New Year Newsletter 2021

A letter from Dawn Dixon

Happy New Year! We are grateful as we begin 2021 and we look forward to when we can gather in person. Until that time, we will continue offering our support groups virtually, as well as peer mentoring and care coordination. 
We have just emerged from a very difficult year, so if you have not taken advantage of  one of our support groups or activities, please consider attending one or more. You can browse them on our updated website, which we launched with the new year. 

We all need support during this time, or even just a laugh with an old friend, or a new one! We hope that our virtual offerings can provide this opportunity for you. 
It is our privilege to serve our community and to call you our friends and partners. Especially in uncertain times, it is important to look forward. In the words of Helen Keller: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Here is to the doors that will open in 2021!

Hero Spotlight

Sophia Munson

At just 12 years old, Sophia is our hero. In 2019, her family had a car accident in which she suffered Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), right brain stroke, and many broken bones. She spent 101 days in the hospital and needed a lot of medical care.

Sophia and her family were matched with ConnectAbility Care Coordinator, James Moody. Sophia’s Caregiver, her mother Jackie, says of going home: “When you leave the hospital, you think you are prepared, but you’re not. Emotionally, it is a roller coaster from leaving a place that had nurses, staff, and supplies to going to your home and it just being you and your family.”

As a Care Coordinator, James helped with supplies, transportation, and guidance during stressful times. He gave the family information to apply for grants and ways to help with Sophia’s expenses.

Every week, Sophia has Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy.

The changes come slowly, but there is always improvement.

We are thrilled to share that she can move her left leg on command, stand with help, and this month has been practicing walking with lots of assistance. On Christmas Eve 2020, for the first time since the accident, Sophia began talking.

Sophia’s family says there is no way they would have gotten through the first two weeks out of the hospital without her Care Coordinator, James. “James was my support to get through all of this. I think every parent should have this connection when they leave the hospital.” says Sophia’s mom. We hope to match our heroes and their families up with that connection, so that they can recover, find the support they need, and offer inspiration to us all.


Partner Spotlight

Upward Care

Upward Care believes that we should provide resources to prepare family caregivers for the responsibility they face. Their team provides hands-on skills training in the home and in group formats for family caregivers. ConnectAbility has worked with Upward Care to provide family caregiver skills workshops virtually and in-person over the last two years.
In 2019, Upward Care formed a partnership with the Bexar and Alamo Area Agency on Aging to provide services at no cost to family caregivers caring for anyone over 60 or with a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In 2020, they expanded their services to the Austin and Fort Worth areas.

Upward Care has found when family caregivers have the skills to provide the care needed, it results in a reduction of stress, caregiver burnout and improves the overall care for their loved one.

There are over 53 million family caregivers in the United States. Nearly all of us will be a family caregiver at some point in our lives.

Ryan McGuire, Founder

Healthy Habits

Plant-Based Chili Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 4 cups tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch white sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, chopped


1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat and cook onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Add potato and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in lentils. Pour in vegetable broth and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add kidney beans, corn, and tomato puree. Season with paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes.
4. Divide chili among 4 bowls and sprinkle with chives.

Together we are creating a Virtual Cook Book that features easy and healthy recipes. We would love to include yours!


Managing Stress and Anxiety

Your breath is a powerful tool to manage stress and anxiety.
Each week we offer virtual yoga classes where you can focus on your breath and find gentle movement in your body.
Thursday 3 PM – 4 PM
Friday 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM
There are also many free online practices that you can try!
Reunite with Your Breath
Lay or sit down in this 19-minute session as you learn to develop breathing techniques for stress relief, anxiety relief, and improved overall wellbeing.