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Strive Selected as Charity of Choice for Fundraiser in Vancouver

Lip Sync Battle Benefitting Strive June 1st!

Awesome news! Strive has been chosen by A Thinking Ape Entertainment Ltd. as their charity of choice for the 2017 Tech’s Got Talent fundraiser. They are planning a series of fundraising events including a silent auction and competing in an epic lip sync battle on June 1st. Thank you SO much for your support, A Thinking Ape!

On June 1st A Thinking Ape is going head to head with Vancouver tech companies in Tech’s Got Talent, an EXCELLENT charitable lip sync battle at The Imperial in Vancouver! All proceeds raised by A Thinking Ape will benefit us (Strive!)

They’ve got a whole schedule of in-house FUNdraisers planned, but anyone can donate to our Chimp campaign here. Want to help us out? Please “like” or share posts on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tickets to this incredible fundraising event are available here. We are really excited to be a part of this fundraiser.

Strive to Participate in the 2017 Big Bike Fundraiser in Burnaby

Strive’s enthusiastic team of close to 30 participants and staff will return again this year to ride the Big Bike! All funds raised support the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Last year the Strive to Ride team raised $2708 in total and this year it is our hope that we will take it even further.

Our Big Bike ride will take place on May 17th at the Burnaby Home Depot. It’s an awesome way to be active, team build, and support a fantastic cause.

When you donate or raise funds for Heart & Stroke Big Bike, you help ensure that critical research in hospitals and universities across Canada can continue. And you’re helping work towards our shared vision: Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke.

To donate to one of our riders, please click the link below and select your rider of choice. Thank you for your support! It means a lot to us.

 Check out our Strive to Ride team page here!

Strive to Ride in the 2016 Big Bike Fundraiser

Jennifer Publishes her Powerful Story of Recovery

Jennifer has written a refreshing and honest story of her journey through illness and the lengthy process of recovery and healing. Jennifer was recently nominated for the Courage to Come Back Award and she deserves that recognition. This nomination inspired her to take the time to write down her incredible story and create a website. Jennifer is part of Strive’s Assisted Independent Living program and we are so proud of her courage and determination. She is a very talented writer and we recommend reading her full story. Below is a brief excerpt.

“In June of 2013, I moved into my new Family Care Home with Mira and her lovely family. I have my own suite, with a bedroom, bathroom, living area, kitchenette, and a large patio and yard where I grow flowers and vegetables. All the amenities are within wheelchair driving distance, and Mira provides me with cable, Internet, Netflix, and Wi-Fi. Since arriving here, I’ve continued to push myself, practicing walking on the treadmill, stretching my shoulders, and most importantly, always trying to do things for myself before calling for help. This strategy has helped me improve my life in all kinds of ways, from my independence to my ROM. And being willing to try new things has allowed me to learn to use transit, to travel the ferry to visit my parents, to get into a car, to go to dinner without my chair, and to have the confidence to go anywhere in this world and do anything in my imagination that I set my goals for.”

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Awareness BBQ a Resounding Success! 

ABI BBQ Prize Wheel2On Monday, July 11th, 131 individuals gathered at Queen’s Park in New Westminster to raise awareness for ABI. This event was run by the Joyce Strive Centre and Headway, offering an inclusive venue for participants, caregivers, and members of the community.

Food was offered, along with games, swag, dancing, and live music from DJ James. There was an interactive Brain Health Station, where participants learned how daily activities can improve their brain health and increase functioning. Also present were two fantastic guest speakers.

Tony Mok is a brain injury survivor and BC Brain Injury Association Board of Directors member. He is also an active advocate and participates in his local community brain injury programs. Tony discussed his personal experiences with brain injury recovery, as well as the future direction of brain injury coordinated services in British Columbia. ABI BBQ Group ShotABI BBQ June & Katryna

Marthe Love is the partner of a brain injury surivor and a powerful advocate for her husband’s recovery. She struggled to navigate the community of brain injury services, but was relentless in her persuit to engage Rick in programs that would benefit him. His story of determination and recovery is remarkable and desmonstrates the body and the brain’s ability to continually improve when you have the attitude, support, and the opportunity to do so.

