Traumatic brain injury takes everything away.
It steals survivors' memories, their moods, their sure steps and speech.
Jason A. Young fights for them to get a little of their lives back.
Six years ago Young began working for the Community Futures Foundation and the Mill House, a member-run clubhouse program that offers social activities and job training for survivors of traumatic brain injury. Even though as many as 155,000 Virginians suffer from such debilities, very few programs — and virtually no funding — existed at the time.
As Mill House program manager, Young brought survivors and their families to the legislature to explain how brain injuries shattered their lives. The lawmakers listened.
State money for brain injury assistance has tripled since 2004. The foundation began a case-management service last year and has opened Denbigh House, another clubhouse, in Newport News. And Young has become a leader on the issue, including serving as chairman of the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers.
Robert Priest, an original member of the Mill House, says he hopes “that Mr. Young, with this gift of gab and legislating and everything,” can find a bigger building for the crowded Mill House. He's working on it. Next year, Young hopes to have a new home, new members, and most importantly, new hope.