SKIL exists in part because people give us monetary and other donations. We would like to introduce these wonderful folks and honor them in our website Menu Link, “Donors Corner.”
Every quarter we will feature one or more donors. Please click on the Main Menu Link “News” to the left of this article, then scroll down and click on “Donors Corner” to read about those who help us keep our doors open!
Our first Donors Corner features well-known philanthropists Peter F. and JoDee Herschend of Branson, Missouri. The Herschends and their family own Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, which includes Silver Dollar City, White Water, the Showboat Branson Belle, the Harlem Globetrotters and other top-quality entertainment experiences. Today Herschend Family Entertainment is considered the largest family-owned attractions corporation in the United States. Peter and his brother Jack Herschend founded the entertainment company.
Long known for his marketing genius, Peter was instrumental in helping to turn the small Missouri town of Branson into a world-class live entertainment capital. He is the recipient of prestigious tourism and other awards. Now 83 years old, Peter works with company leadership on a daily basis while travelling and enjoying his extended family. When not travelling, he is often at his office desk several days a week.
Peter has selflessly served others throughout his storied career. In 1990 he was appointed by then-Governor John Ashcroft to the Missouri State Board of Education. He has served as President for three separate terms and continues in active board service today.
Peter is America’s all-time high cumulative fund-raiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS 150 Bike Tour. He has raised over $1,500,000 to support the Society’s efforts to defeat MS.
He is on the board of directors of Camp Barnabas in Purdy, Missouri, a distinctive Christian camp for children and teens with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities. He is in leadership positions at other non-profit organizations.
A serious Christian, Peter actively serves his community and church, generously donating time and money to help improve the lives of many.
Peter and his wife JoDee Herschend have been married for 52 years. JoDee, a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU) in Springfield, has with Peter been actively involved in numerous Christian ministries over the years, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Episcopal World Missions.
JoDee founded The Caring People, a North American non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to “creating an awareness of and a desire to meet Jesus.” The influential Branson-based ministry focuses on care groups which minister to single mothers.
JoDee is a survivor of various cancers, including lymphoma and kidney cancer. With an indomitable spirit, she continues her heroic fight daily against this terrible disease. JoDee’s life is an inspiration to all who know her.
Peter and JoDee have made generous donations to SKIL to fund a part-time position for SKIL and Herschend friend Nancy G. Holman, after she suffered the heavy life loss of her last surviving parent and struggled to move forward. Nancy is a nationally published freelance writer who holds a B.A. degree in Writing from Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU) in Springfield. She works in Public Relations at Parsons SKIL and is helping to “put us on the map” via her efforts.
The Herschends value the work that SKIL does. Peter shares their thoughts:
“This region is more fortunate than you would realize to have an organization like SKIL, devoted lock, stock and barrel to the well-being of our communities and citizens who need and deserve the help SKIL provides,” said Peter in an e-mail.
Thank you, Peter and JoDee, for your selfless generosity in supporting our mission to serve people with disabilities and raise public awareness about them. You are greatly admired and appreciated!
To nominate someone for Donors Corner, please contact Nancy G. Holman at: 1-800-688-56l6, drop her a note at: SKIL, P.O. Box 957, Parsons, KS 67357 or stop by our office at 1801 Main St. in Parsons. All nominations will be considered.
Are you a family caregiver of a woman with an intellectual or developmental disability?
Share your perspectives and experiences about sexual and reproductive health care for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities!
- WHAT: The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy is conducting an online survey to learn about the perspectives and experiences of family caregivers about sexual and reproductive health care for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- WHO: Family caregivers of women with an intellectual or developmental disability who are between the ages of 18 and 45 are invited to participate.
- WHY: The results of this study will help us better understand the sexual and reproductive health care needs of women with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their family caregivers.
Survey responses are strictly confidential.
Take the survey online!
by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
Disabled Kansans often find that there are a limited number of things that are designed or equipped for them to do for fun in the area. When it comes to attending professional sporting events, many of them opt to not attend for fear of how difficult it might be to navigate through the stadiums between the crowds and a general fear of things not being disabled-friendly.
With that in mind, we decided to investigate Kauffman Stadium, the home of Kansas City Royals baseball to find out what services they offer the disabled in terms of accessibility.We sat down and spoke with the Royals' Guest Experience Specialist Jonathan Rosa.
