2018 DSNWK News

Beach Family Foundation Grant to benefit DSNWK


Beach Family Foundation, Derby, has awarded Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas (DSNWK) a $24,760 grant for technology upgrades and improvements. This grant will be used in the areas of human resource management, communication, and training and learning opportunities. The new technology will impact programs and services for both persons served with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and for staff who are the primary resource in serving this population in rural northwest Kansas. DSNWK will purchase 53 tablets for educational purposes in DSNWK’s College for Living program, and for staff training and improved human resources performance. DSNWK will also purchase 4 Chromeboxes which will be used for virtual meetings, saving on travel time and expenses. DSNWK would like to thank the Beach Family Foundation for their generosity and support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in northwest Kansas. For more information contact: Steve Keil Director of Development Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas 785-625-5678

DSNWK establishes fund in memory of cofounder Dr. Homer B. Reed, Sr.


Hays, Kan. -- Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas announces a newly established fund in memory of cofounder Dr. Homer B. Reed, Sr.

The fund will help support the nearly 500 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the 18 countries DSNWK serves. The descendants of Dr. Homer B. Reed, Sr. are setting up the memorial fund with a goal to raise $50,000 by the end of 2018. An anonymous donor will match up to $20,000 of all donations. DSNWK, formerly the Homer B. Reed Adjustment and Training Center, opened its doors February 5, 1968 as one of the first workshops serving those with IDD in Kansas, and one of 40 in the U.S. DSNWK’s Reed Developmental Center is a living memorial to Dr. Reed’s work in Hays. “This is an exciting re-connection for DSNWK to its past,” said DSNWK President/CEO Jerry Michaud. “This fundraising effort is reflective of the care and support of Homer B Reed and his family, friends and colleagues who desire to carry on the legacy started fifty years ago, supporting the mission of DSNWK into the future.” To donate send checks made out to DSNWK with a memo of “Homer B. Reed” to Steve Keil, PO Box 310, Hays, KS 67601, or give online at www.dsnwk.org. DSNWK is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

More about Dr. Homer B. Reed, Sr. Dr. Reed was a professor of education and psychology at Fort Hays State University (called Fort Hays Kansas State College at the time) from 1928 to 1956, and was the Chairman of the Psychology Department for many years. Before coming to Hays he taught at the University of Illinois (where he was asked to leave that institution after expressing his views that women should be granted the right to vote), University of Idaho, Colorado College of Education, University of Pittsburgh, and Gunnison, Colo. He attended Goshen College, earned his A.B. and A.M degrees at Indiana University, and in 1912, the Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Chicago. He also did special graduate work at Columbia University, NY, in 1913, and was a Fellow in Psychiatry at Kansas University Medical Center, 1951-52. His dissertation “The Morals of Monopoly and Competition,” was cited by Supreme Court Justice Brandeis in one of the earliest cases to reach the Supreme Court arising out of the creation of the Federal Trade Commission. It is not clear, however, that Dr. Reed was ever aware of this application of his early work, and his subsequent research interests were all in psychology.

He was co-founder of the Fort Hays Psychological Clinic, helped organize and promote the High Plains Mental Health Clinic, and co-authored the once widely used Reed-Tracy Teaching Tests. FHSU Psychologists within the department, including Dr. Reed, developed and operated the clinic specializing in the diagnostic assessment of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Those clinical services were made available to children in western Kansas including their families and their schools. With the advent of World War II, the psychologists at FHSU were drafted into military service and the clinic that they developed became Dr. Reed’s responsibility. He had to refine his clinical skills and he had to make himself available in facing the problems that any psychological clinic presents. In doing this his interests in psychology changed. He not only worked with individuals referred to the clinic, he also worked actively with the state legislature in developing laws to identify and serve handicapped children. He maintained these interests for the remainder of his years as a psychologist. Forty of Dr. Reed’s psychology students advanced into eminent positions in the U. S. Two of these are his sons, Dr. James C. and Dr. Homer B. Reed, Jr. Dr. Reed authored three college textbooks, 40 articles for professional journals, and two historical booklets for the Kansas Psychological Assn. After retiring, he served as visiting professor at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Wooster College, Ohio; the University of Istanbul, Turkey; and Tarkio College, Mo. He was a member of the Hays Presbyterian Church and the Rotary club. Reed passed in 1972 at Hadley Memorial Hospital, Hays.

