SLI Community Involvement

In SLI's Community Integration Program, forty clients volunteer over 800 hours per month for Meals on Wheels, Helping Hands Humane Society, Lets Help, Manor Care, and many other life-changing organizations.  These non-profit organizations work to improve the lives of their own clients, animals, and citizens of the city of Topeka. SLI’s clients benefit as well when they learn new life skills and ways to work through daily difficulties in their own lives. Volunteering at different organization is the ideal way to incorporate such delightful individuals to be a part of the community.

Wendy's "Giving Back" Campaign

The Legacy Restaurant Group chose SLI as the charity for their 9th Annual Wendy's "Giving Back" at Christmas Campaign. Kirk Williams and Jill Lincoln, owners, presented SLI with a check for $6,000! This generous gift will help in the areas of transportation, medical, housing, and food needs. Thank you Kirk & Jill and everyone who supported the campaign and SLI's mission! 

SLI Holiday Party

The 2016 SLI Christmas Party was a great evening for 43 SLI clients who wouldn't have celebrated the holiday without the support of Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association and the Civitan Club of Topeka. The Rolling Meadows neighborhood received donations from the residents and grants through Thrivent Financial to purchase gifts. The clients enjoyed hor d'oeuvres, drinks, cookies and Santa, who handed out the presents. Thanks to Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association, Civitan Club of Topeka, City Councilman Tony Emerson and his wife Allison, and Community Police Officers Officer Morgan Bracken and Officer Clinton Eubanks for attending the party and supporting SLI.

SLI Awarded Three-Year CARF Accreditation

CARF International announced that SLI has been accredited for a period of three years for its Community Integration, Community Housing and Governance programs.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards.  An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself though a rigorous peer review process.  It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality. 

SLI is a nonprofit organization with offices at 3401 SW Harrison in Topeka.  It has been providing intellectual disabilities services in the Topeka area since 1971.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served.  Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services.  For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at

Local Associations Help Santa Give Gifts to SLI Clients

The 2015 SLI Christmas party was a success! Last night, 44 clients received gifts with the help of the Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association and the Civitan Club of Topeka. Santa donated time out of his eventful schedule to make a visit and hand out the gifts as well! There were many delicious snacks that were enjoyed by all. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a night to remember for our wonderful clients!

Local businesses donate RoadRunner tickets to SLI

Many SLI clients had a blast at the Topeka RoadRunners game on Saturday, December 26th!
SLI clients and staff would like to send a big thank-you to Jim Garrison with Garrison Insurance and Financial Services, Inc. and Scott Langer, Head Coach of Topeka RoadRunners for donating the tickets. Jim and Scott have also generously donated tickets to our lucky clients for the following games:

· Saturday, January 2nd
· Saturday, January 30th
· Saturday, March 19th
· Saturday, April 2nd

Marshall Bowery & Jeff Makowski with the Topeka Roadrunners presented SLI with tickets for upcoming hockey games.

2015 SLI Annual Awards Winners

Congratulations to all of the winners at 2015 Annual Awards listed below. A big thank you to all staff and persons served at SLI for another awesome year!

Outstanding Leadership Award: David Hodges

Chuck Harpham Award: Dee Dee Duncan

Marlin D. Blosser Award: Marsha Cooper

President’s Award: Erin Toby

Lifetime Achievement Awards: Martha Senogles, Dwight Cross, Donna Pead, Denise Bryant, Theresa Conboy, Tam Vincent

Community Living Program Awards: Herbert Mdoe, Sondra Warner, Frances Kimani, Mark May, Keisha Davis, Mary Roe

Independent Living Program Awards:
April Ewing, Rita Craig, Cathy Decker

Community Integration Awards:
JaLesa Williams, Phillip Campbell, Jay Corber

Targeted Case Management Awards:
Larry Collins, Donna Holstein, Jesse Bedford, Jared Moen, Terri Allgood

Pathway for Hope - Ty Johnson

Thank you to Pathway for Hope and Country Legends 106.9 for featuring SLI person served Ty Johnson and for the gift of an iPad and Proloquo2Go, symbol-supported communication app.

Ty, 15, was diagnosed with mild mental disability, apraxia (hinders the ability to talk), trisomy q23-8 monosomy on chromosome 10 (an abnormality on chromosome 10 which affects the physical appearance), attention deficit disorder and microcephaly (result of the brain developing abnormally) at a very young age. Ty also has mild hearing loss which affects his speech and communication skills.  

