top of page

ABOUT THE
FIRST STEP FOUNDATION

The First Step Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps individuals with spinal cord, neurological, and related disorders regain movement and mobility. We provide access to the BARWIS Neurological Reengineering elite recovery program via training scholarships. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected by these disorders and to promote awareness and education about spinal cord and neurological injuries.

OUR APPROACH

In our daily lives, most of us often take simple movements and mobility for granted. However, for the individuals enrolled in the BARWIS Neurological Reengineering Program, every step is a hard-fought battle against incredible odds and the challenge of rapidly depleting resources and insurance coverage. In the face of these struggles, we are called to lend a helping hand, to provide not only hope but also the Power to Move.

 

At the First Step Foundation, we believe in a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation, and our program integrates specialized training and recovery protocols from the BARWIS Neurological Reengineering program. Our dedicated team works closely with clients to create personalized plans that address their unique needs and goals. Through our training scholarships, we extend access to this elite program, ensuring that individuals facing paralysis due to spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders can find a path towards recovery.

 

Together, we strive to grow the program, extending its reach and impact to positively transform as many lives as possible.

EMBRACING 
CHALLENGES
.

OUR HISTORY

On Christmas Eve 2007, University of Michigan football player Elliot Mealer and his family were involved in a life-altering car accident that killed his father and left his brother, Brock Mealer, paralyzed. Mike Barwis, the University of Michigan Director of Strength & Conditioning at the time, visited Brock in the hospital, where he learned that Brock had been given a 1% chance of walking again. Mike pledged to help Brock with his recovery by providing specialized training.

In 2010, Brock led the University of Michigan football team onto the field during the home opener, using only two canes to walk to the center of the field. Not only did Brock defy the odds, but he also became an inspiration for many other individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Mike Barwis moved on to open BARWIS Performance Centers in Michigan and Florida, making the same specialty recovery program he used with Brock, Neurological Reengineering, available to all individuals with paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries and/or neurological disorders. He then founded a 501(c)(3) organization, the First Step Foundation, to provide scholarships for the Neurological Reengineering Program, enabling all individuals a chance at recovery, regardless of financial constraints.

First Step Foundation

First Step Foundation

First Step Foundation
Search video...
Untapped potential: Mike Barwis at TEDxUofM

Untapped potential: Mike Barwis at TEDxUofM

09:24
Play Video
A Make-A-Wish Week with Cecily!

A Make-A-Wish Week with Cecily!

04:03
Play Video
First Step Foundation, Just Say Thanks 2020

First Step Foundation, Just Say Thanks 2020

03:11
Play Video
Miracle Monday with Brock!

Miracle Monday with Brock!

06:21
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video

OUR SPONSORS

A heartfelt thank you to our valued sponsors for their crucial support of the First Step Foundation. Your contributions enable us to provide comprehensive rehabilitation through the BARWIS Neurological Reengineering program, empowering individuals facing paralysis. Sponsorship is integral to our mission's success, allowing us to offer specialized training and recovery plans. To join our cause and make a lasting impact, consider becoming a sponsor. Your support ensures access to elite programs for those in need, making a significant difference in the journey to recovery.

CLICK TO BECOME A SPONSOR

One Planet logo
WCN logo
E.P.S logo
Free Forest Trust logo
Savana logo
bottom of page