Feedback from participants has been very positive! A number of people approached organizers wanting to know more about our Centres and programs. Most of the resources and information sheets were gone by the end of the day.

Thank you to everyone who attended and/or helped plan and coordinate the event. Sincere thanks to our staff, volunteers, participants, DJ James, Tony Mok, and Marthe Love. We look forward to seeing you all again next year and continuing to improve this fantastic annual ABI Awareness event!

A Powerful Speaker and Survivor of an Acquired Brain Injury Tells her Story

JenniferJune is Acquired Brain Injury Awareness month and we would like to share a story about Jennifer, an individual in our Assisted Independent Living program.

One week ago Jennifer had the courage to share her story and gave an incredibly moving speech at Fraser Health’s Acquired Brain Injury Program, Community for Everyone Awards event in Coquitlam. Below is an account of her story in her own words.

In 2009, due to mounting fears of the H1N1 influenza, Jennifer’s physician recommended that she take the combination H1N1 seasonal flu shot. Several weeks later she started to notice increasingly concerning symptoms such as double vision, falling down, and inability to swallow. She went to the hospital multiple times to address these concerns without any clear answers. Prior to receiving the flu shot, Jennifer had been recovering from a severe strain of the flu and her immune system was already reduced. Unfortunately, she reports the antibodies in the vaccine started to attack her brainstem.

Jennifer was admitted to hospital and while there she was placed on a ventilator and went into a coma. She was diagnosed with Bickerstaff’s Brainstem Encephalitis, resulting in an acquired brain injury. After coming out of a coma she slipped in and out of consciousness, finding herself unable to communicate with those around her.

Jennifer spent 18 months in the hospital and had endured countless medical tests, persisting physical agony, and feelings of hopelessness. Jennifer started her journey of recovery at a group home in Langley and focused on recovering, increasing her strength, and mobility. She made huge strides during her time there.

In 2013, Jennifer moved to one of Strive’s community support homes, located in Surrey. She reports that this is where she finally developed independence and autonomy. With the support of her Care Provider in a safe environment, Jennifer increased her independence in many different areas of her life. She is now able to prepare meals, clean her home, access transit independently, go grocery shopping, and take care of her banking. Jennifer is determined to continue to increase her independence and is always challenging herself in new ways.

Jennifer’s speech at the ABI Award event blew us away and we are so proud of her progress, attitude, and willingness to share her inspirational story. Thank you, Jennifer.

Assisted Independent Living Care Providers Win the Residential Award from Fraser Health

AwardCecilio, Ina, and Daisy Granale won the Residential Award (pictured on the left) and we couldn’t be more proud.

They received the award for the best residential home in all of the Fraser Health Authority, Acquired Brain Injury Services. Residential includes: a facility, group home, apartment program or community support home that has demonstrated excellence in supporting an individual with an acquired brain injury to be more independent. This also indicates that they have provided quality care that has maximized the potential of the client or successfully transitioned a client to a lower level of care. The magnitude of this award is incredible!

Congratulations Cecilio, Ina, Daisy, and Nicole! Thank you for everything you do for our Assisted Independent Living program here at Strive and those we serve. This recognition means a lot to us. 

Strive to Participate in Burnaby’s Hats Off Day Event

Hats Off Day2Strive will be participating in Hats Off Day this Saturday, June 4th in Burnaby! Come explore a trove of Jungle Fever themed delights!

Come visit the Strive tent between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Community Zone, on the 3800 block of Hastings Street, between Ingleton Avenue and Esmond Avenue. The Community Zone hosts 20 selected non-profit groups and organizations, all offering an array of activities for the whole family.

Get wild at our thrilling jungle booth! We’re proud to present two prize wheels, face painting, colouring, and plenty of unique prizes. This is an incredible free event and parade in the Burnaby community, definitely not to be missed. For more information on Hats Off Day click here.

JM Social media pic Dec 2015

One Participant’s Journey; Stroke Recovery and Triumphant Return Home

There’s no place like home. One of Strive Living Society’s participants, James, has completed his rehabilitation in their Assisted Independent Living (AIL) program and is now returning home to his very own apartment. He spent the last six months living with his wonderful and supportive care provider, Ola.

