By Greg Goldberg
After I sustained a traumatic head injury, I wanted to do something important to give back to other head injury survivors. Throughout the years, The Cridge Centre for the Family Brain Injury Services has given back to several brain injury survivors and communities by paying it forward with creating The Bluesheet Clubhouse, a support group for head injury survivors in Victoria, BC.
With their help, The Bluesheet Clubhouse is a support group we started eight years ago to provide education, social and physical needs to head injury survivors at Mary Cridge Manor. This support group does a wide variety of activities on a weekly basis from physical outings, social events, book clubs and puzzle creations. There is still much more that can and will be done, but here is what we have been up to recently.
As brain injury and stroke survivors we are always busy creating, developing and working with our projects to better others and ourselves.
Our latest project produced by The Bluesheet Synapse Gang is a new podcast called ‘Time to Talk Traumatic Brain Injury.’ focusing on living a productive and quality life after sustaining a head injury or stroke. The objective of this podcast is to provide other survivors with the opportunity to listen and learn from individuals who are travelling or have travelled the road of recovery post injury.
The brain injury survivors producing this podcast are having fun, socializing, improving their language, technical, communication and cognitive skills and giving back to the community. These survivors are on the air, while on their own flight path to recovery. Our motto for the Bluesheet Clubhouse is “Working with and Giving back to others”.
Some of our recent projects that were of great success included one this summer called ‘The Bump Cap Campaign’ Here we donated to golfers and maintenance staff at several golf courses Victoria (Mount Doug, Henderson, Prospect Lake, Cedar Hill and Uplands) 5 Bump Caps each to use for the safety of staff and guests to try. This bump cap uses a lightweight, protective shell that makes the stylish cap comfortable to use but also hard enough to protect their head is right on par with local golfers and maintenance crew safety needs. Bump caps for our campaign were donated by Acklands Grainger Safety Supplies right here in Victoria.
Once a month the members of the Bluesheet Clubhouse, are still producing challenging and fun jumble puzzles that the entire community of Victoria enjoys. These word jumbles are published in our local Mind X Magazine. It is available on newsstands across the city. A variety of our self-created word jumbles are used for every issue.
For us, making these word jumbles are a great way to improve our cognitive functioning after a brain injury and also help develop new and fun relationships with other Mary Cridge Manor residents.
Speaking of Jumbles, once a week, our Bluesheet team visits The English Learning Centre on The University of Victoria Campus to facilitate ‘Giant Word Winder’. This is a huge board game given to us by David L Hoyt (the most published puzzle make in North America) after he was informed and saw many of the jumbles that our head injury survivors were producing, publishing and using for their language and cognitive development.
International students from around the world are now enjoying learning the English language using this interactive game with other English language learners and our club’s head injury survivors. Our members of the Blue Sheet Club facilitate this game with a vast amount of players from around the world. Everyone is enjoying themselves socializing and learning all about new cultures from others happy to share.
As well as all of these activities, there is always fun and learning to have at our weekly Clubhouse gathering. Socializing while sharing snacks and stories over the hour always fills the room with laughter and smiles.
We are happy to take advantage of events happening around our community. This year’s clubhouse is filled with sports fans and we continue to go to many sports events across the city. The Victoria Royals, UVIC Basketball teams and The Victoria Shamrocks have given us complimentary tickets for the gang to go and check out lots of the live action. For the survivors to have the opportunity to go and see these games live is a real treat.
The Clubhouse makes its own fun as well. Monday Movie Nights, Karaoke contests, photography outings, theatre visits, crab fishing trips and gatherings just to be together made for a special place for survivors to participate, socialize, learn, smile and have fun living a productive and healthy life once again.
To learn more about The Cridge Brain Injury Program click here.