An Eye for Detail by Kaley Connor, Hays Daily News


Brian Johnson has worked several jobs, but he always dreamed of someday having his own car detailing business. Johnson is a Hays resident who receives career assistance and support from Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. His long-time dream seemed a bit out of reach — that is until he connected with local business owner Troy Burkhart. Burkhart first met Johnson, who is described as passionate and outgoing, when he stopped in his business — Xibit Customs — to ask if he could clean and detail his personal vehicle. Johnson enthusiastically discussed his plans for the future and, in doing so, left a lasting impression on Burkhart. When their paths crossed again several months later, Burkhart said he was sad to hear Johnson was having a difficult time achieving his goals. “I remember being passionate about this business before I opened it, and talking to my friends and family,” Burkhart said. “It was the same kind of passion that he had talking about his business, and then when it didn’t get to happen, it was a bummer. I was like, that dude needs to be able to do that for his job.”

That inspired Burkhart to expand his established customs business, located at 1005 E. 37th, to include detailing services — provided by Johnson, of course. With a big smile, Johnson simply said it’s “really awesome” to be fulfilling his goal. “He took me under his wing,” he said of Burkhart. The arrangement made sense for both of them. Johnson had the skills and passion for a detailing business, but no location or funds for startup costs. Paperwork and taxes also could have been a challenge. Meanwhile, Burkhart’s existing business included extra space for cleaning customers’ vehicles and all of the equipment necessary for detailing services. He just needed the right employee to take it on, he said. “Clearly, as an owner of a business, you’re always looking for ‘that person’ to come work for you or to be a partner in the things you do,” he said. “A great employee is worth everything. That’s what makes a business. And when you find somebody that just loves doing something, clearly that’s the goal.” When he’s not busy detailing cars, Brian has been expanding his skillset by helping with certain other duties around the shop. And he’s already got his eye on expansion. Burkhart said Johnson thinks about detailing cars “non-stop” and has great ideas for the future.

Johnson continues to receive support from Employment Connections, which receives funding from the United Way of Ellis County to provide long-term follow-along services for qualifying employees. LaVonne Giess, employment program manager, said Brian has “blossomed” since starting work at Xibit in the fall. “He’s passionate about it, but we believe in him. He does a great job,” Giess said. “We wouldn’t be selling it if we thought he didn’t do a very good job. He does it very well. We just want other people to know what a great job he does.” Xibit Detailing is offering a “sweetheart sale” all month in efforts to grow the new business and show off Johnson’s skills. Burkhart has continued to work closely with Johnson’s support staff to ensure he’s offering a work environment that will be a good long-term fit for his new employee, he said. The relationship also has evolved into a mentorship, in which he also provides advice and practical assistance for daily living as Brian has a need. “This is the relationship we wish all of our people employed could have, and we’ve got some great employers in this community — absolutely phenomenal employers that go above and beyond for the individuals we serve,” Giess said. “But this definitely is above and beyond.” “It’s weird, because it doesn’t seem above and beyond,” Burkhart said. “It seems like it’s supposed to be that way.”