Strive’s Assisted Independent Living program provides accommodations and supports for individuals with traumatic brain injury, mental health diagnoses, as well as physical, mental, and developmental needs. The goal of the AIL program is to assist people to live independently by helping them to develop life skills and maintain a high quality of living.

For James, it all happened quite suddenly. He operated a forklift for 35 years until one morning he wasn’t feeling well and called 911. The next thing he remembers is waking up surrounded by family at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Doctors told James he had a stroke and that he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Rather than being discouraged, James began doing physio and slowly regaining strength in his limbs. He moved to the Yale Road Centre, a short-term stay unit for clients who are waiting for placement in a care home. He met a group of individuals there who had been through similar experiences and was able to ask questions and find support.

Eventually James decided to get in contact with Strive and became part of the Assisted Independent Living (AIL) program. This program takes each individual’s needs into account and finds homes that are the ideal match for both the home share provider and individuals in service.

James was shown several homes and chose Ola’s because they hit it off immediately. They shared a love of food, the location was ideal, and had easy access for his family to visit. James also got along well with Ola’s children.

“It felt right,” James said during an exit interview with Strive.

James made great friends in a Stroke Recovery Group, which he attends weekly. He can now walk to the Yale Road Centre and back, up to 70 minutes and counting. He started doing hobbies again, going to the driving range, and gaining confidence in the kitchen. He began cooking once a week for his care provider’s family and introducing them to new dishes. After some practice, he began cooking all his meals and grocery shopping independently. His care provider supported him throughout his stay by assisting him with transportation and encouraging his friends and family’s visits.

How does it feel to be going home now? “Exciting, nervous, looking forward to it. If I didn’t have my apartment to go back to, I’d stay here with Ola. It has worked out so well, it’s such a warm, welcoming environment,” James said.

James’ advice for others at the start of a similar journey is to, “Push yourself. I did extra exercises in my room, I walked more than they recommended, and I was determined to get back what I lost. Nurses and doctors can only tell you so much. It’s up to you to go the extra mile to get better. I had to realize there is nothing I can do about it (his stroke) now, but I can control what happens from here. My dark days have made me stronger.”

Since the start of the program James has lost 80 pounds and is now a healthy weight. Surrey Memorial Hospital nurses came to visit the Stroke Recovery Group and asked if anyone would like to volunteer as a speaker and share their experiences. James volunteered because he wants to give people hope and share his humbling recovery experience.

“I want to tell them that yes, it’s hard now, but you can work on it and it will get better. You have to have patience. I realized it was part of the journey,” James said.

The Assisted Independent Living (AIL) program is tailor-made to suit the needs of each individual and accommodations can include a full separate suite or a shared environment.

For more information, click here.

For more program information, or to apply to be a care provider, contact the Director of AIL at:

Strive to Monaco Fundraising Gala a Success

The inaugural Strive to Monaco fundraising gala was a resounding success on November 14, 2015. Guests and attendees enjoyed a fun and lively evening of friendship, information sharing, delicious food and drink, entertainment and casino tables, all in support of the ABI Community.

Guest speakers shared tales of inspiration while community partners shared invaluable resources and sponsors donated generous gifts. All proceeds raised from this event are being used to enhance Strive’s programs and services to directly benefit individuals living with brain injury.

We wish to thank each and every person who made Strive to Monaco come to life: the Strive to Monaco Committee Members and Volunteers, the Usual Suspects Band, the Anvil Centre, BC Brain Injury Association, Michael Coss, Glen Orris, Ronnie Paterson, and all the generous sponsors; Michael Morrison Corporate Video Productions, QAI Laboratories, Valentus Clinics, Maple Ridge Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Bell Canada, NewGen Technologies Corporation, Ketchum Communications Ltd., Force Four Entertainment, Community Connections, Ellen and Norm Duinker, Spagnuolo and Associates, Harris and Company LLP, and Joy Lontayao.

Please enjoy these photos captured from the event.

