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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

San Diego Brain Injury Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Brain Disorders, Health

Mission: To improve the quality of life for brain injury survivors and their families living in San Diego County.

Results: Much of our efforts this year has been to maintain the programs and services we currently provide for our survivors. This includes our monthly supports group meetings, our helpline and newsletter.

Target demographics: Primarily survivors of all ages, their a families and caregivers of San Diego County. Our website, however, allows us to reach the brain-injury community throughout the country.

Geographic areas served: the brain injury community of San Diego

Programs: Helpline, monthly support group meetings, newsletter, hospital outreach program, speakers bureau

Community Stories

109 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great resource for the community. I refer patient's to their website almost daily.
Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a TBI survivor and found SDBIF in January when I was referred to them from my out patient therapy. What a Godsend. The programs are very helpful and spot on. Io have learned how to navigate applying to social security and my husband (caregiver) has learned tips on how to deal with me as well. The conversion to an online platform has worked well too. I'm so glad I found this organization who understands all I am going through and is there to support me and my family. Thank you for all you do.

Lornix

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is terrific. The activities, educational events and caring personnel are the best. Having a brain injury is difficult enough and this group allows connection with others who are survivors. The support is sorely needed and means a lot of all of us.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDBIF helped us so much when my husband suffered a massive stroke. We attend the presentations which are interesting and informative. More than that, it's good to be around people who also have the same experience and are dealing with brain injuries. SDBIF has created a community of caring support for us.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son incurred a TBI 4 years ago. He has attended the TBI education classes through SDBIF. The classes & social interactions have been a phenomenal help in his recovery. All inter actions we have had at the foundation with the staff have been exceptional. I can attribute a lot of his recovery success to this foundation & they have been a wealth of information to his family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDBIF is a great organization for assisting those that have to handle and get through the problems that arise in the aftermath of brain injuries.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I suffered my TBI 11 years ago. When I was released from my rehab program at Scripps hospital they referred my wife and I to the SDBIF. This foundation was extremely helpful in providing TBI resources, as well as a safe place to share our experience. SDBIF was a God send!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely amazing organization! If you or someone you know has a concussion/brain injury, SDBIF is a treasure trove of info and resources to help the recovery process.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The SDBIF does so much for brain injury survivors and their families. My son has been a part of this organization since 2014 and they have been a great partner during his recovery from a severe TBI in 2013. Great people with an important mission.

1 Donovan C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been affiliated with SDBIF ever since I got of the hospital after suffering a severe traumatic brain injury, back in 2014. Volunteers, Board Members, and every attendee at SDBIF events are very amiable and kind hearted. The former CEO, Susan Hansen, has still been an active part of the community since retiring, and current CEO, Kurt Buske, is personable with volunteers and members. Both are wonderful people to be around.

Every year, the SDBIF holds a few key events, such as the Walk for Recovery in March and the Friendraiser in September. The Walk for Recovery is a brain injury awareness walk facilitated by board members and volunteers of the SDBIF, where both members of the general public and brain injury survivors take part; it is hosted in March because March is TBI awareness month.

The Friendraiser, held in early to mid September, is a art showcase wear Survivors who are artists of any kind can display and even sell their art. I myself have been a vendor at the Friendraiser for 3 years now, and have sold many pieces of artwork every year there.

I have made many connections through the SDBIF, with fellow survivors, their families, and other members/attendees alike. I highly regard their contribution to the brain injury community and all the resources the provide to brain injury survivors and their families (support groups, educational sessions and resources, access to assistive technologies, etc.)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The last review by "Asking" is unacceptable. Two stars just because your accountant doesn't understand how to read their income sheet??? The website you "quoted" (open990) does a TERRIBLE job of explaining where their funds came from (donations or fee payments) and then how they are divided up to be spent. If you SIMPLY go to their website you can read all about Howard House and the services they provide for the 8 residents there. Now EACH resident has to pay a hefty price to live there with 24-hour caretakers. This is NOT donated/fundraised $$—AND DEFINITELY NOT their primary purpose.

