2022 DSNWK News


DSNWK Celebrates Successes at Awards Luncheon

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas hosted its annual awards luncheon in Hays on October 18th. 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 and listed by location, were:

Atwood - Neva Holub

Hays - Annette Anschutz, Karli Beck, Carol Bedore, Joshua Bieker, Karen Edwards, Shae Jerome, Darcy Kaiser, Alison Krier, Wade Kruse, Tiara Lawson, Dilene Reinhardt, Lisa Raudis, Scott Stults, Audrey Ummel

Hill City - Dawn Bell

Hoxie - Debbie Klaver

Norton - Kylee Ford, Ward Grammon, Bethany Wollard

Russell - Rita Avila, Robin Barrett, Anita Gerhardt, Samantha Rees

Stockton - Emily Jackson, Mary Wise

Recognition was made to seven people who retired from DSNWK over the past year. They were; Mary Ahlemeyer and Lisa Shearer of Norton, Roger Prideaux and Beverly Drain of Atwood, Greg Askins, and Patti Hoffman of Hays and Aida LeClaire of Hill City.

Special recognition was also paid to two staff members for their outstanding work with persons with disabilities. Nolan Schuckman of Hays and Martina Urban of Atwood were each presented with the Employee of the Year Award.

Two $100 scholarship awards were presented to Kristen King and Savannah Rose who are attending Colby Community College. 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 and listed by location were:

Hays - Ethan Asuncion, Justin Boden, Stephanie Bohonicky, Todd Chaney, Kacey Dannels, Lakin Eckroat, Josh Finger, Hunter Flinn, Tara Herrman, Jeanne Jones, Joshua Leiker, Raylynn Lumpkin, Justin Manly, Trudi Mapes, Billie Powell, Travian Price, Kylie Reddig, Eric Rome, Joshua Rupe, Theron Schmidt, Brooke Schroeder

Hill City - Adrian Wolf

Recognition was given to Marie Brier of Hays who retired after 32 years of continuous employment in the community

DSNWK presented two Individual Achievement Awards to individuals served by DSNWK. Anthony Burgess of Russell and Ethan Kuhlmann of Hays were presented these awards which go each year to one youth and one adult who have shown tremendous individual progress throughout the year.

Awards were presented to members of area communities during the afternoon. The Arc of Central Plains 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 Amy Schmierbach of Hays for her outstanding support to individuals served by DSNWK through her Collaborative Arts Project. Recognition was made to volunteer Becky Vickers of Hoxie with DSNWK’s Good Neighbor Award. Vickers has donated countless hours of her time to supporting those served at DSNWK’s Hoxie program.

Finally, DSNWK recognized two long time supporters of DSNWK for their support with it’s Vision of Hope Awards. Gary and Pat Albrecht and Dave and Yeyette Houfek, both of Hays were honored. DSNWK paid tribute to both of these couples for their outstanding support over the years for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


DSNWK receives Dane G. Hansen Foundation grant

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is grateful to announce a grant award of $100,000 from Dane G. Hansen Foundation to benefit three of their group living locations.

With the grant funds, DSNWK will upgrade two group living locations in Hill City. These projects will create greater accessibility for the people who reside there and improve the ability of support staff to better monitor daily activities, providing greater safety. New exterior siding will yield lower maintenance costs and improved energy efficiency for these two locations. The grant will also support new flooring at one of DSNWK’s group homes in Russell.

“Providing greater functionality and accessibility for the people we serve is always a top priority,” expressed Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President and CEO. “We are so grateful to the Dane G. Hansen Foundation for supporting our efforts to make these essential upgrades, which provides the individuals, who reside in these locations, the healthiest and safest living arrangements possible.”

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 or dsnwk.giftlegacy.com to learn more about services and ways to support DSNWK’s work with individuals with developmental disabilities throughout northwest Kansas.


Legacy Society Members Robert and Pat Wessel:

Parents, Board Member, Advocates

Robert and Pat Wessel have seen a lot over the years. Farming in Selden Kansas, raising 4 children, and advocating for people with disabilities has created a full and blessed life.

