visitors can watch clients making items at remote locations.

Officials also hope to offer classes for clients in the store, so members of the community can interact with clients as they work on their projects.

"Our individuals here get so excited when we come up with new project," Giess said.

The artists and craftspeople will receive a portion of the proceeds from the furniture, art and crafts they will make.

DSNWK will also be accepting donations of other craft materials. A women who was moving recently donated a large amount of fabric she no longer needed. Nothing goes to waste, Giess said.

If people have large donations to offer, such as furniture, they can call the Employment Connections Office in Hays at 785-625-2018 to have the furniture or materials picked up. Donations are tax dedcutible.

Dash 4 Disabilities Fast Approaching

5/19/21

The annual Dash 4 Disabilities Fun Run is a month away! Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 12th to help support our (IDD) Intellectual and Developmentally disabled programming at Hays Recreation! To sign up, click HERE.

Hoxie Center Ribbon Cutting to be held on May 18th

5/5/21

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas will be holding an open house and ribbon cutting at 10:00 a.m. on May 18th for it’s newly renovated developmental center at 733 9th Street in Hoxie.


The public is invited to attend the open house and learn more about DSNWK’s programs and services in Hoxie. The event will include a ribbon cutting by the Hoxie Chamber of Commerce, refreshments and tours of the renovated building.


DSNWK is a 501(c)3 Non-profit serving those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the 18 most northwestern Kansas counties. Visit www.dsnwk.org to learn more about services and ways to support.


DSNWK benefits from generosity of RCACF

4/27/21

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce a grant award from the Russell County Area Community Foundation (RCACF) in the amount of $2,350.00 for the purchase of a Chromebox for Pioneer Developmental Center in Russell.

This special video conferencing technology will support the newly expanded Kid-Link program in Russell County. The Chromebox will provide staff the ability to meet virtually with Russell County families, save on travel expenses and can provide a safe way to continue to hold meetings even if COVID-19 requires restrictions.

“To better serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, DSNWK must always have efficient communication tools available for staff, volunteers and board members to communicate important issues when face-to-face availability is limited by time or travel,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. “Having this technology available will provide better communication and will lead to better services for children and families.”

DSNWK is a 501c3 nonprofit serving 18 counties in northwest Kansas. DSNWK provides services to 63 individuals who are from Russell County and employs 40 staff in Russell at several locations. At Pioneer Developmental Center, 18 individuals attend the College for Living adult day services, and currently, 16 children are served by the Kid-Link program from Russell County.

DSNWK’s Hoxie Center Receives Grant from Sheridan County Community Foundation

3/30/21

A $3,227.00 Dane G. Hansen Community Grant, a fund of Sheridan County Community Foundation, will support Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas in improving outdoor living space by adding patio furniture at Hoxie Developmental Center, 733 9th Street. This new furniture will provide another opportunity for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to enjoy being outside and add beautification to the corner lot building.

“The patio will be a desirable, beautiful outdoor spot for individuals to use”, states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. “It can be to eat lunch outside, soak in the sun, do an outdoor activity, or simply retreat outside to a peaceful space and fresh air.”

The long-lasting wrought iron patio furniture will be used on an existing concrete patio slab on the west side of the building. Useful outdoor spaces, in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, add both value and options.

The DSNWK Hoxie Developmental Center has gone through major renovations to maximize its learning and leisure space to be better suited for the people it serves and supports. DSNWK would like to express our gratitude to the Hoxie community and the Sheridan County Community Foundation for all their support.

DSNWK is a 501c3 nonprofit serving 18 counties in northwest Kansas with a mission to advocate for persons with disabilities and those who care about them by planning and supporting a life of dignity, interdependence, and personal satisfaction in the community.


PDC Receives Grant from Second Century Fund


3/15/21

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is pleased to announce a grant award of $2000.00 from the Second Century Fund for the refurbishing of its sign located at Prairie Developmental Center (PDC) in Atwood. DSNWK recently rebranded and plans to update the sign at this location that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


DSNWK’s previous logo and branding has been in existence since 1976 when DSNWK went through a name change to reflect the 18 county service territory. The launch of the new branding was announced in September 2020 to better reflect “what” DSNWK does more so than the geography of “where” services are provided.


Developmental Services will be updating the existing sign with a new faceplate containing the fresh look of the new branding. The sign currently has fluorescent lighting and will be upgraded to a more energy efficient LED lighting, and the structure of the sign will be repainted to give it a fresh appearance and complement the new logo.


DSNWK would like to thank the Second Century Fund for its continued support and generosity of PDC.


DSNWK is a 501c3 nonprofit serving 18 counties in northwest Kansas with a mission to advocate for persons with disabilities and those who care about them by planning and supporting a life of dignity, interdependence, and personal satisfaction in the community.


