Kim Derk is the owner of Lifesong Academy, a therapeutic center that works with children 30 months to 22 years of age with neurobehavioral challenges such as autism, chromosome disorders and extreme cases of ADHD (Attention Span Hyperactive Disorder). The therapeutic services include teaching communication skills, interacting with others and additional lifelong needs that enable children to become as independent as possible. Children are at the center between 10 to 40 hours a week depending upon their needs.
Kim stated the Southwest ISBDC has been extremely helpful in the past year. She doesn’t think her business would have grown as quickly or as effectively as it has without the help of the ISBDC. When she first met with Pete Sabella in September 2011, her business, Behavior Networks, was experiencing growing pains and problems with space constraints in their current facility. She recalls Pete asking her the question one day, “So what do you want this business to be?” That simple question caused her to pause and think about what needed to be done to move her business in the direction of her lifetime vision. The answer to this simple question prompted the Derks to purchase and renovate an old, unused school building with over 46,000 square feet of space.
In September 2012, the Derks opened Lifesong Academy, a facility that would allow them to serve more children in the area. Kim stated, “Pete was instrumental in helping me finalize my business plan for the bank. In addition, Kim Howard, Southwest ISBDC regional director and Pete Sabella introduced me to WorkOne that helped me to staff Lifesong Academy.” What started as a humble business in 2009 with three children and one employee has now evolved into Lifesong Academy, the state’s largest full-service treatment center for individuals with neurobehavioral issues. The center has seen over 100 children and now employs 30 employees.
For more information, visit the Lifesong Academy website.