~In This Issue~ September 2015
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Wedding Day Diamonds
is a family owned jewelry store serving the Twin Cities area with six locations and one in St. Cloud. They promise to stand by everything they sell with a true lifetime warranty and unwavering customer service.

Please support our business partners with your spending dollars!

We value your feedback. Please let us know how we can improve this newsletter, or if you have suggestions for future articles or content, contact  
Marketing & Communications Coordinator Emberly Hermann-Johnson via email at 
We seek your referrals! 
Help us continue to find meaningful work for the clients at Merrick by suggesting business partners who might be interested in hiring a client or a work crew. Send referrals to Work Procurement & Contracts Manager Andy Rausch at AndyR@merrickinc.org
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Please share our story with your network!  

Having a Ball

We are "having a ball" here at Merrick, both literally and figuratively! If you haven't yet reserved your spot at our upcoming Crystal Ball, please do so ASAP, as registration is quickly filling! Online registration and event information is available here: www.MerrickInc.org/gala.
In this issue we introduce a new column to help shine the light on our management team who do so much to make Merrick what it is. We start the series with the most senior member of our team, our beloved Jim Chicone, Merrick's Technical Assistance Director and good friend to all who meet him. We think he would agree that the last 30+ years at Merrick have definitely been a ball. The self-advocates at Merrick are busier than ever, with regular weekly meetings, fundraising, and speaking out about being a self-advocate and anti-bullying messages. A full recap of the last few months is included in this issue. We wrap up with a thank you and some snapshots from H.B. Fuller's Make a Difference Day that was celebrated earlier this month at Merrick. 
Chris, a client at Merrick, and one of the volunteers from H.B. Fuller
bond at this year's Make a Difference Day held at Merrick. 
Thanks again for joining us to empower adults with disabilities. Together we are making a difference. Thank you for staying current with us and hope to see you at the ball! 
2015 Merrick Crystal Ball just weeks  away
Our premier fundraiser of the year takes place Friday, October 23 at the Prom Center in Oakdale. In case you missed the news on what's new this year, here's the scoop:
  • Mobile Bidding
  • Live Music & Dancing
  • Ice Sculptures featuring the "Merrick-tini"
  • Photo Booth
If you haven't reserved your spot, there is still time, please do so today at: http://bit.ly/MerrickCrystalBallRegistration 

In addition to the new event features, some of your old favorites, such as Mystery Gifts, Heads or Tails game, and Champagne on Ice will be returning. The Mick Sterling Trio featuring Cate Fierro and Joshua Stigen will take over the room at approximately 9:30 P.M. Remember to bring your charged smart phone for bidding, and cash to play the games and raffles. For questions on the event, take a look at our FAQ page. See you at the ball! ❖
Get to Know Jim Chicone-Technical Assistance Director
Jim Chicone  
Technical Assistance Director
We begin a new series with this issue to help you get to know more about the staff at Merrick. We are starting with our management team, and first on the list with 32 years of service to Merrick is Jim Chicone. Read on to "get to know" Jim. 

What is your current position at Merrick?
My current position is Technical Assistance Director.
How long have you worked at Merrick and in what roles?
I have worked at Merrick since April 11, 1983. I was hired as the Staff Psychologist when Merrick was planning to increase enrollment from 30 individuals to 50 individuals. Just over half of the 20 new individuals had moved from state institutions and had behavioral support needs. Over the years, the position title changed to Training and Technical Assistance Director, and then about a year ago with an organizational structure change, the title became Technical Assistance Director. The roles I play have basically stayed the same over the years, but the amount of time spent engaged in each has changed.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced working in the field of social services?
The biggest challenge over the years has been to deal effectively with the dynamic tension that exists between" what is " and "what could be" or "what should be".

What is your greatest accomplishment at work?
I am very proud to have been a part of countless accomplishments achieved by a group of caring colleagues who wanted to make a difference, whether the focus is systems change or one person at a time.

How do you spend your time away from the office?
I like doing projects around the house, spending time with friends, and spending time with family, especially my wife Donna, son Brandon, daughter in-law Becky, and grandsons Dominic and Leo who are the joy of my life. Spending time with Jazz and Jive, our two Portuguese Water Dogs, who expertly show unconditional love, is something I look forward to every day.

What is your favorite indulgence?
If I have to pick just one favorite indulgence it would be a Vanilla Cooler from Caribou Coffee.

Who is your hero, and why?
Professionally, my hero is Howard B. