Lambert family High Hopes

From left are Daniel Lambert (holding his daughter, Evelyn), Whitney Lambert, Brandy Blanton and Blake Lambert.

As it was put forth at Wednesday morning’s fundraising event, there may be a misconception among many about the service provided by the High Hopes Development Center.

It’s a 38-year-old Franklin nonprofit that equips children, youth and their families with the skills necessary to achieve success through education, therapeutic services and loving support. To much of the public’s eyes, its primary purpose is to help develop children with special needs, but that’s where the impression is a bit skewed.

“People think that we only serve children with special needs, and while that is our main focus, the other side of that coin is what we also do for typically developing children in our community,” said Brandy Blanton, director of development for High Hopes.

“I think it’s so important for the leaders in our community to know our mission.”

Many of those leaders were in attendance at the annual High Hopes Community Breakfast at the Williamson County Enrichment Center Wednesday morning. In addition to enjoying a hot breakfast courtesy of Catering & Events by Suzette, attendees heard from families who have experienced what High Hopes offers.

Sam Whitson

Sam Whitson

One of those speaking was Tennessee State Rep. Sam Whitson, whose granddaughter Emmaline was born with Down syndrome. When the family found out the diagnosis, “we were bewildered, we were lost,” Whitson said. 

“We didn’t know what to do, or what we were facing. Who can help us, where do we go? Who is going to help us navigate this system? It’s places like High Hopes that help people get through this. It’s so reassuring for people to have that early intervention and inclusion, but also that loving support.”

The Lambert family — Blake, Daniel and Whitney — told of their experience at High Hopes. Whitney’s son, 5-year-old Parker, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and has been at High Hopes for the past year and a half, and his mother said “he’s just thriving and it’s such a blessing.”

Blake and Daniel also have children at High Hopes, but they are typically developing. 

Daniel’s 3-year-old daughter, Evelyn, and 10-month-old son, Jackson, and Blake’s 8-year-old daughter, Collin, all benefit from High Hopes’ method of inclusion.

“The value of sending Collin to High Hopes allowed her at the very beginning of her life to accept people that aren’t exactly like her,” Blake Lambert said. “I think it’s something High Hopes has given her that she’ll be able to deal with some people not exactly like her, and I think that’s so important.”

Click here to learn more about High Hopes Development Center.