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Support Inclusion Saturday brought awareness to North Carolina businesses and organizations that value inclusion

In observance of National Developmental Disabilities Month, Monarch invited businesses and organizations across North Carolina to join a new, grassroots campaign called Support Inclusion Saturday.

TMore than 33 organizations, with 61 locations in 29 cities across North Carolina partnered with Monarch for Support Inclusion Saturday on March 25.hroughout the month of March, the campaign spotlighted some of the amazing people we support like Alan Cremisi who works at Second Street Sundries in Albemarle and makes the best tasting lattes in town, and Alex Baker from Southern Pines who has gradually taken on more responsibilities at Outback over the year he has been employed there. Alan and Alex were just two of more than 10 stories Monarch featured during the campaign to start a dialogue and champion the organizations across the state that foster inclusion – either by employment or programming.

On March 25, residents statewide were encouraged to shop or support the brands, organizations and businesses that were featured on the campaign registry on InclusionSaturday.org.

More than 33 organizations, with 61 locations in 29 cities across North Carolina partnered with Monarch for Support Inclusion Saturday. Some businesses provided special day-of activities like discounts and gift baskets from Shabby Chic Boutique in Asheville that featured ArcBARKS dog treats and Reason to Bake cookies – both inclusive businesses. Other organizations promoted regular inclusive programming like sensory-friendly movies at Sun Valley 14 and performances at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, guided tactile tours at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, and the spring season kick-off for the University City YMCA Miracle League.

“Similar to initiatives like Small Business Saturday, the goal of Monarch’s Support Inclusion Saturday was to harness our collective power to foster understanding and dispel myths about developmental disabilities. Everyone who went out on March 25th to support a participating business or program did their part in raising awareness, either by generating conversations or creating new volunteer or employment opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Dr. Peggy Terhune, president and chief executive officer at Monarch.

Monarch is committed to helping those with I/DD achieve their full professional potential and through campaigns like Support Inclusion Saturday, it can bolster opportunities for the people we support in their respective communities. The success of this year's inaugural Support Inclusion Saturday has set quite the precedent and has everyone, including partnering businesses, inspired and energized to plan for 2018.

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