It has been my privilege to volunteer in a variety of ways at Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse. The members are happy individuals who thrive in this most respectful, interesting, and uplifting environment. The staff is unfailingly dedicated. The members learn and grow in ways that are difficult to adequately describe. I can think of no other setting more positive or deserving of one's support than Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse!
Having worked as a rehabilitation counselor for people with catastrophic disabilities for more than 20 years, I have come to appreciate that the Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse is a true gem within the field of rehabilitation and community support for people with traumatic or acquired brain injuries. By providing a place for people with brain injuries to come daily to be productive, to share a laugh, to support each other, to learn from each other, and to teach each other, the Side by Side Clubhouse is unique in the way it makes its members feel "normal" and wanted and safe and valuable. So many of these characteristics easily get forgotten in someone who has a brain injury and is no longer the same person they were before the brain injury. The Side by Side helps its members to regain their sense of self and to move forward, with the support and love and care of the other members, its staff and volunteers, family members, and even the community. I have seen firsthand the good work of the Side by Side Clubhouse in helping members meet their needs and become productive and contributing members of society again. The Side by Side Clubhouse impressed me so much so that I chose to spend 4 years studying its program and outcomes and getting to know its members and staff in order to successfully conduct my dissertation research. But not wanting to disconnect my ties to the Clubhouse after my research was finished, I accepted an invitation to serve on the Board of Directors to further the good work of the Clubhouse and to ensure its future in providing quality, community supported, and real-world services to a much needed (and growing) population of people with brain injury. With over 1.7 million people each year in U.S. who get a traumatic brain injury, programs such as the Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse have a necessary and needed place in our community. Support to keep the Clubhouse vital and continuing is crucial and is where the most positive results will occur - to help someone like you or me who has received a brain injury to live as normal a life as possible.
I worked at Side By Side Clubhouse as an intern earning my masters degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. This facility provides for individuals who have suffered chronic traumatic injuries (TBI) a place to come to daily where they are able to socialize and engage in work related activities in a setting where they are accepted by their peers and are able to receive appropriate rehabilitation assessment and services by the staff. The socialization aspect is very important because TBI's often affect individuals' appearance and personality; this can have a dramatic effect on their ability to socialize. The result is that often individuals with TBI's are marginalized in society. This facility provides a place for socialization which contributes specifically to their healing and ultimately to overall quality of life. It allows for respite for the families of the members because they bare a serious responsibility towards members' daily well-being. If this is all that Side By Side provided it would be enough to be a great non-profit organization but in addition, the professional staff provides counseling and rehabilitation services, service coordination with the member's medical team and other relevant parties, and case management services. The result is that the environment is created here where individuals with TBI's have available to them the resources necessary to achieve their personal, career and independent living goal. Side By Side therefor, serves us all by improving our society's overall quality of life.
The members of the Clubhouse are some of the most intriguing, gifted, and giving people that I have ever met. They touched my life everyday with stories or recovery and gratitude. Despite surviving traumatic brain injuries, they are productive members of society. The members run the clubhouse. In addition, they contribute to the community in so many other ways. In fact, the members give back more than most of us. And they give back with a smile. The staff is equally committed to the community in Stone Mountain as well as the community at large. Both the staff and members invest in and take pride in their community by volunteering and supporting community initiatives. They help with landscaping; provide art work for community fairs and day care centers. In these economic times they too need financial support to keep the clubhouse going. Let’s give as much as we can to keep this vital group alive and active in our communities.
Over the past 2 years I have interned and volunteered at Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse. The members and staff at Side by Side have truly perfected the clubhouse model. When you go to the clubhouse as a member, staff, intern, volunteer or just a visitor, you are treated as family. Productive activity gives the members a sense of accomplishment, ownership and confidence. As a professional (who was trained under the best at the clubhouse) I understand more about the human spirit and science of the brain/body. The members at the clubhouse taught me just as much (or more) than I taught them. Atlanta is so lucky to have a place like the clubhouse to assist, advocate for and empower the brain injury community.
Clubhouse is a very special place full for love, hope, and support. The staff are wonderful people and treat members with the great respect and dignity. The members are committed to their role in the Clubhouse and are very supportive of one another. Clubhouse offers such a needed service in the community and allows members productive and meaningful activity. The friendships that are made and the opportunity to give back is very impressive. We are lucky to have such a great organization in Atlanta!
My daughter has been a member of side-by-side clubhouse for a number of years. The clubhouse has been a wonderful place for her to relearn socialization skills that were lost due to her TBI. She has been offered a chance to learn job skills that have served her well in several part-time jobs she has held while still attending the clubhouse. She has gained dignity and respect through her interactions with staff and club members. Most of all she has a community of friends who work together for the good of each other and the clubhouse. The clubhouse has been a lifesaver for my daughter. I am so impressed with all the dedicated staff and volunteers. I wish that there were more clubhouses around the state to provide the wonderful services my daughter receives.
