declared the month of March, "Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month," a tradition that remains to this day.
While building awareness is imperative to helping those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities achieve their dreams, we at Monarch saw an opportunity to turn awareness into action in a simple way we can all participate in.
In North Carolina, March 24th will be a day to support the many businesses that promote inclusive hiring practices for those living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Whether you're a business owner, family member of someone with special needs, or a friendly face with a big heart for those who are close to ours, we invite you to look around the site and help support the millions of hardworking, engaged, and highly motivated employees with I/DD.
Are you part of a business or team and are sitting there thinking, "Hey, this sounds wonderful and my organization does a lot to support the inclusive hiring of workers with I/DD," we would love to have you onboard.
Please email PR@MonarchNC.org with a brief description and how you'd like to partner with us and how we can help promote your business.
Getting involved is easy peasy. Use our Business Finder to discover organizations in your area that are supporting those with special needs, and pay them a visit on March 24th. From coffee shops, to clothing stores, to everything in between, North Carolina is full of amazing companies who are invested in making a difference in the lives of people with I/DD.
But don't wait until the big day to share your support. Help spread the word on social media! Download the graphics below and post on your favorite social network. Tag your friends, tag your mom, and help share the shop!
Across our wonderful state of North Carolina, there are many inspiring businesses and organizations that are making a big difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We love hearing about them, and we thought you may too.
Sara has been a loyal volunteer for Meals on Wheels and her local Albermarle School for years. She even lends her free time to neighbors, sweeping their porches and dusting their furniture. It's not for praise and it's not for money. Sara works for the simple joy of giving back to her community. Hear from the ones who know her best.
Training and helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find work is nothing new for Jeff Fleming and Gena Brown. They spent years working as job coaches at their previous employer. But when that training program was eliminated, Fleming and Brown were laid off. They decided to continue their work and opened HANDmeUPs Thrift Store in August 2013.
Alex Baker is at the popular chain restaurant, Outback, in Southern Pines more than he used to be. When he first started working there a year ago, he was in the kitchen two or three days a week. Now, he's there at least five days a week, sometimes working overtime and unexpectedly on a day off to fill in. But Baker has no complaints. In fact, he'd like to take on even more.
Unlike most of us, who at least occasionally grumble at the thought of going to work, Kiara Camp, of Shelby, is thrilled every time she reports to the assisted living facility where she works as a dietary aide.
I love playing with children. They are so much fun. The museum is such a nice place to work. And it feels good to make my own money.
At 52 years old, Tim Hayes has found new purpose through employment and taking care of his mother. "Some people need an extra push, a helping hand, to have a life for themselves," he said. Hear from Tim and his mother as they share his story of discovery and growth through their relationship with Monarch.
Whether it's a grab-and-go breakfast or that afternoon caffeine fix, if you visit Second Street Sundries in downtown Albemarle, you'll likely find Alan Cremisi behind the counter. If you're lucky enough to find yourself there, expect nothing less than the freshest brew with an extra shot of enthusiasm.
"I love my job. I love what Starbucks is about and I love what it's given me," said Cremisi.
But last year, Channing Skinner recently received a 10-year service award from Food Lion in Currituck County signed by Food Lion President Meg Ham. Skinner, who turns 39 this month, was honored for his long tenure, good work and dedication.
Skinner lives in a group home in Currituck County, and attends Monarch's Currituck Lighthouse Club day program on weekdays. He works at Food Lion every Wednesday afternoon.
In fact, you might run into him just about anywhere in Stanly County - enjoying an outing at the bowling alley, showing off his dance moves at a Joy Civitan event, helping out at a local food pantry, or discussing environmental issues at a meeting of the local beautification committee.
Getting a job was very important to David Dillard. After a few sample job assignments, the perfect match came along, building pizza boxes at Papa John's in Kernersville. Dillard has been working at Papa John's for almost a decade, between volunteering and other activities, folding and forming the boxes that carry all the hot, delicious pizzas.
Give them a shout out on social media or a digital high five and be sure to pay them a visit on March 24. And be sure to check out the many brands and companies that may not have a physical location, but put an emphasis on inclusion.