This is what I am most excited to share with you, our supporters. What we thought would be a better residential solution for those with brain injury does indeed appear to be better.
We opened December 18, 2016 with three full-time residents, Rebecca (35), Nathan (21) and Daniel (39). John (41), later joined us for a three month stay and then went home to be with his family in Bakersfield. He is now back at R&R and we have added a 5th full-time resident, Wayne (49). We still have room for an occasional respite care guest. Jamie, a 46-year-old male, who is normally cared for by his sister, has come to stay three times for a week or more. This has enabled his sister to take the respite breaks she so deserves.
All five residents come to us with unique differences but with brain injury in common. Some are totally mobile, not needing assistance to move around, shower and dress. Others require moderate or full assistance. Some incurred their injury 20 years ago while others as recent as 2 or 3 years. Those further along the path encourage those beginning their journey. All different places on their recovery journeys but now they have each other.
The families have all stepped in to be a part of the home, visiting often and helping us to “learn about their loved one” and even at times helping other parents with questions and outings. Our caregivers are hard workers with big hearts doing a terrific job of daily care. They go out of their way to celebrate the holidays and birthdays with our residents.
We’ve been fortunate to build relationships with Margaret Watkins, a retired speech therapist. Margaret comes to the home almost every week to work with whoever is home. She offers her expertise from her many years of being a therapist to build louder and clearer voices. She also helps in developing conversation with visitors and how to stay appropriate with others.
Irvine's Stanbridge University PT (Physical Therapy) and OT (Occupational Therapy) department students volunteer to get experience and class credit. They are giving our residents more therapy than otherwise available.
Terence Abram is one Stanbridge student contributing 50 hours this semester through their Campus Compact Fellowship. He came up with the idea that a garden in the back yard would be a great group project. It would allow him to teach each resident a task they could do to help grow produce they could later use for cooking; or perhaps flowers to add some color to the back yard. Terence created a GoFundMe page for this cause and would appreciate your help promoting and supporting this great idea. He is also planning to evaluate and offer exercises each resident could do to improve their activities of daily living.
We offer a great big thank you to Margaret, Terence, Jordan, and everyone from Stanbridge University for coming alongside us, realizing we are a non-profit and offering valuable hours of their time and expertise.
We have regular outings on Tuesday afternoons to a support group for TBI survivors and their friends and families. It’s called FBI (Friends of Brain Injury) and is a two-hour time of socializing, snacking, learning and having fun playing games, guessing songs and even dancing. Learn more at www.thebrainsite.org
Beyond refining the way this group home operates, it is clear we need to consider starting a second home. This is one home that is making a big difference in the lives of five people and their families who love them. We get calls every week from people inquiring if we have any room. It is heart breaking to constantly answer no. So we are praying for the next step to be clear. God willing, we may yet see another home started in 2018.
We thank all who have supported our dream for Ryan’s Reach R&R. We are looking for more like you so please help us spread the word. This is needed, this is working and there should be more homes like Ryan’s Reach R&R. God Bless You!