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A Change for Life LLC

14600 Mack Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48215

Lovenia Lewis

Why did you set up A Change for Life and where are you located? 
A Change for life is located on the east-side of Detroit at 14600 Mack Avenue.  The company was set up because as a hemodialysis nurse I found that the lack of knowledge in the community of caregivers for renal patients was more than what it should be and this lack of knowledge appeared to be growing.  Thanks to the mandate of certification as recent as April 15, 2010, all hemodialysis technicians must be certified and have a high school diploma or GED. I believe my mother fell victim to one of these caregivers during her limited time as a hemodialysis patient, in New York City.  I became very angry at the dialysis community.  I knew and understood what should have been done that not have caused such an early demise for my mother. I believe I can help other families not go through the pain and devastation of losing a loved one,  especially due to a lack of knowledge and skill of their health care provider at least in the area of

How did you select the name? 
The name was chosen because I believe that I will be changing the lives of the participants, by giving them the information and skills to start a career in health care.  I also believe that the graduates of the program will go forward in the hemodialysis community and help make a change in the lives of their patients by providing them with quality treatments, compassion and empathic care thereby assisting them in living a quality life.
How many people work for your company and who are you clients? 
Currently there are no employees and one volunteer.  My clients are any person that has a desire to assist persons with renal failure lead a quality of life.  A Change for Life works with Detroit Job Corps, Michigan Works and Michigan Rehabilitative Services.You do not have to be affiliated with the above mentioned groups, are still invited to learn to provide the life giving care of hemodialysis.
Do you find more people going into hemodialysis training as a business?
Yes, since the mandate by CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare) with requirement that all persons should go through a training facility.  There were many that came into existence.  For many of the programs with a large dependence on Michigan Works! funding their programs were short lived with the Michigan Works! restructuring approximately 72 million dollars was taken out of the program.
What was the biggest challenge for you setting up this business?
I believe my biggest challenge was when I had my work schedule and my business schedule worked out to the point that I could accomplish both, at least until I got on my feet a little with the business and could possible be contingent at my job.  However, I was terminated from my job before opening the company due to an injury acquired on the job.  At that point with no income and limited credit card resources, I was three days from having my home placed on the auction block. This was a huge challenge to know I was about to lose everything personally and professionally however because of my faith in GOD's faithfulness I refused to give up on me.
Did you receive any start up capital?
The business opened in September 2008, and received some working capital in October of 2010, therefore for 25 months sheer determination and refusal to quit and be defeated, I prayed, cried, and continue to move in any direction as long as it is the forward direction.
How would you describe you business today looking back?
I believe that it is a business that is needed and will continue to grow as the population of patients with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) continues to grow.  It is a business that is being faced with challenges as many companies are. Many persons that are interested in attending A Change for Life although the lack of funding is a deterrent for many.  This has caused growth to be slower than projected and the state of the economy does not alleviated this challenge.
Do you feel there is a climate of support for small businesses like yours?  
What would you encourage to be done to encourage more small businesses in Detroit? 
I think if some of the same incentives and government breaks (whether locally or nationally) are give to the small business owner, it would encourage more growth within the city of Detroit.  As many have stated the small business owner aids the economy in times such as these.
How is your business faring in the economic climate? 
The business is holding on, however with more funding for training and retraining of skill sets the company would be growing faster.  The health care field will always be with us and  hemodialysis is growing at alarming rates due to obesity, the number one leading cause of diabetes which is the number one leading cause of ESRD.  Hypertension is the number two leading cause of ESRD, and both of these disease entities are growing faster in Michigan.

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