This is one of the most outstanding and caring foundations I have volunteered with. Anyone who knows this foundation knows that they pour 150% of their heart and soul into making sure that anyone affected by brain injury feels like they have somewhere to go and turn to. The number of people that SDBIF helps in SD and around the country is incredible since there are only 2 staff members. The money that they fundraise goes directly to providing the telephone helpline, monthly Saturday speaker series meetings, online network, brain injury peer support groups, Day of Arts, the Brain Injury Guide (a printed book), the newsletter, and so many other programs that provide hope and comfort for soooo many.

BOTTOM LINE...every dollar fundraised goes to public services and NOT the Howard House operations; every dollar PAID for services for residents at Howard House go to Howard House operations. Simple.

Great foundation...more people need to become a brain injury "friends"!!!

17

Donor

Rating: 2

I am a survivor of a brain injury. And the medical community really didn't have anything to offer me for recovery - I was on my own.

Luckily for me I saw a notice for a meeting about brain injury - this was the SDBIF support meeting in Encinitas. I have to tell you that the first year I attended these monthly meetings I was completely lost- most of my ability to understand what I heard was really gone.
But I FELT really welcome at SDBIF and I kept showing -up. Those monthly SDBIF meetings were like a clubhouse for me and provided me a place to belong, a community who understood me, and vital information on resources.

Now the reason I'm giving SDBIF only 2 stars is that the name and it's "mission" are misleading. This what my accountant told me when he said 'no way' to my donation-

SDBIF primary purpose is to operate and run Howard House, a residence for 6 brain injury survivors. And there's actually a wonderful story about how it came to be. BUT my accountant had a hard time with their tax forms (https://www.open990.org/org/330072774/san-diego-brain-injury-foundation/) because it looks like when you or I donate to SDBIF - 93 cents of every dollar go to running Howard House (as reported to IRS) ? I wanted to donate towards the annual ' Head Strong' walk
which is a great community celebration. It's also SDBIF's #1 promotional piece shown to donors and business sponsors. My accountant's over-all question was just how much of that fundraising goes to services provided to the
community? Turns out it might be just 6% (about$40K) -that's 6 cents of every dollar.

I am very grateful to the SDBIF and to the many wonderful people I have met there- but as a business, it needs to be more transparent and honest.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

SDBIF_admin 10/02/2020

Hello "Asking", We are glad that you find our resources and people beneficial and helpful. It is important to us to clarify the financial information that your accountant misunderstood and therefor relayed incorrect information to you: 1) The annual FUNDRAISING income for SDBIF is only about $100,000. ALL that money goes directly to providing FREE services to brain injury survivors and their friends/family (around 5,000 people). No donated money goes to Howard House operations. 2) Howard House is a Fee-For-Services residence. This means that the 8 people living there PAY to live there with caretakers. The money that they pay (not donated or fundraised) goes directly to their 24-hour care. This is where the remaining $700,000 comes from. 3) Guidestar does not always provide the most accurate picture of a nonprofit's financial position. If you have concerns about donating to us or another non-profit, please contact their office to discuss your concerns in person.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This foundation has been such a wonderful resource for myself, the survivor, and for my family as we navigate a new path! The support and resources of professionals has been absolutely clutch. They provide so much individualized help and support. I cannot imagine life after brain injury without a wonderful group like this that brings us survivors and professionals together to better the journey for us all. Thank you seems inadequate at this point so I try to give back as much as I can and SDBIF helps me do that.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WOW, the Zoom meeting with San Diego Disability Law Group was something that we really needed and we didn't know where to go. We've tried reaching out to several large law firms, but we didn't have any luck. Thank you for hosting this meeting, it was very helpful and now we know who to contact directly and start getting things done.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have survived 2 strokes and 4 traumatic brain injuries. I spent a semester in the care of the Mesa College ABI Program. I will forever be indebted to the program and the SDBIF for their support and for providing me with resources.

2 Jeff C.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

A great local resource for TBI/ABI survivors and their caregivers.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is in response to the review that was posted on 5/10/20...you are completely correct when you say that they are "an outstanding group of dedicated people", but much of what you have stated is incorrect. Yes, there are 2 paid staff members that manage the office, but they have many other personnel to manage the ONLY long-term residential care facility for brain injury survivors in San Diego (Howard House). What SDBIF can do with their small budget is truly incredible. Having volunteered with SDBIF for almost 20 years, I know that their volunteer crew is a vital part of their ability to do so much. They have cultivated great camaraderie between all of us and I am honored to serve such a noble organization.

