Fighting Depression Post Traumatic Brain Injury

Fighting Depression Post Traumatic Brain Injury

Depression is common among Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors. The risk of depression after a TBI increases whether the injury is mild, moderate, or severe. It can develop as the person starts to understand the full impact of their injury. This realization can lead to feelings of hopelessness and altered self-esteem and identity as the survivor reflects over the changes that they are facing, and may continue to face in the future.

Research shows that when people without any prior mental health concerns or history of depression suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury, their risk for depression increases significantly. Some studies suggest that the risk for developing depression following a TBI may be two to five times higher than in the rest of the population. Unfortunately, researchers have not determined specific factors that cause depression after brain injuries or when it usually starts. Some people experience depression right after their injury, while others develop it a year or more later.

Many different factors contribute to depression after TBI, and these vary a great deal from person to person. Depression may result from injury to the areas of the brain that control emotions. Changes in the levels of certain natural chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, can cause depression. Depression can also arise as a person struggles to adjust to temporary or lasting disability and losses or role changes within the family and society. Some people have a higher risk for depression due to inherited genes, personal or family history, and other influences that were present before the brain injury.

Prior to suffering a TBI, Tim led a care free, easy-going life. He loved having fun and enjoying life, working full-time as an ironworker. Some of his favorite activities were riding his motorcycle and playing cards with friends. He and his girlfriend were even talking marriage.

An auto accident in June 2019 changed all that. Following the accident, Tim was hospitalized for two weeks, most of which he has absolutely no memory of. He then spent two weeks in a rehab facility recovering from his physical injuries. He remembers something not feeling right in the front part of his brain. He did not laugh and was unable to cry. Depression set in as these negative feelings began controlling his mood. He stated that, “I didn’t care about anything, even though I knew I should. I was just existing, going through the motions.”

Unfortunately for Tim, he began losing more than his emotions. He lost his girlfriend and some friends in the process when his depression began to affect his relationships as they were not able to understand his condition. He looked fine on the outside. However, Tim was anything but fine on the inside and it was shaping up to be a rough road to recovery.

Tim began experiencing memory loss. He was forgetting things that he knew he should know and remember. He began seeing a counselor and psychologist. He became frustrated with that process as he felt they just wanted to keep changing his medications. He felt like he was spinning his wheels in all his sessions. Nothing was helping.

Tim’s life reached a new low point in June 2021 when he had a close encounter with a semi-truck. Even though he avoided an accident, the emotional trauma from the event completely shook him to his core. He relapsed and suffered a bout of manic depression. He began getting in trouble with the authorities, despite having no memory of the incidences. No amount of medication was working. In fact, Tim and his family feel it was making things worse.

After struggling with these feelings for over two years, Tim’s family finally sought help from the Amen Clinic, one of the world leaders in applying brain imaging science to help people who struggle with emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. They performed a Brain SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) on Tim. SPECT is a state-of-the-art brain mapping tool that can give psychiatrists more information to help their patients more effectively. SPECT is a nuclear medicine study that is proven to reliably evaluate blood flow and activity in the brain. SPECT allows physicians to look deep inside the brain to observe three things: areas of the brain that work well, areas of the brain that work too hard, and areas of the brain that do not work hard enough. Following the SPECT, it was suggested that Tim would benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been proven to reduce cerebral edema, reduce neuro-inflammation, increases oxygen saturation to the brain, promote new blood vessel growth, reactivate idling neurons and can create an 8-fold increase in your own stem cell production. In a hyperbaric chamber, the influx of oxygen helps increase blood flow and expedites cellular repair naturally. SPECT scans show that people who have had HBOT have marked improvement in blood flow to the brain.

By giving the body what it needs to thrive – and taking away other natural pollutants for the short time – the brain experiences reduced irritability, impulsivity, and mood swings while many patients notice an increase in uplifting emotions, motor function, and IQ. In other words, HBOT addresses the root cause of anxiety and depression.

Midway through his initial round of HBOT treatments, Tim and his family began seeing benefits. He began talking more clearly and his motivation and interest in activities began to increase. He started participating in physical activity again, walking 2-3 miles with him mom every day. Since completing treatments, Tim has been able to return to the work he loved as an iron worker. Tim has been able to reduce his medications and replace them with more natural vitamin options that don’t leave him feeling so disconnected. He is so thankful to oxygen treatments at Sara’s Garden for helping aid him in his recovery.

