Darlene S. Williamson
Non Profit of the Year Nominee
1. What is your mission and vision?
Our stated mission is to provide ongoing and personally meaningful programs within a supportive and peer-driven environment that is affordable for all stroke and brain trauma survivors, enabling them to achieve their maximum potential.
Our vision is that all survivors of stroke and brain trauma have access to long-term support that allows them to live successfully and re-engage fully in their family and their community.
2.How does your organization achieve its mission?
Our organization provides direct services to improve communication, cognition and physical skills. We offer more than 45 small groups weekly that address the needs of our participants. We have support for caregivers, align ourselves with other organizations, plan social activities; we have built a community. Our community dictates their individualized needs and our professional team guides each family along their slow road to better. Our ability to continue to provide this support regardless of ability to pay necessitates partnerships, community support, awareness, advocacy, and stringent use of every donated dollar such that we can direct more money into provision of services.
3.How have your programs directly impacted the regional community?
We are the only nonprofit in the mid-Atlantic region that provides this kind of long term support for survivors and their families. Through our community of survivors we have heightened awareness of brain trauma and the aftermath; any advocacy effort has the potential to reduce the incidence of stroke. Through training received at our center and through community partnerships we have re-engaged survivors in the community; individuals who might otherwise shun re-engagement. The research shows us that engagement leads to a healthier lifestyle which leads to decreased dependence on the healthcare system. We believe we are making a significant impact in this way.
4.What inspires or drives your team to stay committed to your mission?
The survivors and their families are clearly the driving force to focus our team – in fact, we consider them part of our team. We enable them to drive programming and social choices. Every family has major obstacles to overcome and their determination and bravery in attacking their challenges inspires all of us to work harder to be sure that we can continue to provide services regardless of ability to pay.
5.What advice would you give to other nonprofits trying to make an impact in their community?
Share your passion, share your resources, form partnerships, and involve your stakeholders.