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monte sumners

Monte Summers

Fund Development Committee Member: Monte Summers

At Life Unlimited we have multiple committees that are vital to our success and growth. One of them is The Life Unlimited Fund Development Committee. This committee is comprised of dedicated community volunteers who provide counsel to the organization about fundraising activities, including special events, mailings and grant writing.

We’d like to introduce you to one of our Fund Development Committee members, Monte Summers. Monte has been involved in philanthropic efforts her entire life, working with the state of Kansas American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, United Cerebral Palsy, and more. She has been a supporter and advocate for our organization for decades, originally volunteering her time on the development committee for Open Options (previously United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Kansas City). She served as president of the Open Options Board of Directors for two terms and was on the transition committee when Options Option merged into Life Unlimited in 2018.

In 2003, with the support of fellow board members Dr. Michael Frost and Mr. and Mrs. Ken and Roswitha Schaffer, Monte spearheaded the planning for a new fundraising event called Hats Off To Mothers. Community Volunteer Barbara Spilker served as the first chairperson. Almost 20 years later, Life Unlimited still hosts the annual luncheon and it has raised over 1.7 million dollars to support adults with disabilities. We can contribute this success to Monte and her remarkable dedication to the event and it’s mission.

When asked about why she became so passionate for disability causes, she tells a story about a man she met almost 40 years ago. Her friend in Fort Worth was planning a dance for Special Olympics so she drove down to help her for a weekend. “We were at the dance and there was a young man who was so engaged and outgoing and he was in a wheelchair. And I decided, everyone needs to dance so I asked him if he would dance and we went out on the dance floor together. We just had the best time dancing, it was wonderful. I remember the look on his face the whole time, I still remember to this day.”

Monte’s favorite part of serving on the Fund Development Committee is thinking outside the box for new fundraising events and projects. She also enjoys meeting new benefactors and community partners to discuss how they can best support Life Unlimited’s mission.

The Fund Development Committee is led by Chairperson of the Board Sayard Parrish and coordinated by Chief External Relations Officer Mark Bertrand and Director of Development Andrea Adams. Members are Ms. Brenda Lowe, Ms. Monte Summers, Dr. Tom Thomas, and Ms. Susie Whitfield. Welcome aboard, Dr. Thomas! If you would like to join the committee, contact Andrea Adams at 913-787-7190 or

fundraising bowl-a-thon event

Sarah Oyen Classic Bowl-A-Thon

Sponsors Night

Our Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser happens every September to raise money for our Community Therapeutic Recreation Program which serves more than 500 individuals every year. This year, Sponsors Night takes place September 21, 2022 at AMF College Lanes.

Rec Participant Night

The 24th annual bowling party is returning to Retro Bowl from 11:30 to 2:30 on Saturday, September 24! This event is exclusively for Rec participants and guardians. Contact Rec for details!

Our recreation program offers music therapy, bowling leagues, cooking lessons, volunteering, fitness classes and so much more. Not only does our recreation program enhance physical and social wellbeing, it teaches educational skills, increases independence, and forms life-long friendships.

hats off to mothers poster

Hats Off To Mothers

Every May for 19 years, we’ve donned our hats, gathered our friends and family, and celebrated mothers in our community while raising money for Life Unlimited. This year, we had a record-breaking year in attendees and funds raised. We are so delighted to announce we raised over $324,000 to support adults with disabilities as they live life with unlimited possibilities. Thank you to everyone who donated, volunteered, and attended for making this year the best one yet. We would not be able to provide the services we do to hundreds of individuals without your support. Every one of those dollars will go to making a difference in someone’s life.

Hats Off To Mothers is a fundraiser, but it’s also a chance to honor women for their philanthropic endeavors, business ventures, and family values. This year, we had the distinct honor of recognizing nine spectacular women whose impact in our community is extraordinary. Our 2022 honorees are Zulema Bassham, Jamie Cummings, Melanie Fenske, Patty Kincaid, Maureen Kuti, Missy Love, Roshann Parris, Kelly von Mosch, and Teresa Walsh.

This year, the luncheon was chaired by Bonne Illig and the VanBrock Jewels Team. Their innovative ideas and outstanding dedication resulted in a record-breaking year. We are so appreciative for their commitment and leadership. In addition, they contributed a gorgeous diamond pendant for the raffle, which we featured as our special “50th Anniversary Item,” in honor of Life Unlimited’s semicentennial. The VanBrock team members, in alphabetical order, are Ashlee Bressel, Kristina Klug, Angie Mareski, Kim Stevens, Rachel Thompson and Lenise Ward.

Thank you to HOTM Senior Advisor and First HOTM Chair Barbara Spilker, who assisted with honoree selection.

At the luncheon, Life Unlimited was represented by CEO Julie Edlund, who spoke about the critical need for higher wages for direct support professionals. In addition, LU Ambassador and Rec Participant Sarah Oyen personally thanked attendees for their support. Fox 4’s John Holt presented his video interview of LU’s Vice President of Day Services Julie Turley.

