FSF Logo


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, University of Michigan Director of Strength & Conditioning at the time, visited Brock in the hospital where he learned Brock was 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 became an inspiration for so many other individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Mike Barwis moved on to open BARWIS Performance Centers in Michigan and Florida, and make 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), the First Step Foundation, to provide scholarships for the Neurological Reengineering Program to enable all individuals a chance at recovery, regardless of financial constraints.

A 501(c)(3) organization helping those with spinal cord, neurological, and related disorders regain movement and mobility by providing access to the BARWIS Neurological Reengineering elite recovery program via training scholarships.

TAX ID: 46-3268143

Most of us take simple movements and mobility for granted as we go about our days. The individuals in the BARWIS Neurological Reengineering Program are tireless fighters, often in the face of incredible odds and rapidly depleting resources/insurance coverage. We are called to help, to continue to give hope and the Power to Move.

The First Step Foundation helps provide access to the cutting-edge recovery program, Neurological Reengineering. Our board aims to grow the program, extend its reach, and impact as many lives as we can.

Since its inception in 2014, the First Step Foundation has provided over $350,000 in training scholarships and over $60,000 in specialized equipment for the Neurological Reengineering Program.

TAX ID: 46-3268143

-Donate to the scholarship fund.

-Volunteer for one of our annual fundraising events.

-Sponsor an individual in the Neurological Reengineering Program.

FSF Scholarship Recipients

Featured Stories

2019 Annual Report
2018 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report

Show your support simply by shopping on Amazon!

  1. Go to smile.amazon.com
  2. Log in to your account
  3. Select Barwis Methods First Step Foundation from the list of available charities to support


Brian Bradley

Brock Mealer

Kamal Meroueh

Don Jess

Will Farah

Deb Loudin Klein

Odey Meroueh

For more information please contact info@firststepfoundation.com