Omaha middle school kids host bake sale to help teacher in need | Education

Prize Yates wants potential customers to know his mom makes the best cookies ever.

Grady Johnson plans to contribute two cakes.

“Probably with a little help from my mom,” he said.

They and their classmates at A Latere Academy in southwest Omaha are hosting a bake sale on Wednesday April 6to support Barb Baumert, math teacher and class teacher, whose husband, Kim, was paralyzed from the chest 11 years ago in a fall while residing at their home in Elkhorn.

They hope to raise $6,000 to help the Baumerts replace the motor on Kim’s special air mattress.

“She’s always so caring and I enjoy what she does so much,” said Grady, a sixth-grader at the school, who works with home-schooled students. “The time and effort she puts in day in and day out just to help us out is really cool.”

After a 30-year career with the Elkhorn School District, Baumert returned to teaching at A Latere and is a substitute teacher at Elkhorn to support herself and her retired husband.

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Residents of Elkhorn collected thousands to help buy a handicapped accessible van and outfit their home for Kim after the crash. He also taught at Elkhorn.

The couple was doing well until the motor of the air mattress Kim used failed after 10 years. This helps keep it running at night and is crucial to avoiding pressure sores, which usually require hospitalization.

They paid for a replacement motor, but it only ran for five days. The California company where it was purchased said the warranty did not cover a broken case. So they paid for it to be fixed, but it only worked for two months. Now, no one in the company will return their emails and calls.

Barb has been fighting to resolve the situation since early January.

“People with this type of disability have these kinds of complications all the time,” she said. “It’s never easy.”

She’s glad that Mobilis Inc. at Council Bluffs gave them a mattress that someone donated, but it doesn’t work as well for Kim’s needs.

Medicare will not pay for a replacement, and neither will their supplemental insurance. Each transaction has cost them thousands of dollars, and Baumert still doesn’t know where to find a mover outside of this company alone.

She doesn’t know where to turn. Without a motor, she must spin Kim herself at night or risk him developing an open sore or ulcer.

“As you can imagine, I don’t sleep much. It has been 11 years and we have succeeded,” she said. “But Kim and I both know that I won’t be able to do everything, and we hope to be able to provide for all of Kim’s needs for as many years as possible.”

Ellen Miller, principal of A Latere, said Baumert did not ask for help, but said she was a troupe and the school of 167 students wanted to help in any way possible.

“When Barb Baumert started working here, people started telling me that she was one of their teachers and how much she and her husband had meant to them. She just had an incredible impact on my life,” Miller said.

The school’s students are delighted with their efforts.

Posters are going up and special T-shirts will soon arrive to wear on bake sale day.

“I think we found some clever sayings during study halls and free class time,” Grady said. “We’re making signs, so hopefully a lot of people can hear about it.”

It was supposed to be a surprise, but Baumert overheard the kids talking.

“I told our manager that there are so many people who are so much worse off than us,” she said. “It’s so cute. It’s so nice.

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