by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

L-R: Jody Barfell displays an infant car seat poncho while Jackie Moore holds the newest ‘staff’ member Moses, an emotional assistance puppy, and Megan Meyers shows off some of the new dog toys participants are making.










Just as Jackie Moore, the founder of the Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center, was preparing for the center’s third-anniversary open house, the opportunity to acquire Moses, a black Labrador puppy, presented itself. “This was amazing,” Moore reflected. “An emotional assistance animal is just what we have been needing here. And Moses knows exactly what to do from the minute he walks in the center, even though he is only 10 weeks old.”

According to Moore, Moses gathers up his toys and heads to whichever participant he feels is in need at that time. He either lays down nearby or encourages the select person to play with him. “It is uncanny how he seems to know just what to do,” Moore said.

In addition to introducing Moses to the more than 150 guests at the open house, all of the new products made by participants were on exhibit and for sale during the event.

Those include the always-popular 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. 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 pointed out. “We are also adding other sensory activities such as stringing beads, which help with fine motor coordination. We want to do it all, visual, audio and tactile stimulation.”

Moore continued, “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. 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.”

Moore and staff member Megan Meyers are working to become military-ready to be able to work with veterans who suffer from PTSD along with those who have experienced traumatic brain injuries. “We will set aside a special time for veterans here at the center and help them find the treatment they need,” Moore offered.

“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 said. “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 what they are. People can enjoy support groups, speech, cognitive and memory groups and crafting opportunities. There are also educational seminars for healthcare professionals, students, survivors and caregivers.”

According to Moore, people 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.”

Moore, who suffered a traumatic brain injury due to an auto accident, cannot read or write and requires constant supervision. “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 of this 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.”

Participants come to the center during the week to hang out or to take part in some activity like making no-sew fleece comfort blankets and other activities. Scheduled speech, cognitive and memory groups and support groups meet regularly

Moore credits the generosity of the community for the center and all of its furnishings. “We have been extremely blessed to have the center and to receive so many donations and items to furnish it and make it work,” she stated.