For Immediate Release


Kid-Link and Pizza Hut are working together to raise money to support children across the area. Several area Pizza Huts will be donating 15 percent of their proceeds to DSNWK's Kid-Link program. Enjoy a great pizza and support the services provided by Kid-Link at the same time. Below are the restaurants participating, dates and times of the event. Phillipsburg Pizza Hut, Monday February 19th, 5:00 p.m. to closing Norton Pizza Hut, Tuesday February 20th, 5:00 p.m. to closing. Smith Center Pizza Hut, Tuesday February 20th, 5:00 p.m. to closing Plainville Pizza Hut, Tuesday February 20th, 5:00 p.m. to closing Russell Pizza Hut, Thursday February 22nd, 5:00 p.m. to closing Stockton Pizza Hut, Thursday February 22nd, 5:00 p.m. to closing Osborne Pizza Hut, Tuesday February 27th, 5:00 p.m. to closing Kid-Link provides full early intervention services to children ages birth through two years in their natural living environment. These services are for those who have a diagnosed disability, are delayed in two or more developmental areas, or are at risk of developmental delay. Services are offered in six north-central counties; Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks, Russell and Smith.

For more information contact: Steve Keil Director of Development (785) 625-5678

Dancing Together with DSNWK


Come join us for an evening of entertainment, fine dancing, and a chance to remember and support all DSNWK does!

April 16th, 2018 Silent Auction Starts: 5 p.m. Auditorium Doors Open: 5 p.m. Show Starts: 5:30 p.m.

Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center All proceeds will go to benefit DSNWK and their work in the community

Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at Styles Dance Centre, DSNWK, or at the door.

DSNWK appreciates the support of the United Way of Ellis County and the CARE Council


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce that The United Way of Ellis County has allocated $23,000 for the Job Placement Follow-along program for 2018. 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. Follow-along 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 that they have recommended an allocation to the City of Hays for an award of $80,000 for transportation services in 2019. 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.

DONATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR DSNWK/Employment Connections 7th annual benefit sale


We are currently looking for donations for our upcoming sale. This is a great way for you to clean out your closets and storage areas. No clothing, mattresses or appliances, but all other items accepted. Employment Connections will pick up any donation in the Hays area. Give us a call at 625-2018 and make arrangements to have your donation picked up. We ask that all donations be in working and usable order. All donations are tax deductible. The money made from the sale is used to benefit those with disabilities. Thank You!!

Kid-Link Receives Grant from Midwest Energy


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, was recently announced as the recipient of a $399.00 grant from Midwest Energy, Inc. for it’s Kid-Link program. The grant award will be used to purchase a Boardmaker Plus Program. The Boardmaker is a program to create visual schedules, communication books, interactive activities and speech boards. This system can be used for infant’s, toddler’s or older children regardless of their abilities. It will aid communication between parents and children as an environmental prompt to help children remember what is expected of them in a certain activity or routine. The program may help prevent or reduce challenging behaviors, support social competence, and enhance memory. By using this program, children will be better prepared for their transition into school. The DSNWK Kid-Link program provides a full range of early intervention services to infant and toddlers from birth through two years of age in their natural living environment.


2018 Advocacy Day Recap


On Tuesday, Mar. 27, more than 700 advocates rallied at the state house and called on the legislature to enact laws and policies that will improve and sustain services provided to more than 9,000 Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities – services that are necessary for independent and inclusive lives in their communities. Rep. Eber Phelps, D-Hays; Rep. Tom Cox, R-Shawnee; and Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka joined the rally, sharing a message of action and hope for those in attendance, and dozens of self-advocates took the opportunity to use their voices, sharing their messages loud and clear: "We need help, and we need it now!" "It's time to ensure leadership, power, and love for each and every one of you!" Sen. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills; Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka; and Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka regretted that the circumstances on the Senate floor prevented them from speaking to the group, but noted the need for action and movement in I/DD services and priorities.

