Recipient of the 2021 COMMUNITY BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR

Brain Injury Association of Waterloo Wellington

Brain Injury Association of Waterloo Wellington

Nominated For: COMMUNITY BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR

The Brain Injury Association of Waterloo-Wellington (BIAWW) is a charitable organization devoted to advocacy, education, connections, and empowerment for individuals with acquired brain injury and their families in the Waterloo-Wellington region. It is our mission is to give support, hope and answers to survivors of ABI as well as their caregivers.

We are thrilled to be nominated for OBIA and PIA Law’s 2021 Award of Excellence for the Brain Injury Association of the Year! Thank you to OBIA and PIA Law for providing these awards.

Like many organizations, we were challenged in the wake of the global pandemic to support our members. Many survivors increasingly reported poorer mental health and increased feelings of isolation. With all in-person programming cancelled, the already existing vulnerabilities of the ABI survivors were exaggerated, thereby exponentially increasing the challenge to meet their needs.

The BIAWW virtual platform that was developed includes weekly chats, speakers, art activities, health and wellness sessions, increased email communications, enriched Facebook and social media content, YouTube channel, an array of virtual drop-in chats, presentations of survivor stories, healthy living activities (mindfulness, yoga, exercise), and activities just for fun to promote engagement.

In addition to our ongoing virtual and phone support for supporting over 500 people in our existing programs and our LidzOnKidz program, we have recently introduced four new programs: Brain Connect (providing technology devices and training), Brain Access (tax filing support), Brain Makers (social enterprise arts) and an Intimate Partner Violence program.

In 2021, we dramatically expanded our LidzOnKidz program, distributing over 1,250 bicycle helmets to children in need through a contact-less give away process in six cities throughout the Waterloo Wellington region in June.

Our Brain Connect effort supported over 50 people in the first year of the program. Providing individually selected technology devices, dedicated training and weekly “tech-talk” sessions, survivors are able to stay connected with their health care providers, their friends and family, reducing isolation and strain of the stay-at-home orders.

The Brain Access program helped many survivors understand, access and file their taxes this year. We plan to expand this program next year, reaching even more survivors to reduce the stress surrounding tax filings.

BIAWWs greeting card making program is reaching more survivors every month! Participants are provided resource “kits” that are delivered/picked up through contact-less means. BIAWW proudly made over 6,000 greeting cards in 2020 which were sold to members and the general public in efforts to raise funds for the association as well as enrich the survivor experience. Survivors and volunteers from BIAWW also contributed to the creation and distribution of over 700 cloth masks to individuals in need throughout the community since the pandemic started.

The BBrain Makers program isn’t letting the lack of in-person opportunities to sell products stop us! We now have a new online store selling our greeting cards, cloth masks, exclusive BIAWW “Brain and Body” aroma products, glass ornaments, jewelry, flower pots and t-shirts, all designed and made by survivors. This social enterprise is providing income to survivors, artistic activities to others and plans to continue to expand the products available and survivors participating.

Our new Intimate Partner Violence program is reaching front-line workers and survivors with information, tools and support in the road to recovery after a brain injury caused by IPV.

We are looking forward to resuming in-person programming and hope to reconnect with those we’ve only met through the computer screen!

biaww.org

16 Comments
  • Concussion says:

    I didn’t know this program even existed until I had my concussion. They have helped me realize I’m not alone in this fight. I enjoy connecting with everyone on the virtual meets and I learn something g new each time I join. Through brain access I received a google home and it has helped me tremendously with remembering medication and knowing what my schedule is along with many other things. Making crafts that are actually being sold makes me feel like as helpless as I am I can still do something g. I really can’t imagine what my life would be without hem there.

  • Ellen Ibele says:

    I just appreciate this association so much on a number of levels. They provide support and speakers that help us understand better the multi-faceted disabilities we now face and provide guidance and tips and; and during the pandemic, provided the equipment, programs, technological training and back-up to ensure none of us felt isolated. An accepting, compassionate and inclusive environment, a great place to make new friends and find new interests to pursue that also bring enjoyment and purpose into a changed life….I am so very thankful!