Side by Side Clubhouse and its staff are phenomenal! With excellent attention to detail, one-on-one interaction, and a smile, the staff go above and beyond the call of duty to serve their members. Each member's inner potential is revealed, their individual personalities are celebrated, and, best of all, they are so appreciative of the Clubhouse and remain very engaged. Traveling sometimes more than two hours to get the Clubhouse, members are committed to their services, and staff do not disappoint. All that is needed now are MORE Clubhouses! There should be at least three more in GA.
Side By Side meets people where they are and restores dignity and purpose to people living with the long-term effects of brain injury that continue long after medical treatment has done all it can. Side By Side gives members a reason to get out of bed in the morning and a place to go to be productive members of community. At the Clubhouse, they are able to contribute their abilities to productive activity, as well as stretch and strengthen those skills toward potential broader participation in community. Side By Side provides a personal support community in which individuals are valued as they are, rather than seen only for what they have lost. Side By Side provides respite to families of brain injured individuals while doing so much more than just parking the injured in a day care facility. I was constantly moved by how the clients focused on the positives rather than the negatives in their lives, on what they could do rather than what they could not, and by how thankful they are for the experience of Side By Side. I grew both personally and professionally by working side by side with members and staff.
Side by Side is an in incredible organization that provides hope to many survivors and families who have suffered a brain injury. It is a program that allow these folks to improve on all aspects their lives as they relearn to become productive members of society and/or to live a quality of life. It is inspiring to see the work that goes on which provides the needed structure and support to allow people with brain injuries reach their goals. It is a place where commaraderie and fellowship take place which is imperative in accepting their new journey. Kudos to the staff and especially the executive director who has dedicated her life to this program and what is has become!!!
The Side by Side Clubhouse is a treasure that we are fortunate to have in our metro Atlanta community. Side by Side is so much more than another "brain injury facility". For the rehabilitation community, it is a great option for those persons who may have completed their need for skilled therapies but still have a need to do something productive and structured. For the members of the Clubhouse, Side by Side becomes a community of support and respect, and akin to family. I only wish there were more Side by Side's in other cities. It fulfills such a need for those who may find themselves in between their pre-injury life and their post-injury future.
Side by Side represents a testament to the strength of the human spirit. The staff's dedication to the growth of every member can only be compared to that of a member's family. Side by Side's dedication is limitless because the staff truly believes in every person there. New members often come in frustrated by their condition and circumstances. However, under the no non sense optimism of the Side By Side staff as well as the support of other senior members, spirits are renewed.
I have worked in rehabilitation for 30 years with the last 20 with individuals who have sustained brain injuries. It is by far the most respectful environment I have ever worked or volunteered. It is wonderful to experience the respect staff give members and members give staff. The staff role is to assist rather than "be the expert". The members teach the staff and other members as as much if not more than the staff teach the members. The compassion the staff and members give one another is a beyond description. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of the Side by Side family.
This program cherishes and illuminates the hearts and souls of everyone it touches. It enables unique collaboration among people who others identify as having disability break stereotypical bounds to create opportunities that personally enrich each participant's life and the lives of other people around them. It inspires others to do the same, whether you are a member, staff, donor, or simply an admirer.
I worked in post acute brain injury rehab at Shepherd. Side by Side was just starting up and provided a place for folks to find meaningful work and skill enhancement following our program. I have since relocated but follow the progress of many of my former clients who attend Side by Side. They achieve at levels we would not have expected and finding/living life with a brain injury! In addition, volunteer and sometime paid work is found. This is an invaluable resource!
My husband began attending Side By Side 1 1/2 years ago and after a long 9 year journey with brain injury, Side By Side was a breath of fresh air. The ways Side By Side has contributed to my husband's quality if life are too numerous to mention here. Not to mention when he is helped it benefits our whole family. There is no other place like Side By Side that in this region that knows, understands and advocates for adults with brain injury like Side By Side. I also volunteer there some and have gotten our local woman's club involved there.
my son received a traumatic brain injury in the year 2000 and after 1 year at shepherd center he was referred to side by side - from his arrival there they have worked deligently to help him improve social skills, computer skills, and any things else that they see where he needs help. from a boy whose parents were told he would never walk, talk, and be a complete vegetable - he walks, talks, and carries on conversations that are amazing. anytime that side by side sees or hears of something that can help - they are quick to contact us in order for my son to take advantage of the situation. ray just recently lost his father who was his primary caregiver and side by side was right there "by his side" in helping him work thru this trauma - ray loves it there - it is the one therapy that he never wants to stop - everyone is wonderful and have given him so much self worth ..... all i can say is that i have so much to be thankful for in the fact we found them and they were able to enroll ray .....
My daughter has been nservred by this charity for nine years. Her lefel of confidence has improved 100%. Her Social skills have improved 100%.
Side by Side has been a fabulous support to my husband and me. After my husband was "finished" with rehab following his brain injury, I felt we were really having a hard time moving forward. Side by Side has offered support in providing a meaningful work day for my husband as well as numerous contacts for other kinds of help when needed. I am so grateful to be able to say that the club members and staff are our friends. Side by Side rocks!
This is a class act. It really does preserve the dignity of the members. It is well run by members, volunteers and staff. The place is tastefully furnished and spotlessly clean. I am an OR nurse, and I know Clean!