This year marks the 43rd year of the Blarney Breakfast. This special celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is one of the oldest running in Wichita!
The Blarney Breakfast began in 1975. KAKE TV hosted a letter writing competition to decide which charity would host and receive proceeds from a St. Patrick’s Day event. Margaret Shook, a member of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha Chi Epsilon Chapter – Wichita, whose son received Rainbows’ services, wrote in and Rainbows was chosen. And, so began the 43 year tradition of Wichita’s beloved breakfast.
Currently, the Blarney Breakfast benefits Rainbows’ Targeted Case Management (TCM) services, the largest provider of TCM in Kansas. At Rainbows, we see each child as a masterpiece–a unique treasure. Through the Targeted Case Management program, our case managers act as curators, specialists trained to identify and reveal the beauty within each child.
Rainbows’ TCM department currently consists of 10 highly qualified individuals who have dedicated their careers to serving families. Here, three Rainbows’ case managers tell us in their own words about what they do:
“I assist my families with accessing resources or services related to their child’s intellectual and/or developmental disability. We contact various funding resources to help children access medical equipment, sensory items, diapers, and so on. We also facilitate meetings to update files, assess for any new needs, and sometimes help with Individualized Justice Planning. Case managers can also attend IEP meetings at the child’s school or meetings with other agencies to help start up services, etc.
My favorite part about this job is being able to interact with clients personally and learn more about them. I love when parents tell me about what their child is learning. It makes me so happy to see them light up when they explain it.
I have so many great stories and memories from this job. Recently, I was at a home visit and at the end of the meeting, my client asked if she could perform one of her favorite songs for me. It brought me so much joy to see her singing and dancing with no cares. Sometimes my clients provide me with great reminders to slow down and enjoy life.
We are not superheroes and unfortunately cannot perform magic, but as case managers we are always willing to try everything we can to get these children what they need to be successful!”
“I provide information and referral to community resources for families with a child who has special needs. I can assist with obtaining funding for needed equipment or services. I can aid the family in dealing with any school issues that arise. I am a resource for the family when they may not know where else to turn. My families and the children I serve become close to my heart, and I would do anything I can to help them. It’s very rarely a boring job! There is always something new or novel happening. I am challenged frequently and feel like it helps me grow as a person.
I love the good feeling I get when I am successful procuring funding or a needed service. It feels so wonderful when you can bring relief or happiness to a whole family.
My favorite memory involves a young man who, when I received him on my caseload, was a very volatile and violent young man. He was being raised by a single mother and was rapidly growing larger than her. We accessed many behavioral intervention resources, and we had many meetings with the school to help them understand how to best deal with this youth. As he matured, he calmed and become a very fine young man. In fact before he left my caseload, he was in typical classes in his middle school, which was quite a change since he was previously in Positive Behavioral Supports classroom (a very restrictive placement for youth with severe behavioral challenges). He had auditioned and was awarded a solo in his choir class. I had the great privilege of getting to attend that concert. I was so proud of who he had become, and I hope I can say I had some small part in it.”
“I work with families of children with special needs. I help get services and supports in place to ensure a child’s needs are being met in a way that will allow them to be successful.
My favorite part of the job is getting to know the families and the children I work with and being able to impact their lives for the better. The job is difficult at times, but when you work with families who are grateful and appreciative, even for the smallest things, it can make you feel like you are truly making a difference.
A few months into the job, I met with a family and was able to secure funding for their non-verbal child to get an iPad. He used one at school and was successful, but the family could not afford one for home use. When I gave mom the iPad, she cried. I remember her saying, “He will finally have a voice.” A few weeks later, she called to thank me again for the iPad, all because the child had a headache and was able to communicate that to her clearly via the iPad. It really is the little things.”
You too can make a difference – just like Emma, Vanessa and Shelby – by joining us Friday, March 16, for the 43rd Annual Blarney Breakfast to benefit children with special needs! All proceeds from the Blarney Breakfast will help children and families served through TCM. Get your tickets online today!