Love Yourself First
You are a 44-year old computer programmer … and life is pretty good.
You live in a lovely 3-storey condo with your adoring cats; you have a devoted family, love Apple products and have a great passion for rally cars (in fact you even own one!)
Yes … life is pretty good.
Then you have a stroke, and this world comes crashing down. What do you do?
This is exactly what happened to Dagny, one of ARBI’s fabulous clients. If this scenario happened to most people, giving up would be a viable option. But this was NOT an option for Dagny.
Following her stroke in June 2016, Dagny spent a brief time at Carewest Dr. Vernon Fanning Centre but vowed that she would return home. With steadfast determination and some help from her loving family, she was able to accomplish this in January 2017.
When Dagny came to ARBI she had a specific goal – maintain an independent life. You see, her mother and advocate was moving back to the United States, and Dagny had to figure out how to live on her own – again. And again, she faced this with steadfast determination. With the incredible support of ARBI’s friend, The Tetra Society – Calgary Chapter (a non-profit organization that utilizes skilled volunteers to create customized assistive devices for people with physical disabilities), adaptations were made around Dagny’s home to suit her specific needs.
At ARBI, Dagny has been focusing on her left arm and leg function, and learning to dress and bath herself. Her long term goals, however, are far loftier – she would like to learn to swim again and drive (and of course, being up for a challenge, she wants to drive standard!).
Dagny epitomizes the ARBI spirit of perseverance and dedication. Her ‘can do’ spirit is truly an inspiration, and we are incredibly proud of her for not just surviving, but thriving!
The Kinsmen Club of the Stampede City has been a powerhouse of philanthropy in the Calgary community since 1964. This group of dedicated and passionate gentlemen has contributed well north of $50 million towards critical initiatives in the community. They do not `engage’ in philanthropy; they are philanthropy. Philanthropy is embedded in their DNA; and the essence of their existence is to `serve community’s greatest needs’. Mr. Len Schnell first became involved with ARBI in 1989 when he started helping his friend Mike, a survivor of a severe brain injury. Len was a giving and kind hearted person who was, without a doubt, a “volunteer extraordinaire”! Len embraced the ARBI Family when he joined the Board of Directors in the early 1990’s.
And so a deep and meaningful relationship between our two organizations began. Through our 25 year history, they have invested `time, treasure and talent’ towards ARBI’s goal of making life better for our clients and their families who have survived a brain injury or stroke. They have provided critical funding for our Music Therapy Program – offered by the talented JB Music – and most recently supported our Aphasia Group.
They have rolled up their sleeves and painted walls and done renovations to the ageing building. And finally, a signature of their commitment to philanthropy and community has to be their 25 years of serving Stampede Breakfasts. When asked to describe this tradition, they responded in true Kinsmen fashion:
“When it comes to eggs, Kinsmen are never chicken. We’ve served up approximately 41,667 DOZEN eggs. Of course, eggs need to be accompanied by some tasty sausage and if you were to lay the sausages that we’ve served end to end you would stretch over 152 Canadian football fields.
And to round things out we have pancakes. Piles and piles of pancakes … about 400 thousands of the little critters. How do we mix the 60,000 lbs of pancake batter we’ve used? With an industrial drill and an attachment originally designed to mix concrete. It’s only fitting; if you’ve ever had pancake batter spilled on your boots, you’ll know it’s tougher to remove than concrete.”
It was truly an honour for ARBI to nominate the Kinsmen Club of the Stampede City for the Generosity of Spirit Award, in the category of Philanthropic Group – and we are elated they have won. Very well deserved!
“Philanthropy comes in many forms and not everyone is able to dig into their personal wallets. Kinsmen offers everyone a chance to participate in philanthropy. Kinsmen are severely normal Calgarians who make extraordinary contributions, from fundraising to rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. Kinsmen is a rally point bringing together people to help their community.”
A Family of ARBI volunteers.
What does volunteering and ARBI mean to each of you?
What we love most about volunteering at ARBI is the privilege to develop a therapeutic relationship with a client. We have all been profoundly inspired by our clients’ determination and motivation. At the end of each day, we leave feeling so fulfilled and proud.
Describe the experience the 3 of you share as volunteers at ARBI?
We have all experienced the vital role volunteers play in facilitating the rehabilitation process at the ground level. We have learned and witnessed the importance of non-verbal communication, gestures, and positively encouraging our clients on their rehabilitation journey. We have also witnessed just how important an interdisciplinary team approach is to recovery. All three of us have experienced what we call “ARBI moments”, a moment where your client has accomplished a goal or has evidently shown improvement that you find yourself at a loss of words and tears of joy.
What do you wish others knew about ARBI?
We all wish that others knew the importance of ARBI in the rehabilitation process for those who have been affected by brain injury. It’s an incredible opportunity for volunteers but also for clients to participate in a rehabilitation program specific to their individual needs and goals. We would like others to know how inspiring it is to be part of the ARBI community.
What would you tell someone who was thinking about volunteering at ARBI?
ARBI has created such a positive and encouraging environment for everyone. As a volunteer you have a unique opportunity to work with staff members and a client during a challenging part of their life. Within this setting, you will learn how to communicate with clients who have lost the ability to speak, you will be able to encourage your client through gestures, and witness the physical and cognitive improvements your client will make.
The event was a huge success and we are incredibly grateful to Franca's and Distinctive Women Magazine for their support.
"ARBI supported me at the Wildflower art centre.Now I go on my own! "Margo Mooney – past client
Save The Date
The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is happening May 27, 2018
Come out and support Team ARBI!