Tim Spilker, president of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas, presented this BIG check to Sara Sack, Assistive Technology for Kansans Director and Sheila Simmons (far left), ATK Program Coordinator, at a press conference in the Parsons Municipal Building meeting room on Friday, April 10, 2015.
ATK received one of six grants awarded in the third and final round of UnitedHealthcare’s Empower Kansans program. The three-year program awarded $1.5 million in grants designed to help Kansans with disabilities find meaningful employment. The first two rounds, in 2013 and 2014, awarded more than $700,000 in grants to 12 Kansas organizations. The 2015 grants totaled $675,592 to six recipients.
The six Grantees were selected with the help of the Empower Kansans Advisory Committee that includes Kansans with disabilities, advocacy organizations, and local and regional community and business leaders. For more information about this year’s grantees, see the UnitedHealthCare Community Plan of Kansas Press Release online at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/11/ks-unitedhealthcare-idUSnBw105987a+100+BSW20150411
Following the press conference, grantees and guests visited the Southeast Assistive Technology Access Site in Parsons. The AT Access Site had staff on hand to explain the scope of their work including AT Specialists Vicki Souter and Rhonda Etter and Kansas AgrAbility Specialist Steve Hoover. Also present to welcome the visitors were SKIL CEO Shari Coatney; K-Loan Alternative Finance Manager, Jeanette Graue; Northeast Regional Loan Representative Marylyn Shue; and receptionist Evelyn Cox. Participants from ATK’s 2013 Empower Kansans grant attended and shared their success stories with the visitors and the press. For more about ATK’s previous award and plans for this new grant, plus comments from staff and participants, please go to the newspaper article by Jamie Willey, The Parsons Sun at http://www.parsonssun.com/news/article_d1381ac2-dff8-11e4-bdd9-c3ebaf8f323b.html
A catered luncheon was served, grantees were introduced and their new projects highlighted. In his remarks, Tim Spilker said, “The power of community and the commitment to helping people integrate into daily life have been remarkable. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with community and business leaders statewide in helping people identify skills, passions and talents that support their overall wellness as healthy individuals and contributors to society. Empower Kansans is making a positive impact on people’s lives, our state and our economy.”
Steve Webber, ATK grant participant in the 2014 project was interviewed by Tim Spears, KOAM-TV Reporter. Webber said that a lot of employers “don’t understand that people can overcome things and still be a good asset for them.” To view the text of the on-air interview and remarks from Sara Sack, go to KOAM-TV, Local News at http://www.koamtv.com/story/28775235/disabled-job-seekers-get-help