Written by BridgeLine Volunteer, Kaymin Hester
It is no secret that The BridgeLine’s many programs have done a world of good for dozens of adults with brain injuries. However, I had the special opportunity to speak with one of the Clubhouse’s long-time participants, Barbie York. Barbie has been part of the Clubhouse program since 2004 and hearing her experience was an incredible opportunity to dive deeper into the true benefits of The BridgeLine.
The primary aspect that Barbie emphasized was the sense of connection the Clubhouse provides. She spoke about the pervading sense of isolation that became apparent through her recovery from her injury and how the Clubhouse assisted in eliminating this isolation. In fact, many of her friends today are from the Clubhouse and she expressed her satisfaction with the opportunity to interact with a multitude of people whose experiences are both similar to and different from hers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted many programs, both in our community and beyond it, but The BridgeLine has persevered. Barbie spoke about how impactful the program continues to be, even through its virtual format. She applauded the opportunities to get involved that persisted through the transition to virtual Clubhouse meetings and again spoke enthusiastically about the way The BridgeLine allows her to interact with people who understand what it’s like to navigate a brain injury.
Barbie enjoys reading, music, television, and her daily walk around the UVA campus. When asked about what she’d learned from her experience as an adult with a brain injury, she said that it’s important to think about your actions and prepare in advance for any steps you take. Barbie puts this advice into use every day and she thanks The BridgeLine for being so helpful in supporting her.
The BridgeLine features programs dedicated to assisting adults in every stage of rehabilitation, offering both practical and emotional support. Barbie is proof of the benefits of taking advantage of The Bridgeline’s opportunities for encouragement, assistance, and above all, connection. However, this couldn’t be possible without the generous support of The Bridgeline’s donors. All the volunteers, staff, members, and residents are so grateful to be allowed to continue making such a strong impact on our community.