Just SOME of the services they provide include: the telephone helpline, an online brain injury community network, continuing education survivor scholarships, Howard House residency, hosting monthly Saturday meetings, Day of Art and so much more. AND I know that they are planning on initiating many more programs over the next few years (i.e. a survivor case management program)…but all of this takes funding, which is harder to get than you can imagine. The SDBIF Board actually meets once a month, NOT once a year—and consists of survivors, professionals and family/friends of survivors. Creating and sustaining programs such as job training for survivors takes a significant amount of money, but that is why they partner with programs like the ABI program at SDCCD that already provides these sorts of programs.

They understand that there are many unmet needs in this community, but they try to address as many as they can—and I think they are doing a great job! They are the hub for anyone who has been affected by brain injury, not just in San Diego but around the country. For such a small organization, they provide sooooo many people with soooo much.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Their work in the brain injured community is unparralleled. What they have achieved and the number of people they have helped is incredible. I am proud to help support their projects and programs and hope others will join our cause!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 2

The mission of the SDBIF is to support and provide advocacy to the brain injuried community here in San Diego. They have always been an outstanding group of dedicated people. What is probably not known is that there are only 2 actual paid staff who run a small office. The rest of the foundation is made up of volunteers- from the board of prominent medical professional that meet once a year- to the families and survivors who donate time and money
These are a great group of people but who exactly is running the foundation and what exactly is the funding going for?
Have any new education materials been developed? What about creating partnerships with small biz for job training programs? Alot of obvious needs not addressed.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

stephanie236 06/11/2020

Thanks for your comments. We would like to clarify a few things. We are a small organization with a small budget. Although we have a very small staff at our main office, our organization actually employs over 15 dedicated staff members, most of whom work at our unique residential care facility for brain injured adults. Having a small staff means low overhead and approximately 90% of each dollar of our budget is dedicated to direct services. Although we do have several medical professionals on our Board, please note that 1/3 of our Board is composed of brain injury survivors. There are certainly numerous needs in the brain injury community that are obvious to us. We have a vision to meet several priority needs in our community, but the availability of funding for brain injury programs is very limited. We continue to advocate in this regard for our community. Contact us at info@sdbif.org or (619) 294-6541 to share your thoughts and learn what we are doing to address the community's needs

Review from Guidestar

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Responsive, professional, dedicated staff. As a healthcare professional, I appreciate being able to connect patients and families with this incredible organization.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a Ruptured Brain Aneurysm Survivor!!
It’s sooooo nice to have this Group to lean on.
Much Love & Big HuGs from my Family!!

2 Mary M.18

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDBIF was there to support my family with answers and resources when my son was injured in a ski accident and we did not know what kind of recovery he would have. We have attended many meetings and learned so much from the presenters. The scholarships they give are also a wonderful way of supporting survivors of brain injury towards continuing their journey towards their goals.

1 Sarah H.11

Client Served

Rating: 5

After years of struggling to get help for repetitive head injury from electroconvulsive therapy, I connected with San Diego Brain Injury Foundation. I wish I'd met them a decade ago! Within minutes they'd helped brainstorm transportation issues. Later they connected me with a variety of resources I didn't even know existed. The personalized needs assessment helped me brainstorm supports that have improved my quality of life. I'm so grateful for Kurt and the others at SDBIF. Now I don't feel alone in navigating the world of brain injury.

1 Patsy S.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

SDBIF is full of survivors, loved ones, professionals and friends who want to help make a better quality of life for this community. I've been fortunate to have been involved with this group for many years. Honesty, integrity, compassion, dedication, focus, and hard work, is what I've seen. Other groups are copying this model, as it gives a leg up to brain-injured people. "You are not alone."

