The Brain Injury Network of Dallas (BIND) provides supportive services for adult survivors of acquired brain injury and joins the gap between medical rehabilitation and independent, contributing community living.

Our Mission & Vision

bind_brain_injury_dallas_clubhouse05

Our mission is to provide tools and a bridge of support to adult brain injury survivors so they can reconnect into life, the community and the workplace. Our vision is to lead the DFW area in providing member-driven services and will serve as the model for Brain Injury Clubhouses across the state of Texas.

The objectives of BIND include reducing the severity of depression, increasing return to gainful employment or productive community volunteering in survivors, and improvement of quality of life for those affected by acquired brain injury. BIND empowers members to maximize their strengths while developing strategies to meet personal goals for community reintegration, and provides a necessary link in the rehabilitative process that assist one in transitioning from therapy to the community upon discharge. This bridge helps the member maintain and improve abilities obtained through the difficult rehabilitative process.

Click here to download and print our brochure: BIND Information Page

Click here to be directed to the BIND YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdM5WBGwXNiZ-qmSVzw9tRA 

Our History

The Brain Injury Network of Dallas was established in September of 2011 by Executive Director, Valerie Gotcher, MS, CCC-SLP.   Mrs. Gotcher and founding board members Kelley Beck, PhD, CBIS and Kevan Beijan, MEd, LPC-S, CBIS completed four days of training, conference and Clubhouse immersion provided by IBICA: International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance in September of 2011 and from those roots, BIND began to grow. Soon after, BIND received 501(c)(3) non-profit status in February 2012.

BIND hosts an annual fundraising Gala each October. Along with this major event, board member fundraising, individual support, corporate sponsorships and participation in North Texas Giving Day, BIND raised $100,000 prior to opening the first Texas-based brain injury Clubhouse in February 2015.  On the anniversary of its opening, the BIND program expanded its 1 day/week program to 3 days/week in early 2016. Rapid growth continued through 2017 and the program expanded to offer triple the amount of space, defined areas to house work units, additional bathrooms and a full kitchen. A capacity-building grant awarded by The Moody Foundation allowed for significant program expansion – ending its third year of operation with 3 full-time staff, a framework for the Work Readiness program, and services available 5 days/week for Members.

BIND also serves as the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s only provider of peer-to-peer mentoring – a program called Peer Partners. Launched in 2012, trained mentors are brain injury survivors and caregivers who offer positive support and resource facilitation to others who are experiencing adjustment challenges following an acquired brain injury.

Leadership

Valerie Gotcher, MS, CCC-SLP – Founder & Executive Director

Valerie earned a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of North Texas in 2004. She has worked in a variety of acute care and outpatient hospital settings serving the needs of adults with acquired brain injury and other neurological disorders. Valerie is responsible for the incorporation of BIND in late 2011 and later the receipt of 501(c)(3) status in February 2012. She is the Executive Director of BIND and is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance. She has been married for 15 years, has 2 children and 4 pets. She enjoys travel, reading and yoga. Email: valerie@thebind.org

Sierra Waddell, MCRC, CRC – Program Director

Sierra earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling from the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions and has a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Arkansas. Her internship experiences have allowed her to develop skills specific to return-to-work initiatives for adults with a variety of physical limitations and mental health concerns, as well as day-neuro treatment for adults with acquired brain injury. Sierra will join BIND full-time in December 2017 as the Program Director. She is married and is currently expecting her first child. She enjoys snuggling her dog, listening to music, and walking outside. Email: sierra@thebind.org

Alexandra Barna, BBA, BA – Unit Coordinator

Alex earned her Bachelor’s in business marketing from Stephen F. Austin State University and a secondary Bachelors in Art from the University of North Texas in 2011. After working in loan acquisitions and insurance for 3 years, she decided to change directions in life, and become more involved in mental health, taking a job as an ABA therapist and volunteering for a Hippotherapy organization the past 4 years. Alex joined the team at BIND in August 2017. She is currently in school to earn her masters in Speech Pathology. She loves the ocean, traveling, all animals and spending time with her family. Email: alex@thebind.org

Ryan Shultz – President of the Board of Directors

Ryan Shultz joined the Board of Directors in September 2016. His brother, Taylor, survived a motor vehicle related traumatic brain injury at the age of 38 in September of 2013. Taylor’s recovery has become an inspiration to Ryan. Ryan is currently an investor in founder-operated businesses across the nation, spending much of his time developing strategic vision and direction. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the McCombs School of Business at UT in Austin. Ryan also serves on the Board of the Young President Organization (YPO) in Dallas. He and his wife Connie, a bilingual speech therapist, have 3 children – Sophia, Harper and Everett.

Russell Button – Vice President of the Board of Directors

Russell Button joined the Board of Directors in November 2015. In December 2010, his best friend survived a dirt bike incident where he sustained a traumatic brain injury. This experience is what led to his passion for brain injury advocacy when he became a trial lawyer. Since becoming a trial lawyer in 2012, Russell has represented many brain injured clients. In January 2015, Russell opened his own law firm called The Button Law Firm. His sole focus is catastrophic injury cases with a specific eye geared toward advocating for safety changes and taking cases that make a difference in the community. He received his undergrad degree in accounting from Midwestern State University while playing basketball on a full scholarship. He then went on to Oklahoma City School of Law. Russell lives in Dallas with his dog Chuie.

Cheri Morrow – Secretary of the Board of Directors

Cheri has been employed as a Customer Care manager for Global Furniture Group since 1984, married for 27 years, has one son, 2 dogs and a kitty.  Cheri met Valerie 16 years ago when they became neighbors.  They have been friends ever since and Cheri has volunteered for BIND from the March 2014 “Walk for Thought” event to today.  Cheri’s older sister suffered a traumatic brain injury in October 1974 and Cheri’s wish is that the BIND program will be available to survivors like her sister all over the state of Texas. Email: BOD@thebind.org

Brian White, MRC, LPC, CRC – Treasurer of the Board of Directors

Following a 20+ year career in Information Technology Brian earned a BA degree in Psychology and 2 Masters degrees in Sport Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of North Texas and UT Southwestern School of Health Professionals, respectively. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor working in sub-acute neuro-rehab since 2012 and he has a private practice in the Frisco/McKinney area. Brian has owned 2 other companies in the DFW area has served as a volunteer with many charitable organizations. He has been married for 23 years, to his wife Kelly, and has 3 Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue dogs. Together they enjoy traveling and remodeling.

Colleen Casey, PhD – Member of the Board of Directors

Colleen Casey manages the Personal Mobility Team in the Division of Social Innovation at Toyota. Her team builds partnerships and invests in projects targeted towards inclusive mobility that improves quality of life.  She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy, Urban and Community Development Policy, and was previously an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. She’s published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to the intersection between transportation and public health, cross sector collaborations, and urban development. She is married and is a proud owner of a Portuguese Water Dog.  Colleen and her husband enjoy traveling, cycling, and running. Her commitment to BIND is inspired by her mother, a survivor of two strokes.

Allison Jordan, MS, CCC-SLP  – Member of the Board of Directors

Allison began her career as a performing artist in New York City.  After touring the tristate area with modern dance choreographer Adele Myers for 3 years, Allison was also involved in commercial, film, and theater performances.  She had a successful run in sales and recruiting before making the deliberate decision to pursue graduate coursework in Speech Language Pathology.  She co-presented with Valerie at the 2013 Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association on the benefits of the Clubhouse Model for brain injury survivors.  Since earning her Master’s in 2014 at UTD she has committed her work to the adult neurological population.  Allison was an active volunteer for BIND for 3 & 1/2 years before joining the Board of Directors.  She looks forward to contributing her efforts to help bridge the gap of support from medical care to successful return to community and vocation for brain injury survivors.

David Russum, MBA – Member of the Board of Directors

David’s career has spanned 30+ years and focused on Information Technology.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.  David has been married for over 30 years to his wife Cristy and has two boys, Grant and Collin, both currently in college.  His oldest son, 24, sustained a severe traumatic brain injury during his Freshman year at the University of Colorado.  David and his wife spent close to a year away from home assisting in his recovery and care.  Growing up in a family of medical practitioners provided a base for David to guide his family in their TBI recovery journey.  They have become strong advocates for TBI survivors and their family members as their son progressed and returned to school at CU.  David enjoys traveling, hiking Colorado mountains with his son, spending time with friends and family, and staying active with his three Australian Shepherds.

