HeadStrong for Life at Washington State annual TBI Conference

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If you go to the HeadStrong for Life Facebook page, you’ll see some definitions of the word “headstrong.” Simple things like “directed by ungovernable will” and “not easily restrained.” Aren’t those fabulous images of people living with brain injury having agency, choices and passions? I love it! As a matter of fact, it reminds me of why we named this documentary film “Who Am I To Stop It”!

HeadStrong worked very closely with Dani’s family after her TBI, giving them all types of resources and support. They do this. They show up and swoop in with tools, ideas, mentors, trainings, and even care packages for families who spend the night in ICU with their injured loved ones. Some young people and families stick with HeadStrong for years, going to social events, working on projects, and taking part in mentor trainings. Some don’t. Either way, they are always there for you, unwaveringly.

HeadStrong is presenting at the annual TBI Conference in Washington State on April 28th, 2014. The session is called “Meaningful Projects and Activities for Youth after Traumatic Brain Injury.” HeadStrong folks don’t tell you to just go out, find a meaningful project and do it. They have a full-on structure and support system for the process. And it’s not just about rehabilitation or skill-building; it’s about connecting with your identity and your interests and developing opportunities to contribute, to create, to engage. So rather than a training session (they do lots of amazing trainings!) this session will be your chance to meet a handful of young adults who successfully are re-engaging with the arts after their severe brain injuries.

You’ll meet Kory Christiansen who created Weirdstock, Bobbi-Jo Marlin who is now getting back into creating and editing videos, and Dani Sanderson from this documentary who’s been performing her raps at events in Washington. I’ll be there showing a clip from “Who Am I To Stop It” and interviewing any of the panelists who prefer to be interviewed rather than just improvise. Desiree from HeadStrong says I can be on the panel as one of the young adults, but I’m not so sure I can quite get away with that anymore. But I have experienced what they talk about in finding and doing meaningful projects that make you feel alive rather than just pass the time. And I have been completely honored these past two years to be working on this documentary where I watch other people go through this connection as well.

Please come to the conference! Tell everyone! We’re on at 3:45 pm on Monday afternoon. The session will have music, video, conversation and a lot of fun. (Come early to hear music written and performed by young adults who live with brain injury.) The session may be down to earth, but you won’t be able to escape the not easily restrained excitement and pride in the room.