The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)


February 21, 2013

People with disabilities at Monarch volunteer in record numbers

Monarch’s service efforts generated an economic impact of $660,860 in communities statewide in 2012


Thursday, February 21, 2013 — 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.

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