Today we want to highlight the work of one particular member of The Cridge family – Tori is the Community Program Coordinator for Community/Outreach and Mary Cridge Manor programs and services with The Cridge Brain Injury program. She joined The Cridge Brain Injury Services team in June 2007 as a brain injury support worker. She shared that her first experience was working with stroke survivors. It was a great and humbling experience for her to see the challenges they and their families needed to overcome in the process of rehabilitation.
Victoria grew up in Langford and moved across the country to attend Carleton University in Ottawa. Her area of interest was in combination criminology, psychology, sociology and law. Tori’s first experience after returning to Victoria was working in the Youth Division at the Military Family Resource Center, where she was running loss and grief workshops and programming for youth 6-19 years old. It was there that she met Janelle Breese Biagioni who later introduced her to the work of The Cridge Centre.
Tori’s favourite part of working with clients is that they get to celebrate small steps. “The rehabilitation takes time, sometimes years and years to restore lost functions,” shared Tori, “that is why it is so important to celebrate small victories. It is not about the finish line, it is about the journey.” Tori also loves the creativity of problem-solving. “There is always a solution, sometimes it just takes some time to find the right approach that works for a particular client. And The Cridge Centre’s mandate makes it easier to concentrate on the client’s needs and make decisions according to the best of the client’s interest.”
“What makes it hard is to realize the problem is systemic,” continued Tori. “We went a long way but there is so much more that needs to be done in advocacy for brain injury survivors, policy development, and service delivery. It is inspiring and humbling to advocate and work alongside brain injury survivors, accompany and help them on their journey of recovery.”
When we asked Victoria, what would be the main message she would like to share with us and our audience, she smiled “we all need to be kinder in our lives to ourselves and those that surround us.” It is easy to dismiss a person on the street and make a judgement about their problems. “So many brain injury survivors face difficulties communicating with people in their everyday life: in the bank, grocery store, on a street.” It is problematic for many of the brain injury survivors to clearly express themselves, stay calm or reach out to ask for help. It is so important for us to be compassionate when communicating with the people surrounding us. “Take a moment to listen, be patient. It can mean so much. Take a moment to reach out – it might change someone’s life. And if you don’t know the answer – ask. Help us to spread awareness and help build a stronger community!”
To learn more about The Cridge Brain Injury Services, visit the program’s page.