The Wessels journey began years ago when their son Bobby was born. Because of the unique challenges of his developmental disabilities, Bob and Pat knew that they needed to find people and services who could support them. However, the special services that Bobby needed were unavailable in the beginning. “We knew Carl and Louise Berndt,” said Robert. “They had a son that was attending Beamgard Learning Center in Atwood. But Bobby’s disability was something they were not able to handle.”

After a few years, the Wessels were able to get in touch with Jim Blume at DSNWK and he said that although there were no services for people like Bobby right now, he knew things were moving at the state level for that to happen. In 1988, Bobby was served by DSNWK at their newest location in Russell. “We were happy that he was able to move to Russell,”' said Pat. “He had been at Parsons State Hospital and it was too far for us to drive there very often. We loved having him so much closer. It allowed us to visit, as well as bring him home whenever we wanted to.”

Bobby lived in Russell until December 22, 2000, when he passed away at the age of 33. The Wessels continue to have fond memories of his time in Russell, and making cookies for the individuals who lived in the home with Bobby. “Even after Bobby passed away, we would bring cookies,” said Pat. “We just appreciate everything that was done by the staff there.”

“We couldn’t provide the care he needed,” stated Pat. “The staff worked with him and provided the support that gave him purpose.”

Robert and Pat Wessel’s support continues to this day, as Pat is an active board member and has been since 1992. Their support will also carry on into the future as they are Legacy Society members. “We became Legacy Society members because we want DSNWK to continue to be strong for many years to come,” said Pat.


DSNWK Awarded Community Service Tax Credits

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas (DSNWK) has been awarded $150,000 through the Community Service Tax Credit Grant program at the 50-percent rate through the Kansas Department of Commerce. There were 55 applications of which 29 were awarded with a total of $4,084,455.75. $1 million of that amount went to childcare projects. The tax credits are available to donors on a first come, first served basis and are expected to go quickly.

Tax credits are an incentive for donors to give to charity and non profit organizations. Any tax credit issued by DSNWK that exceeds the tax liability of the donor is refunded to the taxpayer. “You can use the tax credit to pay any unpaid Kansas state taxes, or receive the credit back on your refund,” said Jerry Michaud, President/CEO of DSNWK.

Donations to this project also count towards DSNWK’s $5 million Stronger Forever Together capital campaign goal.

“We are very thankful and excited to once again have the opportunity to offer these tax credits for donors,” said Michaud. “These donations will be used for economic rejuvenation through construction updates on outdated buildings targeting energy efficiency, ease of access to facilities and better connectivity.”

DSNWK is a 501(c)3 nonprofit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the counties of Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego and Wallace.


Rate Increase for ACCESS Public Transportation

ACCESS Public Transportation is announcing a rate increase beginning September 1, 2022. All city rides will be $3.00 per one way ride and all county rides will be $5.00 per one way ride. Tickets purchased before this date can still be used with the rider paying the difference.

ACCESS operates from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm seven days a week. ACCESS phone lines will be open from 6:00 am to 9:30 pm seven days a week for you to book rides. You can book rides two weeks in advance and are encouraged to do so.

To book a ride or for more information regarding the rate increase, contact ACCESS Transportation at 785-628-1052.


Sarah Meitner - Living a Purpose Filled Life

Many know Sarah Meitner as the director of the Heartland Community Foundation and a strong presence within the Hays community. She has worked to grow and improve Hays by participating in various projects like the development of the new ARC Park that has recently been built on 33rd street.

However, Sarah has an incredible family story that not many people get the opportunity to learn about. Sarah is the proud mother of five children including her youngest son Abraham (Abe) who has down syndrome. Since giving birth to Abe, Sarah has made it her goal to create a more welcoming community for Abe so that he can live a purpose centered life. She uses her voice to share information about down syndrome and helps the world to understand Abe’s unique gifts, talents, and purpose. She expresses that Abe is not a burden, but rather, an intricate part of their family and describes having a child with a disability as a tremendous gift.