The 2018 Legislative priorities include: ● Removing Home and Community Based Services from KanCare ● Ensuring reimbursement rates for providers catch up and stay on track with the cost of living ● Eliminating the confusing, unnecessary layer of MCO Care Coordination for HCBS ● Fixing the background check process which currently takes weeks to complete ● Stopping KanCare 2.0 ● Requiring legislative approval for any further changes to the state’s Medicaid system

“Special Rugs” project is a collaborative effort


Fort Hays State University students and individuals served by DSNWK are busy weaving a “special rug” at Reed Developmental Center. “Special Rugs” uses discarded fabric and yarn to create woven artwork. The collaboration will teach arts and crafts skills and will allow the individuals receiving services at the Reed Center to express themselves through color, texture and design. Amy Schmierbach, professor of art and design at FHSU, recently received a Socially Engaged Practices Grant from the Surface Design Association to do the project. Schmierbach and students will lead the collaboration by preparing materials, assisting in design and construction and teaching weaving techniques. “Special Rugs” will be in October and installed at the Hays Public Library for the Hays Art Walk.

ACCESS recognized for Safe Ride success


DSNWK would like pay special recognition to ACCESS Public Transportation for their amazing success with the Safe Ride program. ACCESS has provided 208,470 rides through Safe Ride from July 2005 to March 2018. “We are extremely proud of this very important program, stated Wade Kruse, DSNWK Transportation Manager. For nearly 13 years, Safe Ride has been getting people to their destination safely.” Safe Ride is a service started via the backing of "a partnership for a Safer Community." This service is provided in the City of Hays on Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 pm until 3:00 am the following day and there is no fare charged. Typically the riders on Safe Ride are those who have chosen a responsible option for getting around town when they have been drinking or those people who get off work late and need a ride home from work. DSNWK would like to thank all the employees at ACCESS Public Transportation for their hard work and dedication!

Performers shine at Dancing Together for DSNWK event


A huge crowd funneled into Beach Schmidt Performing Arts Center on April 16th for the 2nd annual performance of Dancing Together for DSNWK. The event was hosted by a FHSU 310 Leadership team and included a silent auction. Young Styles Dance Centre teams dazzled the crowd with their various competition dances with the finale of the show featuring all the dancers alongside 26 individuals served by DSNWK. “This event provides a lot of education to the dancers and the public. If someone doesn’t have a person with disabilities in their direct family or circle, they are not aware of the needs that are to be provided to those individuals,” said Raenee Patterson, member of the 310 Leadership team. Many of the DSNWK individuals have never had the chance to have the experience of what it is like to dance at a studio or the stage when they were younger, but with this event they finally get their chance to shine on stage. More than $8500 was raised from the event and will benefit DSNWK.



The date has been officially set for DSNWK's Annual Awards Luncheon. The event will be held on Tuesday, October 23rd at the Ellis County Fairgrounds beginning at 12:00 p.m. The luncheon is a day set aside each year for DSNWK to recognize the accomplishments of their staff, individuals served by DSNWK, as well as, community members who have shown DSNWK outstanding support.

Employment Connections Benefit Sale


Employment Connections is having their 7th annual benefit sale on May 18th and 19th. The sale is in a new location - 660 Commerce Parkway. It will be from 7 am to 7 pm on Friday and 8 am to 12 pm on Saturday. There are lots of nice items for sale. Many new and collectible items with items being added throughout the day. There will be furniture, books, household items, decorating items, holiday decorations, kids items and many many more too numerous to mention!! The money made from the sale is used to benefit those with disabilities.



Employment Connections Benefit Sale


Employment Connections is having their final benefit sale of the year! The sale is at 660 Commerce Parkway in Hays from 7 am to 7 pm on Friday June 29th. A warehouse full of items including furniture, books, household items, decorating items, holiday decorations, and kids items. Many new items added!!!! The money made from the sale is used to benefit those with disabilities

DSNWK to host Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament


Developmental Services of Northwestern Kansas (DSNWK) is hosting the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament at 8 a.m. on Fri., Aug. 3 at the Ellis Golf Club, 301 Spruce St., Ellis. This tournament is a four person scramble with raffle prizes and giveaways. Entry fees are $300 for a team or $75 for an individual. The entry fee will include lunch, green fees, and golf carts. A hole sponsorship is $300 and includes a sponsorship sign with name on a tee box.