The standing Hats Off Committee members, listed in alphabetical order, are Barbara Godfrey, Becky Godfrey, Marilynn Hoover, Marylou Kilmer, Karen Mische, Sharon Murray, Ann Nigro, LU Board Chair Sayard Parrish, Lynda Robertson, Roswitha Schaffer, Tricia Scott, Rachel Sexton, Barbara Spilker, Monte Summers and Lynne Weilert. Members who are LU employees, listed in alphabetical order: Director of Development Andrea Adams, Chief External Relations Officer Mark Bertrand, CEO Julie Edlund and Public Relations Manager Emily Reid.

Thank you to all our fabulous partners in making this event such a success, David Riffle for the photography, Studio Dan Meiners for the beautiful flowers, Steph Kemna for the graphic designs, Sharon Murray for the program booklet design, and those who donated items to our raffle.

Thank you as well to Benefactor Party Hosts Lynne and Carl Weilert, who planned an elegant gathering at the The Carriage Club, which featured live harp music and a butterfly pinning ceremony for the 2022 honorees.

Thank you again to Marriott Muehlebach Hotel for hosting, John Holt – FOX 4 News for emceeing, and the Life Unlimited Bell Choir, led by Kathy Troia Morehouse and Angela Lee Windsor, for their virtual performance.

Thank you to all of the Life Unlimited employees who volunteered to make the luncheon a big success, in alphabetical order: Cynthia Barber, Mark Bertrand, Nicke Briscoe, Althea Brown, Vincent Bustamante, Kenzie Coffey, Sandy Degase, Cassie Harrity, Ryan Hicks, Jim Huffman, Jess Molton, Terry O’Neil, Emily Reid, Julie Turley and John Whalen.

We’re excited to share that the 2023 Chair is Rachael Sabates! Stay tuned for the 2023 luncheon date and venue!

Register Here or Make an “In Honor Of” Gift!

2022 Honorees

Hats Off to Mothers is an annual event that supports Life Unlimited and recognizes mothers who have demonstrated the remarkable ability to balance family life, personal achievement and service to our community. This year, we honor Zulema Bassham, Jamie Cummings, Melanie Fenske, Patty Kincaid, Maureen Kuti, Missy Love, Roshann Parris, Kelly von Mosch, and Teresa Walsh.

Photo credit: Strauss Peyton

2022 Chairs pictured from left: Lenise Ward, Kristina Klug, Ashlee Bressel, Rachel Thompson, Bonne Illig, Angie Mareski, Kim Stevens

Brian C. Watson

Brian Watson has primary day-to-day day responsibility for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities of the organization. This includes direct responsibility for financial accounting, auditing and reporting, payroll management, budgeting, healthcare, retirement and benefits analysis, forecasting, investment management, strategic planning, job costing, contract analysis, representative payee services, financial negotiations, and Federal and State compliance.

Brian has broad experience in all aspects of accounting and financial management bringing over 16 years of executive management experience in public and utility sector finance and budgeting. Brian obtained a Bachelor in Science of Business (B.S.) Accounting from Emporia State and a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A) Accounting from Park University. He is Certified Public Finance Officer. Brian joined Life Unlimited in May of 2018, as the Chief Financial Officer and enjoys the fast paced challenges of growth and development that Life Unlimited offers.

Paul Twenter

Paul Twenter is a financial professional with over 30 years of diversified business analytics experience. Currently the Chief Analytics and Project Officer at Life Unlimited, Inc. where he has responsibility for Information Technology Department, Quality Assurance Department, and Corporate Projects.  Previously at HNTB, Paul was the Principal for the Decision Analytics Consulting Group which provided financial analysis, business intelligence and advanced analytics expertise along with actionable information that leaders utilize to plan for the future.

Paul’s credentials include a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, a Six Sigma Green Belt, a Certified Public Accountant (unlicensed), a Certified Treasury Professional, and two Master’s Degrees. Paul has been the subject of magazine articles in CIO Enterprise and PCAI magazine for his work with Monte Carlo risk management systems.

Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska -Lincoln, Master’s degree in Social Work from Colorado State University, and twenty years of experience in the I/DD field including roles in direct care, management, leadership.  Amy was the Director of the Parker Personal Care Homes- Foster Care Division before accepting the role of the Associate Executive Director of Parker Personal Cares in 2013.  In 2015 she and her family relocated back home to Kansas City where she continued to work with Parker Personal Care Homes as an Executive Consultant providing training, program development oversight and quality assurance consultation for three years.

In 2018 she joined the Life Unlimited team as the Vice President of Community Living.  In 2019 she accepted the Chief Program Officer position.  In this role she provides supervision to multiple programs offered at Life Unlimited while ensuring program compliance, quality assurance, and strategic growth.

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Life Unlimited complies with all provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin for those receiving services under Title VI. Any concerns or complaints can be communicated to the agency in person, or by phone, e-mail, or by completing this form and returning it to us by fax at 816-474-3029, or by mail. If additional information is needed, or if information is needed in another language, please contact the Director of Community Services at 816-718-4547.