Angela’s Summer 2015 Letter

Dear Friends,

Summer was a busy time for many of us. Relaxation was not on my list of things to do but I found time to enjoy activities such as volunteering at the Special Olympics World Games, attending our son’s engagement party to his longtime girlfriend, assisting my sister-in-law with her new diagnosis with liver cancer, exercising and cherishing quiet times with my husband.

Joy can be found doing the simplest things such as having coffee outside in the morning, watching the flight of hummingbirds, savoring the smell of fresh mint and spending time with friends at B.R.A.I.N. on Mondays for our Cognitive Fitness Class. Each Monday we offered free classes to the Military and a paying class to the civilians. Friendships developed, communications increased, words were shared, handshakes occurred and lots of firing of neurons. Many thanks to the volunteers Richard Zinner, Danielle Shults, and Kimberly Holmes for their efforts in running the classes. We will continue a Fall Cognitive Fitness Class (see below).

I recall the challenges many folks had the first week of the Cognitive Fitness Class – many did not think they could remember names of the class members, the city in which others were born and even the month of their birthdays. However the saying “Don’t let what you can’t do, interfere with what you can do” rang true in this case. Many people live with the fear of not being able to do things therefore not even trying. James Novinger, a brain injury survivor, told me he feels stronger, more capable and has the desire to learn things he found harder in his past.

A good example of overcoming challenges is Daniel Hampton. Daniel was a victim of an assault and has had difficulty fitting in and being accepted due to his pseudobulbar affect (PBA). This is a neurological condition where survivors experience frequent outbursts of uncontrollable crying or laughing. Daniel has been a regular attendee of the Cognitive Fitness Class. He has been focused on learning and applying himself to improve. The positive side effect is that he had only one episode of PBA in 11 sessions. This is a huge improvement for Daniel and those around him too. There is strength in applying yourself and being accepted as a leader. Daniel is a gentle giant and has learned how to assist in the group so he can be looked up to. What joy is that!

As we prepare for a new season of F.B.I. I invite you to attend on September 8th. Invite your friends and be ready for a night of camaraderie, lots of smiles and a few high fives!


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

Lynn Gallandt and I at the Special Olympics

Lynn Gallandt and I at the Special Olympics

Cognitive Fitness Class
Join us Mondays at 11:00am-12:00pm to have an opportunity to stretch your thinking, improve your memory, try out card games that challenge your attention skills and have fun. Lynn Gallandt, Speech Language Pathologist, teaches the class with volunteers. All are welcome. Each class is $15.00.

*Due to low enrollment for the 10am military class we are combining the members and meeting at 11 am.