Trending
MOST READ
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012
Free Things to Do: Culture

Free Things to Do: Culture

Free Guide: Too hot to play outside but too early to hit up no-cover night at the club? Try any of these cultural excursions to boost your brain on the cheap.... 5/21/2014
15 Types of Commonly Encountered College Students

15 Types of Commonly Encountered College Students

College Issue 2014: Usually a freshman, this student tries to absorb everything the teacher says and immediately after class rushes to... By Alex Deleon 8/18/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

Trey's House's unique low-budget outpost for brain-injured residents pursues its own recovery

Photo: Photos by Josh Huskin, License: N/A

Photos by Josh Huskin

Trey and Margaret Griffith

Photo: , License: N/A

Trey's House Vice President Darrell Tindall


"One of the biggest problems is that I'm not a fundraiser and I'm not an organizer," Griffith confessed recently. "[But] the biggest barrier all along is — and this is why we've always had to struggle — is because we've never been medical. We're not testing people and we can't provide quantitative proof that what we're doing is necessary. The funders out there want to see readable results. And how can the result be 'It's a very inexpensive way to provide a good life for someone with a disability'? It's real hard to put that on paper."

Hard, but not impossible. Don Griesmann, founder of the Charles "Poppy" Sharp Neighborhood Community Center and a New York-based online nonprofit fundraising consultant with four decades of nonprofit experience, has mixed feelings about Griffith's assessment. He believes that Griffith suffers from what he calls "founder's syndrome," which describes not knowing what one does not know about running a nonprofit. He points to Griffith's distrust of professionals, her belief that Trey's can run on as little as $30,000 a year, and the idea that clubhouse work is too abstract to quantify for potential funders. "She needs help assessing what is working and what is not, from jamming, games, art, and other activities," he said. "There are measurable goals and objectives."

Despite its many management fumbles, Trey's clubhouse approach is member-approved. Though Guillen's life remains unglamorous — he regularly changes jobs because he says he is passed over for promotions on account of his blindness; the bulk of his income comes from Social Security, disability, and food stamps (about $760 monthly) — he's grown in confidence and courage because of his time at Trey's.

On April 23, he was arrested in Washington, D.C., for protesting federal cuts to Medicaid with about 100 members of ADAPT, many of whom were protesting in wheelchairs. Guillen says he was cuffed in wrist ties, taken to booking, fingerprinted, photographed, and then released. It's something he would not have had the strength to endure if not for his time at Trey's. "The support, it turned me around," he said. "I used to be afraid of things — of people — because of my father. I didn't have anybody to show me the ropes. When I had problems, Margaret was there to help me."

And yet, there are positive signs that Trey's may be reforming at last. Griffith stepped down as director last month and Trey Ibarra, a 25-year-old UIW psychology grad, was named her replacement. Ibarra (members call him "T2") has interned with Trey's through the years and paid for his education using only Pell Grants and scholarship money, leading Griffith to believe that, "He's got the resources to find money where there is some."

Ibarra spoke to the Current of what he called "the miracle of Trey's House." As an intern, he said he watched more fearful members who often mumbled to themselves instead of talking with other members of the group gain the wherewithal to not only start holding conversations but even get behind the mic during the jam sessions. If Griffith understands the miracle, Ibarra believes he has the skills to grow Trey's non-exploitatively. "Our regimen of social activities helped these people grow their vocabulary, motor-function skills, and a sense of self," he said. "We're here to help. We're not here to make money off people with TBI."

Meanwhile Griffith, recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, said while she's passing the torch, she isn't leaving Trey's House. The cause is too important to her. She hopes to re-open in a public location in the fall, and hopes the new director can both raise the profile of TBI in San Antonio as well as put Trey's on a firmer foundation. "I'm not old, but I sure feel it," she said. "I'm going to be focusing on the advocacy work that we do. [I'm just] the jeans and T-shirt person that wants to make a paper-mache giraffe. I don't like the limelight. I never have."

So what will her new title be?

"I don't know," she said, chuckling. "Mom?" •

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus