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~In This Issue~May 2013
Partnership with Dodge Nature Center Flourishing
18th Annual Golf Schamble
Client Spotlight | Jerry P.
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Welcome Spring!
cora in barn
Staff member Cora Ligday cuddles a friend in the barn at the  Dodge Nature Center where she oversees a crew of six. Read on for more details on Merrick and Dodge Nature Center's unique partnership. 



With spring firmly upon us, the warming sun shining through the windows and skylights at Merrick, and the lighter air calling us to come outside, it is fitting that this issue of Navigator explores our partnership with one of the first nature centers in Minnesota, Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul. 


Another rite of passage each spring is the Annual Charity Golf Schamble at Troy Burne in Hudson, Wisconsin. We had an amazing response and spots for golfers are now filled, however there are others ways to support the event. Find out more details in the article below. 


We thank all our supporters who came out to the Horticulture Therapy Plant Sale last weekend. We had a fantastic turn-out to support the horticulture therapy program and for the Shooting Stars Self-Advocacy group fundraiser!


It is a pleasure to bask in the warmer temps after this long Minnesota winter and we welcome you to come out of hibernation and visit us! Find more info on setting up an informal visit on our website at this link: www.merrickinc.org/schedule-a-visit.html


We look forward to seeing you soon!

Partnership with Dodge Nature Center Flourishing

Merrick has business partnerships with over 80 organizations in the Twin Cities area, however the partnership with Dodge Nature Center is truly one-of-a-kind. 

Jenny web
Jenny is a natural with the animals

The Thomas Irvine Dodge Nature Center and habitat restoration organization located on 322 acres in the heart of West St. Paul and Mendota Heights. Founded in 1967 by Olivia Irvine Dodge, the organization was one of the first nature centers in the state of Minnesota, and is recognized nationally as a leader in environmental education. Dodge offers prairies, hardwood forest, lakes, wetland, miles of hiking trails, a working farm, orchard, bee apiary, and raptor mews (housing). Annually, Dodge provides environmental-based education to more than 35,000 children and hosts an additional 7,000 participants through family programs, camps, community events, and open hiking.

A Team
The "A-Team" work at Dodge rain or shine (or snow!)

Merrick has been fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with Dodge with a crew of six clients and one support staff working at the center since 2001. Cora Ligday is the support staff who for the last seven years oversees her crew of six who are called "The A-Team" by Dodge management. Cora said, "Every day is truly a joy. This crew is fun to be with and very funny. They enjoy being together and really get along." Five of the six clients on the crew have been working at Dodge since the partnership began.


The type of work they do varies on the season and needs of Dodge staff. Some frequent tasks include:

  • twice weekly "mucking" or cleaning out the chicken coop or barn floor, 
  • cleaning in the education building or various other buildings on the grounds, 
  • setting-up and tearing-down for parties/events,
  • general clean-up of litter from the outskirts of the grounds, and 
  • summer time weeding.

Faith,member of the Dodge crew, has worked in the preschool building on the Dodge grounds for the past five years. She performs a variety of tasks including laundry, sweeping, setting up for lunch, paperwork, and general help to the preschool staff. 

Faith says, "I love my job!"

Since it's inception, this unique partnership between two local nonprofits has largely been supported by corporate and individual giving. Your continued support of Merrick enables us to provide exceptional experiences like this for adults with disabilities. Click here to view photos of the crew hard at work.

18th Annual Golf Schamble Promises Good Times

On May 20th, Merrick supporters, staff, clients, and volunteers will have a ball at our annual fundraiser - the 18th Annual Charity Golf Schamble. This year's event will once again be at the beautiful Tom Lehman signature course, Troy Burne Golf Club, in Hudson, Wisconsin. Registration for golfers is full, however you can support the event by:

  • Donating an item, gift card, or cash
  • Becoming a Hole Sponsor
  • Purchasing a "Golfer's Dream Package" Raffle Ticket. Raffle tickets are $50 each and secure you a 1 in 100 chance of winning:
    • A $1,000 Sun Country Airlines voucher to anywhere they fly, including (Anaheim area) Southern California.
    • A $200 cash prize that may be used toward green fees at your choice of several renowned golf courses in the Anaheim area.     
    • A three day, two night stay at the Best Western Meridian Inn & Suites in Anaheim, California. (Hotel stay may be exchanged for White Bear Best Western Country Inn) 

For more info on any of the above, contact Merrick's Volunteer and Events Coordinator Jo Ann Lizakowski at JoAnnL@MerrickInc.org  or 651-789-6207. 

Dan "The Man", client at Merrick and owner of Dan The Man Tie Dye, oversees the Plinko game at last year's event
For those registered for the event, besides for golf, pick up a unique gift or something special for yourself at the silent auction, play fun games on the course, have your team photo taken, and enjoy a Wisconsin-style BBQ dinner with others who support Merrick's mission. It's a great chance to network and all proceeds support Merrick's mission to empower adults with disabilities!  
Jerry P. | Small License 
Jerry P. enrolled at Merrick in the Enhanced Services program (ES) in June of 2001 just after graduating from high school. ES carries the philosophy: we are prepared for daily challenges and achieve the best outcomes. Jerry fits this motto well. His first few years at Merrick held challenges as staff and peers learned about his fascination with soda pop, spicy foods, and things that have a unique odor. His quest to obtain these type of items caused him to lose focus on work and at times even inadvertently hurt people. These preoccupations coupled with his inability to effectively communicate his wants and needs made for trying times. In the beginning of his enrollment, he was one of very few clients to continue an active "Rule 40" program, which is a written outline for use of a controlled procedure in crises to keep himself and those around him safe.

Jerry P. is a teacher of patience
Jerry is a teacher of patience

One of the communications barriers is because Jerry has a severe hearing loss. He communicates via American Sign Language. He is fluent in ASL, but most others in his environment at the time of his enrollment were not. Knowing it would improve communication ES staff are now required to learn ASL not only for Jerry, but for other clients who use it to communicate as well. To achieve a best outcome for Jerry, the ability to communicate along with a structured environment plus ongoing positive behavioral support planning have definitely been keys to his success.


Jerry is now employed on a plastic recycling crew with a job
Jerry and MP
Staff Myles P. and Jerry at an outing at the MN Zoo
coach and three fellow coworkers from ES. He works between 10-15 hours per week and goes out to lunch every Friday. At work, he takes a leadership role. He is described as attentive, hardworking, and enjoys promoting teamwork. His challenges are still there, but a noticeable reduction in his aggression level has eliminated the need for his Rule 40 plan years ago and has increased his access to the community. With the help of his ES staff, Jerry participated in the Merrick Bowl-A-Thon for the first time this year. He bowled on a lane with other participants and had a great time. ES staff fluent in ASL have even volunteered their time on the weekends to assist his mother in spending quality time with him. Jerry "lives his life like everything is possible". He is highly motivated, smart, unpredictable, social, headstrong, funny, explorative, intuitive, and persistent. He is a self-learner with a passion for academics and a strong desire to learn about the world around him. Overall, serving Jerry has helped us all to communicate better with him, with one another, and with other clients at Merrick. 


Get to know more clients at Merrick with the client spotlight stories on our website: http://bit.ly/clientspotlight 
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Thank you for your continued support of Merrick, Inc.