Did you know that Metro Music Therapy’s amazing staff includes more than just Music Therapists? Garrett Vaughn is our resident Recreational Therapist – and super Clemson fan – who serves as a Community Support Specialist with veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project. This week’s spotlight is on you, Garrett! Can you tell everyone a little about yourself?
Where did you grow up / go to school?
I grew up in a very small town in upstate South Carolina called Starr. (Population: 186 according to a quick google search) I attended Crescent High School there before heading down to Charleston, SC. I spent a semester at College of Charleston before realizing that home was the place for me. I transferred back to the upstate to finish my degree at Clemson University.
How did you decide to pursue Recreational Therapy?
I decided to pursue Recreational Therapy after my transfer to Clemson. I had originally planned on following the physical therapy path but upon arriving at Clemson found the RT major. I started the course work and really fell in love with Recreational Therapy. I began to work regularly at camps and different events for kids and adults with disabilities on campus. Then just before graduation, I completed an internship on a Traumatic Brain Injury unit at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. It was there that I felt like I found my true calling, which was to work to help those with TBI/ABI. (Traumatic Brain Injury/Acquired Brain Injury)
So, what exactly is a “Community Support Specialist (CSS)?”
What sorts of things do you do with your clients?
As a CSS, I serve through the Wounded Warrior Project to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries to reintegrate into their communities. My process when being assigned to a new warrior would be to first visit in home a few times to gain a rapport with the family and the warrior. In theses visits I would learn about the warrior’s likes and dislikes, as well as what things that he/she enjoyed doing prior to his/her injury. Once I find these things out and the family is comfortable enough with me to allow me to take their warrior out of the house, we go out into the community and do things to stimulate the warriors brain, and just generally show them a good time. An example of this would be things like going to the movies, going on hikes, shooting guns, going fishing, etc. Anything that we can do to allow the warrior to participate in things that they enjoyed doing prior to their injury.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
If I had a superpower, it would definitely be teleportation! Being able to jump from place to place instead of having to drive or to fly would help to make me extra productive! Plus, no more paying for travel sounds pretty great!
Favorite Sport? Book? Movie?
My favorite sport has always been baseball! (Braves fan since birth) My favorite book is “Fall of Giants”, by Ken Follett. Finally, my favorite movie is Good Will Hunting!
What is your life motto / slogan / mantra?
I don’t necessarily have a motto/mantra but I once saw a saying that has always stuck with me and really influences the way I try to live my life. It’s “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared.” I love this, because in my life, I really try to focus on promoting as much happiness as I can. Life is hard enough as it is sometimes, so why not try to share a little light with those who come across your path?
Thanks for all the incredible work you do with our Warriors, Garrett!
We’re so glad to have you as part of the MMT family!