BIRRDsong Celebratory Fundraiser

November 1, 2014

Dear Community Members,

We have some great news! We are going to have a big party to celebrate BIRRDsong’s 10th anniversary, our accomplishments, and new growth as an organization. Recent achievements include:

  • A new board of directors 
  • Increased support for family/friends
  • A new support group for the Spanish-speaking community (Puertas de Esperanza)
  • An educational speakers panel
  • Regularly scheduled social outings coordinated by the social committee
  • Merging with the Brainstormers support group

We are so very proud of our momentum into the future, and are seeking your participation to support our continued growth. Please join us for a celebration on January 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Curious Comedy Theater at 5225 NE MLK Blvd. Not only will we connect with each other and celebrate, we can all take part in raising funds to support our strategic goals, which include:

  • Hiring an executive director
  • Growing our current and new programs
  • Community outreach and education initiatives

A primary goal of this event is to honor and recognize our past, while looking forward. That is why we are excited to announce that BIRRDsong will be making an important transition to accommodate our growth – a new name and broader identity! The new name, expanded identity, and details of our future plans will be unveiled at the celebration!

We do hope to see you on January 22nd, as our strength stems from our connections to each other. Come celebrate with us!

Sincerely (and with great anticipation),

Laurel Kirby, BIRRDsong Board President
Fern Wilgus, BIRRDsong Board Vice-President

BIRRDsong Co-founder Joan Miller accepts Overcoming Adversity Award at St. Mary’s Academy

Joan Miller is a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy. Earlier this year, they held an awards ceremony for several graduates who have done an exceptional job of overcoming adversity in their lives. When Joan was nominated, St. Mary’s Academy called several BIRRDsong members and personal friends to ask for stories about what a wonderful person she is. We were so glad to share our experiences about what a positive influence Joan Miller is for individuals and the community.

Here is a video of her being introduced at the awards ceremony and then giving a speech. Congratulations, Joan!


Speakers Gordon Viggiano and Jill Viggiano on AM Northwest

Gordon Viggiano is a very experienced, seasoned public speaker. After having a stroke and developing a language disorder called aphasia, he continues to offer wonderful, dynamic presentations. Gordon and his wife Jill were on the TV program “AM Northwest” to promote their new book “Painful Blessing.”

May 13th
9:00 am
ABC, Channel 2

Learn more about Gordon’s story and Gordon and Jill’s public speaking work at

Read a summary from the book, “Painful Blessing” here:

You really do not want to miss this! Gordon and Jill have a fantastic presence. And as a brain injury community, we want to see more people with aphasia given media attention and being valued as public speakers.

Would you like to perform with Disability Art and Culture Project?

If you like to perform onstage, and you’re looking for a place to do that, we’ve got one for you!

The Disability Art and Culture Project is having our 6th Disability Pride Art and Culture Festival this May, and we are looking for more performers.

Please consider applying if you sing, dance, act, read poetry, make films, or have other kinds of performance to offer.

There is no audition. You just fill out a form describing what kind of performance you will do and tell us about yourself. You can find the form by clicking on this sentence.

This is an amazing festival. It happens every other year, and it always brings a huge crowd of people from all over the city. Please join us. We are welcoming and excited to have all types of people from all walks of life. Everyone is welcome.

The deadline is listed as April 1st. You may apply up through April 11th!

NW FilmCenter Hosts 37th Portland International Film Festival

This year’s film festival has 104 feature films and 24 short films! Here are a couple recommended by a BIRRDsong member:

Fri, Feb 7, 2014
8:30 PM (World Trade Center Theater)

Sun, Feb 9, 2014

3:00 PM (World Trade Center Theater)


DIRECTOR: Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman – UNITED STATES

As the national debate over the future of healthcare continues on, this heartfelt film takes a step back from the politics to give an emotional, on-the-ground portrait of those who live every day without proper access to medical care. Unable to afford treatment, an estimated 45 million people in the US lack access to preventative care and often suffer through illnesses in the hopes that they’ll just go away. Remote Area Medical documents the annual two-day “pop-up” medical clinic operated by the nonprofit Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Bristol, Tennessee. During that time, doctors, nurses, and support workers provide care for hundreds of people who can’t afford routine medical checkups, dental exams, and prescription eyeglasses that most take for granted. A moving portrait of a one-of-a-kind community assembled to secure a better future for us all. (80 mins.)


Wed, Feb 19, 2014

6:00 PM (OMSI)

Fri, Feb 21, 2014

7:00 PM (World Trade Center Theater)



“C-Booth,” the trauma bay at the LA County Hospital, was the first, the toughest, and the best training ground for ER doctors in the country. But when the hospital moved to a modern facility, the dedicated medical staff faced a growing crisis. Code Black follows a group of young doctors as they grapple with the divide between their idealistic expectations for improving patient care and the realities of an underfunded and overly bureaucratic system. McGarry—a full-time doctor at the hospital while making the film—explores the frustrations. How and why do they persist in saving lives in the face of thwarting regulations and paperwork? As one doctor states, “More people have died in this square footage than in any other location in the United States. On a brighter note, more people have been saved here too.” (78 mins.)

General Contact

Phone: 503-221-1156 x10

Fax: 503-294-0874


New call-in radio show on Brain Injury Radio Network with BIRRDy Cheryl Green

I’m excited to announce that the Brain Injury Radio Network (BIRN) has signed me on to run a once-monthly call-in streaming radio show!

The Art of Brain Injury Radio Show Banner shows a photo of a woman with brown hair and a purple shirt, smiling at the camera. There is a sketched brain in the shape of a heart and Brain Injury Radio Network logos. Show details are written in multiple bright colors and a bubbly 1970s font.

[Image description: The Art of Brain Injury Radio Show Banner shows a photo of a woman with brown hair and a purple shirt, smiling at the camera. There is a sketched brain in the shape of a heart, and Brain Injury Radio Network logos. Show details are written in multiple bright colors and a bubbly 1970s font.]

Banner details:

Brain Injury Radio: Take your voice back. The silent & voiceless epidemic. The Art of Brain Injury hosted by Cheryl Green. 1st Tuesday of each month. 5:00 pm Pacific Time. -855-473-3711

This new streaming radio show will be focused on art. Whether it’s your personal expression, therapy, political statements, or pure fun, what does art bring to your life? What are you working on? What are your dreams? How can you–as the whole, complete person you are–reach for those dreams? What obstacles can we work together to break down? If someone says you’re voiceless, how can you use art to let them know you are not voiceless? You may have been silenced, but you have a voice.

This show is focused on peers. Anyone at all can and should listen. But the focus is on those of us who have been stuck in the role of patient or stuck in the role of dependent on others or stuck left to fend for ourselves. The arts can be an incredible tool to showing people that we are who we are, and we are wonderful. We are not broken and in need of being fixed by an outside expert. (Of course, if you want rehab, you should get it! I did! But it’s to improve some skills, not to fix a broken-down, less-than person.)

Think about how you can–and do–reach into your community and reach out to other communities. Paint, draw, film, photograph, sing, tell a story. Tell us about the art of living with your brain injury. Tell us about the art you make.

My debut show:–with-cheryl-green

We’re 5:00 — 6:45 pm the 1st Tuesday of the month. Follow the link above to listen online and dial 424-243-9540 to talk, ask questions, and share.

Gold Mind Meditation Series with Had Walmer

WHAT: Six classes in basic mindfulness meditation for TBI or other Trauma in 2014
(Gold Mind Meditation Project)

1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, and 2/26

WHEN: Weds. Evenings, 6:30 – 8:00

WHERE: Good Sam. Hospital, Wilcox Building, Rm.102

NW 22nd Avenue & Marshall, Portland, OR

There is no charge, donations for expenses accepted. Students, please register, email me,, just put REGISTER in subject line

Thank you,

Had Walmer


Portland Commission on Disability Meet and Greet

The Portland Commission on Disability is a group of people with and without disabilities interested in helping the city become more accessible. There is always room for more people to join! You can find a subcommittee you really like and volunteer your time working on projects to raise awareness and increase access!

Come get to know some PCOD Commissioners and community members.


WHAT: All communities, Roguish Individuals and Activist Gathering and Potluck, celebrating some great equity work in 2013!

