Tina Harkness continues to work one-on-one with clients at Sunflower Diversified Services, while simultaneously taking on her new responsibilities as director of Case Management.
Sunflower serves people with developmental disabilities and delays in central Kansas.
“I have been involved in Case Management here for the past few years and enjoy finding ways to help make life a little easier for the individuals we serve,” Harkness said. “In Case Management, we help people get the resources they need to enjoy more independent lives.”
For example, a client needed a handicapped-accessible shower, while another had to have a better ramp to his front door.
“We were able to make these things happen by collaborating with clients’ managed care organizations (MCOs),” Harkness commented. “Every situation is different but, in many cases the MCO, charitable foundations and private donations combine to help us finance these resources.”
Case managers also are available for children who need a helping hand. In one case, a single mom had concerns about her son who has autism.
“When he went outside, he would just take off running,” Harkness recalled. “Now they have a nice fenced in backyard where he can run and play safely.”
In her new director’s position, Harkness supervises three other case managers; the four-person team cares for approximately 120 clients.
“All of us enjoy being the go-to person for any questions or needs individuals have,” Harkness said. “They are reassured because they know we are always here – whether they need just a little help or are more severely disabled.”
During her first year at Sunflower, Harkness was a goal-achievement facilitator and has been in Case Management for the last four years. Her background also includes 10 years at Larned State Hospital and one year at Charter Hospital in Wichita; she served as a mental-health technician at both locations.
Harkness also was employed as a teaching assistant in USD 428.
“Our work in Case Management is rewarding on so many levels,” she summarized. “Sunflower is the best place to work. It is family-oriented and offers a great working environment.”
Originally from Larned, Harkness now lives in Great Bend. She has four children and 11 grandchildren.
Shelby Zuniga, Sunflower executive director, commented that “Tina is so knowledgeable and passionate about the work she does and cares deeply about all the individuals she supports.
“In addition, Tina donates a ton of personal time to assist with Sunflower fundraisers and special events. She is a perfect addition to our leadership team.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 58th year.