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Megan Hurley & I’m a traumatic brain injury survivor from 2008. When I left the hospital over 11 years ago, I received no information about my injury, the care I needed, & the ways my life & my family’s lives, would change forever. The San Diego Brain Injury Foundation & Stephanie Bidegain are incredible parts of the community to help survivors transition home from their initial injury and continue to empower them with support & guidance. Brain injury is more prevalent than people realize & than people talk about. Every 23 seconds someone in the United States suffers a brain injury each year. (Source www.ninds.nih.gov) Survivors need recovery resources now more than ever, & more public support & education. For 2 years, I've led team WALK STRONG WITH MEGAN in the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation’s annual Headstrong Walk for Brain Injury Recovery Resources, because I've experienced what is not available for us. In 2017, I published the story of my accident & journey of recovery; Hope Survives: Strength After a Traumatic Brain Injury with all proceeds donated to SDBIF.  I'm very proud to be a part of the SDBIF. I'm dedicated to being a VOICE of HOPE & STRENGTH for brain injury. I will not be a silent survivor because I want to speak for those who no longer can. Let's JOIN our BRAVE voices together.

1 Phelicia H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my son was hit by a car and suffered a severe brain injury I was at a loss. I didn't know anything about a brain injury. I google help in our area and found the SDBIF. They were so pleasant when I called asking questions for aide and knowledge. Just listening to the concerned voice on the other end made me feel like I wasn't alone in this journey. When my son was able, we attended the annual brain injury walk. Love poured out from this event, seeing others further along or some a little behind my son's progress gave me such hope and happiness for our new brain injured life. I would recommend this nonprofit to those effected as well as others who just want to learn more about brain injuries and give support to the community.

Lauren K.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury 4 years ago. It is a very co.pmicated and scary situation to suddenly be thrown into the complicated medical world of brain injury. The San Diego Brain Injury Foundation is a wonderful group of volunteers that provide support, networking and community outreach to provide help when it is needed most. They have a "how to" book given to newly injured families to help navigate the way.
Thank you SDBIF.❤

1 dangardner

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I appreciate the valuable education and support that the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation gives to the community. And I enjoy reconnecting with my friends and colleagues at the Friendraiser to celebrate our close collaboration.

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

San Diego Brain Injury foundation has provided excellent education and support to numerous TBI survivors and families with whom I have worked over the past 40 years. I applaud their tireless dedication and ongoing high quality services. San Diego is fortunate to have this organization as a resource.

Dan Gardner, MD
Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
Voluntary Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine

Read more
1 Sabrina P.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had the best time at this event. The wine and food tasted amazing. The artist and their stories were overwhelmingly inspiring. It was a night to remember.

Brandi M.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SDBIF is a wonderful, thoughtful and inspiring non-profit organization that helps MANY survivors (as well as caregivers, families, etc.) with brain injury find supports within their area for a better quality of life. They also hold monthly meetings to help build a brain injury community and share about community resources. The website is EXTREMELY helpful in providing several different types of resources to survivors, etc., including: San Diego county meeting list, food resources, housing information, community events and many more!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I think i got my 1987 brain trauma injury re injured in the San Diego Superior family court divorce proceedings whereby the family law attornies have taken $300,000 of my retirement at age 60. I really need some bti advocacy. Do you know an attorny who might be a good bti advocate and legal support on my behalf?

Kami C.

Donor

Rating: 5

My brother Kyle G. Cooprider has been a part of the SDBIF family for many years. Once he arrived from Germany, my parents Patti and Coop Cooprider found SDBIF on Saturdays to be a place Kyle felt accepted and welcomed! Kyle even gets to joke and speak a bit of German with Chuck (thank you Susan) - and another at ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) speaks German at Mesa College. Kyle, being connected like this, and adding the Ken Goldman's Art Classes -- they keep Kyle saying "I'm Kyle with a Smile" when I'm not "Vinci Van Kyle". Thank you SDBIF. Kami

Board Member

Rating: 5

SDBIF is a great resource for TBI survivors and their families. They provide informative monthly Saturday meetings for survivors, families, and caregivers. The guest speakers are very knowledgable and present the information at the appropiate level for TBI survivors.
The Survive Headstrong Walk for Recovery, Golf Tournament, and Friendraiser are annual events that SDBIF provides for the brain injury community that brings survivors, families, and friends together.
SDBIF provides survivors activities such as Day of Art and Friday Night Liberty (which highlights survivor artists.)
The SDBIF website has a wealth of information and resources.