  • Donna Henri says:

    I honestly don’t know where I would be without this amazing association!!! BIAWW has been my life saver and I have been able to expand what I can do in life because of the art programs and how they have pivoted throughout covid restrictions. This association did not skip a beat and all programs continued just on a different forum. The support and available activity options, including by monthly guest speakers or survivor stories have helped so much. The opportunities for survivors to make cards, and use their many talents to make things and sell them on their online store is fabulous and so uplifting!! So grateful for all they do!!

  • Marg peterman says:

    The BIAWW has been such a tremendous help for my daughter since her traumatic car accident 5 1/2 years ago.
    I am so thankful for their presence and all their support in her life. Also, the community support that they have provided, such as bicycle helmut give-a-ways.

  • Stephanie W. says:

    When I was a student, the BIAWW provided a placement opportunity for me. As a brain injury survivor BIAWW provided programming and opportunities for me to grow and connect with others. As a board member, BIAWW provided an opportunity for me to share my skills and passion for advocacy. In the pandemic, BIAWW literally made the masks that kept me safe. I thank BIAWW for all they have done for me and the larger brain injury community!!

  • Tracy Bulley says:

    The BIAWW goes above and beyond in every way. Not only does in now have online ways to keep in touch, but if you need help or advice with anything you can email or call and Lynda will put you in touch with the right person on the team who can help you. My brain injury was in 2014 from a car accident, I was more of a hermit. But this group has helped me so much in so many ways. Then when I revert back to a hermit I sometimes receive a card in the mail from them. I don’t know any other group more deserving than this one. They truly know how to help every individual person.

  • Marie McDowell says:

    BIAWW has helped my husband to meet and connect with other brain injury survivors. New friendships and support mean a lot. Lynda goes above and beyond on a regular basis and it shows by how much the group has grown over the last few years. Well deserved nomination.

  • Ashley says:

    It doesn’t matter stage of your recovery journey you are in, the BIAWW has a way to help. They provide motivational speakers, access to a professional directory, online social opportunities, craft workshops and card making, access to and training in technology and devices only to name a few of the supports available. They treat everyone as a unique individual and show survivors and caregivers how to succeed on the journey following Brain injury.

  • Darrell Ball says:

    I’ve enjoyed my time with BIAWW.
    I really love to participate in there Tuesday night Bingo. When I’m tired and stressed, knowing that there is an educational person virtually to help me calm down by phone or chat on the computer. Great members to chat with on daily living.
    I will always be a member , and possibly a mentor.

  • Donna F says:

    These past several month have been difficult… So many challenges presented to us in response to all the COVID restrictions and stay at home orders. BIAWW has help in so many ways to keep us all connected. Lynda and her staff have gone above and beyond to provide opportunities for us to be supported. I have certainly benefited from all their hard work.

  • Mary Catherine Ptatschek says:

    My daughter and I have both benefitted from the well organized thoughtful presentations and activities provided by BIAWW. I appreciate the support that this organization so generously shares – Bingo, card making and the challenging fund raiser to mention just a few. There is always something to be involved in and to provide a window away from worries. My daughter talks and shares with others and everyone benefits. No one feels alone in their struggle. I have gotten some excellent ideas on how to be a better support. Thank you BIAWW.

  • Colleen Boyce says:

    Congratulations on this nomination and all you do for the brain injury community.

  • Giselle says:

    Great group of people. Very helpful and very positive. They answer questions as best they can!

  • Sue Bremner says:

    Kind, funny, understanding, patient, kind, resourceful, educational, supportive, advocate, and anything else you could need. This staffing group and members gave me language and resources when I was lost after tbi. They are fully invested in meeting needs!

  • Anonymous says:

    BIAWW is such a wonderful community to be a part of! Everyone is so welcoming and helpful! Especially during this tough year, this association has really made a positive impact on my life. The staff is always more than willing to help and answer any questions. THANK YOU!

  • Michael says:

    The BIAWW has been a godsend! They provided not only a wide spectrum of help, but also a way to give back by volunteering at fundraisers or by helping others.
    Everyone is treated equally and is encouraged to show their uniqueness to others.
    Without the BIAWW and it’s Executive Director, I would be lost…

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