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Greater Augusta County community partnerships support those with brain injury

crossroads to brain injury recoveryCrossroads to Brain Injury Recovery, Inc. announced a new partnership in Augusta County to serve those in our community. As a recipient of one of the Shenandoah Valley Kiwanis Club Fund grants, administered by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, Crossroads was able to host activities as part of our monthly Augusta County Support Group designed to help individuals with a brain injury lead more independent and productive lives.

“The Shenandoah Valley Kiwanis Club’s recent grant to Crossroads for Brain Injury Recovery will sponsor activities designed to help increase awareness and compassion for those with traumatic brain injury. We are pleased to support the organization and their mission to improve the quality of life for those affected by brain injury,” stated the Shenandoah Valley Kiwanis Club.
The new partnership was enhanced even further by the inclusion of occupational therapy and physical therapy students from Mary Baldwin University’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences who helped organize events, plan outreach, and assist members in navigating transportation challenges as part of their community practicum class. In particular the students planned the Augusta County Support Group activity at the Waynesboro YMCA, leading participants in a yoga session.

“It was amazing to see how well these students planned the event for the support group,” stated Tamara Wagester, Executive Director of Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery, Inc. “Their training and professionalism stood out as they considered yoga activities that included all members of the support group.” The students’ clinical education instructors, Gail Tarleton and Shelley Knewstep-Watkins, expressed deep appreciation to Crossroads for this dynamic partnership that facilitated meaningful student education and valuable community service.

Another highlight of the recent support group activities includes an art therapy project called, “Augusta County – Unmasking Brain Injury,” inspired by a North Carolina based organization called “Unmasking Brain Injury” which nationally promotes awareness of the prevalence of brain injury. It gives those with brain injury a voice and the means to educate others regarding what it is like to live with a brain injury. It also shows others that persons living with a disability due to their brain injury are like anyone else, deserving of dignity, respect, compassion, and the opportunity to prove their value as citizens in their communities.

Crossroads worked with local art therapists from Shenandoah Art Therapy to facilitate the “Augusta County – Unmasking Brain Injury” event. The art therapists guided participants in decorating masks in order to express a wide array of emotions they feel about living with brain injury. Art Therapist and Founder Laura Tuomisto said, “Creating art can give those with brain injuries a voice and a way to be heard and understood when words are either not an option or not enough to fully express the depth of emotion.” The participating artists will have an opportunity to display their decorated masks for others in the community this Spring at the 11th annual Mental Health Art Show in Staunton, VA.

“It was an outstanding opportunity to work with art therapy specialists in an organized setting,” stated Ms. Wagester. She added, “What a privilege to hear members of the support group share their stories and explain through their words and art how their brain injury has impacted their life. Words like fear, silenced, and anger as well as strength, support and appreciation were an important part of their stories.”

Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery is a not-for-profit organization that serves the counties of Rockingham, Augusta, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge and the cities located within. We work to improve the quality of life for those affected by brain injury by helping individuals lead more independent and productive lives. Services include case management, community support services, behavior supports, information and referral, and professional and case consultation.

For more information about Crossroads or the Augusta County Support Group please visit our website at or call 540-568-8923.

augusta free press
augusta free press