Through her advocacy in the community and on social media, Sarah began to tackle issues related to down syndrome on an even larger scale. She was able to bring Abe with her to testify in Topeka to create a bill in Kansas that eliminated organ transplant discrimination. She also went to Washington D.C. to meet with senators and representatives about creating welcoming communities. Through these endeavors, Sarah has worked to make a difference for individuals with down syndrome not only in the Hays community, but all over the world.

She wants people to become more accepting of Abe so that he can be proud of having down syndrome, live a life filled with purpose, and most importantly, be an advocate for himself while leaning into his voice. Sarah stated, “We are all given talents and gifts and you can stifle them and ignore them, or you can lean into them.”


Custom Creations encourages a life of purpose, providing a creative outlet for disabled individuals

By Hailey Chapman Hays Daily News

Live With Purpose- a fitting catchphrase for a business with a profound mission. Custom Creations in Downtown Hays works in partnership with DSNWK to provide work for individuals with developmental disabilities. Creating one of a kind furniture and staple pieces for any home, Custom Creations uses donated, real wood furniture to prove that both their business and your next home purchase will be sustainable.

LaVonne Giess, Program Manager has been a part of the mission from day one. Overseeing Employment Connections, Giess began this journey thanks to generous donations from the Hays community.

At first, the donations were being given to individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities, who might not be able to afford a brand new couch. Dustin Olsen began sharing his passion with Giess, refurbishing pieces brought in to sell at a yearly benefit sale. “That’s really how it started, four or five pieces that Dustin had repurposed, and they sold immediately,” Giess shared.

And with that, momentum picked up and Custom Creations found its name. Creating a logo, an online presence and a clientele of interested customers was the first step of many for Giess and her colleagues. “It was a dream of mine that one day we could have a store on Downtown Main,” Giess said. With the help of Downtown Hays Development Corporation, it wasn’t long before a building was available to rent.

“This place was in bad shape, it hadn’t been used in over thirty years and you had to be careful where you walked,” Giess shared. But with a little bit of love, it soon became the beautiful store front it is today. Within one year, on October 15, 2021, the building was fully transformed and ready for business.

Running solely on donations and money from grants, Custom Creations was able to run a woodshop, open a store front and work with surrounding areas to provide not only work, but a creative outlet for disabled individuals. “Our goal was for the individuals that we serve to have a way to make money and have an income, so all of the small items in the store are what our individuals create themselves,” Giess added.

While Dustin Olsen, Woodshop Coordinator and his coworkers are paid hourly to bring life back to old pieces, Giess and her staff work with their individuals to create different decorative items to spice up any living room. Each piece is tagged with a photo of the artist, allowing customers to connect with their purchase, deeper than a simple transaction. “People love being able to see who created what they bought,” Giess shared.

Sales began taking off for Custom Creations, oftentimes having customers ask for a piece that was once featured on the showroom floor. “It’s important for people to understand that these are one of a kind pieces, there are no two pieces that are the same,” Director of Development Steve Keil said.

What many customers take most surprise in is the pricing. Because donations allow Custom Creations to repurpose used furniture, they do not have to charge the same prices as new furniture. “We get pieces that are missing drawers or pieces that are partially broken and Dustin will turn it into something amazing and we can’t believe how he does it,” Giess added. “The donations really keep us running because if we had to purchase lumber raw, our prices would be astronomical. We’re not brand new so we aren’t going to charge brand new prices and people are amazed at the quality of our pieces, so that has been really fun to see from customers.”

Custom Creations is open Monday through Friday from 8-5 and Saturday from 9-3, with donation drop off available at Employee Connections. They also offer free pickup within Hays city limits. The store also offers $20 delivery for customers who might not be able to transport the furniture themselves.

Among staff, Store Coordinator Rae Moravek has shared what an amazing experience Custom Creations has given her. After graduating from Fort Hays State University with a degree in Sociology, Moravek knew she wanted to work in a nonprofit. “I wanted to do something hands-on, that is really how I feel fulfilled in my work, and I just stumbled upon this job opening and it has been incredibly rewarding,” Moravek shared of her time with Custom Creations.