Hosted by Portland Commission on Disability, Public Outreach and Awareness subcommittee

WHEN: 1-3pm Friday, December 13, 2013

WHERE: 421 SW 6th Ave. 5th floor Steel Bridge Room


Bring food or drink (non alcoholic beverages only) to share, come eat and/or just come to be around diverse networks of disability and equity organizers in Portland and beyond.

If contributing to potluck, so that we know who’s bringing what.

Thanks! Hope to see you there!

GREAT GIFTS HOLIDAY FAIR by entrepreneurs with disabilities


Art, Music, Crafts and Literature products brought to you by local entrepreneurs with disabilities

Saturday December 14th, 2013

11:30 am to 2:30 pm


5441 SE Belmont

The event is open to the public! If you would like to be an artist selling your work with Lavaun, please continue reading for instructions and information.

Local artist with a disability, Lavaun Heaster, is coordinating a holiday vending opportunity. This is for folks who want to sell their wares in a group setting. We will cross pollinate our customer base and share resources. Lavaun has struggled to find affordable venues to sell her products. So she wants to create an opportunity for us entrepreneurs with
disabilities to work together, have fun and bring in a larger crowd of purchasers.

TaborSpace is accessible, affordable, and looking forward to working with us. They will advertise this event in their newsletter.

Details of the event:

Each vendor is responsible for their own financial transactions. Lavaun has a vendor’s tip sheet. As a group, we will help each other out.

Venue is accessible and on the #15 bus route

Event is 11:30 – 2:30 pm.
Set up begins at 10:45 am.
Break down is 2:30 – 3:15 pm.

Lavaun is covering the $100 rental fee. She asks each vendor to contribute 10% of their sales for the first $100 earned to share this cost. That means she is asking for up to $10 per vendor. If you do not earn $100, she will cover the remaining costs for the rental out of her pocket.

TaborSpace and she (Lavaun Heaster) cannot be liable for your participation in this event.

To participate, please contact Lavaun at or 503 703-9983.

Please send photos of your products and websites if you have one. Lavaun will set up a facebook event page and would ask that you share the event if you are on facebook. Once we have a flyer for the event please post it if you can. Also tell your friends and e-mail contacts.

Saturday, December 14th
11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Tabor Space at 5441 SE Belmont

A Roll In The Park Artist Exhibition Information

Every year, Independent Living Resources hosts a wonderful ADA celebration called “A Roll In The Park.” This is the second year that ILR will also offer an arts exhibition as part of the event.

If you are an artist with a disability, please consider applying to show your art at A Roll In The Park.

Below is some information about the exhibit. Please contact Sarah at 503-232-7411 x 325 or for more information and to receive the full artist application.


Roll in the Park Art Exhibition at Independent Living Resources

Our mission is to build awareness through the sharing of art from the disability community and to create opportunities for independence by providing a business possibility through the selling of this art.

Thank you for your interest in our Art Exhibition.  We hope we can include everyone who applies.  If we cannot do this due to limited space, we will make every effort to be as fair as possible.

To create diversity in artist and artistic styles our selection committee will include 3 members of the disability community and 2 active equity community advocates.

There will be both spots for disability organizations and individual spots. The tables are 5’x2’.  If you will not need that much space please let us know how much space your display will require so that we can create space for others.

We are excited to provide this opportunity for you to display and or sell art. We will be unable to provide any support for selling art at the event but artists who attend the event or send a representative to stay with their work are welcome to sell at the event. Artists wanting to sell work who are unable to attend are also welcome to provide business cards for negotiation of sales outside of the event. All proceeds from art sales go directly to the seller who will be fully responsible for all financial transactions in selling their art.

Work accepted includes, but is not limited to:

2D Media: watercolor, oil, acrylic painting, photography, printmaking, drawing, mixed media

Ceramics/Tile/Mosaic   Glass   Sculpture   Jewelry   Textile   Wood/Metal Crafts   Book Arts  Tactile

Applications MUST BE RECEIVED no later than Monday, August 5th, 2013. No exceptions! 

For artists who would like help with the application or do not have digital images or photos of their art work or themselves we will be having an Artist Open Call Afternoon on MONDAY JULY 22nd from 2 – 4pm at Independent Living Resources (1839 NE Couch Street) where the exhibit will be held in September.