Angela’s May 2017 Letter

Dear Friends,

The month of May has brought many new people to B.R.A.I.N.  Some seek information about their loved one with a brain injury, some need someone to talk to, and some need to be somewhere

Angela Mandas, MA CCC-SLP

where they are known.  On any given day, the nonprofit is buzzing with energy.  It kicks off Monday morning with Yoga for the Brain, and then neurons fire with the Cognitive Fitness Class that follows.  This leads to individual and group therapies.  On Tuesday night, people gather at B.R.A.I.N. for Friends of Brain Injury (F.B.I.) where collectively 80-130 people welcome each other, practice conversation skills, challenge themselves in mind blowing exercises, and feel supported.  The continued theme for this Spring has been “Happy People….” Two specific weeks stand out for me as the F.B.I. Group Facilitator.  The 3rd Tuesday’s theme was, “Happy People Accept Others.”  Curriculum was based on the premise that healthy brains require accepting themselves and others despite differences.  Discussion ensued about a quote I used from Steve Maraboli, PhD., an author and coach who quipped, “stop expecting others to show you respect when you don’t show that respect to yourself.”  Some folks shared that it is easier to accept others, but loving yourself for something like riding a motorcycle and crashing is difficult.  Loving others is based on the Ten Commandments and it can be lip service for those who alienate themselves from attending church or following these laws of life.  The 4th week of FBI was on “Happy People Look to Their Future with Hope.”  Hope is the opposite of fear.  Hope is aligning yourself with the belief that good things will happen, baby steps in continued recovery will occur, and life has meaning and richness.  A video was shown about a young Italian woman who became ill with meningitis causing her to lose her four limbs.  Her inner drive at age 14 and her belief that she could continue sports such as her passion for fencing, drove her to winning the gold in the Rio Paralympics.  Her inner spirit, her family support, and her ability to hope for a better tomorrow provided her with the impetus for success.

In the room after the video, there was an applause for this young athlete. There was a moment in which the word, “Hero” was suggested.  The Everyday Heroes were in the room and they had an opportunity to discuss their plans for their future, and regardless of the time it may take them to achieve the goal they brought forward, the audience cheered each person on as if they already accomplished their goals.  Wow! You should have been there!

In closing, Rick Warren, pastor and author has said, “other people are going to find healing in your wounds.  Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”  Please support us financially, pray for everyone who enters B.R.A.I.N., and witness for yourself on Tuesday night, Hope.

Sincerely,

Angela Mandas, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
F.B.I. Group Facilitator