During her time in high school and college, Moravek shares that she was never professionally trained to work with intellectually or developmentally disabled individuals. “It was scary easy,” Moravek said. “I think people might have this image in their head that they can’t work with people who have a disability because they’re not trained, but you don’t need to be a super-professional to work with them. They’re people, they’re awesome people, they’re fun people, they have a good time, we’re just being people together and that doesn’t take training.”

Another aspect of work that drew in Moravek was the sustainability of Custom Creations. Taking pieces of furniture that might otherwise be discarded has been exciting for her to see. “There is a really solid sustainability aspect as well, we get good quality pieces that have stood the test of time and will stand the test of time, and we’re not wasting material,” she added.

While sharing about the time she has worked at Custom Creations, Moravek gushed about some of the individuals and how amazing it is to see their work sell. “There was a piece that one of our individuals had a hand on from start to finish, so it was kind of his pride and joy and those are usually the pieces that sell pretty quickly, those pieces where you can feel the passion that the individual had when making it,” she said.

Of these individuals, Angela Rogers has captured the awe of staff with her abilities to create art using only her gaze. Rogers is non-verbal, but has found a way to create within her zone of comfort. Using a communication board that tracks her gaze, Rogers is able to focus on a color which will then appear, ready for her to paint with on her screen. Using her gaze, she can then create digital art, which Custom Creations helps to print out on canvas, mugs or t-shirts. “It’s amazing to see what she can create,” Giess said. “How it works is amazing, so say she looks at the color blue, the board will register that and she can paint with the color blue, just based on her eye gaze, she creates art with her eyes.”

For Custom Creations, this has always been what it’s about. Finding ways for their individuals to show what they can do, rather than focusing on what they can’t. “We don’t focus on the disability, we like to look at each piece and consider what can this individual do and what part do we need to help tweak,” Giess said. She shared a technique that has been used in recent pieces that allows individuals with limited motor skills to place a balloon on their hand, saturate it with paint and decorate a piece to their liking.

Giess also utilizes a Vista worker who helps create a catalog of ideas for their individuals to browse. Once they pick what they want to create, they are then sent a kit with all the necessary items to make their desired piece of art.

The amazing mission of Custom Creations might go overlooked, however. In a building that hasn’t seen business in decades, Giess shared that oftentimes, customers will come in and express their surprise at their hidden gem. Utilizing their money to grow their business in creativity rather than finances, Custom Creations does not run ads, but rather works to build a presence on social media.

Moravek works hard to keep their social media presence steady on both Facebook and Instagram. However, viewing a photo online does not necessarily gain the same attention as an in person visit. “Until they see what they can do and what they’re capable of, it doesn’t resonate, so getting people in here and raising their standard for what these individuals are able to do, that’s the goal,” Moravek shares.

Alongside running social media, Moravek is in charge of keeping the store maintained. Ensuring items on the floor are fresh and new, while working alongside various individuals who dedicate their time throughout the week. “I can say, Rae has been a godsend,” Giess said. “I was so excited when she applied because I really wanted someone energetic, someone who had a vision, who could keep the store fresh and help us grow in everything that downtown has to offer, she has really truly been phenomenal,”

The next step for Custom Creations will feature artists within their store. Creating a space for them to sell their items, Giess will open the door for their creativity to flourish. “We have a lot of individuals who do a lot of art and crafts on their own time, and we want to give them that exposure and promote their art in store,” Giess said.

A fairly new business with big dreams, Custom Creations will continue working with disabled individuals to empower them in their creativity while supplying them with a means of income they might not be able to find elsewhere. “The store speaks for itself, you look around and see that this is legit, quality work done by individuals with disabilities, so we want people to come in and give us a chance,” Keil said. “We have a phrase, live with purpose, so when you talk about Custom Creations, I think this place speaks volumes to what we’re trying to convey."


