About Us

Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the long-term well-being of people with brain injury-related disabilities and their families through skills development, support, and advocacy.

Our Vision

We envision a world where people with brain injury-related disabilities have access to services that assist them in managing health and well-being so they can contribute interdependently and safely at home, work and in the community for the best possible quality of life.

Our Philosophy

Side by Side is a community based, voluntary, member-directed program which builds on strengths to optimize the social, financial and vocational success of members and guarantees their right to meaningful work and a place to return.

Our Model

Side by Side follows the Clubhouse model of rehabilitation, where participants are considered ‘members’ of a community. Side by Side follows a set of standards from the International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance (IBICA) which was adapted from Clubhouse International. The model ensures member involvement in every aspect of the organization.

Our History

Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse, Inc. addresses the powerful need for people with brain injuries to have a community that provides a place to physically gather, work, support one another and belong. This need became painfully obvious to Cindi Johnson, Side by Side founder, when she volunteer-directed a weekend camp for Georgia’s Brain Injury Association in the 90s. Cindi, then a program director at Atlanta’s prominent Shepherd Center, was already an expert in the field and realized a brain injury is treated but never really “cured.”

People living with brain injuries have a myriad of issues that can be episodic, recurring and/or permanent but the brain injury always remains. Shepherd Center and Emory Healthcare are amazing experts at treating the brain injury but the support continuum all but stopped with a discharge. With their extraordinary partnership, Cindi founded Side by Side in July 1999 and opened the doors to participants in 2000.

Cindi - now considered a national expert relating to the Clubhouse model and the lifelong impact of brain injury– continues to provide leadership as Side by Side’s Executive Director operating in Stone Mountain Village and serving 14 Metro Atlanta counties.

Regulatory Bodies

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)

This accreditation represents that an organization has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit (this survey was virtual due to COVID-19) that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable.

Side by Side received our fourth CARF three-year accreditation award for Community Services: Community Integration, Governance Standards awarded in March 2021.

For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at www.carf.org, or contact Side by Side at 770-469-9355.

Georgia Department of Community Health

In addition to our CARF accreditation, Side by Side is licensed and regulated by the Georgia Department of Community Health to operate as an Adult Day Center.

If you believe you, your client, or caregiver received poor quality care from us, you may file a complaint here or by calling the Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation at 1-800-878-6442.

STAFF AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS

LEADERSHIP

Cindi Johnson, MA, CBIST
Founder and Executive Director
[email protected]

Cindi leads the entire organization and is especially focused on advocating to better the lives of people in the brain injury community. Cindi has worked with people with brain injuries as a cognitive rehabilitation therapist, administrator and author since 1986.

Catherine Mickle, CPA
Chief Operating Officer
[email protected]

Catherine manages day-to-day operations across Side by Side. She brings decades of nonprofit operations experience from her 17-year career at the American Cancer Society, where she was the Chief Administrative Officer.

Teresa Little, MS, CBIS
Program Director
[email protected]

Teresa oversees all aspects of our programming. She also provides life skills training and service coordination for Side by Side members. Her background in psychology and hands-on brain injury rehabilitation experience since 1995 made her a strong leader for such a unique program.

Program Staff

Bill Francis, MA, LMSW, CBIS
[email protected]

Bill provides psychosocial support to our program participants and leads our monthly caregiver support group. He is a licensed social worker and brings the experience of having worked at an in-patient neurobehavioral center as both a neurobehavioral counselor and a case manager.

Melissa McDonald, CBIS
[email protected]

Melissa engages directly with members each day at Side by Side. She excels at connecting with each person at our day program because of her background in both psychology and human services.

Jason Hughes, MSHSA
[email protected]

Jason brings over a decade of experience to provide direct, cognitive support to program participants during our day program. He also has experience working with veterans at his previous job with Shepherd Center’s SHARE program.

Judy Wissing, MS, CRC, CBIS
[email protected]

Judy assists members in employment services which include job development activities and volunteer placements. Before joining, she helps people determine whether Side by Side by Side is a good fit for them. Members also benefit from her support as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.

Operations and Development Staff

Viviana Finol, MPA
[email protected]

Viviana develops and monitors policies and procedures to make sure Side by Side stays in accordance with current accreditation and licensure standards.

Alexis Torres, MA
[email protected]

Alexis looks for opportunities to partner with those in the community who want to make a positive contribution in the lives of people with brain injuries and their families. She has previously raised funds for local nonprofits like Southface Energy Institute and the Georgia Conservancy.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jim Long, Esq.
Board Chair

Tracey Wallace, MS, CCC-SLP
Vice Board Chair

Yogita Tailor, DO
Secretary

Wanda Staebell
Treasurer

Lloyd Bell, Esq.
Board Member

Dick Brookfield
Board Member

Sarah K. Duffy
Board Member

Mark Gannon, Esq
Board Member

Elizabeth George, Esq.
Board Member

Lorie Hutcheson
Board Member

Al King, MBA, CISSP
Board Member

Jocelyn Smith
Board Member

Jennifer Broom, MPH, RN
Ex-officio

Cindi Johnson, MA, CBIST
Ex-officio