The Young Adult Stroke Survivors' first meeting was June 1991 in Bellevue, WA. It was originally called "Evergreen something-or-other". (Hey, we've all had strokes, what do you expect? :-) ) Carol was an early group leader with strong ties to the American Heart Association, and there were 10-15 group members.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has been our parent organization for most of the group's history. They have been a great help in sending our monthly mailings and helping educate the community about stroke.
In 1991 the group moved to Bayview Manor, a retirement home at the foot of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. Bayview allowed us to use a meeting room of theirs for our meetings. In about 2001 Carol moved to Oregon and Stan took over as group leader, and the group continued to grow.
In January 2005 Gerrit took over as leader when Stan stepped down. In January 2006 we had to find new facilities because of Bayview insurance restrictions, so the group moved to Northwest Hospital and began meeting in a classroom in the Rehab Center. This began a relationship with the hospital and therapists which has been mutually beneficial ever since.
In May 2006 Gerrit began publishing minutes after each meeting, so members who couldn't attend could still learn about them. In September of that year Duane volunteered to start a library of books and DVDs which has been steadily growing.
In January 2009 we outgrew our classroom in the Rehab Center and moved to the Easy Street area.
In January 2010 Gerrit published this website for the first time, including member pictures, a minutes archive, meeting announcements, a map, etc. He has been adding to it ever since.
In January 2011 we moved to the Rehab Center E-Wing Auditorium, an excellent room with great acoustics, a mic and podium, and a computer projection system. In July Brad started our Facebook group, which has been steadily gathering members and photos.
In late 2014 Gerrit sent postcards and made phone calls to many on the group roster to move as many members as possible to email. This saved the AHA much monthly expense by greatly reducing our postal mailings.
In January 2016 we moved again, to Seattle Brain Works (Provail) due to a scheduling mixup at Northwest Hospital. This is a nice partnership and has worked out well.
As of May 2016 we are averaging 40 - 50 people in our monthly meetings with over 250 on the roster who receive mailings and meeting minutes. We continue to provide support and advice to newcomers, speakers and presentations of interest, and bonds of friendship for all.
The University of Washington Speech and Hearing Clinic has been recruiting volunteer graduate students to help at our monthly meetings since about 2011. They have been a terrific help in setting up tables and chairs, helping members, serving beverages and snacks, and providing communication aid for aphasics.
In 2012 Reva Robinson began coordinating this activity, coaching speakers about communication with our group and stepping up communication help during our meetings. She makes sure that a UW student is in front of the group writing key words as the meeting progresses, and individuals with particular needs get a student to sit next to them and help with their comprehension. She has become an integral part of our group.
We are so grateful to Reva and our UW Volunteers. They are such a help to us, and it works both ways too: the graduate students get to work one-on-one with our aphasics and learn what it is really like. Reva and your Raiders, we salute you!
Many of our group members also volunteer considerable time and effort, especially Duane Retel, Kay Anne Sampson, and Stan and Jan Shipley, and some like Martha Van Gelder simply help us out of the goodness of their heart. We are so grateful to you all!
In 2010 the UW began organizing a caregivers support group running in parallel with YASS. They split off from our meeting at 1:30, and also meet the first Saturday of each month at the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic. Caregivers often struggle as hard as stroke survivors, and the support and dedication of this caregiver's group has been so helpful. Special thanks to Mike Burns, Diane Kendall, PhD, and Rebecca Hunting-Pompon for all their devotion!