Glen and Michael Mike and Angela The Usual Suspects Nozi Michelle Loretta Sarah David Izabela John Gabs Sunny Shannon Crystal and Family BCBIA and Valentus Blackjack AIL Team AIL Table Craps Crowd Silent Auction Elsa Nozi Daneille Erin Sarah

Strive Video

Watch our video clip about what Strive Living Society can do for you here! This video was created to highlight our Acquired Brain Injury Services and promote the Strive to Monaco Cocktail Gala Fundraiser held on November 14, 2015. Special thanks to Michael Morrison, Eunice Lee, and Andre Fernandes for the making of this video!

Strive Now on Twitter and Instagram

Social media addicts are now able to follow Strive on both Twitter and Instagram!

Keep up with Strive’s activities and events on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you don’t miss out on anything.

Feel free to send us your comments, posts, photos, and events. We’d love to hear from you!

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The Incredible Story of a Boy with Development Disabilities Finding a Place to Strive ˜ Lorie

“We first learned about Strive through our Community Living BC social worker once Alexander had graduated from high school and we were looking for quality programming for him. I had also been searching the Strive website about other programs on the Lower Mainland. We visited the Headway Centre in New Westminster and received such a warm and friendly greeting and had fun participating in a music session. We then learned that Strive was opening a new location called Strive Centre on Joyce Street in Vancouver on June 1.

In early June, we set up an appointment at the Strive Centre and we have been thoroughly enjoying quality programming there since then! We have also been enjoying services with the Footprints Day Program team every Thursday at our local bowling alley since July.

Whether we are with the team and clients at Strive Centre or Footprints Day Program, we are always greeted with warmth and kindness by both clients and staff members. Staff are so supportive of our family and are genuinely interested in Alexander. We found that Alexander was very sad after leaving high school, he was really mourning that loss of seeing friends and staff each day and the transition was very, very difficult for him.

In addition, we had suffered great sadness and tragedy in our family as we lost our daughter and Alexander’s paternal grandmother within 11 months of each other, our daughter right after Alexander’s graduation in June 2014 and Grandma in May 2015. We had travelled to Ontario for 3 weeks after losing our daughter and then to England for 5 weeks last Fall. Alexander’s life was totally turned upside down and inside out. I have found that once we started to attend the quality programs at Strive, he seemed to become more of his usual optimistic and cheerful self.

Alexander is a very social young man and really enjoys meeting new people and the warmth he (and all of us) have received from Strive, really has helped us all to heal and find a place for ourselves in which we feel we belong. Walking through the doors at Strive Centre is like walking into a family home where everyone is truly happy to see Alexander (and all of us). Strive has helped to give Alexander his bounce back!”

The activities are also helping him with his motor skills (for example painting and bowling all help with fine motor coordination). I have noticed his fine motor skills are becoming more refined and he is becoming more motivated to use these skills. Small group activities have really helped to have Alexander shine socially once again.

We love the fact that the staff all telephone and email us to make sure that we are abreast of any new activities or events that Alexander might enjoy, the staff go that extra mile! We can’t thank the staff and clients enough for all their support, it has been such a very difficult time for us all and yet Strive has really helped us to find the fun back in our lives. We will be forever grateful.”




Strive Living Society Launches New Facebook Page

Along with our new website, Strive Living Society is pleased to showcase a brand new Facebook page as well.

Our goal is to use the Facebook page to bring together the Strive community in an engaging and dynamic way. Our page will connect everyone who has anything to do with Strive and share events, ideas, pictures, moments, and opportunities.

Feel free to send us your comments, posts, photos, and events. We’d love to hear from you!

James Poon Donates Artwork to Strive

On December 1, 2014, James Poon unveiled his new work of art titled “Embrace All”. Over one year ago, James Poon was commissioned to create a piece of art for the bare walls of the new head office. After a year of hard work, James surprised Strive Living Society with a painting which he describes as something different from his usual medium.

James, a young man living with an acquired brain injury, is a member of the New Westminster Headway Centre where his artistic talent came to the attention of Strive. James has created works of art for two other Strive locations and this is his third.

James Poon, Artist

James Poon, Artist

“Embrace All” is a painting which merges both the adult world and the world of children into one landscape. While the background mountains and forest depict the reality of adult perception, the foreground is a playful visual as seen through the eyes of a child. Yet, the free birds represent the ability of children to enter the adult space and vice versa in the child-like world.

Embrace All