Heartland Foundation supports DSNWK with $2500 grant

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is proud to announce a grant award of $2500 from the Heartland Community Foundation. The grant will be utilized for a kitchen remodeling project at one of its residential living locations in Ellis County that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The renovation will make the space wheelchair accessible.

Many of the people living in the home have accessibility needs or use a wheelchair for mobility. Making the kitchen more manageable will improve mobility within the area and ability for staff to monitor the home's activities and better ensure a safe living environment.

“Having these improvements made is necessary for the residents, to provide for their daily routines - such as preparing meals for themselves properly and safely, which directly relates to our mission,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President.

DSNWK strives to match the needs and desires of the people it serves with the most appropriate and independent living environment possible. Regardless of where a person lives, DSNWK believes in providing home environments that are comfortable, safe, and promotes independence.

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 receives grant from Norton County Community Foundation

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas will be getting two new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) thanks to a $3,566 grant from the Norton County Community Foundation. The AEDs will be utilized by both the Frontier Developmental Center staff and the people it serves who have intellectual and developmental disabilities in Norton.

The AEDs will allow DSNWK staff to be better equipped for cardiac arrest-type situations should they occur. Having AEDs in all DSNWK locations helps increase the ability to implement EMS advice on-site to save the life of someone as they wait for an emergency responder to arrive on scene. All DSNWK staff are trained to use the AED devices through its staff training program.

“DSNWK hopes never to be put into a situation where an AED is needed,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. “This grant helps us to be better prepared for these time sensitive situations with the right equipment to ensure the best care and response, especially as our population continues to age.”

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.


Part C Tiny-k services transitioning from HACC to DSNWK

The Hays Area Children's Center (HACC) and Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas (DSNWK) are collaborating together on a transition process for Part C, Tiny-k services in Ellis County and a portion of Rush County.

Infant-toddler early intervention services are available to infants and toddlers to enhance development and minimize their potential for developmental delays, and to recognize the significant brain development that occurs during the child’s first three years. Intervention services include screenings, home visits, occupational, physical, speech or behavioral therapy and other intervention services.

This home-based service previously provided through the HACC, will officially transition over to DSNWK's Kid-Link services on May 15, 2022. The HACC will continue to operate their daycare services without change at the Children's Center on the FHSU campus.

Both the HACC and DSNWK are working to make this a smooth transition and would like to express our appreciation to all the affected families involved in this Part C, Tiny-k program for their help, patience and understanding as we work together through this transition process.

DSNWK's Kid-Link program has been proudly serving families in several surrounding counties in northwest Kansas including Norton, Phillips, Rooks, Smith, Osborne and Russell since 1976.

Parents involved in the Tiny-k program at the HACC can reach out with any questions about this change by calling HACC at (785) 625-3257. Over the next several weeks, direct outreach will be occurring with each enrolled family. New referrals in this area can be sent to DSNWK Kid-Link by faxing (785) 623-2867, phone (785) 621-5270, PO Box 310 or ASQ database

English: https://www.asqonline.com/family/eabcab

Spanish: https://www.asqonline.com/family/42baa5.


Individuals served by DSNWK enjoy art collaboration

with first responders

On March 30th, Fort Hays State University hosted a Collaborative Arts project between persons served, FHSU students, and first responders. This event was sponsored by the FHSU Honor Society and in association with Disability Awareness Week. The event brought together persons served, first responders, and students to create art projects as well as build trust and teach effective communication between the participants.

Amy Schmeirbach, an Art Professor from FHSU, has been hosting Collaborative Arts Projects for six years. These events have been held at the Reed Center and Employment Connections, and were moved virtually during the pandemic. Schmierbach emphasizes the importance of art and communication, “For many of us we learn and communicate visually so making art helps us build confidence and articulate our voice,” stated Schmierbach.

Schmierbach wanted to include first responders in the project because persons with cognitive disabilities are at a higher risk of being victims of violence. Bringing together first responders and persons served in a safe, relaxed environment helps build trust and communication.

