Sunflower, local business ask community to share Christmas spirit


The Christmas tree at Great Bend Coffee is adorned with ornaments that represent children in Sunflower Diversified Services early intervention programs and Incredible Years Preschool. Pictured from left to right are: Allison Schwartz, Applied Behavior Analysis service provider, and LaResa Likes, Great Bend Coffee owner.

The Christmas season will be a little brighter for children who might not otherwise have a package to open this year, thanks to a local non-profit agency and a Great Bend business.

Infants and toddlers served by Sunflower Early Education Center’s (EEC) three programs – Tiny-K Early Intervention Services, Incredible Years Preschool and the newly developed ABA Autism Services – along with some siblings will benefit from the Christmas tree on display at Great Bend Coffee, 2015 Lakin.

“Great Bend Coffee has been our partner in this special Christmas tree display for quite a few years now,” said Heather Quillin, Sunflower children’s services coordinator. “We are so grateful to LaResa and Eugene Likes and others in the community that support the children and families we serve.”

The tree is decorated with tags, each representing a child enrolled in the EEC’s children’s programs; siblings also are included. Gender, age and clothing size, along with wants and needs, are indicated on the individual tags.

Participants are asked to select a tag and then place a present wrapped in a gift bag under the tree no later than Dec. 7 so they can be delivered before Christmas in Sunflower’s five-county service area.

“We carefully chose the families represented on the tree,” Quillin said. “Anyone who participates can be assured the children involved deserve a special gift at Christmas.

“We are serving approximately 100 children right now across our three programs. It is gratifying that parents are seeking early intervention and education even during these unpredictable times,” Quillin added. “It is the best route to achieving developmental milestones.”

Sunflower EEC is part of the Tiny-K network in Kansas that provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers with delays or disabilities at no charge to families. Its preschool is for any child ages 2-and-a-half to 5, including those who are developing typically and those who demonstrate a delay; tuition is based on income.

Its ABA Autism Services are available to children with an autism diagnosis up to entering kindergarten.

The non-profit agency’s service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.

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