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

2022 “Drive Fore Hope” Reminder

2022 “Drive Fore Hope” Reminder

Don’t forget! The 2022 “Drive Fore Hope” Charity Golf Scramble is just around the corner. We still have spots available to get your team signed up. We have put together a fun-filled day at Ironwood Golf Course in Wauseon, Ohio and hope to see you there!

  • Event Date: Friday, May 27, 2022
  • Event Location: Ironwood Golf Course, Wauseon, Ohio
  • Event Format: 4-Player Team Scramble
  • Event Cost: $75 per Player ($300 per Team)

All proceeds from this event will be used towards the purchase of therapy equipment for our clients and students at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy. Sara’s Garden is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only facility in the United States to offer Autism Intervention, Conductive Education, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration and Speech-Language Pathology services.

Registration Includes:

  • Scramble format (4-player teams)
  • Green and cart fees
  • Range balls
  • Goodie bag
  • Contests and prizes
  • Awards for top teams
  • Lunch Buffet
Schedule of Events
7:00 a.m.
Range Open
8:00 a.m.
Shotgun Scramble
1:00 p.m.
Lunch Buffet at NHA Career Center
2:00 p.m.
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Partnership Opportunities

Platinum Title Partner – $1,500

  • Includes one foursome, event promotion, platinum title partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 15 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 43 hours of intervention services.

Gold Event Partner – $900

  • Includes one foursome, gold event partner activity signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 9 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 25 hours of intervention services.

Silver Contest Partner – $500

  • Includes one foursome, silver contest partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 5 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 14 hours of intervention services.

Bronze Meal Partner – $350

  • Includes bronze meal partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 3.5 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 10 hours of intervention services.

O2 Tee Partner – $100

  • Includes O2 tee partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 1 hour of HBOT treatments or up to 3 hours of intervention services.

For additional information regarding partnership opportunities or team registration for the Sara’s Garden “Drive Fore Hope” Charity Golf Scramble please contact Tara at 419.335.SARA or via email at

Please join us for a great day of golf filled with fun, great food, auction items, skill contests and fabulous prizes. Take a day off work for a great cause and meet some of the amazing people you are golfing to help!

2022 Wheel of Purses Reminder

2022 Wheel of Purses Reminder

Ladies, you’re not going to want to miss the 2022 Wheel of Purses. Our popular designer purse event is back for 2022!

The format is brand new and more exciting than ever. We appreciate everyone’s feedback from our previous Purse Bingo and Purse Reverse events. We believe that Wheel of Purses will be an event that combines all of your favorite aspects from the previous event formats into something you are going to really enjoy!

Enjoy a fun filled Girl’s Night Out with your friends while playing for fabulous purses from the designers you love. Win designer handbags by Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren and Dooney & Bourke. Over 30 handbags are available to win!

Get your tickets reserved now!

Event Date:Thursday, June 23, 2022
Event Location:Founder’s Hall at Sauder Village, Archbold, Ohio
Event Time:
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Event begins at 6:30 p.m.
Event Cost:$50 Single Ticket | $400 Reserved Table of 8
Reserved table includes a meat, cheese & cracker tray
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Wait till you see what we have in store for you this year… more purses, more games, more surprises, more chances to win and more fun!

Each Wheel of Purses admission ticket includes two (2) drink tickets good for coffee, lemonade, soft drinks and/or water.

Event will also feature:

  • Raffles and door prizes
  • 50/50 drawings

Available for purchase:

  • Beer, wine and mixed drinks
  • Appetizers and snacks
Open to all ages. Must present ID to be served alcohol.

All proceeds from this event will be used towards the purchase of therapy equipment, vocational supplies and educational curriculum for our clients and students at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy. This funding provides invaluable resources to the children and clients we serve.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Purse Sponsor – $250

  • Includes purse sponsor signage and program recognition.

Event Sponsor – $400

  • Includes event sponsor signage and program recognition.

Title Sponsor – $900

  • Includes title sponsor signage and program recognition.
  • Includes one (1) reserved VIP table for eight (8) attendees.
  • Each VIP table attendee will also receive a special gift.

For additional information regarding tickets, reservations or sponsorship opportunities please contact Tara at 419.335.SARA or via email at

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

At the beginning of the year, we began discussing the possibility of partnering with local schools, churches and non-profit organizations to develop fundraising programs to support their organizations that centered around coffee.

Typical fundraising programs promote the sale of food items (ie: candy bars, popcorn, pizza, cookie dough and various sweets). Most of these products are not locally made and come from large national wholesalers. Our hope was to create a program that would feature reasonably priced, locally sourced products that provided an amazing return on investment to the organization selling them.

