Dream Big Little One; A “Simple” Solution to a “Simple” Problem

CFSEK Grantee Story Series:

Dream Big Little One; A “Simple” Solution to a “Simple” Problem

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas (CFSEK) is excited to continue our series of articles highlighting the great work done by our grantees in Southeast Kansas communities. Our next grantee to highlight is Dream Big Little One, based out of Columbus.

When you go to bed every night, you probably don’t think much of it, it’s just something you do. But how many children in our region don’t have that luxury? Some sleep in beds, sure, but there are some who share beds with parents or siblings, or sleep on a couch, and sadly, some who must sleep on the floor. On the surface, you could say it is a “simple” problem with a “simple” solution, but what is the solution? Well, the solution started from a grandmother simply baking cinnamon rolls!

“My grandson and I were baking for a fundraiser to help a few families get beds for their kids,” said Tess Watson, Dream Big Little One (DBLO) Founder. “It opened my eyes to a real problem in my own community, and I couldn’t get away from it.”

After that, Tess said she wanted to help just a few more families, but she kept finding more families to help.

“My husband said to not get carried away with this, but I outgrew my house and now we have expanded to 3 locations around the region. I don’t think I got carried away!”

Working with community partners like school counselors and therapists, DBLO is able to identify and address the needs of area children.

To date, DBLO has provided almost 2,000 beds to children in the four-state area! That doesn’t happen without donations, grants, and volunteers. Last year, DBLO was the recipient of a CFSEK grant from the Knights of Columbus Endowment Fund, where the money was used to buy new beds and frames for area children in need.

“We can’t do what we do without grants from organizations like CFSEK and the Knights of Columbus,” Watson said. “We also are always in need of volunteers! There is always more to give. Even if you don’t get involved with us (DBLO), I hope more people will get involved with local nonprofits!”

DBLO covers the four-state area. If you have a gently used mattress and/or sheets, contact DBLO or visit their website at DonateBeds.com where you can arrange donations. Dream Big Little One Association is their Facebook group with over 3,000 active members where they regularly post updates on their progress and needs for volunteers.

The Knights of Columbus Endowment grant cycle is open until Friday, May 31st! Applications are available online at SoutheastKansas.org/Grant-App.

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas awarded over $2 million in grants from all foundation funds in 2023 and has facilitated over $23 million in total granting to Southeast Kansas since its inception in 2001. CFSEK serves the region by providing donors with various charitable interests and encouraging charitable giving, which addresses present and future needs in our area. More information about CFSEK is available at SoutheastKansas.org.

FSCC Names An Interim President: Sara Sutton


Hedges Building, Fort Scott Community College.

The Fort Scott Community College  Board of Trustees and the Administrative Team announced on  May 21 that they had decided to name an interim president, according to a college press release.

The current president, Dr. Jason Kegler has been placed on administrative leave with pay, effective Monday, May 20th. There were no more details of Kegler’s leave given.

A special trustees meeting was announced for May 23 at 8:30 a.m.

At this meeting, the trustees deliberated and then announced that Sara Sutton was named as interim president of the college.

Sara Sutton from the Fort Scott Community College website.

Sara Sutton, who earned an Associate of Science degree from Fort Scott Community College (FSCC), a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Kansas State University, a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Pittsburg State University, was appointed as the Vice President of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development in February 2024. Sutton was to begin her official duties in the role on July 1, 2024, according to the college website.

Since 2018,  Sutton had taught in the FSCC Agriculture Department and coached the Meat Judging Team

Now, she will lead the college until a new president can be found.

The board had one public commenter before the executive sessions that was planned.

Steve Anthony said he has some international students living with his family and they play golf. Anthony asked the board if there is going to be a golf team next year, he would like to know to help his students plan for their next college year.

One executive session to discuss non-elected personnel included John Hill.

Another included the executive team of the college: Sutton, Sonia Gugnani, Gina Shelton, and Juley McDaniel.

One session included changing signing rights on the college’s bank account.

Following another executive session, the trustees resolved to suspend men’s and women’s golf, esports, and flag football and honor those scholarships for the 2024-25 school year.

They adjourned after an approximate 2.5-hour meeting.