Schmeirbach also emphasizes the importance of students having experience with persons with disabilities. “Students learn what people with disabilities need to live and thrive in our community,” she says, “and what is lacking in services and in the educational system”. Students work closely with persons served to assist with their art projects.


Graham County Community Foundation supports DSNWK with AED

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas will be getting a new automated external defibrillator (AED) thanks to a $891.00 grant from the Graham County Community Foundation. The AED will be utilized at its group home that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Hill City located at 122 W. Prout Street.

The AED will allow DSNWK staff to be better equipped for cardiac arrest-type situations should they occur. Having AEDs in all DSNWK locations helps increase the ability to implement EMS advice on-site to save the life of someone as they wait for an emergency responder to arrive on scene. All DSNWK staff are trained to use the AED devices through its staff training program.

“DSNWK hopes never to be put into a situation where an AED is needed,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. “This grant helps us to be better prepared for these time sensitive situations with the right equipment to ensure the best care and response, especially as our population continues to age.”

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.


David and Yeyette Houfek, Legacy Society Members

DSNWK’s Legacy Society recognizes and honors people who 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 our mission. DSNWK is proud to count David and Yeyette Houfek among the founding members of the Legacy Society. Here’s their special story. David and Yeyette Houfek’s story is a story of love. Love for their daughter Margo took them across the country for the services that she needed. The story began many years ago, as Margo was aging out of a special needs facility for children in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Houfeks knew they needed to find services for Margo. However, services were extremely limited at this time, as there were no services in the area appropriate for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. After searching all across the United States, their names were passed along to DSNWK. Yeyette said, “One day, on a Friday afternoon, I returned home from work,and there was a packet of information in our mailbox from DSNWK. I thought to myself, ‘ I didn’t contact them. Where’s Hays, Kansas?’” Yeyette called DSNWK the following Monday morning, and spoke to the staff person who had written the letter to them and he said, “Yes, I think we can help your daughter.” When they visited Hays, the Houfeks were taken on a tour. They were amazed that persons served were laughing, happy, and wearing smiles. As the Houfeks were driving out of Hays, Yeyette said she was distressed because she and David knew what they had to do. David said, “I think we’re moving,” and Yeyette said, “I think you’re right.” Now, over 20 years later, the Houfeks reflect on Margo’s time with DSNWK with great appreciation. “The staff have done a wonderful job with Margo,” stated Dave and Yeyette. “She always has a smile on her face. We are blessed to have Developmental Services available in Northwest Kansas.” The Houfeks expressed their thankfulness for opportunities Margo has had through DSNWK and that she has found her home. David said the whole point of the Houfeks moving to Hays was to find a place that could be Margo’s home for the rest of her life, and they have found that with DSNWK.


Living with Purpose by Paying it Forward

Rhonda Whisler, hair stylist at Mane Attractions in Hays, has been helping persons served by DSNWK feel their best for over thirty years. Rhonda started in a different career path, but said that getting into hair styling has been the best thing she’s ever done. Rhonda met many clients who also received services from DSNWK while working in the JCPenney salon. When Rhonda moved to Mane Attractions, the clients stayed with her. About the relationships she has built over several years with those clients, Rhonda said, “They’re my people. They never say anything bad about anybody. They always have a positive attitude. How could you not want to be around them?” Rhonda said when her DSNWK clients come to see her, it’s like having a sister walk in. It is evident in Rhonda’s stories about client transformations over the years that both she and her clients benefit from not only her services, but the long term friendships they have made. One story Rhonda shared was of a client who had long hair, and once they agreed to cut it short, the client’s personality changed as she felt more like herself with the new cut. She often advises clients and helps them find their perfect style. Sometimes they bring in photos of one style, but once Rhonda talks to them about the upkeep, the styling, or the feeling of the cut, and helps them find something that would better meet their lifestyle needs. Rhonda said she can always expect a hug when a DSNWK client comes to the salon, and sometimes a picture drawn just for her. She and her clients have shared both joyful and grievous times in life. Rhonda said that in her profession, her clients feel comfortable sharing their lives with her, so she also shares with them. Rhonda said, “Living with Purpose” means you “pay it forward” every chance you get. She has always tried to pay it forward in every situation because many people have done so for her and her family in difficult times in the past. Rhonda has certainly impacted the lives of many DSNWK clients in how they feel about themselves, inside and out.