Before we launched our fundraising plans, we were approached by Liberty Center Schools, who had been selling Special Grounds coffee to their school through their Tigers Breakfast and Brew Crew coffee cart. Every two weeks the LC crew loads up their carts with freshly brewed coffee from Special Grounds, hot chocolate, granola bars and donuts and begins filling and delivering orders across the district.

We developed a fundraising program for Liberty Center students to sell coffee to their friends and families. We even created a private label roast, called TIGER FUEL, specifically for Liberty Center schools to be the featured coffee in this program.

What an amazing experience this has been for all of us! Liberty Center Schools sold over 1,400 bags of coffee over the course of the past month, raising almost $9,000 for their school’s PTO.

A few LC students even had the opportunity to come tour the coffee shop and career center and helped label over 900 bags of the coffee they sold.

From start to finish, our coffee is not only benefiting the organizations with whom we partner, but it is also benefiting those individuals who are helping make the product!

NHA Welcomes Koo Koo Kangaroo

NHA Welcomes Koo Koo Kangaroo

After months of fundraising including a Spaghetti Supper, Spirit Wear sales, and donations, New Horizons Academy (NHA) is pleased and honored to welcome the early intervention group, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, on May 6th at 10:30 a.m. at Pettisville Missionary Church. Koo Koo Kanga Roo will be entertaining all of the students at both NHA’s Wauseon and Springfield Campuses.

According to their web site, Koo Koo Kanga Roo was created by Bryan Atchison and Neil Olstad in 2008 in Winona, Minnesota. After being in a campus rock band for the first few years of college, the guys created Koo Koo as an experimental project for St. Mary’s University’s annual battle of the bands. The idea centered around crowd participation, comedy and dance music, stretching the concept of a what a “band” could be. Later on, Koo Koo began creating “dance-a-long” videos (initially as something of a joke) for their songs in order to help demonstrate the moves that audiences would need to know at their shows. These videos were unexpectedly a hit with elementary school teachers, which led Koo Koo into the world of children’s music and becoming a “real” kids band.

NHA’s students are so looking forward to seeing, hearing, and dancing along with Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Fundraising Chair Laura Vasko, Committee Chair Olivia Brink, and Community Outreach Coordinator Tara Dumas all would like to thank all of the staff who helped with the fundraising and planning efforts, and they would like to send out a special thank you to the following sponsors and donors:

  • Meijer—Central Ave—Store #117
  • Mossburg Family
  • Bishop Family
  • Cardenas Family
  • American Legion, Bert G Taylor Post 300
  • Beck Family
  • Chestnut Family
  • Otis Family
  • Anonymous (3)

For more information on Koo Koo Kanga Roo or to check out their videos before their May 6th performance, log onto

NHA Barbershop

NHA Barbershop

Many children with special needs, learning difficulties, or sensory issues, experience difficulties coping with important daily life activities such as getting a haircut. Some children get very upset and refuse to go to a barber shop/hair stylist. Others are only able to tolerate a very brief visit to the hair stylist. This seemingly simple activity can be a challenging and frustrating experience for everyone.

For years, we have dreamed of setting up a life skills hair salon lab. Enter our angel with barber shears, Page Green! Paige recently approached Marty, asking if he was aware of any places she could volunteer her time cutting hair. As a matter of fact, we did! 

The purpose of this real life, life skills lab is to reduce the child’s anxiety about this important activity and help reinforce the desired and appropriate behavior from the student when getting their hair cut in a positive, upbeat way.

This week we had our first student sessions to test out our new lab and it was a huge success. Parents will be able to sign their children up for the program and provide input and suggestions on how they would like their hair cut and styled.

Now we just have two things lacking: a name and salon decor. We are having a contest with our classrooms to decide the name for our new salon and asking students to create artwork that we can use to decorate it.

We would like to thank Ivan Hite and John Loar for donating the salon equipment needed to make this lab a reality!

If you are experiencing challenges with your child when it is time to get a haircut, please let us know. We are more than happy to provide you with some tips and strategies that may help make the experience less stressful!

2022 NHA Graduation Planned

2022 NHA Graduation Planned

New Horizons Academy (NHA) would like to congratulate its very first Springfield Campus Graduates! Way to go, Class of 2022!

NHA is so pleased and proud to announce that its 2022 Graduation Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. at the Springfield Campus, 6201 Trust Drive, Holland, Ohio. The graduates are asked to arrive by 9:00 a.m.

