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“No two days are alike” After three decades on the job, Shelia Brown still looks forward to each day at Monarch

Shelia BrownAfter 30 years at Monarch, Shelia Brown still looks forward to the adventure each new day brings.

Brown began as a skills trainer, teaching individuals with disabilities basic activities of daily living such as how to make their bed, bathe themselves and cook.

“It was a challenge for me as a young person starting out,” she said. “But I learned as much from the people I worked with as they learned from me. There is something to be learned from every single person we deal with. That is how we grow.”

Since then, she has held positions ranging from qualified professional to divisional director and currently works in Albemarle group homes. She has watched Monarch develop from a local agency with a few group homes to a statewide organization helping set the standard in behavioral and developmental care.

When Brown came to Monarch, sheltered workshops were considered progressive, Intermediate Care Facilities were new, and the Community Alternatives Program was just getting started. From individual development plans to new regulations, there were always people who said, “This will never work.” But ultimately, she feels most changes improved service to the people we support.

“Even with the growth, I think our family connection has remained,” she said. “I have always felt my co-workers cared about me.”

When injuries from a car accident left her unable to drive, co-workers picked her up for work and took her to lunch. When her mother died in 2010, she was touched by the sea of familiar faces at the funeral and a beautiful card from Monarch CEO Dr. Peggy Terhune.

Brown deserves nothing less, said Program Director Kim Goff, who has supervised Brown for the past six years.

“Shelia has devoted herself to caring for others,” Goff said. “She has a huge heart and is a wonderful advocate for the individuals we serve, and a role model for staff, peers and the residential team.”

Brown lives in New London and loves spending time with her 10-year-old granddaughter and three-year-old grandson, as well as staying active in her sorority and serving as youth director and senior choir director at her church.

Although she has many things on her bucket list, including even more service in the community, Brown said she’s not ready to retire just yet: “No two days are alike, and this job helps me keep my eyes open and my mind open to new ideas.”

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