EBT Food Access Launches

Kansas Launches Summer EBT Program to Improve Food Access for Kids During Summer Break

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) is launching Summer EBT, a new program to help eligible families offset some of the costs of buying food for their school-aged children over summer break. Summer EBT, also known as SUN Bucks in other states, is a partnership between DCF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. The program provides families $120 for each eligible school-aged child to buy groceries.

“Summer is a time when many children lose the free and reduced-price meals they get at school and when households might need a little extra help putting meals on the table,” said DCF Secretary Laura Howard. “Summer EBT benefits can be used to buy food like fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains, and dairy at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other places that accept SNAP EBT benefits.”

“Children and teens need healthy food year-round to play, grow, and learn. Summer EBT will help families stretch their grocery budget during the summer and provide their children with the nutrition they need to thrive,” Howard continued.

Summer EBT benefits will begin rolling out in mid to late July. For most families, Summer EBT will automatically be added to an existing household’s Kansas Benefits Card (also known as an EBT card) or loaded onto a Kansas Benefits Card and mailed to the home. Families that don’t receive Summer EBT benefits but believe they qualify must apply between Aug. 12 and Sept. 11, 2024, through the DCF online self-service portal, dcfapp.kees.ks.gov. Children who receive Summer EBT can still participate in other summer meal programs that may be available in their community.


Children may be eligible for the program if:

  • The child is school-aged (7-17 years old) and received food assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and/or foster care benefits at any point during the school year.


  • The child attends a Kansas school that offers the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program, and the household income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals at any point during the school year.


By the end of July 2024, benefits will be issued automatically to eligible children whom DCF can identify in partnership with the Kansas Department of Education. Any child(ren) who did not receive benefits by the end of July 2024 may apply for Summer EBT benefits through the online self-service portal, dcfapp.kees.ks.gov. Online applications for Summer EBT will be accepted from Aug. 12 through Sept. 11, 2024.

Learn more about the Summer EBT program at dcf.ks.gov.


The Kansas Department for Children and Families’ (DCF) mission is to protect children, strengthen families, and promote adult self-sufficiency. DCF’s more than 35 service centers across the state offer a wide range of support services, including food, utility, child care assistance, child support services, and employment education and training. DCF also partners with grantees to provide foster care services to children, including case planning, placement, life skills, and foster parent recruitment and training. DCF works in partnership with organizations, communities, and other agencies to support families, children, and vulnerable adults, connecting them with resources, supports, and networks in their home communities.

St. Martin’s Academy Rugby Team Claims 2nd KS State Championship

Celebration time! Captain Joseph Moleski raises the trophy after an epic comeback victory in the KS State Final. Submitted photo.

The Kingfishers of Saint Martin’s Academy roar back in the 2nd half to claim their 2nd straight KS State Championship in Tier 1 Rugby, defeating the Saints of Thomas Aquinas 26-19 on May 11th at the KU Rugby Complex in Lawrence, KS.

A long narrative report of the match can be read here.


  • 2 tries, including the game-winner with time expired, by Captain Joseph Moleski.
  • Man of the Match went to Senior Outside-Centre, Ben Skinner, who scored a late try to tie the match and had multiple long runs to put Aquinas on their heels.
  • The Kingfishers went down 19-7 mid-way through the 2nd half, only to score 19 unanswered to claim victory.
The Kingfishers finish the regular season ranked #6 Nationally and are headed to Nationals in Elkhart, Indiana to compete against the best teams in the country.
Quote from School Founder and Headmaster, Daniel Kerr: “No team works harder than our boys and when the chips were down at the end of the match, that hard work paid off.  This was the most exciting match I’ve ever been a part of.”
Senior Ben Skinner battles through a tackler en route to the match tying-score. Skinner was named Man of the Match by the hosts, KU Rugby Club.
Submitted photo.
We’re on the road right now to Nationals.  Say a prayer for the boys!
Submitted  by

Daniel Kerr

Headmaster, St. Martin’s Academy

Friends of Tri-Valley Foundation Hosts Annual Spring Fundraiser, Boardwalk BBQ



A crowd of 150 people attended the 2024 Friends of Tri-Valley Foundation annual spring fundraiser on Tuesday, April 16th. The evening’s theme was a BBq, a Boardwalk BBq.  The foundation was excited to have the brand-new SEK Impact Center serve as the site for the evening’s festivities.  Doors opened at 6 pm.  Approximately $12,000 was raised during the evening from stretch, silent and live auctions.  New this year was our wine pull pong game and axe throwing.


