Allstate Agency owner Arrow Dickerson invited several of her fellow agency owners to join her in applying for an Allstate Helping Hands Foundation grant for the Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center. Those agents, including JamiLynn Fox, Rob Griffey, Jessica Hernandez, Tonia Maxwell, and Brandon Quinn, responded in the affirmative and volunteered their time to qualify for a $5,000 grant, which they presented to TBIRC founder Jackie Moore.
“This is such a welcome gift,” Moore related. “Since the pandemic, we have not held any fundraisers so this money will allow us to expand the services offered by our Occupational Therapist.”
Moore opened the center in 2015 after suffering a traumatic brain injury due to an auto accident four years earlier. She and her husband found the lack of help and information most frustrating and set about gathering as much information as they could find. “After my injury, there was no information readily available and no support available. My husband, Michael, has been wonderful, helping me to put together all kinds of information so that we can share it with others who are in this same situation,” Moore said. “We are compiling quite a library for survivors and caregivers.”
“We started the center so that people who are survivors of traumatic brain injury, and their caregivers, have a safe place to go. We also serve as a resource center providing people with the kind of help they need,” Moore stated.
“There is no judgment here. We work as a team and everyone helps each other. People who come here soon learn this is a judgment-free area. People are accepted for where they are. They can enjoy support groups, speech, cognitive and memory groups and crafting opportunities. There are also educational seminars for healthcare professionals, students, survivors and caregivers,” she explained.
According to Moore, clients receive support, art and music therapy, nutrition assistance, counseling, help with paperwork, yoga classes, information about clinical trials, rehabilitation, crafts and much more. “We even have presentations by professionals pertaining to traumatic brain injury.”
Participants come to the center during the week to hang out or to take part in some activity from making no-sew fleece comfort blankets and other activities. Speech, cognitive and memory groups and other support groups meet regularly.
In addition to its therapy value, the no-sew fleece blankets, lap robes and mermaid tails along with the new line of pet blankets, dog and cat toys and infant car seat ponchos are sold to raise funds for the center. Moore buys yards and yards of fleece when it is on sale to keep overhead at a minimum. “Not only do participants gain a sense of accomplishment by creating the products and learning new skills, the sale of these products is actually helping to defray the cost of running the center,” Moore said. “We also offer other sensory activities such as stringing beads, packing food and supply boxes, trick or treat bags and more, all of which help with fine motor coordination, and benefit members of the community in need. We want to do it all, visual, audio and tactile stimulation.”
“Our complete kitchen is also another tool. We spend a good bit of time selecting menus and preparing food, baking and more. We actually teach with food and encourage all of our participants to nourish their bodies to feed their brains,” Moore noted.“ Many with TBI, including me, lose their appetite and forget to eat and drink. The brain needs protein and hydration to function so we need to offer visual and tangible ways to help TBI participants to develop healthy eating habits. This is just one example of what we can do in our everyday lives to further our recovery.”