Christmas Party at the Belmont house!

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.

New staff at the Belmont house!

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.

Building a Bridge received an early Christmas gift!

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.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

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.

A new volunteer!

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.
Welcome Timo!

Welcome Mary!

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 Bel’s are tripping!

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.

A New Addition to Building a Bridge!

Wonderful news: Daniela and Guido Kramp just joined Building a Bridge as new staff members. They arrived only a few weeks ago, freshly imported from Hamburg, Germany. Not only did they come with lots of energy, motivation and good sense of humor but also with their two children Jeremy and Justin.

Jeremy Justin

While they still fight bureaucracy and wait for the container with all their household goods, they already started to take charge of many tasks and care for the Belmont house.

We are all very excited to have them with us and cordially welcome them. Please check our staff site for more info.

New membership!

We are happy to announce that Building a Bridge is now member of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. Its Non-Profit Council represents and focuses upon the needs and interests of the Chamber’s vibrant non-profit community organizations; a series of workshops is aimed at the needs of non-profit staff and Board members.

This membership will aid us to network within the Community of Charlottesville and to promote our organization.