After having a couple of art shows last year, the artists are getting ready to exhibit their work at the McGuffey Art Center. Everyone is very excited about this show and to connect with other artists in Charlottesville.
The reception is on the First Friday of the month, the 6th of February 2009 between 5 and 7.30 pm. All pieces will hang throughout the month of February. McGuffey Art Center is located 201 Second Street, NW in Charlottesville.
We are looking forward seeing you again or for the first time.
Here is our flyer:
In December, we celebrated Kevin’s and Zack’s birthday (we will not mention their age!). Heinz baked (or bought) a delicious hazelnut creme cake which we all shared. It was a nice afternoon were we all got together at the Park Street house after art class.
Happy Birthday Kevin and Zack! Photos can be found on our photo page.
In the middle of December, we had a Christmas party at the Belmont house. It was not only a nice occasion to get together with friends and families, but also to invite members of the Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group from Charlottesville. This group was founded in spring of ’08 by John Kampman (the elf in the photos) and Carol Ragland. Residents and staff of Building a Bridge participate regularly in the monthly meetings and decided to have a joined holiday celebration, kindly hosted by the Bel’s.
We had great food, enjoyed the caroling and were surprised by many gifts from Santa Claus. All in all a fun afternoon.
Please go to the photo site to view some of the pictures taken.
The “Bel’s” have new housemates:
Eric (below on the right) is a new residential counselor and started to work with Building a Bridge in November ’08. He lives in the Belmont house with Joan, Kevin and Scott and is an excellent support and wonderful new friend to them.
And there is River, Eric’s son who brings a lot of fun into the house and sometimes stirs up the grown-up world.
Welcome Eric and RIver to Building a Bridge. Please read more about Eric in our staff section.
It can happen to anyone and out of nowhere: an out-of-control car, a slippery sidewalk, an accident on the playing field. It takes but an instant for a persona’s whole world to be turned inside out by brain injury.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America an estimated 5.3 million Americans currently live with disabilities resulting from traumatic brain injury about 250,000 in Virginia, and 5,455 adults in the Thomas Jefferson Health district. Every year, 1.4 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury of different severity, which is one injury every 23 seconds. These numbers include women and men injured while serving in the US Armed Forces.
The brain-injury survivor can go from being an independent, successful adult with responsibilities as a parent or provider to someone totally dependent on the very same people he used to support. Personality, relationships, cognitive skills, and mobility may all be affected. The unique challenge that arises from neurological trauma lies in the sudden and unforeseen changes to one’s identity and circumstance. Survivors are different than they used to be and they know it.
Community-based alternatives have long been a priority for institutional programs in mental health, intellectual disAbilities, substance abuse, justice, aging, and convalescence. Persons with brain injuries however are still on the periphery of the aforementioned services. The astronomical costs for care, the toll on the lives of the families, be it emotional or financial, surmounts all expectations. Past the acute care lies uncertainty, and, most of all, the quickly realized need for long-term care. Nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and group homes are, if available and affordable, an option, but often fall short of a life that can be lived with happiness and dignity. The survivors need programs that address their distinct cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs. We are proud that The Bridge Line is recognized as a model for residential community living and for vocational training for people with brain injuries.
At the end of October, we received two brand new garage doors for our Lexington house as a generous donation.
Here is the story: The Lexington house garage had very old and very heavy wooden doors. One of them had already fallen down and broke; the other one was mostly left open to make sure that opening and closing would not cause this door to crash also. After requesting several estimates and meeting with the professionals, we received a wonderful letter from
Apple Door of Waynesboro, Inc.
and Haas Doors
These two companies offered to donate doors and labor for installation. We were so excited, it came so unexpected. It is very touching that there are companies who understand the needs of non-profit organizations and are happy to help.
Please see below the “before” and “after” pics, and the crew at work.
A big Thank You to Apple Doors Waynesboro, Inc. and Haas Doors from all of us at Building a Bridge.
The Library of Congress celebrates October 2008 National Disability Employment Awareness Month by recognizing the contributions of Americans with disabilities to our society and workforce.
The Library of Congress…
US Department of Veterans Affairs…
The White House…
In observance of this month, the JAG School in Charlottesville is holding a Disability Awareness Fair on Friday the 31st of October.
They invited several organizations:
Lakeview Neurocare, Worksource Enterprises/Breadworks, Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Coming Home to Work Program, National Military Family Association, Arc of the Piedmont, Building a Bridge, Fort Lee Army Community Service (Soldier and Family Assistance Center/EFMP), Military OneSource/Wounded Warrior and Indepencence Fund.
This will be a great opportunity for us to introduce Building a Bridge and to meet other organizations with similar interests. Heinz Kramp, David Smethurst, and Daniela Ghaida will represent Building a Bridge.
It has been a while since we have posted any news. However, many changes have happened over the last months. Sarah had to leave us in August and we wish her well. Just recently, at the end of August, Timo Giersch has joined Building a Bridge. He just finished High School in Germany. His parents are good friends of our resident counselors Daniela and Guido Kramp. Inspired by their change of life, he decided to spend a year with us before he will start college. He certainly will receive a great deal of new experiences while he lives and works as a volunteer in the Lexington House with Mary, Dave and David.
Just last week, Timo enjoyed together with Dave his first UVA football game against Richmond. They had a great time.
Exciting news for all of us:
As of the beginning of June, our friend Mary is a member of Building a Bridge. Since more than a year, she visited us on Wednesdays to join the art therapy where she showed her amazing artistic talent. Everyone enjoyed Mary so much that we could hardly wait for her to be a part of our community. After waiting patiently, she could finally join and just moved into the Lexington house to share her life with David, David, and Sarah, and of course the rest of us.
We welcome you Mary!
The three friends from the Belmont house, Joan, Kevin, and Scott, and Sarah had a wonderful week of vacation up in Martha’s Vineyard. They were invited by Karen, Scott’s sister, and her husband Mike who spend several months in that area. All of them agreed that they had a great time on the beach, lots of fun and adventures. Boston was also included in the trip. Please go to our photo gallery and see some of the photos Joan had taken.