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Brain Injury Services Elects Two New Board Members

CONTACT:

Aleena Gardezi

703-451-8881 ext 238

Erin Mattingly, a speech-language pathologist and strategic consultant and Kevin Stenstrom, a strategist and business development leader join Brain Injury Services

SPRINGFIELD, VA (January 28, 2019) — Brain Injury Services, Inc., (BIS) has named Erin Mattingly and Kevin Stenstrom to its Board of Directors.

“One day, we hope to have the resources possible to care for everyone in our community who is in need and eligible,” said Denise Hyater, Executive Director. “Erin and Kevin’s vast experience and background will be a great asset in helping BIS make this vision a reality.”

Mattingly is a speech-language pathologist (SLP), managing consultant, and subject matter expert at Enterprise Resource Performance, Inc. (ERPi), a professional management consulting firm. She is also a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.

Mattingly has over 13 years of experience treating patients across the continuum of brain injury severity, from mild to severe injury, in both civilian and military populations. Prior to her role as a managing consultant, she started the SLP program at a unique Department of Defense facility, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of Service members with mild traumatic brain injury and psychological health disorders. She serves in a variety of leadership positions across brain injury and SLP organizations, including the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS), the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences (ANCDS), and the Neurogenic Communication Disorders Special Interest Group of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Mattingly graduated from the University of Virginia in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and the Ohio State University in 2005 with an M.A. in Communication Disorders.

Stenstrom also brings years of consulting experience to BIS. He is a strategist and business development leader recognized and known for developing and motivating cross-functional teams to achieve superior results and execute on time and on budget.  In his role, he is charged with developing and deploying business development and capture strategies, building a pipeline for high-end mission solutions for software development, modeling and simulation, cyber, C4ISR and systems engineering work. 

He also has supported non-profit organizations in varying capacities over the past 25 years, including Habitat for Humanity, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Melanoma Research Foundation.  For MRF, he co-founded, with his wife, Kendel Paulsen, TEAM Miles for Melanoma (M4M). This was a non-profit running training program, utilizing a team concept, to raise money for melanoma research, which they were able to expand into 3 different cities in the first 2 years, all through a volunteer corps.

Stenstrom, a former U.S. Naval aviator with over 3000 hours in the P-3C aircraft, also served as a Strategic Planner in the Navy International Programs Office, and as Branch Chief for Communications Interoperability within the Pacific Command’s Communications Systems Directorate. He graduated from the U.S. Marines Corps War College with a Masters in National Security Affairs and Strategic Studies.  

He lives in Burke, VA with his wife and their three children.

About Brain Injury Services:

Brain Injury Services helps children and adults with a brain injury build the skills and confidence they need to lead a fulfilling and productive life. For over 26 years, Brain Injury Services has been repairing lives, recovering possibility and restoring hope by offering the community innovative programs and services that meet the needs of survivors of brain injuries and their families. Each year, Brain Injury Services assists over 600 individuals and families who have experienced the devastating effects of brain injury, stroke, and concussion. We provide this assistance through core programs, including case management, specialized programs, and multiple support groups. Our services extend throughout Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg, Winchester, and the surrounding counties. Find out more at braininjurysvcs.org.

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The Art of Meeting (And Making) New Friends

Despite how connected our society is through technology, more and more people today struggle to build and sustain in-person relationships. During our day-to-day lives of working, coming home, sleeping, waking up and repeating the whole process over again, it can be challenging to actually meet new people… and then find the time to build friendships. 

In fact, there is a genuine skill to meeting new people and establishing relationships with them. And, you don’t even have to be a social butterfly to master it! Here are some tips on the art of meeting (and making) new friends.

Invite your neighbors over. 
One of the simplest ways to get to know people is to meet those right around you. Your neighbors are already in the same community as you, so get to know them better by inviting them over to your house for a cup of coffee or dinner.

Join a hobby club. 
No matter what you love to do, there is a club for that. Evaluate your interests and see if you can find a club or organization in your area with like-minded people. If you don’t have any hobbies, then find the most intriguing clubs and pick one to start with!

Go to a coffee shop. 
Coffee shops are full of different, fascinating people. If you want to meet new friends, go to a coffee shop and hang out there for a day. Read a book, work on a project and take the opportunity to say hello to someone next to you and get to know them.

Start with a compliment. 
Everyone loves feeling flattered, so an easy way to start a new conversation is with a compliment. Give out genuine, positive compliments to the people around you to serve as social lubricant and let the conversation flow.

Consider your body language. 
Body language is an important—yet often overlooked—part of communication. As you talk with other people, subtly evaluate your own body language. Keep your torso, chest and abdomen open as a way to show approachability, and avoid crossing your arms, checking your phone or hiding your hands.