Karl Heller – Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Directors

Prior to Karl’s traumatic brain injury in 2006, he worked as the Vice President of Sales for Southwestern Battery Supply in Garland, Texas. Karl earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the US Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from the Oklahoma City University. Karl served for six years in the Army.  He enjoys a good steak, cheering for the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers.

Jim Traister – Member of the Board of Directors

Jim grew up as a military brat moving every couple of years throughout childhood and later as an adult. Happily, he has lived in DFW longer than anywhere else in his life and could not have chosen a more appropriate place in America to raise his son. Jim inherited the “volunteer gene” from his mother who inspired him to volunteer with Youth at Risk, Yugoslavia refugees following the war in the 1990’s and also with the Peace Corp in Guatemala. Jim shares that volunteering at BIND selfishly makes him very feel close to his mother who passed away after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Jim owns HospitalityFan, a social media agency that provides turnkey social media solutions for independent businesses across the country. He spent sixteen years in the Food & Beverage Industry and went on to eventually turn around a Hotel & Restaurant college program while he built his current business. Previously, Jim was an Adjunct Instructor at the University of North Texas. Outside of his business, Jim spends most of his time performing as a pro-bono UBER driver for his son’s activities and working on his bucket list of travel destinations.

Rachita Sharma, PhD, CRC, LPC-S – Member of the Board of Directors

Dr. Rachita Sharma is currently Lecturer and Clinical Director in the department of Rehabilitation and Health Services at the University of North Texas where she supervises the clinical training of graduate and undergraduate students. She earned her Doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, her Master’s degree inRehabilitation Counseling Psychology from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and her Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology from University of Texas at Dallas. As a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in the state of Texas and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Rachita has experience working in the field of mental health and disability adjustment. Rachita’s previous work experiences have involved working at the inpatient psychiatric unit of Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, the Assessment Clinic of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, the Traumatic Brain Injury clinic of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington DC, the Counseling and Psychological Services Center and Veterans Center of the University of Texas-Pan American, and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Rachita is an active member of several organizations at National, State, and Local levels, also serving as a Board member for 3 such organizations.

Advisory Committee 

Nellie Montgomery

Bob Gibbons

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there other Brain Injury Clubhouses? 

 How is BIND funded? 

  • In 2017:
    • 48% of BIND revenue was provided through grants
    • 21% was raised at the Happy Brain Gala by individuals and corporate sponsors
    • 20% was received exclusively from individual donors
    • 6% of revenue was earned through Member dues
    • 5% was raised on North Texas Giving Day

 How much does the program cost? 

  • The 5-day per week program cost is $400,000 annually
  • In 2017, 88% of expenses were directly related to BIND programs and operating expenses

 Who is a Member? 

  • BIND considers brain injury survivors who attend the Clubhouse program ‘Members’, not patients. Members claim responsibility for making program decisions and direct the daily operation of the BIND Clubhouse. Through participation in work units, Members volunteer for tasks that directly support the operation of the facility and organization as a whole.  To connect with a member, email members@thebind.org or call BIND at 972-769-BIND (2463).

 What are membership requirements? 

  • BIND Members must be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a documented acquired brain injury
  • Be independent in self-care or use assistive devices independently
  • Be willing to participate in a working community
  • Have financial resources to pay Member dues
  • Not be a threat to self or others

Does BIND provide job placement or employment services?

  • BIND is a contracted provider of Personal Social Adjustment Training through the Texas Workforce Commission
  • At BIND, this program is referred to as “Work Readiness”
  • Contact Sierra Waddell sierra@thebind.org for more information about this program

 What does the program need? 

  • BIND wishes to expand our base of supporters and reach more survivors in need of our services
  • Each year in September, BIND is involved with North Texas Giving Day and is approved to receive donations through the Communities Foundation of Texas
  • In-kind donations to include in our annual silent auction held each year in October
  • Additionally, BIND is expanding and diversifying our Board of Directors, student internship placements and program volunteers
  • Contact Valerie Gotcher valerie@thebind.org for a current list of program supply needs or to inquire about volunteer opportunities

Are contributions to BIND tax deductible?

  • Yes, BIND is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service
  • BIND received this status in February of 2012