A couple of years ago, Michael and I began a support group for brain injury survivors and their supporters. . Since I don’t drive at night, we met at a church within walking distance to our home. We called the group “Brainstormer’s” and we had some great meetings. The group never really took off though and when I began singing in the choir at GCPC, we needed to change our meeting nights. We weren’t able to find another place close by where we could meet until recently.
Karios West is a community center that just opened here in West Asheville. It used to be a sewing store that went out of business. The founders based the model on a place in Cuba. Space is offered free to groups that fit their vision and our group does.
We met again for the first time on November 6 and plan to meet the first and third Thursdays of each month. When we attended the Summer Institute for Theology and Disability, Michael took a workshop on leading support groups. There he learned it was best not to call them “support groups” for this implies neediness. In the past, we called ourselves “Brainstormer’s Support Group” but decided to rename ourselves, “Brainstormer’s Collective.”
We met last Thuraday night and spent some time talking about our mission. This will be an ongoing conversation but we want the collective to be more than simply a place where we can share our struggles. We will share resources, work on advocacy issues, and even educate the general public about brain injury.
The most important thing about it though, is that it is led by survivors. Michael and I both have brain injuries and we hope to encourage everyone to share in leadership. Too often in the brain injury community, projects and activities are led by people who aren’t survivors themselves which puts a different slant on things. I get tired of being “talked down to” which people do unintentionally.
So the Brainstormers Collective has been born. Time will only tell what happens next.