I am proud to be a Board Member of this wonderful organization

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of volunteering with the SDBIF over the summer of 2018. The organization is very welcoming, and is a great support network for individuals who have suffered from a brain injury. The leadership is strong and organized, and values each and every member of the org as its own. For example, there are special events for members to take part in, and parents are welcome to join and are also provided support. Activities are fun, therapeutic, and bring closeness to the members. Proud to have been part of a great foundation!
-Jena G

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The San Diego Brain Injury Association is a very helpful resource for anyone who has experienced a brain attack. I have worked in physical rehabilitation as a recreation therapist and know the importance of having support for the family and survivor when the initial rehab is completed and their new life begins. Susan and Stephanie are very helpful and friendly and work collaboratively with many rehab centers to build that bridge back to the community. Thanks for all you do!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was so fearful about the future, and reeling from the overwhelming sense of loneliness I was experiencing after my husband suffered a stroke. I felt like I was the only one who was going through what I was going through, and I was desperate for relief. I learned from a friend that stroke is just one of the many types of traumatic brain injuries, and that I might find some help for myself at the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation. I called their number, and the very kind and patient person who answered the phone that day invited me to attend one of their meetings.

At that first meeting, I met other caregivers who assured me that they understood what I was going through. I also heard some very real and practical ideas for getting more support for myself as well as for my husband. Perhaps the most important benefit we have received so far from participating in just a few activities with SDBIF is that my husband now knows people with brain injuries who are living full lives. And those people and their families are more than happy to share with us what they did to get to where they are today.

I am quite grateful to the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation. I feel like I have friends there.

1 guzman19

Board Member

Rating: 5

Informative and impactful - SDBIF is a wonderful non-profit for those injured and their families. Tremendous resources and support!

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Professional organization that truly shows they care about this community

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As retired teachers, we are happy to be volunteers for SDBIF. It is a hard-working group doing good things for many people who have had unfortunate set backs in their lives. They do their tireless work with good cheer and optimism. It is great to be a part of this.

Gary and Andrea Matthews

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We happened upon this fine organization a few years ago and have assisted them with mailings and other things. We are impressed by the caring folks who work so tirelessly for the many people they are helping in so many ways. It is hard to imagine a more worthy group.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As retired teachers, we are happy to be volunteers for SDBIF. It is a hard-working group doing good things for many people who have had unfortunate set backs in their lives. They do their tireless work with good cheer and optimism. It is great to be a part of this.

Gary and Andrea Matthews

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was introduced to the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation around four months after I came home from college at 18 with major compound concussions and a diagnosis of never being able to care for myself on my own ever again. My parents had no idea what to do with me, and didn't understand the major change in my personality and behavior. They were given little to no instruction by my neuroscientist at the time and were just as lost as I was. SDBIF gave me life skills tools, classes, and a renewed sense of strength and hope that I could be independent again someday. They provided my family with information, support, and resources; they felt that they were empowered in their role as caretaker. I left the program feeling that I would recover - perhaps not that I would ever be the same again, but that I could live a life worth living.
A little over 10 years later, I am now in my final semesters of a masters program to become a marriage and family therapist to help other families like my own find their own strength and hope in light of the fear that TBIs bring. I am convinced that if it wasn't for SDBIF, my life would not be what it is now!

1 Susan K.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My brother Richard suffered a brain injury at birth 65 yrs ago. He never quite fit in...Howard House and SDBIF has given my brother new friends and a family of caring professionals.
Thank you
God Bless
Susan Knob

1 Barbara111

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDBIF has been by far the most helpful agency in the life of my son who is a brain injury survivor! Without the input from their staff and volunteers, my son's life would be very different and much less fulfilling. They provided me guidance after the first shock of his accident, and then ongoing care and support as he worked his way through his new life. They have an amazing array of resources to share with anyone who needs it!!

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDBIF has been instrumental in helping our family through the maze of information and disinformation about my son's brain injury. Without their guidance at a critical time in our lives, I doubt that our outcome would be nearly as positive as it has been. Their monthly meetings are so helpful for both survivors and their families/careproviders that it is hard to miss one.

