The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association
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As you know, one reason we’re making “Who Am I To Stop It” is because people with brain injuries are so often isolated. The documentary gives more people a chance to get their stories and experiences out to the public. And it asks viewers to reflect on the ways that our fascination with sensational movies with car wrecks, bike wrecks, sports crashes, and the like might distract from really getting to know the person who got a brain injury as a person. The more we know of each other, the more likely we can connect. When we connect, we can work as a team. But when we let our community members become isolated, we decide that one group of people is valued and one group is OK to kind of not worry about.
It’s because I value these stories that can lead to human connection so much that I absolutely love this site I recently found: The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association®. This group is a non-profit led by volunteers. They have 150 volunteers on their team, and they serve people with any type of brain injury of any severity. What they do is provide “Hope, Support, Empathy, Education, and Information for hospitalized and rehabilitating brain injury survivors and their families from someone who has BEEN THERE and DONE THAT! ©” They visit folks in the hospital or rehab center, at home, in a coffee shop, by phone, or through email. The idea is they will meet you where you are, figuratively and literally. Having someone who’s been through similar experiences can be very soothing for the family and person with a brain injury and can work to heal quite a bit of isolation.
[Image description: Logo has the name of the organization. In the middle is a person in profile with a brightly glowing purple brain and a healing, glowing aura around the person. Surrounding that is a purple Celtic braid representing the sharing of experiences between visitors and peers with new brain injury.]
In addition to the massive amount of visiting the peer team does, their website is an extraordinary treasure trove of resources for everyone. I’m delighted by how rich, detailed, and thoughtful the information is, everything from brain injury facts to Veteran’s resources to information for, by, and about caregivers and even children with brain injury to books, movies, and website recommendations. They even have links to other sites that are also treasure troves of information such as The Brain Fairy. While you can find a plethora of information on sites like brainline.org, (a site I do recommend!), the Peer Visitor site has a couple things going for it that make it really special. First off, it’s not filled with pictures, ads, and images to distract the easily-distracted among us. And secondly, you just can’t beat that warm feeling of coming home, knowing that the people building and running the site have first-hand experience with brain injury and life after brain injury themselves.
I encourage you to please visit their site to see what I mean at: www.braininjurypeervisitor.org. Check out whatever calls to you most, whether it’s the personal stories of injury and recovery, apps for mobile devices that support people with cognitive impairments, fact sheets and statistics, or oh my goodness, I can’t list it all!