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Side by Side eNewsletter – April

Theresa Burrough, CPA – Finance Director

Theresa Burrough, CPA, is the Finance Director at Side by Side. She is a proud graduate of the School of Business at Florida A&M University where she earned both her bachelor’s and MBA, with a concentration in accounting.  Theresa comes to Side by Side with 18 years of experience working with nonprofits of all sizes. One of her strengths is streamlining financial reporting and other processes with the goal of making the organization more efficient. According to her, “It’s important to be transparent in order to build the trust of our donors.” In her free time, Theresa is loves to spend time with her family and spends a lot of time supporting her congregation’s youth ministry.

Julie Waller, OT – Life Skills Coordinator

Julie has technically been at Side by Side before during a mental health internship while pursuing her bachelor’s. So, she may not seem new to folks who have been around the Clubhouse lately! She now holds an MS in Occupational Therapy from Brenau University – and has passed her licensing exam. Julie originally intended to work in pediatrics and acute care but says she fell in love with brain injury during her time at Side by Side. She explained that the dynamic of our work-based program is part of what drew her in. “You get to see progress.” Julie is our new Life Skills Coordinator whose goal is to “help people reach their fullest potential.” In her free time, Julie likes be in nature, like hiking with her three dogs.

Siesta Pettiford – Work Unit Coordinator

Siesta Pettiford has a BA in sociology from Oklahoma Panhandle State University where he was a star student athlete. After college, he joined The International Basketball Federation and played for teams in Uruguay, Germany, Finland and Mexico – to name a few! Since moving back to the U.S. years ago, he’s worked for over a decade in the health and human services field. We’re happy to have him bring this world view and understanding of other cultures to Side by Side. Oh, and when he’s not a work, he likes to stay active by doing thinks like running up Stone Mountain!

Transitional Employment: A New Addition to our Day Program

Side by Side is excited to have our first ever Transitional Employment site: Stone Ridge Event Center. One of our members was offered the opportunity to work for pay at Stone Ridge, 4-8 hours per month. Here’s a picture of him on his first day! 

Side by Side will offer 3 month rotations to different members with the goal of going back to work. This creates opportunity for 3-4 members per year to have some paid work experience.  They will benefit from the support of our Vocational Specialist.

We’re already recruiting for our next rotation. Members came to a consensus over what qualities an ideal candidate should have. They decided that staff should look at interested candidate’s behavior in our work-based day program to inform how they might perform at Stone Ridge. A few examples include: whether they show up on time to our day program, they volunteer to help regularly and if they are able to stay on task. 

Jawbones & Sawbones vs. Harlem Wizards Raised 300 Scholarship Days for Side by Side!

Thanks to our volunteers, players, sponsors, members, and staff, we were able to raise over $45,000 (after expenses) toward the Side by Side Scholarship Fund. That means more than 300 days a person with brain injury can work on their personal goals for recovery, regardless of their ability to pay. We appreciate the community’s support of Side by Side – the only program in Georgia to offer a pathway to self-sufficiency through a partnership approach. 

If you didn’t get a chance, take a look the pictures on our Facebook album!

Not sure what 300 days at the Side by Side means?
Here’s a glimpse at part of a morning with Greg…

Greg, a member of the Kitchen Unit, gave us permission to share a clip of him preparing the salad toppings – and a bit of his story. An accident left him without the use of one arm but he didn’t let that stop him from jumping in to help out around the Clubhouse. We even got him an adaptive knife to make it easier to cut the salad toppings. He originally worked in the Business Unit when a former staff member asked him to come help her in the Kitchen. It was a great fit for the former Chicago butcher. 

“What do I think about Side by Side? It’s a very nice place to come to if you have a brain injury and are looking for work. Side by Side is the place you should go.”

What you notice about Greg when you first meet him is his warm smile and affable nature. He likes to joke and make everyone laugh. His catchphrase, “Next…” even inspired our longtime volunteer Brent to make him a shirt! 

Upcoming Events for Active Members & Families

April 12 – Game Night

Usually the second Friday of each month is our Game Night. We have community groups, businesses and even families sponsor. They bring a meal for the group (usually about 25), come to the Clubhouse and hangout with our members. We love playing board games, there’s a very competitive domino table and sometimes we pull out the Wii. Just depends on the day!

If you have a group that might be interested, just email Alexis at [email protected]

April 12 – Caregiver Support Group

Guest speaker, Mr. Fernandas Robinson MS, CBIS, CAMS is the Director of Administration and Training at Restore Neurobehavioral Center in Roswell Georgia.  Fernandas has over 18 years working with persons with brain injuries and their families. Fernandas will speak to the group about Boundaries, setting limits and caregiver ethics. 

April 12 – Group Volunteer Outing At Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC)

On Fridays in April, Side by Side’s Vocational Specialist is taking a group of interested members to work at FODAC’s thrift store. They’re focused on stock rotation – keeping things fresh in the store. If members vote to continue after this month, we’ll keep it going!

Thursday, April 25 – Member Picnic at Stone Mountain Park with Emory’s Chemistry Department

For five years, Emory’s Chemistry Department has hosted our Member Picnic at Stone Mountain Park. It’s a normal Clubhouse day in terms of transportation. After everyone arrives, we transport them in our vans to the park. The Chem Department takes care of everything from there. They do all the shopping and cookout for us – we eat so well! 

Plus, they finish off the meal by making ice cream using dry ice!

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