CONNECT Hamilton has a “super” reminder of how important the Life Redesign Model and those delivering it can be to individuals redesigning their lives after brain injury and stroke.

A prominent wall near the main entrance to the building is now tiled with an impressive collection of superhero images. However, these images have been meticulously altered in the likeness of CONNECT employees.

Shawn, who currently lives at CONNECT, but plans to move out in November, dreamed up the project and spent hours photographing staff and editing each image. He is even using the project to help staff get to know each other and learn about superheroes. He is running a contest to see who can identify the most heroes and employees.

“The idea for this wall came to me because I was feeling like all the news around us was depressing: COVID, protests, disasters, crime. I was feeling like something positive needed to be done and I was looking around at all of these CONNECT workers thinking how these people are real life heroes. They may not realize it, but they are heroes to those of us who live here.”

Shawn has experience editing photos from some prank images he did for a friend when he was younger. That turned into some work he did to help promote a friend’s business.

For the superhero wall at CONNECT, Shawn went to work collecting photos of various employees and finding images of superheroes online. He edited the images together using the Photo Layers app on his phone.

CONNECT Hamilton Leader Jamie Curran says the project has brought a lot of happiness to the people at CONNECT and lifted some spirits.

Shawn (left) poses in front of the Wall of Heroes with Jamie, who copies the pose behind him of Thanos. Shawn edited the image to have Jamie’s face.

“It’s truly amazing to see what Shawn created. I am blown away by it.”

Jamie says he knew Shawn was working on something when he was shown a few edited images on his phone. A few weeks later, Shawn asked if he could take a few photos of Jamie for his project. Just a few days later, Jamie came into CONNECT and the wall was up.

“I think the artistic ability within each image is incredible, but also the acknowledgement of the hard-working staff here. I really appreciate him taking the time and making the effort to recognize the people working at CONNECT.”

Shawn has been on a life redesign journey since he woke up from a coma in August 2019. He spent a few months in the hospital and moved to CONNECT in December, 2019. His brain injury left him with a number of challenges, including memory loss.

Shawn says his experience living at CONNECT has been amazing and he has seen a lot of progress with his memory in the last few months.

“Even with COVID going on, I never feel trapped. There is a lot of freedom at CONNECT and I have control of what my days look like. The people working here have helped me in so many ways and I can’t say enough about how awesome it has been.”

He plans to move to Etobicoke in November and is working on what that will look like and how to address some of his fears about leaving CONNECT.

“I am working on some strategies right now so I am ready to go. I would like to get back to living life as close as it was before. I would actually like to become a recreation therapist one day. But that is a longer term goal.”

He adds that he is glad his art project is making people smile, helping them get to know each other and teaching people about super heroes.

“I have always loved superheroes, but my very favorite is Spiderman.”