In Your NeighborhoodGood Neighbors


Charlotte man uses power of music to help others

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 16:29:21-05

MASON, Mich. — The non-profit Origami Rehabilitation in Mason provides all types of services through residential and outpatient programs for things like neurological and developmental conditions.

This week’s Good Neighbor, Brian Bristol, knows all about that. He lived at Origami for several months and now returns to offer other residents something that helped him turn his own life around.

Brian has been playing the guitar since he was 14 years old.

For the last two years, Brian’s been volunteering to play guitar for the residents of Origami and he says he gets more out of it than the clients he is working with.

“Sometimes when I'm playing a song, they drift, and they are looking around. Then, suddenly, they look at me and I captured them. It doesn't have to be a smile, but I’ve captured their thoughts. And I just love that moment. I really do," he said.

Brian Bristol volunteers his time and plays his guitar
Brian Bristol volunteers his time and plays his guitar

Brian says he knows all about the power of music and how it can help people with brain injuries. That’s because Origami helped him during one of the most trying times of his life. Brian says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the staff at Origami.

“I believe it was 2017, if I'm not mistaken," he said. "I found out I had a brain tumor, and the doctors had to take it out. When they took it out, they hit a blood vessel or something. I kept bleeding into my brain.”

After six weeks in the hospital, Brian was moved to Origami where he had to relearn almost everything, including how to feed himself.

Brian says it wasn’t easy, and he suffered from depression. But one thing made Brian smile. He remembered his love for music and how much he enjoyed playing guitar. So, he taught himself to play again, and Brian says that changed everything.

Brian Bristol plays along with a recovering client
Brian Bristol plays along with a recovering client

“My neurologist is Dr. Keating. I told him that music has always been a part of my life. He said, 'Do that. Do something with your life. Let that be a part of your life.' And I have and I cherish it. And what I do is I share it and when I share it, it's a positive note makes people smile.

So, Brian returns to Origami weekly to play with other clients.

Karley Brouwer is a recreational therapist at Origami and says clients love when Brian returns.

“When I met him, he was just wrapping up his outpatient services and he had come really far made a lot of gains," she said, "And yet he still wanted to be a big part of origami. So, it's just awesome that he was able to find his fit as a volunteer and continue that's making an impact here for himself and for the clients we serve.”

Brian says he also gets something from playing guitar for the clients at Origami.

“It's a part of me coming here and playing for my friends and everybody and just being a part of it," he said. "They sent me down the right course and I'm still on that path. It's like if I move forward and other things, you know, this is part of my home.”

Brian Bristol finishes playing a song on his guitar
Brian Bristol finishes playing a song on his guitar

Karly says she knows the clients love to hear Brian play guitar.

“Brian is a good neighbor because he is full of energy," she said. "He's a bright light, and he is always looking for ways that he can positively impact others. And he does that every time he's here on campus at origami. He just loves interacting with the clients, seeing them smiles in the make improvements, and just overall being a helping hand.”

Brian Bristol, for volunteering to play guitar for the residents of Origami, you are helping to make a positive change one note at a time. We want to say thank you. You are this week’s Good Neighbor.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman

Good Neighbors
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