To register, contact Steve Keil at 785-621-5335 or steve_keil@mydsnwk.org. Online registration is also available by clicking the banner on the homepage of www.dsnwk.org.

Like most parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Esther wanted the best for her daughter. It was Esther’s wish that after she was gone her daughter Jamie would be taken care of in a beautiful home. After Esther’s battle against cancer ended in 2008, Vaughn McMurtrie and his friends created a golf tournament to support the construction of Esther’s Place -- the DSNWK group home where Jamie and six others live. The proceeds from the tournament continue to support Esther’s Place and eight other group homes in Ellis County

Benefit Sale reaps big reward


Employment Connections in Hays is proud to announce that they were able to raise almost $5000 from their annual Benefit Sale held on May 18th, 19th and June 29th. Proceeds go to benefit the individuals who receive services from Employment Connections through a variety of reinforcement activities and celebrations for their hard work and dedication such as Job Club, an annual barbeque and Christmas party.

Fall Fest Date Set for October 2nd


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas' Fall Fest celebration has been officially set for October 2nd. Fall Fest takes place at the Ellis County Fairgrounds and is a special day for individuals served by DSNWK, staff members, parents and guardians to join together for a special day that includes a dance, lunch and other activities. Fall Fest is made possible thanks to proceeds from the Dancing Together for DSNWK event, as well as the generosity of Nex-Tech, Conrade Insurance and Hays Tees.

Golfers tee it up in honor of Esther McMurtrie


Golfers and friends of DSNWK came out on a warm summer day to support the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament on August 3rd at the Ellis Golf Club. 17 teams raised money for the needs of DSNWK group homes in Hays and honor the late Esther McMurtrie. Esther’s dream was to create a new group home for her daughter Jamie and several other ladies which is now called Esther’s Place.DSNWK would like to thank those who supported this event by playing, volunteering and donating.

ACCESS Public Transportation to increase fares


ACCESS Public Transportation announced today it is adjusting its fares for riders beginning on October 1, 2018 to put itself in-line with other Kansas public transportation programs. All rides that ACCESS provides in the City of Hays will increase from $1.50 per one-way ride to the new rate of $2.00. The Ellis County rides and rides to the Hays airport will increase from $3.00 per one-way ride to $4.00. Riders in the City of Hays and Ellis County who have already purchased ride tickets, may still use those tickets without paying an additional charge until October 1st. However, after October 1st, all riders will have to supplement the current ride tickets with an additional 50 cents or one dollar fee when they utilize ACCESS Transportation. For more info

Making Visible - Value behind the scenes

Jerry Michaud President and CEO


It is easy to assume everyone understands the disabilities world, and specifically those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but the truth is most do not. I’d like to invite you to take a simple journey with me and ponder a question: If something is present but you don’t see it, is it invisible? Much in the world of disabilities and services provided is unknown, unless you live in that world. Let me shine a light and provide some simple insight about this world and how supports occur every day for people, where they live and work based on their needs. These routine supports can often occur around us, in our neighborhoods and they go without notice. I have heard the response, “I had no idea that is what you did (in our services)”. The goal of each staff member at DSNWK is to provide meaningful supports and services to people with disabilities in their community; the type that you and I would desire if we were the recipient of those services. My reference is to all staff, but my focus here is on those staff members who are commonly known across our nation as Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).

