Thursday, February 21, 2013 —
Audrey Holland, volunteer administrator for the Senior Nutrition Program in Hertford, N.C. calls it a “win-win situation.” Holland is referencing the mutually advantageous partnership between the Senior Nutrition Program and Monarch’s Heritage Club in Edenton-Chowan.
Like many of Monarch’s sites across the state, participants of the Heritage Club have volunteered numerous hours to deliver meals to aging adults who struggle to get the nutrition they deserve and need. The Senior Nutrition Program serves ten counties in northeastern North Carolina, including Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington. The program receives funding for the nutritious meals but volunteers are required to deliver them.
“Luckily for the Senior Nutrition Program, some Monarch participants want to help other people in the community,” explained Holland. “We are grateful that we can work together to reach our goals to best serve the public.”
Holland is right, the ‘win-win’ she describes is designed so that all participants can profit from it in one way or the other. Monarch works diligently with the people it supports with intellectual and developmental disabilities to discover their interests and help them find their place in the community – and to give back.
Last year people with disabilities supported by Monarch gave their talent, energy and time – exactly 35,152.17 hours of their time.
>From the mountains to the coast, that dedication and level of service to communities across the state yielded an economic impact of $660,860.80, according to the Independent Sector, a national organization that estimates the value of volunteer time for North Carolina at $18.80 per service hour.
“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, 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.
“I like to show my gratitude to others and to help other people who need help,” explained the 21-year-old 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, including for local students enrolled in Book Bag Buddies programs. Volunteers also 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.”