Ask intriguing questions. 
Remember: people love talking about themselves. So, help build the relationship quickly by asking intriguing questions whenever possible. Personal questions show your interest in the other person, and can accelerate the intimacy in the relationship. Therefore, skip the small talk when you can and focus on deeper subjects that really matter.

Volunteer for a cause. 
If you want to meet new friends and make a difference for a cause you care about, why not do both at the same time? Volunteer with an organization in your community and get to know people who have similar interests as you. The more you serve, the more people you can meet and stronger friendships you build.

Take the leap.
Ultimately, the best way to meet new people and make new friends is to take the leap and put yourself out there. It can be scary to try and make friends—particularly for fear of rejection. But, without an initial effort, you will never meet new friends. Dig down deep to muster up the courage so you can get out of your comfort zone and build new relationships.

Despite being more connected than we have ever been before, people today still struggle with meeting others and building relationships. But, making friends isn’t something exclusive to social butterflies—it’s a skill you can learn and practice. Try out these tips so you can master the beautiful art of meeting and making new friends.

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Volunteering Can Mitigate Depression and Anxiety

There’s no doubt about it: volunteering is good for you. When you share your time and talents with others, you also receive benefits in return. Whether it’s experience for a resume, connections for a career or simply the affirmation of helping a fellow human being, volunteering impacts your own life as much as the lives of others.

In fact, volunteering has even been known to mitigate depression and anxiety concerns. Mental health plays a critical role to well being. This means if you suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental ailments, even daily functions can be incredibly difficult. Fortunately, recent studies have shown how volunteering with people or a cause you care about can actually mitigate depression and anxiety issues. Here’s how.

Volunteering connects you with others.
One of the greatest struggles in dealing with depression or anxiety is the feeling of loneliness. Oftentimes, people who face these ailments feel like they are completely alone in an uphill battle. On the other hand, the greatest benefit of volunteering is the social connections it includes. Despite the constant correspondence our society experiences through technology, a nationwide survey by Cigna found that more than half of respondents feel lonely. 

Fifty-four percent said they feel like no one actually knows them, 56% believe people around them “are not necessarily with them” and 40% said they “lack companionship.” This loneliness plays a significant role in our overall mental health. However, through consistent volunteering with an organization or cause you care about, you can generate genuine, authentic relationships with like-minded people. These relationships can alleviate the feeling of loneliness, and positively influence your struggle with depression or anxiety.

Volunteering promotes physical activity.
When we feel lonely, depressed or anxious, oftentimes our natural inclination is to curl up in a ball, stay at home and avoid the outside world. However, this response only negatively influences our mental health further. In fact, physical health greatly affects our mental health, and vice versa. Because every aspect of the body operates together as one unit, focusing on physical activity can oftentimes boost your mental health, as well.

By volunteering, you create one more potential avenue for physical activity. Even if it’s simply walking down to the local library to host a children’s story time, by getting up, leaving the house and being active, you can help alleviate depression and anxiety. In fact, studies have also found that people who regularly volunteer have a lower mortality rate, are less likely to develop high blood pressure and have better thinking skills. While physical activity through volunteering might not cure depression or anxiety, it can play a role in soothing the concerns.

Volunteering changes your perspective.
If you have ever struggled with mental health, then you know the constant negative perspective you might experience. When you feel depressed or anxious, oftentimes those feelings are the only thing you can focus on. Sometimes, when we experience these feelings, all we need is a shift in our perspective. Volunteering does just that. 

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to interact with different people, circumstances and causes around you, causing a natural shift in how you see your own life. For instance, sharing your talents with people in need might positively change your mindset to recognize you do have useful skills to offer. Volunteering also provides a valuable sense of purpose. No matter how old you are or where you are in life, helping others gives you feelings of purpose, perspective and belonging, which can greatly diminish the struggle with depression and anxiety. 

Mental health has an incredible impact on our lives. If you wrestle with depression, anxiety or other mental ailments, you know how difficult it can be to simply go through the day. Volunteering can help. While volunteering might not cure every mental health struggle, it can play a positive role in mediating it. Try it out and see how volunteering impacts your life.

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How to Be More Charitable Without Spending Money

As English author John Bunyan once said, “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” The concept of doing something for someone who cannot repay you goes by a variety of different names. Some call it generosity, others say goodwill and some might call it philanthropy. But one of the most popular names for giving without compensation is simply charity.

Charity plays a valuable role in our everyday lives. It encourages us to give to others who are less fortunate than ourselves, without any expectation to receive something back. However, many people believe charity only means donating money. But there’s much more to it than money! In fact, if you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are a variety of different ways to be more charitable without spending money. Here are some ideas to try.