Attendees were treated to a delicious BBq meal of pulled pork, pulled chicken, cole slaw, and baked beans furnished by The Hangout of Chanute, KS.  Dessert was peach cobbler in Waffle cones coated in chocolate, which were provided by Tri-Valley Director of Programming Brenda Harrison.  Neosho County Community College students helped serve the meal.  Door prizes were courtesy of Tri-Valley’s Fort Scott Greenhouse, Special Olympics of Kansas, Opie’s Restaurant, Oriental Tracking Company, 4Imprint, and Jennifer Dietsch State Farm.


As in year’s past, the live auction was the highlight of the evening.  For 2024, we had two trips courtesy of Monarch Cement Company; a 3-night stay at the Historic Rancho de la Osa Dude Ranch in Arizona and a 3-night stay at a Tiffany’s B & B in Arkansas.  Other items auctioned off include:  a Breckenridge CO vacation package courtesy of Home Savings Bank; a Branson MO vacation package courtesy of Community National Bank; a full-size recliner courtesy of Ruddick’s Furniture in Fort Scott; Dinner for 10 courtesy of Brenda Harrison; a metal art piece, a pair of sunflower windmills, and tickets to the 2024 Symphany in the Flint Hills, to be held in Greenwood County.


All money raised from the evening will go towards the Friends of Tri-Valley Foundation projects.  Since 2001, the Foundation has built six homes and acquired eight additional homes and a duplex.  The houses are located in our communities of Buffalo, Chanute, Fort Scott, Humboldt, Iola, Moline, and Neodesha.  These houses are home to 72 of our neighbors with intellectual and developmental disabilities served by Tri-Valley Developmental Services.


“The evening was fantastic”, said Bill Fiscus, CEO. “The food, drawings and conversation were phenomenal.  Thank you to everyone who attended.  We hope you had an enjoyable evening and look forward to seeing you all in 2025.”


A big thank you goes to the evening’s sponsors.  Promenade Level:  Steve Faulkner Ford, Monarch Cement Company, and David & Beth Toland

Colonnade Level: Community National Bank – Chanute, Hofer & Hofer & Associates, Home Savings Bank, and IMA.

Esplandae Level: Ash Grove, Cardinal Drug, Community National Bank – Eureka, Jarred, Gilmore & Phillips, CPA, and Peerless Products

Arcade Level:  Bank of Commerce, Hi-Lo Industries; and Cheney Witt Chapel.


Special thanks go to Dave Petersen who served as Emcee; Larry Holman for photography; and Anna Methvin and Crystal Poovey with SEK Impact Center



Letters of Interest are now being accepted for an open position on the Fort Scott City Commission. Candidates must reside in the territorial limits of the city of Fort Scott and shall be a qualified elector under the Constitution of the state of Kansas (Ordinance No. 3289). This position is to fill a vacancy created on May 22, 2024, with the resignation of the sitting Commissioner. The term for this position expires December of 2025 and the successor will be determined in the next election.

The following time commitments are general guidelines to be considered before submitting your Letter of Interest:    1) Regular City Commission meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month beginning at 6:00PM and average two (2) hours or more;    2) Special City Commission meetings may be called at any time if the matter is of a pressing nature and a decision must be made prior to a regular meeting;   3)  Attendance at meetings for which you are selected to be a Commission Representative – such as an advisory board, library board, etc;  4) Work Sessions are scheduled for issues that require open discussion but do not require an immediate decision. These are usually scheduled prior to a regular meeting, typically begin at 5:00PM, and then lead into a regular meeting. There will be Work Sessions scheduled on a stand-alone date that usually begin at 5:00, 6:00 or 7:00PM.   5)  Trainings for the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) and the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) are required annually and other training is available but optional; 6) Representation at community activities and other meetings are usually optional but highly encouraged;  7)  Individual preparation for meetings may be necessary for topics that require research in order to make an informed decision at the table.

Please also consider that this is a high-profile position within this community. All meetings are streamed on YouTube, the newspapers and television stations may be present at any given time, and you will be involved in many community activities and issues. As a City Commissioner, you will be a contact and a representative for citizens’ and their concerns. The concerns and issues that the Commission faces are not always positive in nature. However, they will require your best collaborative efforts and decision-making skills with your fellow Commissioners and the City Manager.

