Sunflower Pilot Club’s Ambassador of the Year
Barb Meitler was recently named Sunflower Pilot Club’s Ambassador of the year. The Sunflower Pilot Club is an organization that supports individuals with brain-based disorders, including autism, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, learning disorders, and many forms of mental health impairments. The organization also supports care givers of those individuals who are affected.
In addition to working as a special education teacher for 20 years, Barb’s daughter, Ronica contracted a brain-related illness called encephalitis at age 11, which resulted in several brain surgeries and refractory epilepsy. Needless to say, Sunflower Pilot Club is very important to Barb.
Each year, Sunflower Pilot Club works hard to raise funds and perform service projects in the Manhattan community. Barb led the service projects for the group for the last year. Some of those projects included hosting a Christmas and Valentine’s cookie decorating party for Big Lakes Developmental Center, donating fidget blankets and sleeves, knitted and sewn by the Sunflower Pilot members, to both the Special Education classroom at Woodrow Wilson and to the Alzheimer unit at Meadowlark, delivering May Day baskets for brain disorder support individuals, gifting backpacks and personal care items for foster care children, collecting and delivering pillowcases for disabled children attending Royal Kids Camp, and distributing pick-me-up bags for support staff at Katie’s Way and Bramlage House caregivers. The organization has also donated money to the USD 383 SPED program and supplies to The FIT Closet, The Crisis Center, and the Flint Hills Breadbasket. Additionally, they love to volunteer their time serving meals at the Manhattan Senior Center. Lastly, Sunflower Pilot Club offers scholarships to two Kansas State University students who will be pursuing careers working with individuals with brain-based disorders.
In order to be active in the community, Sunflower Pilot Club must designate time for two yearly, all-member fundraisers. For example, in December, they sell poinsettias to organizations or individuals, consistently raising close to $2,500 each year. They also hold a large garage sale in the late spring, raising around $1,500 for donations and service projects. In addition to the two large fundraisers, they also park cars for one of the K-State football games in the fall.
At the monthly meetings, speakers provide information and education about their Manhattan-based organization and how they support and care for community members with brain-based challenges. Monthly meetings are held at the Holiday Inn Campus meeting room where they enjoy a wonderful, hot-catered meal, lots of conversation, a speaker, and some fun prize drawings. They also enjoy getting together for a Christmas party featuring delicious Christmas goodies, a gift exchange, and lots of laughter.
Please consider attending a meeting or joining as a member. They are a welcoming group, eager to have others join the cause in making life easier for our special members in the Manhattan Community.