Midwest Energy grant supports DSNWK’s Kid-Link program

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, was recently awarded a $500 grant from Midwest Energy, Inc. The grant will be used in DSNWK’s Kid-Link program to purchase books for families and children. These special books help the child to learn and grow as they reach developmental milestones. “The support to our Kid-Link program and to children and families in our communities by Midwest Energy is greatly appreciated”, said Jerry Michaud, CEO and President of DSNWK.

The DSNWK Kid-Link Early Intervention Program provides a system of services to help infants and toddlers from birth to age three who have a developmental delay, diagnosed disability, or are at risk for a developmental delay including vision and hearing impairments. These services are provided in the child’s natural living environment. Kid-Link covers six north-central Kansas counties: Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks, Russell and Smith.

For more information about DSNWK’s Kid-Link program contact Tammy Dreiling at 785-625-5678 or tammy_dreiling@mydsnwk.org.


Esther McMurtrie Golf Tournament Set

DSNWK is excited to announce that the date has been officially set for the Esther McMurtrie Memorial Golf Tournament. The tournament will be held on Friday, September 30th at the Ellis Golf Club. This is a four person scramble beginning at 9 a.m. and will once again benefit the group homes of Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas.


PDC Receives Grant from Second Century Fund

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is pleased to announce a grant award of $1783.00 from the Second Century Fund for an automated external defibrillator (AED) for its Plumb Street home in Atwood that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The AED will allow DSNWK staff to be better equipped for cardiac arrest-type situations should they occur. Having AEDs in all DSNWK locations helps increase the ability to implement EMS advice on-site to save the life of someone as they wait for an emergency responder to arrive on scene. All DSNWK staff are trained to use the AED devices through its staff training program.

“DSNWK hopes never to be put into a situation where an AED is needed,” states Jerry Michaud, DSNWK President. “With them we are better prepared for these time sensitive situations with the right equipment to ensure the best care and response, especially as our population continues to age.”

DSNWK would like to thank the Second Century Fund for its continued support and generosity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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 receives grant from The Pete Henry Foundation

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, Inc. was recently announced as the recipient of a $3,873.00 grant from The Pete Henry Foundation. This grant award will be used to create a storm shelter at DSNWK’s developmental center at 733 9th Street in Hoxie. A storm shelter is critical to the safety of people at the Hoxie Developmental Center in case of severe weather that could threaten the primary structure and well-being of both those individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) we serve and the staff who support them. In past years, the facility in Hoxie has experienced severe storm damage from high winds, indicating a serious need for this shelter. The storm shelter is the final piece of a special renovation project for the Center. This renovation project was able to create a more functional, accessible, and community focused location to serve those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Sheridan County and the surrounding area. This developmental center, which was built in 1972 and opened by DSNWK in 1995, is home to DSNWK’s College for Living program. The College for Living provides structured learning opportunities for individuals on life skills and opportunities to participate in classes and subjects

that interest them. DSNWK is a 501c3 nonprofit organization 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

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 2022. 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 would also like to thank all those in the Ellis County community who supported the United Way with their contributions during their annual campaign.

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 hires Berges as Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer

Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Berges as it’s Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer. Berges began his duties with DSNWK on February 1st. Michael brings an enthusiasm to the position of charitable giving by engaging, educating and inviting others to join support of the life-enriching work which is the mission work of DSNWK.

As the Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer, Berges will be responsible for the development and cultivation of prospective donors for major gifts, capital campaigns, endowment contributions, and donor relationships. He will also oversee the development, implementation, and administration of the Planned Giving Program.

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact Michael at 785-625-5678 or email him at michael_berges@mydsnwk.org.