Please visit www.fscity.org, contact the City Manager, Brad Matkin ([email protected]) or the City Clerk, Lisa Lewis [email protected] for any questions.  We would also encourage you to watch previous Commission meetings on the City of Fort Scott YouTube channel before making the commitment by submitting your Letter of Interest.

All Letters of Interest will be reviewed, and all qualified candidates will be contacted to appear and speak before the Commission at the June 4th regular meeting. The Commission will select the new Commissioner who will be sworn in and seated that evening.

Letters will be received in person at City Hall (8:00AM-5:00PM) or by email to [email protected] until Thursday, May 30th at 5:00PM. No letters will be received after the deadline.

Please be sure to include contact information in your letter and clearly mark “LETTER OF INTEREST/CITY COMMISSIONER”.

Uniontown City Special Meeting This Evening at 6 p.m.

A special meeting of the City of Uniontown  Council will be held May 23 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.]


CALL TO ORDER AT _________ by __________________________________________


 ____ Jess Ervin ____ Danea Esslinger ____ Amber Kelly ­­____ Mary Pemberton  ____ Bradley Stewart


Motion by _____________, Second by  __________, Approved ______, to enter into executive session pursuant to non-elected personnel exception, KSA 75-4319(b)(1), in order to discuss duties and benefits of non-elected personnel, the open meeting to resume at ____________.


4-H Spring Dog Show: May 25 at 1 p.m.

Pictured is Ella Snider and her dog Tex earned 5th overall in their division at the Kansas State Fair last year. Submitted.

Zach Ross, Fort Scott,  is the  Kansas State University Southwind District coordinator for the local 4-H dog program. That district is comprised of Allen, Bourbon, Neosho and Woodson counties.

He and his wife, Aubrey,  will be hosting a Spring Dog Show at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds on May 25 at 1 p.m.

The event is for youth participating in 4-H Clubs

“Typically (dog) handlers compete at the Bourbon County Fair to qualify to take their dogs to the Kansas State Fair,” she said. “The Southwind District has 43 handlers who have an opportunity that day, at least 10 from Bourbon County. Zach and I have been coaching the Bourbon County group for three years and we have several handlers who are looking to move up in agility and obedience divisions and need to have more qualifying scores to be able to go to state.”

“We’ve invited all regional dog show programs to attend and compete, she said. ” Handlers will be competing in Agility, Showmenship, Obedience, and Rally Obedience.”

“We are excited to have this opportunity for our handlers and want to share their hard work with the community,” she said.

The event is free for spectators and the dog handlers.

“Many of our handlers are ready to move up and our program needs to purchase advanced equipment,” she said.  “We will be accepting donations that will help fund new equipment so that handlers can compete in higher-level events in the future.”

Checks can be made to 4-H Council and in memo: Dog Program and be sent or delivered to the K-State Extension Office at 210 S. National, Fort Scott, 66701.

The Bourbon County Fair Dog Show is on July 13 at 8 a.m.


Chamber Coffee Hosted by Angela VanDeBerghe of Edward Jones Financial Office on May 23

Join us for Chamber Coffee!

Thursday, May 23rd, 8am

Hosted by Edward Jones office of Angela VanDeBerghe

222 S. State Street

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce invites members and guests to a Chamber Coffee hosted by the Edward Jones office of Angela VanDeBerghe, 222 State Street, on Thursday, May 23rd at 8am. Coffee, juice, and refreshments will be served, and attendees may register to win a special drawing.

When it comes to your financial goals, the experiences you wish to have, the trips you plan to take, the legacy you strive to leave behind — each of these priorities deserve attention to detail, a holistic approach to planning and a dedicated financial advisor to partner with you through the years ahead. Whether you need help organizing, building, protecting, or creating strategies to transfer your wealth, Angela promises to offer you a new level of attention, insight, and guidance. Join us this Thursday to meet Angela and office administrator Jennifer Lowe and hear about their business and what they do for the community!

Contact the Chamber of Commerce at (620) 223-3566 for more information. Visit the Events Calendar and category of Chamber Coffees on fortscott.com for upcoming locations.

Thank you to our Chamber Champion members

shown below…

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce

231 E. Wall St., Fort Scott, KS 66701



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