The Brain Injury Association of Windsor and Essex County received $45,000 from the Toldo Foundation to hire a Client Services Coordinator to support its mission of enhancing the lives of those affected by an acquired brain injury.
The Coordinator will provide technological assistance and training to support clients in connecting to online peer support groups, provide emotional support from peers, receive education about acquired brain injury (ABI) and access apps to assist with activities of daily living.
These support groups fill the gap after rehabilitation and assist in life-long recovery as survivors adjust to their new identity. Learning how to use technology promotes self-reliance, community engagement, ability to attend support groups and to overcome many of the unique challenges faced as a person with an ABI.
The Client Services Coordinator will support clients in maintaining and accessing income, filing taxes, completing applications and communicating with essential agencies and services. Poor mental health, addictions, brain injury, illness and trauma are all significant comorbid conditions faced by clients because of their cognitive impairments. The Coordinator will assist in finding resources and benefits that otherwise are inaccessible to them.
The Brain Injury Association of Windsor and Essex County (BAIWE) officially opened “Butterfly Lane” in Walkerville on October 2, 2021 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This project’s main purpose is to create awareness of the prevalence of brain injury in the community as well as educate people to this “invisible” disability. It is part of BIAWE’s mission to enhance the lives of those affect by an acquired brain injury through education, awareness and support.
Garage doors and fences in the alley between the 1100 block of Devonshire and Argyle Roads (bordered by Richmond and Ontario Streets) were painted by sixteen local mural artists. Each mural has butterflies in it. Individual wooden butterflies were painted by survivors of a brain injury as their personal contribution to this project.
Several hundred people attended the ceremony and festivities that followed. BIAWE Board Chair Joanne King and City Councillor Chris Holt shared in the ribbon cutting to officially open the alley as Butterfly Lane. Also in attendance to bring greetings and congratulations were MPP Percy Hatfield and MP Irek Kusmierczyk as well as another City Councillor, Jim Morrison. Artists displayed not only their murals but their other works of art. Each artist received a certificate of appreciation from BIAWE and another from MP Irek Kusmierczyk.
Future plans include clear coating the murals to make them graffiti-proof, planting butterfly attracting plants in the spring and the installation of signs indicating Butterfly Lane.
The life of a butterfly symbolizes the life of an individual with a brain injury. Much like a butterfly that develops from a caterpillar during the chrysalis process, the journey of a person with a brain injury can be transforming. Often, an individual with a brain injury is not the person that they once were. There is nor more striking symbol of a transformation than a butterfly. This transformation symbolically represents hope and new beginnings. This transformation happens with help from the right people from the Brain Injury Association.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou.
Windsor Morning with Tony Doucette JUNE 15, 2021 June is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and the local association is in the planning stages of creating a “Butterfly Lane’. It will be used to help educate the public about the often non-visible injury. We hear more us about the displays from both professional artists and victim of brain injuries. Guest host Peter Duck speaks with Anna Jurak, Executive Director of theBrain Injury Association of Windsor and Essex County.
What Our Clients are Saying…
“Before I attended the Goals group I struggled with loneliness, hopelessness and lack of support, there was no one who understood what the last 5 years has been like since my diagnosis. The Goals group means I have something to look forward to, to be with people who have the same struggles as me, to learn to stay focused on my goals, socialize. I appreciate the tremendous efforts of the Brain Injury Association of Windsor Essex and their supporters, without them I shudder to think where I would have ended up.” Barb, survivor
The BIAWE has been a godsend to me since a family member suffered a catastrophic brain injury 5 years ago. I have attended the “You Are Not Alone “sessions with my family member and it is good to realize there are people who are going through what we are experiencing and that we are not alone in this difficult journey. Listening to everyone’s stories and knowing that there is support for you is most valuable.
The Caregivers’ meetings I attend regularly are so helpful because it is wonderful to talk to people who were experiencing the same emotions, frustrations and problems that I have. To listen to suggestions to help me deal with my situation and to be able to share and help others creates a feeling that I can’t begin to describe. I leave those meetings feeling uplifted and full of hope and I look forward to them every month. C., caregiver