At High Hopes, Your Concerns are Our Concerns
The concept of High Hopes originated out of the founder, Angela Lewman’s, personal experiences with special needs family members.
Growing up, Angela’s step-sister had global developmental delays and unique medical needs to include epilepsy and she frequently volunteered at her step-sister’s segregated special needs school. The impact that caring for her step-sister’s needs, running to endless doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments and navigating numerous hospital stays had on the family was profound as the time commitment required for such appointments cut into the quality of the time they were able to spend together.
In 2014, the Lewman’s son was born with Trisomy 21. He had a bowel perforation at five days old and required an ostomy bag for the first six months of his life. In addition to his Trisomy 21 diagnosis, he was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s Disease, Hypothyroidism, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension, Chronic Lung Disease, Dysphagia and has had open heart surgery amongst other conditions. In seeking care for him, the Lewman family encountered many obstacles.
As there was no suitable care available in Bellevue, Nebraska, for the first six months of Joshua’s life, they were required to have in home nursing care. This was difficult to obtain as many of the home nursing companies in the Omaha area also had extensive waitlists. The birth of a child with a disability is oftentimes a shock for families. To add in obstacles with obtaining suitable child care causes an undue burden and oftentimes brings the added concern of jeopardizing the financial future of the family.
Like Angela’s step-sister, her son has numerous doctor’s and therapy appointments. The time commitment required for Joshua’s PT, OT, speech and feeding therapy appointments cuts into the quality time that they are able to spend with their older daughter, and at the young age of 5, she notices the impact. This is one of the main reasons that High Hopes Child Care will provide transportation services intraday to therapy appointments in an effort to allow our parents to spend quality time after work with all of their children.
Currently, families in Bellevue continue to have difficulty identifying child care centers that are willing to accommodate some of the most basic medical needs of special needs children. Cares such as G-tube feedings or ostomy bag changes are viewed as too great a liability for the majority of centers who do not have a pre-established policy of accepting such children and whose staff do not have adequate training or comfort with such cares.
Additionally, centers that will accept special needs children will charge a premium for doing so, but the charges are not transparent. On multiple occasions, while searching for care for her child, Angela Lewman was informed that the Director of the center would have to check with the Owner as to what they would charge for her child. Several times, Angela was informed that a child care center would be willing to take her child only to have them change their mind the day before he was scheduled to arrive. If a center is willing to accept a child with these types of needs, they oftentimes have a waiting list or may not have room for the siblings of these children leaving parents struggling to find a child care center that will accommodate the needs of both their typically developing children and their special needs child.
The founder, Angela Lewman, brings 14+ years of people management and leadership and 17+ years of operational experience within the financial industry to this role. During this time, she has managed teams ranging in size from 1-54 and has managed employees across geographical locations. Having previously operated a small business she is familiar with the ins and outs of the daily operations required to run a successful small business. While the financial industry appears to be a far cry from a child care center, the general principles of people management remain the same. Angela’s time as a leader has been primarily focused on the coaching and development of her staff. One of the greatest risks in the day care industry is staff turnover which can result in a lack of continuity of care, lack of adequate child/staff ratios and can create mistrust for parents. Angela’s approach to leadership and staff development will play an integral role in reducing turnover and negative attrition and she is committed to investing in the staff, providing exceptional training and creating a positive environment.
As a young adult, Angela worked for the Westside School District as a para-educator in special needs classrooms. She also has volunteer experience working with special needs children. Additionally, Angela Lewman also holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Disciplinary Studies.
Angela Lewman’s management and leadership experience, as well as, her small business experience has given her the tools necessary to oversee a business managing both staff and day-to-day operations in order to ensure success. Her passion and commitment for this particular business comes from her personal experiences with her family members. The culmination of her leadership and personal experience has prepared her for this role. Her first-hand knowledge of the struggles that families with special needs children face has prepared her to proactively anticipate the needs of the families we serve. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of the entire family through the services we offer and the peace of mind that our care will provide.
Angela is determined to take affirmative action to change the status quo for families of special needs children in our community where others have been unable or unwilling to act.