SDBIF is a wealth of knowledge about resources, activities, educational opportunities, and counseling. Recently a friend of mine also suffered a brain injury of a very different type than my son's injury. I knew immediately how to get her involved with SDBIF and their adjunct services. She has told me how grateful she is for the outreach and support they provide.

This is a unique organization that is extremely well run by very compassionate people who have immediate knowledge about brain injury - not just a bunch of goody-two-shoes college graduates with no experience.

If you ever need anything related to acquired brain injury in the San Diego area - this is THE place!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SDBIF Takes incredible efforts and consideration to make a positive change for people and families affected by Brain Injuries. They find ways to make fundraising fun and bring people together. It is a wonderful organization with a fantastic goal and members!

1 Jason B.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SDBIF is dedicated to helping those with acquired brain injury. They provide outstanding support for those injured and their family

1 Heike K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great organization, dedicated, ethical people! So many wonderful events for the brain injury community in this area--the Survive headstrong Walk, the annual Friendraiser, and more recently, the Day Of Art for survivors to explore their creative and expressive talents.

Proud to be a Board member!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The San Diego Brain Injury Foundation serves the brain injury community in many exemplary ways through its survivor-focused activities, such as Art Day, First Friday at Liberty Station (to highlight survivor artists), and excellent monthly educational guest speakers. SDBIF also brings survivors, families and professionals together in great events such as the annual Survive Headstrong Walk, the Golf Tournament, and the Friendraiser featuring music, art, food, wine, and crafts produced by survivors. I am proud to be a Board Member of this wonderful organization!

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an SDSU university student working on my master's degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling (helping person with disabilities find careers and employment). At the suggestion of one of my professors, I began volunteering with the SDBIF in 2014 and have made almost every south county meeting and event they have put on. At the once-a-month Saturday morning meetings, I help with set up and break down of the tables and chairs, as well as listen closely to the guest speakers that come to speak to the average of 30 persons per meeting about issues of significant interest to this population. They are an invaluable asset to the rehabilitation community in their promotion and advocacy for people who may have congenital deficits or Traumatic Brain Injury. They help with issues ranging from the simple task of inputting information into a smart phone, to navigating the programs offered by SSI and SSDI. For anyone desiring to volunteer for a good cause, this group is it and they do need this continued support from the foundation.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was referred to the SDBIF about 3 years ago by Southern Caregiver Resource Center. I first went to a couple of meetings around December and realized what a great group of folks were working together to help those who had brain injuries. They did a Christmas skit with professionals and clients alike and it was a hoot.

What struck me most was the folks who spoke at a couple of the meetings. One was a lady who worked at San Diego State in the research department who herself had been in an accident and had a brain injury. This injury manifested in many odd behaviors which even her colleagues had trouble dealing with. She looked quite normal and she spoke with her usual cadence but she had difficulty with memory and moods etc. She would cry "at the drop of a hat". This alienated her even from the colleagues in the same department where she worked. Her condition was improving steadily and she was able to do more and more as time passed. She was an inspiration to us all and she and her husband were committed to finding ways to help those who had Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI's) and Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI's). Also the information that I got from the Brain Injury magazine was helpful in preparing a program for the court to help our son get some mandatory treatment. I was able to list and research groups and classes which allowed us to begin a program of recovery for our son.
.
It also struck me that the SDBIF Group were open to new, innovative and pioneering types of therapy and treatments for brain injuries. They had someone give a presentation on Homeopathy. I had been to other meetings where drugs were the order of the day and odd and questionable behaviors were always classified as mental illness without much consideration of the cause. This was not the case with this group.

Since I am an avid proponent of more natural and non-invasive therapies I am always interested in what is happening in functional medicine vs the more drug/cut/burn protocols that are promoted by standard medicine. The SDBiF is open to all the modalities of treatment without condemning or condoning any one in particular. It is entirely up to the participants and their caregivers to make their choice what is best for them.

