The History of VBIS

We’ve been serving brain injury survivors in the Greater Victoria Area since 1983. During that time, we’ve evolved and grown steadily. Today, VBIS represents over 650 clients.

A Journey across Canada

The Victoria Brain Injury Society was incorporated in British Columbia on September 19, 1983, under the name of the Vancouver Island Head Injury Society (VIHIS). The primary purpose of the Society was to: Assist head injury victims and their relatives, in their recovery and restoration to the best level of love, dignity, and ability in living.

In the summer of 1988, a cross-Canada bus tour was arranged which carried 17 young adults with brain injuries from Victoria to St. John’s, Newfoundland, to raise public awareness, as well as draw attention to the need for government funding for brain injury support.

Specifically, Manuela Corriveau (the matron of the only brain injury rehabilitation hostel on Vancouver Island and the Vice-President of VIHIS) wanted recognition of the need for more rehabilitation programs and support for individuals with brain injuries. The Lions Club in Victoria donated the bus and their partner organizations in each province provided much-needed financial support to ensure the success of this trip. It was captured by media across the country.

Partnering with Gorge Road

A partnership was then initiated between VIHIS and the Gorge Road Hospital to provide support for those completing the rehabilitation program to transition back to the community. Expansion of services was recommended to offer more counselling, life skills training, and support groups. Finally, the purpose of VIHIS was modified to reflect this rehabilitative focus: To provide support and education to people with head injuries, their families, and friends, thus enabling them to move towards emotional, economic, and social self-reliance.

Individual support services, family support services, and three different support groups were offered by VIHIS to people with brain injuries and their significant others. Annual funding contracts for program delivery were provided by the Ministry of Health to try to meet all of the newly recognized needs of survivors.

New name, new home

In 2008, VIHIS changed its name to the Victoria Brain Injury Society to better reflect the community it serves and the experiences of its clients. A year later, VBIS hosted its first annual fundraising Gala, An Evening of Black & White… Because Gray Matters, which continues to this day. At this time, VBIS also moved to a larger, more central location to provide safer and increased services to its members.

Each month, more than 90 clients and 30 families were provided services. Besides case management, there were eight support groups that people could join, and VBIS had over 50 active volunteers who helped with Peer Support, awareness and education, office assistance, and special events. Community partnerships had grown as well as sponsorships from businesses and funding organizations. 

Into the present

In 2014, VBIS signed a contract with Island Health which continues to this day. From this time until the present, the Society has gone through a tremendous growth spurt, with a larger board, more staff and volunteers, and new support and educational programs for its members, as well as increased awareness and events in the community. We currently serve more than 660 clients annually and have over 360 new clients contacting us each year.

VBIS has approximately 65 volunteers and also continues to nurture its relationships with the University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, and Camosun College, providing co-op and practicum experiences for students.

Although the global pandemic initially resulted in VBIS seeing fewer clients, the number of people accessing our services now continues to rise. VBIS is a vibrant organization that plays a necessary and important role in the lives of brain injury survivors and their loved ones, helping them regain control, independence, and dignity, and helping to prevent others from acquiring life-changing injuries.

Join the movement!

We wouldn’t be where we are today without the generous support of our community. Help us continue to provide essential care for brain injury survivors by making a donation or signing up to volunteer.

DonateVolunteer

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

* indicates required

Victoria Brain Injury Society

Units C, D & E 830 Pembroke Street
Victoria, B.C. V8T 1H9

Phone: 250-598-9339

Email: admin@vbis.ca