Sunflower Diversified receives timely gift from local Knights of Columbus

When the Great Bend Knights of Columbus (K of C) recently donated more than $3,200 to Sunflower Diversified Services, the timing was perfect.

Sunflower Early Education Center (EEC) needed new equipment for infant and toddler hearing tests and the donation allowed the non-profit entity to order it.

“The timing of our donation is something we are very pleased with,” said Dennis Redburn, Great Bend K of C Grand Knight. “We are happy to help in whatever way we can.

“The Knights of Columbus wants to support Sunflower, which provides options and opportunities to people with delays and disabilities.”

Redburn said the K of C is grateful to everyone who contributed in any way to its recent Tootsie Roll Campaign. They are responsible for the $3,261.86 donation to Sunflower.

“We were able to raise these funds because of generous community support and our retail partners,” Redburn commented.

Wal-Mart, Dillons and Waters Hardware allowed K of C representatives to raise Tootsie Roll money at their locations. In addition, St. Patrick and St. Rose churches also accommodated the Tootsie Roll drive.

Jon Prescott, Sunflower chief executive officer, said “we are so blessed by the generosity of the Knights of Columbus. They allowed us to purchase critical equipment at a time when the old machine was definitely showing its age. The Knights have our heartfelt gratitude.”

The cost of the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) screening unit and the printer is $4,725.

“We are so grateful to the Knights of Columbus for its generous donation,” said Heather Quillin, Sunflower coordinator of children’s services. “The OAE machine is critical to completing hearing screenings and ensuring we provide the most comprehensive early intervention services to children and families.”

As part of community screenings and evaluations of children in the EEC’s tiny-k program, hearing and vision screenings are conducted. The OAE machine, which is often part of a newborn’s screening, is one of the instruments used to determine how the inner ear is working.

Hair cells respond to sound by vibrating. This vibration produces a very quiet sound that echoes back into the middle ear. OAE measures this sound.

The test entails placing a small probe in the ear; results are seen on a monitor screen.

“We use another instrument to look in the ear and yet another to see if there is fluid behind the middle ear,” Quillin noted. “By combining all our findings, we can get an idea of how the child is hearing.

“When a child faces an unidentified hearing loss, it can greatly impact all areas of development, including communication and learning,” she continued. “Therefore, it is critical to identify a hearing loss early. We can support families with services to help children reach developmental milestones.” For more information, visit

“This family-friendly website explains the importance of screenings and dispels the misconceptions,” Quillin said.

Sunflower, a non-profit agency, serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 55th year.

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