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People Who Care: Monarch volunteer Jackie Church connects with day program participants through art

Jackie Church is an artist living in Currituck County. She does traditional basket weaving and through her art has learned the importance of expression and creativity.

She and her husband are also caretakers of her brother Tim, who lives with Down Syndrome and attends Monarch’s Lighthouse Club of Currituck, a day program in Harbor Point in the Outer Banks.  Church said she noticed Tim’s excitement following completion of a craft at the Lighthouse Club and her artistic sensibilities were piqued. She began to brainstorm with her neighbor ways to incorporate more art at the Lighthouse Club.

They started doing crafts with participants of the day program and as a result of her efforts, there is now a craft storage room at the club with materials she has organized to ensure there are always art supplies on hand. Church also spends time generating ideas by looking online for materials and visiting craft stores, like Michaels.

Tim, and others who attend the Lighthouse Club, have created everything from door hangers to sand art – and she said “they love the attention” they get from others. For Church the most important part of volunteering is seeing the faces of those we support and how much they love interacting with new people.

“Having something different to do, and different people to be around, and knowing that someone cares is so important to them,” she said. “By being a volunteer you get so much back because they so appreciate it.”

Another key aspect of volunteering is getting the opportunity to interact with those living with developmental disabilities. It gives you the chance to see that they have feelings and are people just like anyone else, Church noted.   

“It is also important to volunteer with those we support because they are such an important part of our lives,” Church said.

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