I was given options and information without hesitation. Everyone I spoke to was kind and friendly and very helpful.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In the wake of our daughters brain injury, we were absolutely unsure of what was to come for her. The SDBIF stepped in prior to her discharge to educate us on brain injuries and their resources. We had a unique opportunity for our daughter to attend the SDBIF Brain Injury Learning Center. She is thriving. All of the staff are interested in the best interest of the clients they serve and do all things with loving hearts. I am indebted to the SDBIF and often refer people for services or simply to volunteer. Thank you SDBIF.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had a stroke in 2005. I attended many SBIF meetings. I was able to speak with other people with brain damage. Sometimes only people who have been thru the same thing actually understand. For example, I would tell a friend that I had memory issues and the friend would insist she had them also. She had no idea about my type of memory issues and another survivor would.

The meetings always had useful speakers addressing the real needs of the brain injured community. Some of speakers spoke about accessing social services or learning to cope.

The San Diego Brain Injury Foundation creates a community of people addressing both the survivors and their caregivers.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SDBIF provides outstanding service to the brain injury survivors in San Diego County along with support to caregivers. We are fortunate to have them right here in San Diego!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Excellent and practical information and resources to empower the individual with a brain .injury.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDBIF provides very helpful meetings every month, sometimes with lecturers that I personally had during my rehab therapy at Sharp hospital. They also provide many opportunities for brain injured people to play adaptive sports, and have various groups to join.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As 2016 comes to an end, my pride and awe for this organization continues to grow. This group has been tireless this year. I am most proud of the connections we have made in the community and the collaborative projects we have completed. So happy that we finished the revision of the family handbook and that we are working together to get it delivered to our local hospitals; that our fundraising has been successful--enabling us to donate to both the Brain Injury Association of California and the Brain Injury Association of America; that we were able to continue our mission to educate and support survivors and their caregivers; that we could sponsor the Walk celebrating the victories of survivors; that Howard House continues to serve the purpose of a safe and healing residence for survivors; and that we continue to look for other opportunities to support brain injury survivors in San Diego county. Feeling blessed to be a part of SDBIF

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was impressed that SDBIF was staffed primarily by volunteers-survivors, family members, professionals in the field and others interested in supporting the quality of life of survivors. In joining this band of 'go getters', I found tireless efforts to raise funds, identify need, educate and reach out to other organizations to strengthen the network of support for the disabled. I am proud to be a part of SDBIF.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I Barbara Bates have been an active member of the Brain Injury Foundation for a few years. I am a brain injury survivor. I am very happy to be a part of this Foundation. I am with people that are learning strategies to cope with a brain injury. Before learning about the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation. I was in a circle that was crazy and a good life. I learned and believed that I have a brain injury. My life is not in a circle anymore. I have friends and people that are learning more strategies in coping with a brain injury. I am taking classes in their Acquired Brain Injury program at Mea College. I am learning to organize my stuff. I now can take a supply out use it.Then put it away. This makes my bedroom more livable. Along with being an artist. The Brain Injury Foundation of San Diego allows me to show and sell my art. I am coloring in an adult coloring books. It is very relaxing. I am learning to communicate better with myself and my communication is more effective to others around me. Mostly I am learning to be kind to myself and those around me. I am learning something new everyday about my injury plus I understanding things better. I am safe getting on and riding the bus. Best of all. I feel safe now.
I am a part of one big family. Thank you to The Brain Injury Foundation and Acquired Brain Injury Program teachers and friends my wonderful family and friends. I see differently now. I am very grateful for your support.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 16 YEAR experience with THE San Diego Brain Injury Foundation has always been exceptional and timely. Whenever I phone them, I always receive prompt and totally helpful information, to aide me in my quest to try and overcome what ever obstacle I am currently facing. They have been kind and very understanding... (something that an ABI injured person doesn't always receive: It is an injury that, sometimes, doesn't show) The resources they refer me to are accurate and timely. Sometimes, it is just speaking with me kindly and slowly until I can get a handle on being able to describe my need. I feel safer because they are always there for me.... I have been, for the most part, able to navigate the 'mazes' life throws in my way, due directly to their help and kindness. We are lucky to have the resources we have in San Diego.... ONE OF A KIND!!! GREAT WORK!!!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hello, my name is Raymond Ruffin, I suffered a gangolia stroke in 2011 and participated in the
SDBIF program on the Mesa college campus. It is the one major factor that have enabled me
to be a survival.

I met some the compassionate and caring friends ,teachers, and therapist there are to be found anywhere at anytime on the face of the earth. I suffered depression and cognitive
problems. These affected my self esteem, mental awareness, and memory.

