About Us

Our Story

We’re MOVING FORWARD! is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (ID# 47-2199053) founded by three women whose own lives were dramatically impacted by a traumatic brain injury of a family member.  Ronda Alcorn, Linda Countryman, and Tara Pepiton all have sons who were the unfortunate victims of such an injury. Since 2009 we have been organizing social events and activities ranging from a simple trip to the movies to a three-day adventure out of town.  In October of 2014, we formally became a nonprofit to continue offering this very important avenue for growth, allow us to reach more families and provide a wider range of group activities.  The organization is structured in such a way as to try to involve the entire group in the planning, funding, and execution of activities and events, further providing the stepping stones for our participants to initiate and become involved in the rebuilding of their own social lives while fostering new and ongoing personal relationships. Donations and fundraising proceeds to We’re MOVING FORWARD! go toward group activities and events and the costs associated with them.  We are an all-volunteer organization.  Our overhead is limited to expenses incurred by maintaining the organizations infrastructure as there are no salaries to be drawn and no profit to be made by anyone involved in the management or operation of We’re MOVING FORWARD!

IMAGINE…

…one day you’re living a normal, active life, full of friends and social activities—living and loving life to its fullest and the next, you’re waking up in a hospital bed unable to remember what you just had for breakfast, learning that you are unable to walk or talk or even feed yourself. Over the next several months you will have to work very hard, through all the pain, to regain at least some of what you once took for granted would always be there. You find yourself wondering how it was even possible to have lost it all in the first place. Months and years may pass before even the simplest things become second nature again (if ever). Your friends have slowly moved on with their lives while your days are spent in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. You and your family become more and more isolated as you struggle to redefine your lives following a brain injury.

You may be a young adult just getting started in life, looking forward to striking out on your own, or you may be an older adult with a family and a career that you worked very hard for. But now, because of your physical, cognitive, or emotional limitations, you can no longer attend regular classes at college or maintain your focus to continue on with your job. You are no longer able to drive a car and may need assistance when leaving the confines of your own home because your memory, vision, or physical ability makes venturing out on your own a safety issue. So, most of your days are now spent at home alone or, if you’re lucky, in the company of a family member who has become your primary caregiver, supporter, and friend. This is often the new life of a brain injury survivor—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Since the onset of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been great advances made in the treatment of traumatic and acquired brain injury, however, social reintegration is one of the most overlooked and underfunded areas of recovery. Following such a traumatic event and long recovery, many survivors and their families are also left with overwhelming medical costs and financial hardships that result from taking so much time away from their jobs. And while some survivors may eventually be able to return to work in a more limited capacity, many remain unemployable due to their disability. As a consequence, they find themselves unable to include social activities as an important part of their ongoing recovery. That’s where we come in.

We’re MOVING FORWARD! was formally established as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization as a means to facilitate and fund social events and activities for brain injury survivors and their immediate family members.

Your generous donations allow us to offset these costs and continue offering this very important avenue for growth in a way that will allow us to reach more families and provide a wider range of group activities. Money raised through donations and other fundraising efforts go directly toward the funding of group events and activities and their associated costs. Our overhead is limited only to those expenses necessary to maintain the organizations infrastructure as there are no salaries to be drawn and no profit to be made by anyone involved in the management or operation of We’re MOVING FORWARD!

Thank you! Your support and generous donation is greatly appreciated!

As always, we encourage and welcome anyone whose life has been affected by brain injury and find themselves in similar circumstances to contact us and get involved!

Kuna and Evie Story
Daniel Cruz Story
Stephanie Kennedy
Austin Alcorn
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Adam-Pepiton
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Diana Bright
Kurt T Story
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BOARD of DIRECTORS

Ronda J. Alcorn

Ronda J. Alcorn

President

Ronda is a Co-Founder of We’re MOVING FORWARD!  Her son Austin suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2006 from a roll over car accident caused from falling asleep at the wheel.  Ronda is a former Board Member of the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.

Tara L. Pepiton

Tara L. Pepiton

Treasurer

Tara is a Co-Founder of We’re MOVING FORWARD! and caregiver to her son Adam who suffered a traumatic brain injury from being shot in the head during a drive by shooting in 2010.  Tara also serves on the Governor’s council for Spinal Cord and Head Injuries.