DSNWK, now in its 51st year, engages with these DSPs to provide services and supports to people with disabilities to be involved in their community just like the rest of us. Those seamless, every-day services, do not happen automatically. They originate from the heart and through the hands and feet of dedicated staff who walk life’s journey with people just like you and me, only difference - these people just happen to require extra support to be successful. These amazing staff, in doing their work, make the lives of others better. Something many of us may not fully realize is these same support people wear many hats in the course of their work day. They are schedulers, teachers, shoppers, planners and skill builders. They provide medication and transportation supports as well as help problem-solve many times in any typical day. With a wide range of needs of persons served, the staff might be assisting a person as they prepare a meal at one moment and the next be involved in lifting and transferring another who may have mobility support needs. In society, these wonderful people participate and contribute continually pouring their efforts into the lives of persons served and the community in general. The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities called attention to these workers noting they represent one of the highest workforces in demand. For those closely involved, we know the turnover rates and vacancy rates in this profession are high, and the resources available have historically been lacking. Another citation from the report included that the national average starting wage for this career field is low, starting from $8.66 to $13.67 (average $10.23) per/hr. This low-wage reality, along with low unemployment rates (particularly here in NW Kansas), and a growing demand for these valuable workers (as our population ages - and will be needing similar supports), begets the workforce crisis noted in the report. The challenge is upon us, and frankly, has been for a while.

There is much work in this arena and I believe there are two important take-a-ways worthy of calling out. First, recognizing the importance of these service professionals and the value they bring to the lives of others each and every day is a vital first step to achieve consistent quality supports that people with disabilities need and deserve. Secondly, responding to the workforce crisis, stemming from the growing demand requires direction, resources and renewed action. Please join us in expressing gratitude to all those who serve others in any of the many varied roles of these direct support professionals. They deserve our thanks for the value they are in the lives of others and the value they bring to our communities.


DSNWK launches $5 million capital campaign



Hays Post Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas launched a $5 million capital campaign during its annual Fall Fest on Tuesday. This is the first capital campaign in the organization’s 50-year history. Jerry L. Michaud, DSNWK president and CEO, said the money will be used to make much-needed repairs and upgrades to its facilities.

The organization has locations in Hays, Norton, Atwood, Hill City, Hoxie, Russell and Stockton. It serves 18 counties in Kansas. “With a capital campaign, generally it is usually to build a building or a one thing,” he said. “In our case, we are spread over the 18 counties and the focus is to bring back and focus on some of those things that have been long-delayed — repairing roofs, fixing things that are broken, the kinds of things that are most generally people just build into their budgets. Those have been pushed off because of long-standing lags in support for the services that we do. “We are fixing the stuff we should have fixed years ago.” Some of the funds will also be directed at technology to comply with legal and government mandates and streamline employee communications and document access.

A portion of the money will be set aside for an endowment to serve as another source of revenue for DSNWK. Michaud said this additional money will be used to support the recruitment and retention of the employees. “Our world is about people serving people, but you have to be able to earn a living wage,” he said. About $1 million has already been raised toward DSNWK’s goal. Michaud thanked major contributors, including the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the Robert and Pat Schmidt Foundation, the Beach family, Bart Betzen, and Rick and Gail Kuehl. “To create a stronger future for DSNWK, your help is needed,” Michaud told the crowd. “To grow endowed funds that will provide a stable future funding source, your help is needed.

To address current needs, such as repairing aging buildings, updating technology that is outdated and other needs.” Steve Keil, director of development for DSNWK, said intellectual and developmental disabilities do not discriminate. Anyone you know is capable of having a child with a disability. About one in six children ages 3 to 17 have a developmental disability. Not so long ago, he said, people with developmental disabilities were hidden away or institutionalized. People did not think people who had developmental disabilities could develop intelligence, work, own their own home or business, or be active community members, he said. “Fifty-plus years ago, that all changed through a grassroots movement of compassionate parents and volunteers. A new future with hope and opportunity began and became a reality,” Keil said. “Today people with disabilities have jobs, passions, personal growth, experience greater acceptance and dignity than ever before. Parents are realized, families thrive, families are supported.” Keil said the community’s support is needed.

DSNWK supports more than 500 people in northwest Kansas, yet 3,700 people remain on the statewide waiting list for services for people with developmental disabilities. Nonprofits like DSNWK can change the game for families caring for loved ones with disabilities, he said. Betzen, president of the DSNWK board, had a brother, Andy, who received services from DSNWK for 28 years. He said modern adults are living longer and so are DSNWK’s clients. As a result, the need for resources is growing to care for DSNWK clients as they age.

