What People, Families and Volunteers Say
“We see Mary Grace weekly and do all the special things with her that we’ve always done, but at the end of the day, she wants to go home: to her home! She doesn’t want to miss out on a trip to the mall, or to the movies. Of course Mary Grace loves us, and the house she grew up in, but she also loves her new life with her extended family of housemates and Monarch staff members. We will forever be grateful to Monarch for giving Mary Grace the opportunity to find her independence.”
- Kim Thompson, whose daughter Mary Grace is a happy resident at a Monarch home.
I came to your office feeling powerless and full of hurt and disappointment. I wanted to say THANK YOU for empowering me to be more positive and giving me the power to learn to love me. Your encouragement has made a HUGE impact on my life and those who share it with me. I have a stable job… I have my license and my car back. I am happy to say that I practice mindfulness EVERYDAY.. You are a glorious gift to this world and I am glad to have crossed paths with you. I only hope that I can give someone the same tools to empower them like you have with me.
The above note was written by a person supported at Monarch who received support from Jude Johnson, MA, LMFT, an outpatient therapist at Monarch, who also conducts mindfulness group therapy.
Comment from a person who received Open Access services at one of Monarch's mental health outpatient sites in Wake County:
“I don’t know what would have happened to me if Monarch would not have been able to see me today. I already contacted at least three other agencies, none of them could see me for at least two weeks. They told me about Monarch and that I could be seen today by a therapist and a psychiatrist. I couldn’t see past the next few minutes once I checked in because I was in such a bad place, but once I finished talking to the therapist and then was seen by a psychiatrist, I felt so much relief. If Monarch didn’t have Open Access I would have either ended up in the hospital or who knows what would have happened to me.”
A letter from a person who received Monarch's behavioral health services in Wake County:
To whom it may concern:
When I found out the previous provider was getting out of the mental health care business, I was filled with dread. Honestly, I was shocked that I cared who I actually saw for my monthly visits. I had been navigating an emotional roller coaster for nearly three years and did not want to be dealing with an unconcerned stranger's mid-loop.
When I was introduced to Kelly, my counselor, I felt as though I had been matched with the correct person and temperament. To my surprise, there was a wonderful nurse Nancy there to take my blood pressure and vitals after that session. I never had my vitals taken and always thought it was a large oversight under the last organization.
Then I went to see Shawna to have prescriptions filled out. We clicked equally well. When I left, I figured I'd lucked out pretty well and gotten a good team to support me through my ordeals.
Darla, the lady at the front desk, is also the highest caliber. She is always upbeat and respectful. I like all four professionals and am thankful for their attention. I am familiar with major corporate changes and contracting out departments. In my opinion, it is rare that service improves and the customer benefits.
Please continue the excellent job that you are doing.
A note from a very involved and active parent of a son who attends Monarch's Stokes Opporunity Center (SOC) in Walnut Cove:
Thank you so much for all your organization has done for, and is still doing, for my mentally challenged son. Your organization is the only option in Stokes County for him. You can not imagine what it means to my son to have the opportunity to work and have social experiences outside of our home.
The following is an excerpt taken from a letter sent to the Monarch Crisis Unit at Tanglewood Arbor:
Dear Sir or Madame:
I would like to tahnk the Monarch staff. I truly started to feel better about my situation as soon as I received my initial consultation. I remember being apprehensive when I was in the hospital. Thinking back, I told myself "I'm an old soldier that once was quite dynamic and somewhat handsome. Look at me now, these people are probably not going to pay me any attention." Just like some of my more recent decisions, my thinking was wrong. I told one of the staff that I didn't know if it was planned, but to me, I felt there was an overall team effort by the staff. Whether it was a nurse, an intern or others taking vitals, they all kept my mind positively focused on getting a good foundation for my recovery. I don't know what some of you saw in me, but thank you for taking the time, pulling me off the side, talking to me, thus, helping me to reinforce the points I need to make to be successful. Most everyday I was told "You have too much going on in your life to be like this, yo uhave to want it and stay positive." That would not have happened unless someone cared.
...I could have easily died that night I ended up in the emergency room. You have all given me back the keys to my life. Thank you so much.
A person supported
Bladen County, NC
The following letter, written by parents Mike and Tamra Smithson of Forsyth County, appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal.
We want to comment on the brave and courageous people, some disabled, who spoke to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 13 . They were asking the county to loan CenterPoint Human Services money to help restore cuts to mental health, developmental disability and substance-abuse services. You see, the disabled are in a fight for their very existence. They don't want anything any different than the rest of us — they want to be happy and fulfilled. They just can't do it by themselves, so they come to the commissioners for help.
A couple of other counties have already committed to the loan. We would have thought that as innovative and positive as the commissioners have been in making our city better, they would have been the lead in helping the disabled.