Due to issues with fine motor skills Ty has been unable to perform many of the signs associated with American Sign Language so he has developed his own form of sign language and communication. It is hard for Ty to communicate his thoughts with individuals that are not familiar with his created sign language and will become agitated and upset. With the new iPad and communication tools, Ty now has the ability to effectively communicate with everyone.

Ty currently lives at home with his mother, Wendy, and younger twin sisters. While at school Ty uses an iPad for communication however, the cost of an iPad and the program used for communication was well beyond what the family can afford. Ty and all of his family are grateful for the gift that Pathway for Hope has supplied their family!

You can hear more of Ty's story here:

Sheltered Living to switch to keyless access


Sheltered Living to switch to keyless access

By Megan Hart

A new keyless entry system will keep Sheltered Living’s residents more secure and save money, the organization said.

Jo Ann Long, vice president of development for Sheltered Living, said charitable foundations run by Capitol Federal Savings and Loan and Bank of America each contributed $25,000 to pay for a keyless system for Sheltered Living’s 19 facilities. The organization runs programs for people with intellectual disabilities, including several group homes for adults.

A keyless system will be more secure because they can remotely deactivate an entry card if a staff member were to lose their card or leave without turning it back in, cutting down the waiting time compared to calling someone to change the locks, Long said. They also can easily add access if a Sheltered Living employee needs to enter a building where they don’t normally work, instead of having to use an extra key, she said.

“We don’t have to worry about lost keys,” she said.

They also won’t have to worry about the cost of keys or changing locks, because the access piece will be part of the identification cards employees already can use to get into the Sheltered Living service center at 3401 S.W. Harrison, Long said.

“It’s a huge cost that we’re going to be able to save,” she said.

Long said she wasn’t sure how long it would take to install the new system in all of the buildings.

Rena & Jeremy go to the Globetrotters!

On January 30, Rena was able to fulfill a long-time dream - to attend a Harlem Globetrotters game! Thanks to a generous donation from the Kansas Expocentre, Rena was able to attend the game and see all the tricks and excitement in person after years of watching videos and seeing players on the news. Her favorite tricks are the behind-the-back passes and all of the "cool" dunks. She was also excited to be able to take home a souvenir fan guide from the game.

Jeremy also attended the game and loved seeing the players interact with the crowd. "One of the players stole a woman's purse and another player did a funny, crazy dance," said Jeremy. "They had everyone laughing!" All of the dunks were also his favorite tricks to see.

After it was all said and done, Globetrotters left with yet another win while Rena and Jeremy left with a memory they will not forget!

Join Dillons Community Rewards and Help Sheltered Living

Dillons has rolled out a new program called “Dillons Community Rewards” that makes fund-raising easy...all you have to do is shop at Dillons and swipe your Plus Shopper's Card!

The Community Rewards program gives back to the community and your charity of choice through the Dillons Plus Shopper’s Card.  All purchases made with the Plus Shopper’s Card and linked to SLI are used as a basis for Dillons making a donation to Sheltered Living.  

The Dillons Plus card is the same card you use to get Fuel Points and to take advantage of advertised specials.  You will still receive all your personal rewards or fuel points.  This is a win/win for SLI and an opportunity to support the SLI mission. 

Enrolling is easy:

  1. Go to
  2. Log into your online account by entering your Dillons Plus Shopper’s Card number. Go to #4.
  3. If you don’t have an online account, you can enroll on this site.  
    • Click on Create an online account
    • Enter an email address and password, click enter
    • Enter your Dillons Plus Shopper’s Card number and Last name, click enter
  4.  Under Community Rewards, click to enroll.  Enter Sheltered Living’s organization number – 14699 or search for Sheltered Living.  Click enter. 
  5. Your card is now linked to Sheltered Living for Community Rewards.  Every time you use your Dillons card for purchases you not only get your personal rewards, but Dillon’s will donate to Sheltered Living.

If you have any questions, please contact Jo Ann Long at or 233-2566. Thank you for supporting Sheltered Living, Inc. and our mission.

SLI Experiences WWE Match Live!


For many SLI persons served a lifetime dream became a reality this past weekend. After years of watching numerous WWE matches on television every Monday and Friday evening, 30 SLI persons served were finally able to experience the excitement and drama in person at the Kansas Expocentre. And it was better than most imagined!
With seats eight rows back from the ring, everyone was a part of the action! The evening included lots of cheering for their favorites – Dean Ambrose because he won, the Uso Brothers because they were good looking and R-Truth because he raps in addition to wrestling – and booing every single one of the bad guys. Some even got close enough to shake hands with The Great Kahli! 
Most of our persons served do not have enough extra spending money to attend events of this nature, so the donated tickets from the Kansas Expocentre and WWE made it possible for them to experience something they have been admiring for a long time. And being able to see it live was a memory they will never forget.
Each and every person served that went to the match has their own unique story and memories that they cannot stop sharing with everyone that will listen! Even after three hours of non-stop wrestling, they all agreed it was not enough and are already asking when they can go back!


Pathway for Hope - Thomas Ruffin

Pathway for Hope is a Topeka-based organization whose purpose is to offer financial and/or product support to area residents who need a "hand up" during a critical time of need. They have chosen to support SLI person served Thomas Ruffin this month. Thomas is a hard worker and a great member of the Topeka community. He has fallen on some hard times recently but remains very humble and determined to turn things around! Listen to the radio interview below to hear Thomas' story and find out how you can help. Thank you to Pathway for Hope, Country Legends 106.9 and Bates Furniture for your wonderful support of Thomas!

Person of Interest: Megan


    Megan is a member of the CIP program at SLI and is described as a very hard worker, always helpful and energetic by the staff. Megan has been a part of  CIP since May, and has just recently become a part of the residential program. She has moved into the 19th Street location and enjoys hanging out with her roommates.
    Megan also recently became a part of the car detailing work crew. She says it is fun but a lot of hard work. She is motivated to keep working hard though because she wants to save up money to purchase a robot that is controlled by a computer program!
    When she is not working, Megan enjoys spending her time in CIP by playing cards with her boyfriend, Alan. Their favorite game to play is King in the Corner. Megan also loves spending time with dogs and has  a couple of her own that she loves. She is hoping that one day they will be able to live with her!
    Megan continues to grow daily and become more involved in the many activities of CIP. We are proud to have her as a part of SLI!

Special Olympics

Participating in Special Olympic activities is something that Sheltered Living puts at a high priority.  Recently there has been an increase in participation throughout the agency, with more of our persons served being involved in a larger variety of sports.  Special Olympics provides year-round athletics that give participants the opportunity to develop physical fitness and demonstrate courage while having fun.  There are many benefits that our persons served receive from being a part of Special Olympics including providing a support system, helping self-confidence, becoming more independent and physical activity.  All of those reasons are why we as an agency are thrilled to see an increase in participation!
     Participants get to take a trip to Wichita once a year to compete in the Special Olympics Kansas Summer Games. A few of the most popular sports that the SLI persons served enjoy are bowling, track, softball, basketball, volleyball and bocce ball.  One participant commented that their favorite thing about Special Olympics is “having fun and being with my friends.”  We are grateful to be able to participate in a wonderful organization that provides the concept that everyone has the power to be an Olympian and that greatness is defined more by the spirit than by the body. 

SLI Bowling Party

On July 11, approximately 100 SLI members spent a Saturday morning at Westridge Lanes Bowling Alley for a great day of bowling. Becoming an annual event, visiting the bowling alley has quickly become one of the favorite events by the persons served. There were already requests to make sure that it was planned for next year! Overall the day included lots of cheering and a good time was had by all. There were plenty of spares and strikes to be seen as well!

SLI Grounds Crew


The Supported Employment program at Sheltered Living was able to negotiate another job contract and has added a Grounds Crew to their job opportunities. The crew will be in charge of maintaining the grounds at the Sheltered Living office including the landscaped area, parking lot and sidewalks.  Some of the responsibilities of the crew include: pulling the weeds from the flower beds, watering the flowers, plants, and grass, picking up debris in the parking lot and keeping the sidewalks clean. The crew consists  of two employees with one job coach that helps them learn and carry out their job duties. Much like the other job opportunities through the SLI Supported Employment program, this format helps the employees learn how to successfully work independently and with other people. Most of the work is completed in the morning when the temperatures are cooler and safer for our persons served. Since starting the job last month there has already been visible improvement to the outside of the building and we are excited to see the growth of the Supported Employment program!