According to Rosa, the Guest Services' offices are located inside Kauffman Stadium, directly behind home plate in the Diamond Club area. He says disabled attendees are welcome to come to their offices anytime to obtain assistance in making their experience at the ballpark an unforgettable one. Rosa says they can contact Guest Services ahead of time if they'd like, or they can just come by once they arrive at the stadium.
Rosa himself suffers from cerebral palsy and walks with the assistance of a walker, so he understands the needs disabled attendees may have. “I certainly recognize that getting around the ballpark can be tricky, especially in larger groups. So we try to be as accommodating as possible,” he explains.
One of the things Guest Services do is provide golf cart rides or wheelchair assistance from the parking lot to the attendee's seat. Fans wishing to utilize these services can telephone the office from the parking lot to inform the staff where they're located. “We'll take it from there and make sure you get to your seats comfortably,” Rosa says. The number they can call is (816) 504-4040 (choose option five, which is a direct link to the Guest Services office).
“We want to help out as soon as the person arrives in the parking lot,” Rosa says. “We want to make the person feel as comfortable as possible. If a guest is coming who has a handicapped placard, they need to make sure that is visible so the parking lot attendants can get them a spot as close to the entrance as possible. That way they can walk or travel as few steps as possible to get to their seats.”
The Royals have guest ambassadors outside the stadium, who are easily visible wearing bright orange vests. Once the staff have assisted the disabled fan get seated, they will return periodically to ask if they need any assistance getting to the restroom or anywhere else within the stadium. Rosa explains, “After the game they'll ask when you want to leave and then assist you in getting back out to your vehicle.”
“Our main goal is to make sure our guests feel comfortable,” he says. “We don't want them to feel overwhelmed. We want it to be a fun experience for them. We know it can be daunting for disabled people who have never been to a game before or have some reservations about coming. We want to make sure they feel at home here.”
The staff is also accommodating in making sure that people who take medications can bring them into the stadium. The Royals also offer a First Aid station (operated by KU Medical Center) on the Plaza Level in case any medical needs may arise. That station is staffed with nurses and a doctor at all times.
So if you're a disabled person and are looking for something fun to do this summer, a trip to watch the Royals at Kauffman Stadium is worth considering.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is mailing new Medicare cards to protect the safety and security of people with Medicare benefits. The new Medicare cards no longer contain a person’s Social Security number, but rather a unique, randomly-assigned Medicare number that protects the identities of people with Medicare reduces fraud and offers better safeguards of important health and financial information.
“Removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is one of the many ways CMS is committed to putting patients first and improving the consumer healthcare experience,” said Jeff Hinson, Regional Administrator for Regions 7 and 8. “This change not only protects Medicare patients from fraud, but also safeguards taxpayer dollars by making it harder for criminals to use Social Security numbers to falsely bill Medicare for care services and benefits that were never performed.”
Work on this important initiative was made possible by the enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
CMS began mailing the new Medicare cards to people who currently have Medicare benefits in Kansas this week. Additionally, people who are new to Medicare in Kansas started to receive their new Medicare cards in April along with others across the country when the mailing first began. As soon as people receive their new Medicare card, they should safely and securely destroy their old Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential. Our current mailing strategy allows us to complete the mailings of new cards to all people with Medicare, both new and current enrollees, over the next year.
The new Medicare card will not change any of the program benefits and services that eligible people enrolled in Medicare receive. People with Medicare and their caregivers can visit medicare.gov/newcard to find out when new Medicare cards will be mailed to their area. They can also sign up for email notifications about the new card mailing and check the status in their state.
Healthcare providers, suppliers and people with Medicare will be able to use secure look up tools that allow quick access to the new Medicare numbers when needed. There will also be a 21-month transition period for healthcare providers and suppliers to use either the former Social Security-based Medicare number or the new Medicare number to ensure a seamless transition.
As the new Medicare cards are being mailed, people with Medicare should look out for scams and follow these tips:
- Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information so you can obtain your new Medicare card.
- Don’t pay for your new Medicare card. It’s free. If anyone calls or approaches you and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.
- Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it like you would health insurance or credit cards.
- Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
For more information including press materials, B-roll, PSAs, etc. please visit: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8277951-cmsnmc/
August 9-10, 2018
Ramada Inn, Topeka, KS
The 14th Kansas Disability Caucus will be held in Topeka, KS on August 9th and 10th, 2018. People with all types of disabilities, of all ages, representing every county of the State, are invited to attend. The purpose of the Kansas Disability Caucus is to provide opportunities for Kansans with disabilities to learn, share, and provide solutions to issues faced by the disability community. Click here for the flyer.