People with disabilities at Monarch volunteer in record numbers

“We are so proud of the people supported by Monarch for tirelessly working in their communities as volunteers during 2012. We had a record year for volunteer hours in the community,” said Blake Martin, Monarch’s chief development officer who oversees the agency’s volunteer program.  “I am amazed each year at the economic impact Monarch and the people we support are making throughout the state. Thank you for all you are doing to make it possible for people to engage in their community through these volunteer opportunities.”

Alex Baker, 21, who attends Monarch’s Vocational Opportunities in the Community, a day program in Asheboro, said he likes to volunteer because he is able to help his community, assist people in need and he likes to see them smile.

 

SIS Day of Caring - 2012“I like to show my gratitude to others and to help other people who need help,” explained Baker, who gives his time to sort clothes and books at a community thrift store run by a nonprofit that helps those in need. Also, because he is a great athlete, he serves as a coach and teaches basketball techniques for Special Olympics athletes. “It’s good to show others that you are kind and courteous. I like to be helpful.”

Gina Russell, executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center in Albemarle, N.C., said her organization is grateful for the service that Monarch’s volunteers provide. Each week, two Monarch volunteers conduct light cleaning and sorting, including hanging and sorting clothes for the center’s boutique, Hope’s Closet, which provides clothes from birth to 2T for mothers who attend programs there and have a need.

“Hope’s Closet is always in need of attention and there is always a need to keep the place tidy,” said Russell. “They come in with a smile. The people who serve here are called here and that’s a huge blessing for us. Their work takes the load off our staff members. They also bring a smile to our faces.”

Some of Monarch’s service volunteer efforts in 2012 included a blood drive where people supported served as greeters, helped to set up and clean up and donated blood. Others planted seedlings at public state parks, cleaned roadways through the Adopt-A-Highway programs, collected and served food for those in need, sang or played hand bells for residents of nursing facilities and patients in hospitals, worked with master gardeners to beautify neighborhoods and senior centers and bought toys for Partnership for Kids and more. These projects occurred statewide.

“I am proud that volunteerism has consistently been part of Monarch’s rich legacy,” said Dr. Peggy Terhune, Monarch’s chief executive officer. “It is proven that many people gain self worth from helping others. Because we owe a great deal of our success to individuals, partner agencies, businesses and communities where the people with disabilities that we support live and work, it is especially important for people who are given to, to pour back into the communities where they have received support. We are excited to give back in these very meaningful ways.”

To learn more about Monarch’s volunteer program, please contact Eileen Bress, volunteer and community coordinator, at eileen.bress@monarchnc.org or (252) 634-1715 ext. 3305.

Monarch provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges from more than 50 North Carolina counties. The agency is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership and is CABHA certified. Monarch, which operates The Arc of Stanly County, is an affiliate chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch is “Helping Dreams Take Flight” for people living in our communities, please call (800) 230-7525 or visit www.MonarchNC.org.                                                                       ###

Pictured above (top right): Tracy Everhart, who attends Monarch’s Brighter Visions in Norwood, delivers a meal to a senior in Ansonville and a group from Stanly Industrial Services help to clean up a local park in Albemarle.

Media contact: Natasha A. Suber, (704) 986-1582 or natasha.suber@monarchnc.org.