Mesa becomes first city in the U.S. to adopt 'Sunflower Program' to identify those with hidden disabilities

The City of Mesa is making their city a little bit safer and more inclusive for visitors with disabilities with a new program.

According to the Visit Mesa website, the East Valley city is the first city in Arizona to introduce the Sunflower Program. The sunflower lanyard may not look like much to anyone else, but for trained hospitality employees within the city, it means a lot.

"This is a way for anybody who has a hidden disability to choose to wear this lanyard to self-identify that they have something going on, and our trained hospitality individuals know to be looking out for this and give this person a little extra time or care or patience as they explore our city," said Allison Brooks with the City of Mesa. "We want to be more inclusive and expand on what it means to be City Limitless."

In 2019, Mesa became the first-ever autism-certified city in the United States. Brooks says these lanyards are yet another tool for them and visitors.

"It's part of our overall initiative to just be more inclusive to everyone, regardless of how they come to us," said Brooks.

According to the Visit Mesa website, Sunflower lanyards and bracelets can be picked up, for free, at eight locations within Mesa, including the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Visit Mesa Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program

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