“We believe it is necessary to evolve with the changes in the needs for the people we serve in western Kansas,” he said. Amy Schmierbach’s 11-year-old son, Lucas, has been diagnosed with autism and recently started receiving services through DSNWK. “This summer was the first time he qualified for a personal assistant, and it changed our lives,” Schmierbach said. “It was the first time in probably seven years, I felt like I was able to breathe that someone was working with my son that I trusted. He made such tremendous gains this summer, it was really quite amazing.” Schmierbach, a FHSU art professor, has received grant money for a Collaborative Art Project. DSNWK clients have been weaving. She had looms set up at the Fall Fest event Tuesday. A “Drawing to Music Workshop” will be 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at DSNWK Employment Connections. Call 785-625-2018 and ask for Crystal to RSVP.

Upcoming workshops will also include collage and weaving. Jim Blume, former president and CEO of DSNWK, also took to the podium and said seeing everyone in the crowd was like a family reunion. Blume said the parents of DSNWK clients going back years sacrificed for their children. They loved them and worried about them moving away from home and coming home from state hospitals. “The second way that you saw love was through the staff,” he said. “Each day the staff would take care of you, worry about you and helped in every way because they loved you.” Blume acknowledged the DSNWK staff does not get paid what they deserve — some after as much as 30 years of service. He said it was a love for their clients that kept them with DSNWK. “I am honored to be part of [the capital campaign], because I love each one of you,” he said to the crowd of clients, parents, guardians and staff. “I pray for you. I don’t get to see you very often, but you will always be close to me in my heart.”

Donations can be made online at www.dsnwk.org or make checks payable to DSNWK and mail them to Capital Campaign, PO Box 310, Hays, KS 67601.

Midwest Energy grant helps DSNWK purchase books for infants, toddlers


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas’ Kid-Link program, which helps to support infants and toddlers with their development, received a grant from Midwest Energy to purchase books.

“The books are black and white contrast books to assist the child with vision development. The contracting illustrations help the infant or toddler see the pictures with better clarity,” said Nancy Duffy-Auer, DSNWK Director of Programs and Services. Infants respond better to the contrast of black and white because it takes a while for their eyesight to develop, plus early detection and prompt treatment of ocular disorders is important to avoid lifelong visual impairment, according to the American Association for Pediatrics.

Families who are interested in screening their infant or toddler for a developmental delay in the counties of Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks, Russell, and Smith can call Kid-Link at (785) 425-6766.

Awards Luncheon Recognizes Success


Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas hosted its annual awards luncheon in Hays on October 23rd.. Awards were given throughout the afternoon to staff, persons served, and community members. The first awards of the afternoon were given to employees of DSNWK for their years of service. Those staff recognized were: Marla Baker, Roseanne Benaballah, Gertrude Deges, Nancy Duffy-Auer, Trevor Engel, LaVonne Giess, Jane Griffin, Angelina Hill, Charles Hindman, Mellissa Holloway, Sherri Jackson, Heather Kennedy, Tyson Koerner, Kyle Kreutzer, Ruth Lang, Jacqueline Lattin, Shalyn Law, Virgil Leiker, Zelda Merz, Dawn Marlett, Edith Murguia, Gina Nichol, Jan Nosekabel, Dustin Olsen, Cynthia Paxton, Therese Phillippi, Rene Readle, Chalise Rhodes-Christensen, Monica Roe, Becky Rupp, Pam Sager, Allen Schmidt, Laquita Smith, William Underwood, David Whalen

Recognition was also paid to those staff who retired from DSNWK this past year. Those recognized were: Mike Cox, Connie Hendrix, Danny Jackson, Nan Kohart, Bill May, David Musgrove, Johanna Musgrove, and Susan Nebel

DSNWK gave special recognition to two staff members who made successful efforts in coming to the aid of persons served by DSNWK in need and providing emergency assistance. Those recognized were: Karen Christensen and Ed Stamey of Norton.

