Jason’s Story

I remember everything like it was yesterday. I was 15 with straight D’s and low self-esteem living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was sick of my life. So I took my parents car and hit the road for California. I sped down desert roads getting further and further away from home. I thought nothing could happen to me, I was invincible. Then the unexpected happened, I fell asleep behind the wheel and began to skid off the road. I woke up confused and in a panic I jerked the vehicle sending me through the windshield 50 feet in the air and landed head first on the side of the road.

I have a purpose now.  Jason Owens

I remember waking up in the desert alone. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything. Fortunately, an off-duty police officer found me, he saved me. I spent three months in a coma, followed by a semi-coma for three weeks. I had suffered a traumatic brain injury from the accident and was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but I was alive. At the time, I couldn’t really internalize what this all meant for me.


My life seemed to stop after I suffered a traumatic brain injury. I couldn’t get it together and no one really understood what I was going through.


After moving around a lot and my wife’s death, I moved to Virginia with my parents for a fresh start and became a DJ. Being a DJ was a lot of fun but I still needed another job to support myself. I went job hunting every Thursday for three years with no success. I started to feel like that depressed 15-year-old boy, I was lost and incapable.

Then my Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at the Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services told me about Community Brain Injury Services and The Mill House, a clubhouse program for survivors of brain injury in Richmond, VA. I was hesitant at first thinking it would be like a daycare but I was surprised to find out it was the complete opposite. Community Brain Injury Services provides the resources and safe environment for survivors to return to a life of independence and fulfillment.

Jason pictured with members of the Advocacy Unit

Without a doubt, Community Brain Injury Services has changed my life for the better. After meeting other survivors at The Mill House and learning their stories, I started to realize my purpose. My purpose is to help people like me who have experienced a brain injury and similar struggles that come with it. I am currently working to become a certified Peer Support Counselor and by doing so I will be able to support other survivors in finding their purpose just like Community Brain Injury Services has done for me.

I’ve been coming to The Mill House for over three years and a lot of the members don’t realize this but the clubhouse is already providing “peer support”. Every day I watch someone give advice or lend a hand to another person, whether its preparing a meal in the kitchen unit or sending emails in the advocacy unit. We are teaching and learning from each other, enhancing our independence together.

If I had peer support and a safe environment like The Mill House after my accident, I believe my journey would have been easier. I wish I had someone there saying “If that doesn’t work, try this”. I am determined to be that person for my friends at The Mill House and The Denbigh House. I want all survivors of brain injury to understand that we are strong, courageous, and capable. It’s not about competing or meeting the expectations of others. It’s about setting goals and expectations that are possible for each individual.

Someone once told me that the “party doesn’t start until I get there”. With the help of Community Brain Injury Services, my family, and friends, I finally feel like I’m there. I have a purpose now, to become a Peer Support Counselor. The party has started. I welcome you to join our party by making a donation in support of our efforts. With your support, we can continue empowering people like me to find their purpose.

Make your mark on 2017 and join us in empowering survivors of brain injury today.


Jason Owen

Mill House member

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Eighth Annual Lifting the Silence

Please join us for The Eighth Annual


Lifting the Silence St. Patrick’s Day Gala

Please join Community Brain Injury Services at the beautiful John Marshall Ballrooms for an elegant twist on St. Patrick’s Day! We are happy to announce the date of the Eighth Annual Lifting the Silence Gala as Saturday, March 17th! Please celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Community Brain Injury Services and help us lift the silence on the silent epidemic of brain injury. For more details and to register, please click HERE.

The success of Lifting the Silence relies heavily on the support of many community businesses and partners.  We would like to thank and recognize the following businesses for their continued commitment to Lifting the Silence. If you are interested in the many benefits of Corporate or Patron Sponsorship, please contact Muslima Musawwir or Jason Young at (804) 386-0925 or or

Presenting Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Silver Shamrock Sponsor


Dr. Cecile Fumagali, DDS & Dr. Chad Van Scyoc, DDS, PC






Exclusive Media Sponsor

Many thanks for the generosity of our VIP Table, Table, and Patron Sponsors!

VIP Table Sponsors

Mark Borysewicz

Table Sponsor

Maury and Mary O’Connell

Patron Sponsors

Kevin and Sonja Ford

Pam and Barry Stump

Valerie Caldwell, Long & Foster

Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group


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Giving Tuesday


Community Brain Injury Services is excited to be participating this year in #GivingTuesday! #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. As consumers, we are already familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday and relish the opportunity to snatch up great deals in stores and online to prepare for the holiday season. #GivingTuesday follows Cyber Monday and encourages all of us to kick off the season of giving by giving back to the community in which we live.

Did you know that 30% of all charitable giving happens in the month of December? #GivingTuesday was established in 2012 and in 2016 raised $168 million across the globe in just 24 hours. On November 28th, in the spirit of giving, we hope you will support Community Brain Injury Services and the nearly 275 survivors of brain injury we support annually with a gift on #GivingTuesday.


Why support Community Brain Injury Services?

Denbigh House members

Members of The Denbigh House in our new, fully accessible garden

When you make a gift to Community Brain Injury Services, your donation directly impacts the daily lives of the individuals we support. Every donation helps us continue to offer critical, safety net services for survivors of brain injury in metro Richmond and Hampton Roads. Every dollar helps to break the social isolation that so often follows a brain injury. We can’t do it without your help!


How do I give?

To participate in #GivingTuesday, simply click on the Donate button below on Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 to make a donation via credit card or Paypal.