DSNWK benefits from the support of the United Way of Ellis County and the CARE Council

3/2/21

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that The United Way of Ellis County has allocated $25,600 for the Job Placement Follow-along program for 2021. Follow-along services are provided to all individuals who complete DSNWK's Job Placement Program for support to maintain employment and for additional training in the future. DSNWK’s Job Placement Follow-along program can intervene before the individual loses his or her employment and reduces the dollars spent on job procurement, training new employees, and unemployment or disability payments.


ACCESS Public Transportation was informed by the CARE Council of Ellis County that they have recommended an allocation to the Hays City Commission for an award of $77,732.50 for transportation services from the City of Hays Social Service Funds for the 2022 budget. ACCESS provides general public transportation services to the people of Hays and Ellis County.


DSNWK would like to thank the United Way of Ellis County for their continuous support of people with developmental disabilities and to the Care Council for recommending an allocation to the City of Hays for ACCESS general public transportation.


DSNWK’s Pioneer Developmental Center receives grant from RCED & CVB


2/18/21

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is a proud recipient of a $500 matching grant through the 2021 Russell County Economic Development Storefront/Signage Grant Program benefiting Pioneer Developmental Center in Russell.


DSNWK will utilize the grant to update and refurbish its sign at 15 North Maple, Russell. DSNWK has recently undergone a rebranding effort which includes a new logo and color scheme. This new sign will reflect the new brand and support DSNWK in its effort to be more visible in the community.


DSNWK will be updating the existing sign with two new faceplates containing the fresh look of

the new branding. The sign currently has fluorescent lighting and will be upgraded to LED

lighting, and the structure of the sign will be repainted to give it a fresh appearance.


DSNWK is a 501c3 nonprofit serving 18 counties in northwest Kansas with a mission to advocate for persons with disabilities and those who care about them by planning and supporting a life of dignity, interdependence, and personal satisfaction in the community.

Pat Goscha

2/15/21

Hard work … Dedication … Friendship. These have been the key ingredients to Pat Goscha’s success. Pat, who is served by Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas at Prairie Developmental Center, has taken those ingredients and created a long history of successful employment in the Atwood community.


Pat dedicated his time to working at Williams Brothers grocery store for more than 35 years and now continues to work at the Atwood Corner gas station. As much as being able to work has impacted Pat, it seems as though he has impacted the community even more. Stephanie Pelkey, Pat’s Residential Coordinator expressed, “Everyone knows and loves Pat! He is just another one of the guys!”


COVID-19 obviously put a damper on many things and Pat was out of work for several months due to the virus. It would have been easy for Pat to retire and continue to not work, but once it was deemed safe for Pat to work again, he started at the Atwood Corner gas station. Pat loves working and prefers to spend his time in the community making a difference. He feels a sense of pride in what he does and continues to work hard. Pat has lived his life with purpose.


For DSNWK, living with purpose means providing vital support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families so they can live a life with dignity, with purpose and with meaning Live with Purpose includes instructions, support and guidance with self-care, skill building, communication, mobility, and employment.


DSNWK excited about new downtown location


1/28/2021

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that for the first time, they will officially be in downtown Hays at 1107 Main Street. DSNWK plans to utilize the new space for its EC Custom Creations as well as other ways that display the talent of individuals served by DSNWK.

“This space will be used for learning, collaborating, and developing talent and sharing the creations of those efforts with the community in a way that we've not been able to before” states Sara Biggs, DSNWK Director of Programs and Services.

DSNWK plans to open the doors in October 2021.


Collaborative Arts Project going strong during COVID19

12/30/2020

Normal activities seem impossible during the coronavirus as we must maintain our distance and wear masks, but the Collaborative Arts Project has continued to be a great program with good participation; even as it has moved online. Amy Schmierbach, a Professor of Art and Design at Fort Hays State University has taken on the task of sharing her love for art with others through a digital lens. The Collaborative Arts Project continues to provide art workshops for the individuals served at DSNWK, but it looks a little different. Amy says about the new virtual atmosphere, “My students and I have been hosting drawing workshops over zoom on Tuesdays for one hour. It is going well. Much different than when we were working at Employment Connections, but we have some good things developing. We have participation from many who have not worked with us before and it seems that most are really focused on their drawings during the entire hour. Our drawing content is different, more focused on subject matter that the clients have suggested and lots of holiday themed. They are doing some really great work. We wish we were in person, but it is nice to connect to everyone and we are all drawing. We see this as a win during this crazy time.” Amy plans to continue these zoom workshops throughout the Spring 2021 semester and is working on new ideas that will make the virtual environment feel as personable and inviting as possible.

Inside DSNWK 5-15-20.pdf
Family Insert-Quarterly Newsletter Q2.pdf

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