Brain Injury Association of Niagara

Brain Injury Association of Niagara


Thank you for the nomination for OBIA and PIA’s 2023 Community Brain Injury Association of the Year award. We are extremely honoured to be nominated for the third year in a row.

The Brain Injury Association of Niagara (BIAN) is a registered not-for-profit organization, which was founded in 1986 by families whose lives were impacted by acquired brain injury (ABI). BIAN’s mission is to reduce social isolation and improve quality of life for people living with ABI and their families through support, education, advocacy, as well as social, community, and peer opportunities. BIAN’s vision is to be seen as a leader in community education around the needs/issues affecting those living with ABI. As a community service organization with grassroots origins, our members are individuals with unique needs arising from their disability, who also have skills and abilities that can contribute to the wellbeing of other members and to the organization. We proudly support over 600 members within 11 of the 12 local municipalities in Niagara.

BIAN is thrilled to provide an inclusive environment for individuals to better understand themselves and provides opportunities for leadership, meaningful activities and contributing to the well being of others. For some, our services are used to reduce social isolation and provide them with a sense of belonging and community. For others, BIAN provides a safe place to redevelop skills and confidence. Support from BIAN helps each member find their unique path to a meaningful life.

To help us meet our Mission and Vision, BIAN provides members with a welcoming atmosphere and sense of belonging at our Oasis Clubhouse! This is a safe place where members get together to share ideas, skills, and interests. The Clubhouse is an active, ‘doer’ environment where members seek new opportunities, establish friendships, make contributions, and try new activities such as pet therapy, art therapy, music, tasty recipes and horticulture group. Individuals’ strengths and abilities are highlighted, with a focus on inclusivity, collaboration, support and healthy living. For individuals that are unable to access our Clubhouse, we offer hybrid caregiver support groups and virtual check ins. BIAN is also pleased to participate in the OBIA Peer Mentoring program and has been able to successfully link peer mentors with individuals needing support with very positive outcomes.

In addition to our Clubhouse and virtual services, BIAN provides advocacy services including helping individuals access community resources, medical care, housing, legal assistance, employment, transportation, and income support programs. Furthermore, we provide community education using print media, social media and guest speakers who bring expertise regarding maximizing independence following concussions and brain injuries and providing innovative strategies to support members and their family.

To ensure we keep our doors open and support our members, BIAN runs several fundraising events including our signature Mix and Mingle evening, and Kerry’s Head for the Hills walk/run. We also volunteer at several BINGOS which brings in much needed revenue, sell Fundscript gift cards and have held some innovative food pick up events as well. This year we will also be hosting our first ever Golf Tournament at Legends on the Niagara and would love to see you there!

Recently we were most excited to be awarded two grants. The Community Services Recovery Fund grant will allow us to reach out to BIAN members who became disconnected during the pandemic and help them reconnect to our services, as well as other community services they require as a result of COVID-19. This project will provide opportunities to build collaborative relationships with other community service organizations in the Niagara Region so they can better serve individuals experiencing concurrent ABI. The Ontario Trillium Foundation Resiliency Grant will allow us to refocus our fundraising and community engagement efforts by adding new and innovative fundraisers, engaging with new community partners and referral sources (i.e. providing awareness booths at sporting/food/wellness events), providing updated marketing materials about BIAN, collaborating with a videographer to create educational content about concussion/ABI and BIAN services and offering expert workshops such as managing the effects of long COVID cognitive impairments. This grant will also allow us to recruit professionals/volunteers to participate in displays and community/education events. We are excited to see where these opportunities take us, and look forward to providing our Niagara community with expertise and support!

BIAN’s services are open to anyone living with the effects of brain injury and their caregivers in the Niagara region, and we look forward to continuing to serve our community! To learn more about BIAN, please visit our website www.bianiagara.org and connect with us on social media! Please also check out our member video – ‘What BIAN’s Clubhouse means to me!’ on YouTube at https://youtu.be/TW_GDirrRa4.

We would like to thank you again for this meaningful nomination and wish all nominees the best of luck in each award category!

  • Colleen Boyce says:

    Thanks to the BIAN Board of Directors (I may be a little biased as the past and current Chair are part of Bayshore :)), the staff and members for all they do to help and support persons living with the effects of a brain injury; as well as their families. It is wonderful to see the amount of events, recreational activities, fundraising initiatives, meaningful and productive activities BIAN does. Congratulations on this well- deserved nomination!

  • Victoria Sweetman says:

    Congratulations on your 3rd nomination, BIAN. Good luck!

    • Katie Schinkel says:

      Thank you so much Victoria, we are so happy to support the Niagara community and appreciate your support!

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