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~In This Issue~March 2013
Quarterly Column from Mike Greenbaum
Bowl-A-Thon 2013 Rolls Another Strike!
Client Spotlight | Natalie C.
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Truly Lucky
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Greetings!
  
How many people get to work in a place where you are greeted daily by others who really live in the moment? It is a rare personality trait that is not celebrated enough in our society. For the staff at Merrick, we are lucky in that each day we come to work we are able to interact with people who truly embrace the phrase: live in the now. This phrase rings most true for our Support Service Staff who work with clients at Merrick helping them achieve their goals and dreams. Working in the human services field is a career path sought by those with the biggest hearts who have much talent and love to give. Merrick is truly lucky to have an amazing staff that give their all everyday they come to work. The example of the Enhanced Services staff who used their first aid, CPR, and crisis management training to save the life of one of our clients who suffered a medical emergency in February proves the luck runs all ways at Merrick. 
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Enhanced Services staff surround a client that they brought back to life after a medical emergency in February (with help from a few others not pictured)
In this issue, Finance and Development Director Mike Greenbaum
shares the company's progress on creating our development plan, we have a wrap-up of the successful 2013 Bowl-A-Thon, along with a link to photos, and we finish with a client spotlight story of a lady who has stepped into a teaching role to improve communications between clients and staff. 

We feel truly lucky to work in an environment rich in both daily challenges and successess and to have supporters like you cheering us on. 
Quarterly Column from Mike Greenbaum
As Merrick's Finance and Development Director, one of my initiatives is to find ways we can increase non-government revenue. In light of that task, Merrick has retained HBH Consultants to create a development plan aimed at increasing our annual development revenue over time. At the most recent Board meeting, representatives from HBH presented the key aspects of the proposed plan. What I really like about their initiative is the emphasis placed on requiring a "team approach" which I believe to be the foundation of our success in meeting our current challenges.
MikeG

HBH discussed how our key stakeholders: board members, staff, clients and their family members can be involved in development. The three main roles are:
*Ambassadors who represent Merrick out in the community and inform them about what is happening, 
*Advocates who speak to Merrick's experiences and expertise and 
*Askers are the ones encouraging others to do something on behalf of Merrick. 

For Merrick to reach our full potential, it is not needed or expected that there are 1,000 people in our communities as "Askers" but there is no reason that there cannot be 1,000 "Ambassadors" and "Advocates" helping us reach our goals.

Whether we are trying to decrease our reliance on government reimbursement; find meaningful work opportunities; educate legislators on the importance of providing services; or assist self-advocates who are teaching elementary-school students about the negative impact of bullying, the collective efforts of 1,000 "Ambassadors" and "Advocates" goes a long way in assisting all clients at Merrick to reach their goals and dreams. 


As we move forward with the plan developed by HBH, we will work on providing stakeholders with better tools to achieve our development goals and hope that you will find which of these three roles best fits your involvement to make Merrick the best it can be. If you are interested in getting more involved and want some help on how to get started, please contact me at mikeg@merrickinc.org or 651-789-6206.

Bowl-A-Thon 2013 Rolls Another Strike! 

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the 2013 Bowl-A-Thon Committee, led by Merrick Board President Jackie O'Connell with staff support from Volunteer & Event Coordinator Jo Ann Lizakowski and Finance & Development Director Mike Greenbaum, the annual fundraising event rolled out smoothly and garnered Merrick an additional $35,000 in development funds. 

 

Highlights from the event held on Sunday, March 3 at Flaherty's Arden Bowl include:

  •  Participants had a fabulous time and we exceeded our fundraising goal.  
  • The Winter Carnival Royal Family and Klondike Kates from years past loved supporting the event and are planning a site visit. The Vulcans are also interested in getting more involved.   
  • Flathery's commended Merrick and IPS for running the BEST Bowl-A-Thon.  
  • Diane Hovey's book, Princess Sophia's Gifts, a beautifully illustrated story of her family's journey centering on her daughter Sonia who is a client at Merrick sold out! Look for more signed copies and the opportunity to meet Diane and Sonia at this year's Golden Gala. Read the "story behind the story"
  • Our sponsors make this event possible. Please visit this link for a list of all 2013 Bowl-A-Thon sponsors. 
Royal Family at BAT
The Royal Family enjoyed mixing and mingling with participants
CLIENT SPOTLIGHT
Natalie C. | Enhanced Services

Natalie C. is a friendly and fun loving person who loves animals, her family, and her job at Merrick. Along with her intellectual challenges, she is deaf and communicates via American Sign Language. Natalie started with Merrick's small license program in 2010. Since then she has experienced a few obstacles, but those have been outweighed by her successes. She enjoys her work on an offsite recycling crew with one staff and three of her peers. In addition to her recycling crew duties, she recently began to teach American Sign Language (ASL) classes to staff and peers.

 

Natalie is fluent in ASL, but quickly realized that most of the people around her at Merrick were not. She found it difficult to communicate, resulting in misunderstandings, similar to those that happened in her past. Before coming to Merrick, she had a history of negative behavior including aggression toward others and property. Because of those behaviors, she lost community home placements and jobs and as a result spent time at the METO crisis center in Cambridge as well as another state hospital in Minnesota. Not wanting to fall into old negative patterns again, Natalie makes an effort to be understood and to have others understand her.

Natalie C
Natalie is committed to bettering communication between herself, her peers, and her staff every day

The Enhanced Services program motto is "we are prepared for daily challenges and expect the best outcomes" It is based on the belief that in the right environment, a person can succeed no matter what their history may have held. In the case of Natalie, the staff in ES have learned much from her, and in return, she has achieved personal and job satisfaction. Just recently, she was approved to receive wages through charitable gambling for teaching two-six week sessions of American Sign Language. Early indications are that staff and clients are both benefiting and appreciative of the opportunity. Support Service Staff Myles "MP" Patrick McDonough has been learning ASL so he can communicate with a client on his work crew. He has learned the alphabet and a few other functional signs. MP also works at a restaurant where a customer who was deaf tried to order, but his waiter could not understand him. MP stepped in and through fingerspelling the customer was able to order his meal! Stories like this illustrate how the gifts our clients present us with keep giving out into the wider world.

 

Though her past and ongoing communication hurdles challenge Natalie, through self-empowerment she is currently on a path to increased success in her job at Merrick, improving communication with others, as well as to realizing her personal goals and dreams.

 

Get to know more clients at Merrick with the client spotlight stories on our website: http://bit.ly/clientspotlight 

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