Our daughter, Traci, attends [Monarch's] Forsyth Industrial Systems. This is not a day care. It is a program that teaches her life skills, job skills and socialization to fit into a society that sometimes is uncomfortable with people who are different. The accomplishments are endless. We saw a hyperactive, developmentally disabled child grow into an adult. She has been there 17 years, since high school, and won't miss a day.
The list of agencies with cuts is frightening. Families cannot carry this burden alone. Please, as a community, support the funding for CenterPoint. It is a loan. Oh, by the way, Traci spoke at the meeting. It was one sentence. She had practiced all week.
Caleb Alexander, a BB&T Banking Officer and Monarch volunteer who, along with some co-workers, helped individuals in the Outer Banks plant a garden.
"I had a great time working with our friends at Monarch. It is hard to describe the effect it had on me, other than being some of the most self-fulfilling volunteer work I have ever done. I got to improve something that THEY [the people supported] care about, and work on a project location where they spend so much of their time throughout their average day. I felt like we got to make a small impact in their lives, with something tangible that they can see every day. I can not tell you how I grateful I am to have been a part of it!"
Kudos to Christy Shaver, Daniel Brown, Cynthia Fewell, Scottie Rush, and others.
I just wanted to tell you how much I have appreciated Monarch over the last few months. I formed a relationship with Christy (and Daniel Brown, too) over the past year at the ASL meetings, and Christy has been instrumental in helping me with our current situation—my brother-in-law, for whom my husband and I are legal guardians, got an Innovations slot late this summer after five years and we decided to take advantage of the Community Transition service, as well as choosing Monarch for the HS service as well. Your staff has been most excellent (I know you know this), and they have gone over and above for Jake. He did not transition as well as I would have liked, which was not unexpected, and Scottie Rush has saved our lives over the last week. Cynthia Fewell has spent many an hour on purchasing the things for Jake’s new home, and it has not been a quick process given the circumstances, but your staff needs kudos for making all of this happen. It is a very exciting time for our family, and as an agency I know full well how hard it can be the first time we provide a service to a person—I am so thankful that I chose Monarch and appreciate your organization more than ever.
When Jake is fully settled, he would like to have a hotdog cookout for all of the people who have made this move possible. He’s going to invite the huge group of community volunteers who readied the house for move-in, plus the staff support and neighbors and friends (and let’s hope he invites his family). We hope that you would like to see the final product as well!
Testimony from a grateful father about Monarch staff member Tina Christian
(Names changed to protect privacy and to provide confidentiality)
You may be aware that my father died a few weeks ago. My wife, older daughter, and I were involved for days with trying to make the correct decision as to or not to inform our other daughter, Sylvia Cramer, about the death of her grandfather. We were concerned for Sylvia, who had lost her paternal grandmother in October, had suffered the breakage of her collar bone in two places during June and now this latest event. Could she cope with one more emotional stressor at his time? We finally decided to inform her, which we did, and she took it rather well. To my question, she said that she wanted to attend the funeral for her grandfather, to be held in Brooklyn, NY, and "because I want to support you, Dad." With her making her desires known and demonstrating the capacity to confront another loss, we then had to make arrangements for her travel. After having gotten possible flights on Southwest Airlines, from Raleigh, to and from Philadelphia, the nearest airport to our older daughter, Cindy Cramer Gordon, we called Ms. Tina Christian, Operations Manager, Lakeview group home, to inform her of our dilemma. She was most empathic to our circumstances and made suggestions of which flights would be best in terms of her staff availability and also said she would quickly arrange for Sylvia to have a med pack for the days that she would be gone. We also discussed the need for a staff member to actually accompany Sylvia to and from the respective airport gate, on both legs of her travels, to avoid the previous problem of Sylvia purchasing contraband, which she also included in the plan. I am glad to report that all went rather well, but without Ms. Christian's leadership, understanding, and decisiveness such would not have been possible! Further, the funeral did go well, for such an event of that nature, and Sylvia did support me before, during, and after the service. Plus, Sylvia was also able to personally address and acknowledge the death of her grandfather. For the assistances she provided, for all of which to have taken place, we commend Ms. Christian, especially at a time when none of us, in our family, were at our ultimate best. She came to our rescue!
With deep gratitude, from our family
Letter written about two of our staff, Matt and Wade Plummer.
Our oldest inhome adopted son, who you all have met, will be going to live in an adult group home now. He is 25. He has some problems, and we feel it is in the best interest of him, and particularly the young children, that he live where professionals can work with him if he gets out of control.
He has had two wonderful respite workers. They are both college educated guys; brothers whose father and brother are local attorneys.
These fellows took our older son to the library, movies, to church plays and concerts, etc. during his hours. They never just sat at home "watching him".
We have just seen the wonderful side of these two brothers and would like to get our son with one of them. They may not be able to do it. I trust them so much.
They have worked with our older son for the better part of two years, and I have never had ONE SINGLE COMPLAINT!