Checks can be written to Community Brain Injury Services and sent to:

Community Brain Injury Services
681 Hioaks Rd. Suite G
Richmond, VA 23225



A Monumental #GivingTuesday


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BBQ, Beans, and Benefits

The 8th Annual Mill House Pig Out…

was a smashing success!! Community Brain Injury Services is thrilled to report that the 8th Annual Mill House Pig Out was our most successful Pig Out to date! Held on Friday, October 13th, The Mill House served up 710 lbs of excellently smoked pulled pork, and mass amounts of baked beans, cole slaw, and cornbread. The 8th Annual Mill House Pig Out raised more than $12,600 to benefit our Richmond Clubhouse program, The Mill House. So many individuals worked together to make this possible: members, staff, board members, volunteers, corporate sponsors, and most importantly, CBIS Board Member and BBQ chef extraordinaire, Elliott Buckner. We could not have done it without the help and support of all our friends and the community. 

The 8th Annual Mill House Pig Out chef and volunteers

Elliott Buckner (far left) our dedicated Board Member and BBQ chef with his helpful volunteers


Many local law offices and businesses submitted pre-orders for their entire offices and several people picked up Friday night dinner for their families.  The pre-order room processed 25% more food than last year!  We also served over 125 guests through the line, and were excited that several members and staff drove all the way up from The Denbigh House in Newport News to take part in the event.

CBIS staff preparing pre-orders

Getting the orders out in the pre-order room!


Community Brain Injury Services could not continue to enjoy such a successful event without the support and generosity of our community.  We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our community partners and corporate sponsors who made this year’s event possible. We appreciate your ongoing commitment to our event and cause!



Denbigh House members enjoy lunch

Denbigh House members drove all the way up from Newport News to enjoy the mouthwatering lunch

The following individuals were instrumental in the execution of our event and we are incredibly thankful for their help and support!

  • Beth Edwards
  • Pam Stump
  • Leslie Wyatt
  • Cobi Smith
  • Jillian Aponte
  • Stephanie Arnold
  • Greg Boyajian
  • Justin Surrett
  • Michael Benninghove
  • Larissa Carpenter
  • Michael Weber
  • Patrick Martin
  • Brian McCann
  • Scott Bucci


 Corporate Sponsors

Mill House members with BBQ sign

Thankful for a successful event!

Our Corporate Sponsors are absolutely critical to the success of our events. We are very grateful to their continued dedication and investment into our organization.

Presenting Sponsors

BBQ Sponsors

Lunch Sponsors


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Welcome Muslima!

Welcome Muslima! The newest member of the CBIS team

Community Brain Injury Services extends a warm welcome to Muslima Musawwir, our new Development Coordinator! Muslima graduated from Shenandoah University with a BFA and worked in development at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC following graduation.  Muslima joins the CBIS Administrative Team to bring a heightened focus to development and will coordinate our events, donor engagement and recognition, and social media efforts. Welcome Muslima!

Welcome Muslima!

Muslima Musawwir joins the CBIS team!

Check out Muslima’s bio to learn more about her!

The addition of a new position

Before September of 2017, Community Brain Injury Services did not have a dedicated development position at the organization. Development and event activities were distributed among the Administrative team, but as our service capacity has grown, so has the need for greater infrastructure to support that growth.  In summer of 2017, Community Brain Injury Services was awarded a generous grant through The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia to fund the start up of a Development Coordinator position.  Community Brain Injury Services has been the recipient of the generosity of The Community Foundation for several years now, and we are so grateful for their continued support.

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ACECF awards CBIS $25,000

The Mill House is a proud recipient of a 2017 ACECF grant

Community Brain Injury Services Clubhouse program, The Mill House, serving survivors of brain injury in the Richmond area, is the proud grant recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF)! The ACECF is a strong supporter of Community Brain Injury Services and has been through the years. The ACECF has funded projects such as a vehicle for our Case Management services in Richmond, a 12-passenger van for The Denbigh House in Newport News, and the funding of our beautiful fully accessible garden and patio area at The Denbigh House. CBIS is humbled and thankful for the support and generosity of the many Altria Companies’ employees, who make this funding possible.


Members and staff of The Mill House receive $25,000 ACECF check

The Mill House excited to receive a $25,000 check from ACECF!

Expanding Employment and Advocacy Units

The 2017 grant from ACECF will fund the renovation of the old Administrative and Case Management office at The Mill House, adding an additional 500 square feet of fully functional, ADA accessible space for member use, as well as new technology to assist members in their employment and advocacy efforts. With the expansion of this space, coupled with the technological upgrades, members will have a dedicated space to work on employment goals such as job searching, writing resumes, and practicing interview skills, and to participate in larger scale advocacy and outreach efforts. Construction on this project will begin this fall, and The Mill House members and staff are very excited to be able to enhance and expand their current services.


CBIS staff attends 2017 Giving Together fair

CBIS Director of Administration, Claire Yarbrough, at the ACECF Giving Together fair

ACECF Giving Together Fair

Altria held the 2017 Giving Together Fair late last month to offer all grant recipients the opportunity to meet some of the employees who contributed to the ACECF fund and made our grants possible. CBIS administrative staff spent the day meeting with employees to offer insight into our program and services, and the grant funded renovation project. Most importantly though, the Fair offered CBIS an opportunity to personally say thank you to the generous employees of the Altria Companies.


CBIS Administrative staff attend ACECF 2017 Fair

CBIS Executive Director, Jason Young, discusses the grant funded renovation project


Thank you so much to Altria and the many employees that give to the ACECF fund, there is so much that we have been able to do with your support and we appreciate your continued dedication to your communities!


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