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Paula Hewett 090813For this month’s People Who Care, Representative Payee Coordinator Melissa C. Kunik, who recently brought a friend in need to Monarch for support, shares a personal story.

I would really like to share a personal story about the wonderful staff we have here at Monarch. I work in the finance department and I do not have a lot of experience with direct care or mental health, but I am very proud of working for Monarch and the service that Monarch provides to the people we support.

Recently, a friend of mine became homeless. She was living with her father, and occasionally staying with her grandmother. Her father decided to move the grandmother to Florida without telling my friend. He called her from the road after he had packed the grandmother’s belongings, and told her he was never coming back to North Carolina and that she was on her own. She suffers from bipolar disorder and depression and this impacted her in a big way.

I did not want her living on the streets or out of her van, so I let her live with me on a temporary basis until she could make better arrangements. While living with me she had multiple trips to the emergency room and her mental health conditions worsened. I am not a qualified professional and I knew I could not provide for her in the way she needs.

I work in our Southern Pines administrative office and began talking to my co-workers about services my friend could access. Stephanie Stephens, program manager, said that based on her diagnosis she would qualify for services as well as housing. I called my friend and she came into the office, and while she was there Tabitha Williams, administrative assistant and referral coordinator, had her fill out the application for housing. Stephens and Daisy Smith, employment support professional, did an intake and created a person-centered plan with goals for her. Angela House, operations director, then called Queen Troy, operations manager, to discuss possible housing placement.

This entire team came to the rescue and surrounded my friend with care, attention and hope. I was so full of joy that I almost started crying because I knew that my friend was in the right place and that she would be taken care of. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am to all of them.

It was amazing for me to see the “Monarch way” in progress from a different perspective. Had my friend known these types of services were available, she may have participated in them earlier and some of her current problems may never have existed had she gotten the support she needed sooner. It has now been a few days, and their continued diligence in helping her has been astounding. I would be remiss not to say that I am even more proud today to serve as a Monarch employee.

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