Donate blood.
First, let’s start with something all of us have: blood. If you want to save money and give at the same time, consider donating blood to a local or national bank in your area. According to the Red Cross, one single blood donation could potentially save up to three lives. This means that just an hour of your time and a small discomfort can make a huge impact for a multitude of people. Check to see if you qualify to give blood and find a donation center near you. 

Contribute your skills.
Your skills can also make a huge difference for a charity you care about. If you have a special skill, such as writing, sewing or photography, consider offering your services pro bono to a nonprofit organization you care about. Many local and national charities need skills in a variety of specialized areas, but don’t have the funds to hire a professional. You can help meet this need by giving to charity without worrying about money.

Give gently-used items.
Of course, one way to give to charity without spending money is to give stuff you already have. Many of us have way more stuff than we actually need, so why not help others out by donating your gently-used items? Sort through your clothes, shoes, furniture, toys and even cars to see what you don’t need and consider how giving it to charity could influence someone’s life.

Use a charity credit card.
Another simple way to give to charity without spending money is by using a charity credit card. Many credit card companies offer charity cards, which donate the rewards you earn to an organization of your choice. This means you can continue to buy items you already use, and then give the reward away to those in need, at no extra expense. 

Buy intentionally.
In the age of corporate social responsibility, many businesses—local, national and international—offer to donate part of their proceeds to charities. This means that simply by buying intentionally, you can help make an impact, without spending extra money. For instance, AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the nonprofit organization of your choice. Or, TOMS uses the one-for-one model. When you buy a pair of TOMS, another pair is donated to a person in need.

Volunteer your time.
And of course, if you want to make a charitable donation, but don’t have the extra money to give away, you can always get involved through volunteering. Volunteers play a valuable role for nonprofit organizations, by meeting needs and freeing up time, space and finances for other areas. If you want to get involved with a charity, consider how you can volunteer your time to have an impact.

Charity prompts us to make important contributions to our community, but these donations don’t always have to be financial. If you want to give back without spending money, consider these charitable options. Then, get involved and see how you can make a difference.

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7 Steps to Start the New Year off on a Positive Note

Happy New Year! 2019 is here, and with it comes a whole new world of possibilities. What will you accomplish in 2019? How will you grow? Who will come into your life? The next 365 days lie before us, a completely blank page ready to be written on. 

However, these next few days are critical to how you start the new year. Because January marks new beginnings, it can also influence the rest of 2019, which means the beginning of the year can affect the end of the year. And of course, you want 2019 to be a great year! If you want to start the new year off on a positive note, check out these seven steps to keep in mind as we dive into 2019.

1. Reflect on 2018. 
The first step in starting your new year off right is reflecting on what went right (or wrong) in the previous year. Take some time to reflect on 2018 and evaluate everything you liked, loved or hated. What did you do well? What could you have done differently? Take notes so you can thoroughly examine the previous year.

2. Set achievable goals. 
Once you have 2018 in mind, it’s time to move forward into 2019. Imagine the very end of 2019. What do you want your life to look like? Get a vision for the future, and then work your way backwards to set goals for the year. But, make sure these goals are actually achievable, not just impossible dreams that will leave you feeling unaccomplished.

3. Use positive language. 
Did you know you can actually speak positivity into your life? How you use words can influence the atmosphere around you and the attitude inside you. Be sure to use positive language throughout your everyday life, but particularly when goal-setting. For instance, instead of “lose weight” a goal could be “exercise three times per week.”

4. Avoid toxic relationships. 
Let’s be honest: some people can have a negative influence on our lives. And often—for whatever reason—we let them stay. This year, take proactive steps to avoid toxic relationships which tear you down or make you feel unhealthy. Hopefully the other person will take positive steps in their life to change the behavior, as well.

5. Incorporate positive habits. 
Oftentimes, little steps which seem simple can actually have a hugely positive impact on our lives. For instance, take time every morning to relax and read a good book with a cup of coffee. Or, journal about a positive experience you had the previous day. By incorporating small, favorable habits throughout the day, you will feel much more positive overall.

6. Ask for help.
One action that is not positive: trying to handle everything on your own. This independent, “let me handle it” mindset often leads to frustration or defeat. Instead, start the new year off on a positive note by intentionally asking for help when you need it. Not only will it take stress off, but you will have a much better chance of accomplishing your goals.

7. Give back to others.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to incorporate positivity throughout the new year is by giving back to others. Numerous studies and research have shown that volunteering and donating actually have extremely positive effects on the giver, not just the receiver. So if you want to have a positive year in 2019, consider how you can give to those in need in your community.

With the new year comes a whole new world of possibilities for things to do, say or accomplish. If you want to start the new year off on a positive note, consider these seven steps to incorporating positivity into your life. Give them a try and see how your life grows in 2019.