When I withdrew from the program I was able to enter into mainstream life and function
acceptably and appropriate. I am still using the skills and understanding of my condition
to help me cope, and very well , I must say.

I am using memory and cognitive brain techniques learned in the classes taken during my
stay in the program, I even told my doctor about how competent the program is!
To this day, I still miss the day to day interactions that are common in the program and
I recommend the program for any patient that suffers a brain injury,no matter how sever or
simple, the program is magnificent and I can personally say I know of no one who has
participated that doesn't have high regards for the program, teachers, or comrades.

This program should be more widely recommended by physicians world wide, it offers
support and knowledge,understanding, and compassion for survivals and care givers
that can make the difference between thriving and just surviving!

THANKS SO VERY MUCH , SDBIF and ABI program

Ray Ruffin

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son recently had a TBI and the SDBIF has been there for invaluable support, information, and hugs. Susan Hansen and her team have been so engaging and helpful. She has taken the time to respond to all my emails and encouraged my son in his recovery. I find the monthly seminars in Hillcrest and Encinitas very useful; what i have learned about TBI through this amazing Foundation has been critical in my son's recovery. Thank you, SDBIF!!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful foundation that has allowed my wife to live a close to normal life that many doctors would not have seen possible. God had blessed my wife when he put these caring and loving people affiliated with this foundation in front of her. My wife suffered a severe brain injury and was only given a 3% chance of living and the the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation was the last step in my wife's recovery. Without the foundation I am not sure where my wife's progress would be. I will forever be indebted to this foundation.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2001 my husband had a brain injury. We saw many doctors but felt like we were on a bicycle with no seat and no handlebars! Then we found San Diego Brain Injury and became involved. There is a huge variety of various ways a brain can be injured and you will hear honest testaments from those attending the monthly meetings. Each life of the person, their families, and caregivers are all touched in numerous ways. San Diego Brain Injury reaches out to those it knows about and provides informational help and suggestions. I would suggest if you are feeling like you're on that no seat/no handlebar bike that you reach out to this valuable grass roots organization.

Client Served

Rating: 4

There are several support groups in the San Diego area, but this one is on the top of the best!
Thay provide resource information and speakers that bring valuable assistance to the survivor and caretaker. It is because of this group that I have found my major contacts and information for stroke rehabilitation. I owe much to their efforts.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

SDBIF is an essential resource and support for dealing with the world of brain injury care and recovery. TBI is one of those things no one can be prepared for.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

San Diego Brain Injury Foundation is such a wonderful resource here in San Diego. They offer so many important services and nonstop support to brain injury victims and their families. We are lucky to have them as a part of our community. Keep up the great work SDBIF!

1 Sarah328

Donor

Rating: 5

San Diego Brain Injury Foundation is offering amazing opportunities for people with traumatic brain injuries. I tell people about this organization knowing that any connection made will be positive for all!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very informative, courteous and helpful organization! Appreciated their resources, creativity and willingness to listen/understand. Unfortunately, there is a definite shortage of resources and understanding in the area of traumatic brain injury. SDBIF is singlehandedly working to dispel misconceptions around TBI, educate and inform and advocate for a misunderstood and sorely underserved population. Thank you for the work you do, we are so very grateful!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An excellent organization that helps families and friends and survivors of TBI. We are so lucky to have SDBIF in Southern California.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I hold brain injury survivors close to my heart, as I have had many concussions. I feel like I can relate to them on a very very small scale. Since I had frustration with my personal experience, my heart goes out to those that deal with it on a daily basis and to their loved ones. My experience with the SDBIF started out participating in their events. I loved the staff, volunteers and of course the survivors. Me participating in the events quickly led to volunteering and now I am proud to say that this is the first organization that I have been asked to serve on the Board. I am now a Board Member. I couldn't imagine belonging to a better organization. The day to day help and assistance that they give to survivors and families is heart warming. The organization genuinely cares about improving the life of survivors, increasing social interaction, and serves as an outlet of unlimited resources for anyone in need. I am proud to be part of this wonderful organization and I encourage anyone interested to get involved or use the resources available. Thank you SDBIF for your hard work and all you do!