The Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse opened its doors in Chicago in 2000. The clubhouse currently provides a space for rehabilitation for 75 brain injury and stroke survivors from age 20 to 73. A recent ABC News piece reported that the clubhouse has plans to expand its facilities and services. The clubhouse offers work opportunities and internships for brain injury patients who need time and assistance before returning to work unassisted. Clubhouse programs provide, ‘a wide range of post-rehabilitation work and independent living skills to individuals with different brain injuries,’ according to the report.
The clubhouse’s budget is $275,000, and they are attempting to raise more funds and secure a new building to increase their offerings to clubhouse members. The members range from young Iraq war veterans like 27-year-old Andrew David Wagner, to 57-year-old aneurysm survivor Harvey Williams. Wagner sustained a traumatic brain injury from exposure to explosions in Baghdad, Iraq.
Williams told ABC News ‘I love this clubhouse, because it gives us a place to come to where we can relate to people who have gone through certain things that we’ve gone through in a way.’ Deborah Giesler, a clubhouse representative, said, ‘The great part about clubhouse is that this is their own program, so if they need to be here six months to finalize and fine tune some return-to-work skill, that’s what they can do. If they need to be here eight years because they’re not able to return to work or be home alone yet, they are continuing to learn other skills, they can be here as long as they need,’ according to the news piece.
The clubhouse’s Web site detailed their programs, including a free internship for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans with brain injuries. The site said, ‘These internships provide an excellent opportunity to build one’s work skill set, add to your resume and address potential problem areas related to mild TBI that can arise in a work environment.’
Currently, the clubhouse staff is busy making phone calls to local businesses to generate funds for their planned expansion. They rely mostly on private donations to keep the clubhouse running. We wish the clubhouse the best of luck in meeting their expanding needs.
Brain Injury Clubhouse Staff. (February 22, 2010) ‘Brain Injury Clubhouse Programs.’ Retrieved on February 22, 2010 from the Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse Web site:http://www.braininjuryclubhouse.org/programs/
Meyer, Karen. (February 18, 2010) ‘Brain injury clubhouse needs more space.’ Retrieved on February 22, 2010 from the ABC News Web site: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/disability_issues&id=7284489