Monarch joins Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility (STIR)

Three who attend Monarch’s River City Achievement Center in Elizabeth City – Kermit Mullins, Missouri Harvey and Cleo Carver – took part in one of the trainings last year. They will assist Erma Brault, a Monarch operations director, who is leading the training for Monarch.

Brault said this program is important because it allows staff and people supported to partner on a practical level that benefits the people supported.

“This training teaches staff exactly how to search for and ask better questions of people supported. When we train together, everyone starts on the same page,” she explained.

Plus, Brault said she has learned the people supported don’t always know they have a voice or aren’t equipped to be able to make their needs known. But after participating in Project STIR they come away with the knowledge to speak up for themselves, and it creates a mutual understanding between staff and those they are serving.

Much of the training focuses on role play, setting goals and allowing each person to make a plan for tasks they hope to accomplish in the future. This was a vital part of the program for some of the people supported at Monarch.

Cleo Carver said because of what he learned during the training, people listen to him because he is able to better articulate and explain his needs. He said he also learned conflict resolution through the course’s role-play techniques and is now able to solve disputes and conflicts that have occurred between him and his roommate and family members.

“We all have to learn to communicate and ask for what we need and speak up for ourselves in this world,” Brault said. “Even simple things like ‘I don’t want burnt toast.’ I think it’s a great way for everyone to come together and talk about issues because if everyone starts on the same page, we are going to be better as staff and providing support to those we serve.”


Pictured above: Monarch staff, people supported participate in Project STIR, a self-advocacy initiative of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities.