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The Kootenay Brain Injury Association (KBIA) began as a support group in 1999 in response to a need in the area. Rachelle Vogel and Rachel Jansen organized and attended the meetings. Brain injury survivors met once a month in Castlegar.
KBIA was incorporated in 2001. The initial board included Rachelle Vogel, Rachel Jansen, Deborah Cook, and Deb Heagy. The provincial brain injury program provided an initial grant which was used to hire a coordinator, Shawna Keating, who stayed for a short time before Jackie Kellock filled the position. The association continued to provide support groups plus caregiver support groups, one-on-one support, advocacy and education about brain injury.
When support for adults with brain injuries moved from a provincial program to the responsibility of the health authorities, Interior Health Authority began contracting KBIA to provide community support. This included support groups, one~on-one support, and prevention programs.
In 2005, the coordinator position was changed to an executive director position to reflect the changing role and responsibilities.
In 2006, Interior Health Authority increased funding to KBIA in order to provide outreach services in Castlegar, Trail, and Nelson. In time, outreach was extended to include the communities of Trail, Salmo, Castlegar, Nelson, Grand Forks, Fruitvale, Rossland, Revelstoke, Cranbrook, Fernie and Golden.
2014 saw the closing of the BIG House in Trail (Brain Injury Group) and a successful move the Community Inclusion Centre where the Trail group continues to meet weekly.
Today, along with the outreach services, IHA provides for additional one-to-one contracts. The association has also ascertained services through private contracts. KBIA also operates an Art Gallery store front in the Waneta plaza in Trail which features educational material on brain injury awareness and prevention as well as displays of many of our artistic brain injury survivor members.