Justin Larson

Justin Larson

Secretary

Justin is a Financial Solutions Advisor at Bank of America.  Justin’s wife Sandra suffered a stroke in 2005.

Lauren A. Bostick, Esq.

Lauren A. Bostick, Esq.

Lauren is an attorney with Rachel Frazier Johnson, practicing in Divorce, Child Custody, Spousal Maintenance, Child Support, Adoption, Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), Personal Injury, Contracts, and Business Law.

Michelle M. Lauer, Esq.

Michelle M. Lauer, Esq.

Michelle is an elder law attorney who practices in the areas of probate & trust administration, guardianship & conservatorship proceedings, and estate & long-term care planning.

Alyssa Flores

Alyssa Flores

Alyssa is a serial entrepreneur, and is the President / CEO of Scottsdale-based CSQ Bio, a national distribution company with a focus on regenerative medicine & biologics, that launched in July 2017.  She is dedicated to bringing lifechanging products, therapies, and education to physicians and medical experts at national hospitals, surgery centers, and private practices.

Alyssa is also the founder of her own nonprofit – the Alyssa James Foundation.

Katy Kutnyak

Katy Kutnyak

Katy is a Financial Advisor with Renaissance Financial where she develops customized financial strategies that fit each unique individual, capitalizing on the collaborative environment of the firm to help others succeed. She specializes in special needs, retirement, and business planning strategies.

SURVIVOR SOCIAL COMMITTEE

The 2021 Survivor Social Committee is made up of survivors that were randomly selected from names submitted at our annual dinner and dance in 2019 along with additional survivors that were voted in by the 2020 committee.  These survivors will meet during the year to help plan and organize activities and events for 2022.  If you are a survivor and have ideas for the future or would be interested in being considered for the 2022 committee, please reach out to one of these survivors or email us at:  info@wmforward.org.

Adam Pepiton

Austin Alcorn

Kelsey Elmore

Evie Williams

Jolene DeTiege

Katie Griffith

Nick Ruppert

FEATURED VOLUNTEER

MEET Brenda Jobe


Brenda has been attending WMF activities and events with her survivor son Eric Woody for a few years now and is always quick to offer up assistance and to make sure that we know that she is always willing to help.

Brenda has also been involved in craft fundraisers where she and her friends make items and donate proceeds to WMF, evening hosting one of the last Jewelry and Craft Fundraisers at her home. 

To help you learn a little bit more about Brenda and how/why she got involved with WMF, please see below:

What’s your first memory of WMF?

BRENDA: I first heard about WMF at a TBI Support Group. Being a social person I was very interested in the super fun activities I was hearing about.

What’s the best thing to happen since you started participating/volunteering with/for WMF?

BRENDA: Making new friends and receiving much needed support from others who understand TBI’s.

What do you wish other people knew about WMF?

BRENDA: How much joy and community WMF’S activities bring to the TBI survivors and their families

Why are you supporting WMF as opposed to other groups working on (a cause)?

BRENDA: I see the smiles that WMF’s activities bring to the participants faces including my TBI survivor son!

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while participating/volunteering for/with WMF—

BRENDA: I’ve met many resilient people with incredible strength and perseverance.

Tell us about someone who has influenced your decision to volunteer with WMF?

BRENDA: It would be the survivors. Seeing how much WMF means to them inspires me to help spread the joy.

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

BRENDA: What I once won concert tickets by barking like a seal on KNIX radio station many, many years ago. I got to go to the BLACK & WY TOUR. (Clint Black & Wynona Judd)

What would you tell someone who is thinking about (donating, volunteering, etc.)?

BRENDA: GO FOR IT! Your time and/ or donations help support an awesome organization. If you have any doubts you should sign up for one of the activities to see for yourself what WMF does for the TBI community and the impact it has on the participants.

If you weren’t (volunteering, using services, etc.), what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

BRENDA:  Sitting on my can, scrolling thru social media? LOL

What do you do when you aren’t (participating, volunteering)?

BRENDA:  Besides working full time I enjoy gardening, hiking, swimming. Basically anything outdoors.

If you see Brenda at any of our activities and events or on social media – please reach out to her and thank her for all she does for WMF!