Marygrove Social Justice Alum, Monique Stanton, Featured in the Detroit Free Press.
Monique Stanton’s biological father died of drug and alcohol abuse when she was 19.
For the last 10 years, her mother has been in recovery from a drug addiction.
Like many people, the 33-year-old Detroiter was reared in a multigenerational environment by her grandfather, aunt and great-aunt, growing up in Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores.
“My mom was in and out of the health system. They didn’t treat her as a human being. Anybody impacted by an addiction should be treated as a human being. I think that’s really critical,” Stanton said. “As a kid, that was really awful to see.”
Today, Stanton is the president and CEO of CARE of Southeastern Michigan, a nonprofit, human service organization — headquartered in Fraser — that touches 25,000 people annually by educating, linking and supporting children and adults affected by family concerns, workplace challenges, mental health conditions and the misuse of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Its services include parenting classes, professional development training, substance abuse support services, a summer camp for children affected by addiction and a prisoner re-entry program.
Stanton said one of her proudest accomplishments is how the organization treats people: “We all need to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The recipient of this year’s Dave Bing Future Leader Award, Stanton will be honored Oct. 9 at the Shining Light Regional Cooperation Award ceremonies.
Stanton has been leading CARE of Southeastern Michigan since 2012. She was named deputy director in 2008. Her work has not gone unnoticed.
Curt Harder, who nominated Stanton, said she has helped the group — rooted in Macomb County — grow into a regional organization.
“She has opened up offices and projects in the Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods communities and consults with a variety of human services professionals in Wayne and Oakland counties,” said Harder, who is the board chair at CARE of Southeastern Michigan and managing director at Talmer Bank.
“She’s really our voice, our eyes and ears to keep the organization moving forward in a time period that is extraordinarily hard because we don’t know where our funding is going to be coming from or look like in the future,” he said.
Stanton said the organization has 75 full-time and part-time employees, a $2.6-million annual budget and mainly serves clients in Macomb and Wayne counties. About 50% of funding comes from the Macomb County Office of Substance Abuse, with another 15% from other government contracts and grants.
Harder said he hopes the recognition Stanton is receiving will raise awareness about what CARE of Southeastern Michigan does.
Stanton’s efficiency and task-oriented nature are among her strongest attributes, said Darlene Owens, director of Substance Use Disorders Initiatives with Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority.
“To be young and to be on point about what’s going on and trying to keep her ears on the ground on how she can help others makes her a shining star,” Owens said.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said Stanton is compassionate and a tremendous asset to the county and its residents. “She has a great connectivity to a network of resources to make things happen,” he said.
Stanton, who has a master’s degree in social justice from Marygrove College in Detroit and a bachelor’s degree in communication and history from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, lives in Detroit with her husband, Cletus Stanton. She graduated from Regina High School in 1999.
She said she is proud of another program CARE of Southeastern Michigan offers — peer recovery coaching in which people who have recovered from substance abuse coach others just entering the recovery stage. She said the program is expanding and may be able to help 100 more people than the 592 participants last year.
In the future, she would like to find funding to re-establish a fetal alcohol spectrum disorders program that ended about 1½ years ago.
Her words of wisdom to young people? “It’s important to volunteer. You learn stuff about the community, learn about yourself. You can tell your actions impact people,” Stanton said.