Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut and Trinity College Host Healthy Living Retreat

Free Event for People with Brain Injury Sponsored in Part by Grant from William Petit Foundation

​Hartford, Connecticut, June 8, 2016 – The 2016 Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut (BIAC) Healthy Living Retreat for people with brain injury took place on Friday, June 3, in Trinity College’s Mather Hall. The day-long event was free to attend and featured a full program of interactive workshops.


​Above: The music therapy workshop at the Healthy Living Retreat was run by Doug Johnson (left). Below: Michael Galaburrí from Art Connection Studio/Vinfen CT helped participants contribute to murals in art therapy sessions.
Sarah Raskin, Charles A. Dana Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and director of Trinity’s Neuroscience Program, works closely with the BIAC to put the event together. Approximately 165 people registered for the retreat. “This year we received a grant from the William Petit Foundation, so we were able to offer the retreat free to all the participants,” Raskin said.

An art therapy workshop saw the creation of large, colorful canvases under the guidance of Michael Galaburrí, MAAT, ATR, from Art Connection Studio/ Vinfen CT. The music therapy workshop run by Doug Johnson, Ph.D., MA-MT, MT-BC, and Emily Bevelaqua, MMT, MT-BC, gave everyone the chance to play instruments and sing songs together.

Daphne Wilcox and dogs from Tails of Joy offered a popular animal-assisted therapy session in the morning, and Nicole Violette, CSCS, from the Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital provided instruction during a Tai Chi workshop in the afternoon.

In addition to lunch, the guests enjoyed an afternoon snack in the form of a no-bake cooking activity. Throughout the day, participants also had the option to take part in quieter activities such as coloring, playing board games, and working on puzzles. Prizes were awarded after each round of Bingo.

Helping Raskin organize and run the event were about 10 Trinity students, many of whom also work in her lab. Raskin, whose scholarly interests include cognitive rehabilitation after brain injury, said that it is important to introduce her students to the very people who could one day benefit from their research. “This is what it’s actually about,” she said.


​IDP student Marissa Stein, Christy Chan ’18, and Allie Bieling ’19 were among the volunteers from Trinity College who helped out at the Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut Healthy Living Retreat. Photos by Andrew J. Concatelli
Michael Zarra ’19, a neuroscience major from Cheshire, Conn., said, “One of the coolest things from today was getting to talk to all the people. Everyone’s different, and you realize that people maintain their senses of humor and personalities.”

Christy Chan ’18, a neuroscience and math double-major from Brooklyn, N.Y., helped with registration at the retreat and did some recruiting for Raskin’s research. “I’m interested in how much the brain affects who you are,” said Chan. “The people here love to talk to you and get to know you. It’s such a great experience.” Chan, a pre-med student, also has volunteered her time offering cognitive therapy to residents at a senior living community in Hartford. “Interacting with people and seeing them improve over time is very gratifying,” she said.

Written by Andrew J. Concatelli