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Team Brave

Team Brave

Helping patients see their ability

Team Brave patient at Sur La table

Re-entering the community can be a challenge for a young person who is recovering from a burn or other traumatic injury. That is why Shriners Hospitals for Children works diligently with every patient to teach them the skills and techniques needed to overcome the challenges they may encounter when they leave the hospital. Skills include learning how to handle a situation if people stare and how best to answer questions and comments from family, friends and even strangers. Thanks to the programs Shriners Hospitals has in place, patients gain the confidence they need to see their ability and learn there are no limits to what they can accomplish.

In 2014, a senior child life specialist from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston set out to design a program to help children become more confident outside the walls of the hospital, when they re-enter their communities and in real-life settings. The result is Team Brave.

Team Brave is a community reintegration program that takes small groups of patients with varying injuries on bi-weekly recreational outings throughout the city with volunteers from the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation (BFFBF). The BFFBF is a longtime supporter of the Boston Shriners Hospital and generously funds Team Brave. First and foremost, the field trips are designed to be fun. However, there is an underlying goal to provide physical and psychosocial therapy in a communal setting. On each outing, patients can practice the skills they have learned to cope with their injuries and manage their emotions.

Team Brave patient doing yogaOver the past two years, Team Brave participants have gone rock climbing, kayaking, ice skating and mini golfing. The groups have practiced yoga, explored an aquarium and taken cooking lessons together. Some patients have to find new ways to participate because of a physical disability. For others, the challenge is being confident in public where people might stare at their scars or ask questions about how they were injured.

With Shriners Hospital staff members and firefighters by their side, patients get the support and skills they need to be brave and succeed in a safe environment. No matter the destination, every patient ends the day with a renewed sense of confidence. The Team Brave motto is “Engage. Encourage. Empower.”

Staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston are also learning through this program. Team Brave is research-based and the kids who participate are all part of a study to see how this type of community reintegration helps long-term. The study allows the hospital to see what works, better understand patient needs and adjust reintegration plans in the future.

Team Brave is a great example of a community coming together with Shriners Hospitals for Children to provide children with the confidence and skills they need to succeed no matter what obstacles are before them. They are helping patients to #SeeTheAbility in themselves.

Team Brave patient at aquarium Team Brave patients painting