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Stites Spotlight is on High Hopes

Stites Spotlight is on High Hopes

With over 25 years of excellence in serving children and youth in middle Tennessee, High Hopes offers a specialized environment for learning, where all children have an equal opportunity to lifelong success through education and supplemental therapeutic services, including physical, occupational, speech therapy, and more. The Inclusive Preschool at High Hopes embraces a child-centered approach to education, offering small class sizes and custom-tailored curricula to meet the needs of each student. Working in tandem, High Hopes’ on-site Pediatric Therapy Clinic offers a wide variety of outpatient therapy services to children and youth through age 21, to gain skills that lead toward a positive and exuberant future.  With a team of highly-experienced teachers and therapists, High Hopes offers an unparalleled opportunity to achievement for children and youth of all ability levels and walks of life!

High Hopes is a nonprofit organization, serving children and families of Middle Tennessee.  We greatly need and appreciate the support and friendship of our community!  For more information on how you can help, please visit our Giving page!

Personal Stories

Impacting one life at a time: Mia’s Story
It was one year ago that my wife, Mary, noticed that our one-year-old daughter, Mia, would shake her head from left to right, was not able to hold her head up, and still could not yet sit up or crawl. At first, we thought this was just a phase that an infant might go through but it did not seem to improve. Our pediatrician recommended an MRI and it was then that we found out that our daughter had suffered a stroke during the first trimester of pregnancy and that seventy percent of her cerebellum had never developed. The shock and fear that hit us when the pediatric neurologist explained her condition and prognosis left us numb and scared for our child. He recommended High Hopes to us and we came over to meet the staff and see if there was anything they could offer to help Mia’s Developmental Delay and Hypotonia. We were impressed that there was a place where children with special needs could go to school with typically-developing children, while at the same time receive physical therapy, speech therapy, music therapy, and occupational therapy, without ever having to leave the building. We would have to travel to multiple places to receive what High Hopes has designed in one location. The therapists, teachers, and other children have been so loving and kind to our child and we feel this is why, one year later, Mia can now stand up, walk two thousand feet with a walker and small ankle braces; she speaks and signs several words, feeds herself, puts on her own socks and shoes, and has developed a very independent, loving, can-do personality. My wife and I will never be able to give back to High Hopes what they have done for our daughter and our family’s hope for the future.

– Ray, High Hopes Parent & Supporter

An Exceptional Friendship: The Story of Adeline & Bennett

As parents, we feel that one of the most important things we teach our children is love and respect for their peers. As Adeline has grown, she has become a very loving and nurturing little girl. The arrival of her baby sister has taught her that it’s important to be a helper at home and at school.

We first saw Adeline’s compassion for others developing when she was in the infant classroom, then the Inchworm room, and now the Caterpillar room. Adeline seemed to form a special bond with Bennett shortly after they met, which has only grown stronger with time. He is always the first friend she mentions as she retells her favorite parts of her day. She enjoys telling us how she helped Bennett at school each day. She often explains how she gave him a toy or a hug or told him, “It’s gonna be ok, Bennett,” when he is upset, but her favorite activity to share with Bennett is reading books. Adeline and Bennett share a love for books and she takes pride in helping him manipulate buttons and turn pages.

We chose to send Adeline to High Hopes as an infant because it is very important to us that she is exposed to many different types of friends. Although we knew this inclusive setting was the perfect place for her, we did not realize the magnitude in which she would benefit. Her friendship with Bennett has taught her that each of her friends have unique needs. Their relationship has made her more perceptive of these differences and aware of a variety of modes of communication. We are delighted to see Bennett look to her for support and assurance each day.

We are proud to see that, at such an early age, Adeline has become an insightful, caring little girl who always loves to lend a hand.We look forward to watching Adeline and Bennett’s friendship grow!

– Mike & Sarah Thomas, High Hopes Parents


Words cannot fully express our gratitude for High Hopes. It has been a place of refuge, support and inspiration for our family and a safe and nurturing place for our son with special needs, Bennett. Bennett has cerebral palsy due to a traumatic birth and requires a lot of attention and therapies throughout the week. When moving to Nashville from Washington D.C. when Bennett was 18 months old, we never dreamed there would be a place where Bennett could go to preschool with typical peers, receive all his therapies, and be welcomed with open arms. This is what we were blessed to experience in the fall of 2009 and it has been an incredible journey for us all.

Our Bennett is quite the feisty man, or the “wild man,” as we fondly refer to him. School has been overwhelming for him at times, but thanks to amazing teachers and special friends like Adeline, his transition to the school environment has been a real success. Bennett has gotten to the place where he will interact socially with other children, whereas prior to coming to school he rarely even noticed any kids who tried to interact with him.

One of his special friends is the adorable Adeline.

We first noticed Adeline’s sweet little face light up when we would wheel Bennett into their classroom each morning in his wheel chair. Then, we would get tickled when she’d yell out “Bennett’s here!” on the mornings she would see us walk in front of the doorway. We have been told by the teachers that she gets very concerned when Bennett gets upset at school. To console him, she will find and bring his favorite books to him and will push the buttons on the books to make the animal noises that she knows that he loves. We have even been told that during nap time when she can’t sleep, she has snuggled up next to him while he napped. She is such a tender-hearted little girl who seems to have a wise, nurturing soul beyond her years.

We are so thankful for Adeline and all the others at High Hopes who take time to love and accept our Bennett just the way that he is, feistiness and all. High Hopes is a truly special place.

– Travis & Kelly Speck, High Hopes Parents