“We are so proud of our first class of high school graduates! After just a few short years as a new school in the Greater Toledo-area, it is amazing to see our first set of graduates cross the stage and accept their diplomas,” shared NHA Principal Marty Friess.

The graduating Class of 2022 includes John “Wyatt” Serrato and Christian Jadwisiak. Wyatt is the son of Suzanne and John Serrato, Jr. Springfield Local Schools is his home school district, where he participated on the high school golf team. Wyatt has also been active in Lucas County Special Olympics and helped the D2 Basketball Team defeat the Columbus Comets and become the Ohio State Champions.

Christian is the son of Jeffrey and Christina Jadwisiak. Christian’s home school district is also Springfield Local Schools; and before enrolling in NHA, he attended Summit Academy of Toledo.

Christian completed his NHA coursework in December and began working part-time while Wyatt has participated in part-time employment and Work Study for the last year. They are both looking forward to graduating in May.

Congratulations to our graduates! We truly wish you the best, and we hope that everyone, who is available, will come out on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. to celebrate their accomplishments with us.

2022 Summer Programs

2022 Summer Programs

Our 2022 Summer Enrichment programs are quickly approaching and we are currently taking registrations for both our Wauseon and Springfield locations.

2022 Summer Program Dates:

  • Wauseon: May 31-June 24 (Registration deadline is April 22)
  • Springfield: July 05-29 (Registration deadline is May 19)

If you are considering either of these programs, now is the time to register and arrange funding.

Sara’s Garden offers amazing summer intervention programs for children with disabilities. These month-long programs deliver inclusive therapies that provide interventions for individuals with a variety of conditions and disabilities.

Our caring and experienced staff of licensed therapists, conductors and paraprofessionals create unique, intensive therapy-based programs that are tailored to the needs of each participant and are designed to enhance your child’s developmental skills. This approach not only helps your child to work towards greater independence, it also keeps the regression of skills and development that typically occurs over the summer months at bay.

Goals of these programs include:

Improving Interpersonal Skills:
  • Relationship building
  • Responding to his/her name
  • Learning the names of peers
  • Basic conversation skills
  • Behavioral skill development
Improving Fine and Gross Motor Skills:
  • Range of motion
  • Sitting and standing
  • Walking and transfers
  • Self feeding
  • Independent living skills
Improving Language Skills:
  • Vocabulary knowledge and understanding
  • Basic concepts
  • Following verbally presented directions
  • Improving story comprehension
  • Improve Reading/Writing Skills
Improving Social Skills:
  • Greetings
  • Turn Taking
  • Initiating communication
  • Informing and directing others
  • Requesting

Our summer intervention programs also provide support for children who use augmentative communication systems (low tech or high tech) who have language and literacy skills and need more experience with peer to peer social skills.

We serve clients with (but not limited to): ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, CDKL5, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Near Drowning, Seizure Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders, Spina Bifida, Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Additional information is being compiled on potential funding and grant options for families in need of financial support.

For more information, please contact Ronda Rupp at 833.668.7272 or via email at

Everence MyNeighbor Credit Card

Everence MyNeighbor Credit Card

The Everence credit card program, MyNeighbor, offers individuals, businesses and congregations the unique ability to generate donations for Sara’s Garden each time you use the card, at absolutely no cost to you!

MyNeighbor is an easy way to support Sara’s Garden, your Neighbor, through your normal shopping routines. 

For every grocery, gas or other purchase you make, Everence will donate 1.50% of the transaction total to Sara’s Garden.

MyNeighbor features:

  • Applies to all individual and business credit cards from Everence.
  • Choose the Neighbor you want to support from over 9,000 charitable organizations or request to have a Neighbor added.
  • Change your Neighbor at any time.
  • No additional costs to you.
  • Monitor your credit card account and make payments online.

For more information on the MyNeighbor program visit the Everence website HERE.

RallyCap Sports

RallyCap Sports

Sports for People with Special NeedsPresented by RallyCap Sports Defiance

The new Defiance College chapter of RallyCap Sports has a vision of hosting recreational sports for children and young adults with special needs.

To kickoff their new chapter, they are hosting a FREE softball minicamp!

  • When: April 24th and May 1st
  • Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm
  • Where: Justin F. Coressel Stadium (detailed directions upon registering)
  • All boys and girls, ages 6 and up, with any special needs are welcome
  • No softball/baseball experience necessary – and all equipment provided
  • Each participant will be matched up one-on-one with a Defiance College student!

For more information and to register please go to:

Feel free to call (419) 708-4214 or email anytime for more information!