Special recognition was also paid to two staff members for their outstanding work with persons with disabilities. Deanna Leiker of Hays and Sheena Brogan of Atwood were each presented with the Employee of the Year Award.

Two $100 scholarship awards were presented to Shylo McCullough and Anna Olsen of Hays. This award was given from the Jerelyn Becker Memorial Scholarship Fund for employees studying in higher education in a field related to serving people with developmental disabilities.

Several awards were given to individuals served by DSNWK for achievement through employment. Those receiving awards were: Ethan Asuncion, Duane Basgall, Betty Bieker, Dean Boeckner, Lakin Eckroat, Guy French, Spencer Fuller, James Lynn, Melisa Mong, Jeff Saindon, Theron Schmidt, Michael Slaughter, Gary Harbers, Jacob Houghton, Tyler F. Jones, Michael Lee, Anthony Morgan, Robert Skeers, Bret Skinner, Joshua Smith, Alex Weishaar, Nick Zerr.

DSNWK presented two Individual Achievement Awards to individuals served by DSNWK. Josiah Crowley of Quinter and Rachel Steilow of Atwood were presented these awards which go each year to one youth and one adult who have shown tremendous individual progress throughout the year.

Norman Waterman of Hays won one of DSNWK’s Good Neighbor Awards for his community involvement through weather reporting.

Awards were presented to members of area communities during the afternoon. Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers in Hays received DSNWK's Employer of the Year Award for their outstanding support of people with disabilities in the workforce.

The Community Support Award was presented to Styles Dance Centre of Hays for their outstanding support to individuals served by DSNWK with their “Dancing Together for DSNWK” event.

The second Good Neighbor Award went to Dianne Vap of Atwood for her inclusive efforts with her 6th grade classes and the individuals served at Prairie Developmental Center.

Finally, DSNWK recognized two long time supporters of DSNWK for their commitment and advocacy work with it’s Vision of Hope Awards. The late Art Mai, former DSNWK Board Member from Sharon Springs was honored, as well as Vaughn McMurtrie of Hays. DSNWK paid tribute to both men for their outstanding


Improved access to Employment Connections thanks to Heartland Community Foundation


Thanks to the generosity of the Heartland Community Foundation, DSNWK’s Employment Connections location at 660 Commerce Parkway in Hays has a new and improved entry door. This location is the focal point to much of the job training and employment opportunities offered to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and having improved access was greatly needed.

Because the front door had become rusty and decrepit over time, it had become difficult to open. Repairs were done and painting was applied to help preserve the door and the main entrance way into the facility, but the door had worn beyond repair and needed replacement. Through the great generosity of the Heartland Community Foundation, DSNWK was able to replace the door and the trim around it and give the main entrance a new look.

At the same time, the repaired door has improved accessibility for people with disabilities who had difficulty opening the door on their own. The staff, board, and persons served of DSNWK are immensely grateful to the Heartland Community Foundation and the grant committee who provided the funds to make this upgrade possible. Since 2007, Heartland Community Foundation has built stronger communities and helped donors make a difference through charitable giving in Ellis, Rooks, and Trego Counties.

Each year, the foundation distributes hundreds of thousands of dollars through grants and scholarships to nonprofits and individuals. Heartland Community Foundation is an affiliate foundation of the Greater Salina Community Foundation which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity.

TMP-Marian and ARC make Christmas Bright!


Christmas is always a little brighter for many of the people served by DSNWK thanks to the generosity of the ARC of Central Plains and students at TMP-Marian High School. For the past 15 years, the ARC and TMP have purchased gifts for those served by DSNWK who have limited family contact and get little for Christmas. In some cases, ornaments are made and placed on Christmas trees with a list of the items that each person would enjoy receiving.

“This is always a very rewarding project. I know the individuals we serve really appreciate the kindness of the ARC and TMP. We can’t thank both of these great entities enough for taking both their time and resources to make Christmas special for many people,” stated Steve Keil, Director of Development