“The Beach Club” Gives Back To Community

Macchirole, a former special education teacher, realized the tremendous waste of these people’s talents and gifts by the lack of a program to serve them in the area. She organized the initial project and has extended it to bring together participants Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the center. They participate in community activities such as weekly animal shelter visits, learn life skills such as cooking and nutrition, and build relationships. Future plans included extended program times and a residential component.

Among the projects the group has been involved in are making homemade dog biscuits for the local animal shelter, participating in the Alzheimer Walk and Buddy Walk to support people with Down Syndrome. “The Beach Club” has also built a 3’x12’ raised garden bed at a local church, which they will use to grow produce for cooking.

“Our group is having so much fun, and they [the participants] are blossoming already,” said program director Renate Macchirole. “They are really focused on doing their part in giving back to the community, and they are experiencing a real sense of accomplishment that comes from doing for others.”

“These people have so much to offer,” she added. “They have been so isolated. It’s a loss for them and a loss for the community.”

The program to date has been run entirely by volunteers. Eastern Carolina Behavioral Health has responded to families engaged in the pilot program and has agreed to provide funding to continue the program, under the management of Monarch. Monarch will ensure that all rules and regulations are observed, and since they are a qualified provider, will be able to do fee for service billing to help support the program. The program will be able to continue its outstanding work in Dare County, but it will now be able to enroll more people in need of services. For more information about the program, contact Renata Macchirole at 252-256-8347.

Monarch provides support and resources to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance abuse issues throughout North Carolina. Monarch is a nonprofit and is an affiliated chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch helps “dreams take flight” for people living in our communities, please call 1-800-230-7525 or visit online at www.MonarchNC.org.