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Julie Lowen Has a Comprehensive Vision for Childcare

SOCIAL SERVICES: Children’s Paradise Is a Hub for Family Services

When she was a child, Julie Lowen said, her family was homeless after her father lost his job.

Julie Lowen
CEO
Children’s Paradise Preschool & Infant Center

“It was quite harrowing,” said Lowen, CEO of Children’s Paradise Preschool and Infant Centers. “I know exactly what it means to be a homeless kid, to be afraid, to be hungry, to be without shoes.”

That experience, fueled by the death of her younger son at birth, has driven Lowen to be a very vocal and determined advocate for children, families and those in need of housing.

“I’m a strong woman. I’m outspoken. I get a lot of pushback,” Lowen said.

Being chosen CEO of the Year in the Medium Company Category by the San Diego Business Journal “was just a shock, wow,” Lowen said.

“It’s obvious that this is all about my team. We have literally sacrificed every penny that we’ve earned and it’s going into making it (Children’s Paradise) bigger and bigger,” Lowen said. “It lets us know that the synergy that we have, the respect for each other, the core values that we follow every single day have truly made a difference. It lets us know that we have hit our stride in a way that’s very rewarding.”

Expanding Locations and Scope

After founding Children’s Paradise Preschool and Infant Centers in 1993, Lowen has expanded the company to have a staff of nearly 250 people in eight locations, with more on the way, serving nearly 2,500 families.

Children’s Paradise is far more than a childcare center, providing a wide range of social services to families in need, be that money to help a family stay in a hotel instead of on the streets or emergency road service for someone who is in danger of losing their job if they can’t make it to work because their car is disabled.

“You see, what this does for families is so life changing, it’s so supportive, it really is that missing link in society, that support system that used to be there. Because of the hectic level of our lives, those support systems just fell apart,” Lowen said. “We are a community resource center that’s open to everybody.”

During the worst of COVID, Children’s Paradise provided free take-home learning kits to anyone who wanted them, whether or not their children were enrolled in one of the company’s childcare centers.

Lowen started her career as a bank teller, then became an office manager at ACAL Engineering.

She became a stay-at-home mother in 1989 following the death of her younger son at birth. Her house became a gathering place for her older son and his friends, and that evolved into a home-based daycare, Gingerbread House.

“I desperately needed kids. I don’t know how else to put it,” Lowen said.

It was there that the dream that became Children’s Paradise started, according to Lowen.

Children’s Paradise is building its latest childcare center in Carlsbad, opening in 2024 to serve the tri-city area.

The company also has acquired a former preschool in Escondido and one in Ramona that it plans to renovate.

Lowen has even bigger plans.

“I have five open construction sites right now. It’s a development process. You just push these projects forward,” Lowen said.

Long term, Lowen said that she hopes the Children’s Paradise model is adopted worldwide.

“We have to have a lot of help, but I’m determined. It has to happen. I’ve seen so many families that are hurting,” Lowen said.

IN HER OWN WORDS:

“I had breast cancer in 2021, seven major surgeries and just went through hell. Coming off that to get back in the saddle in 2022 and to be named CEO of the Year in 2023 is overwhelming.”

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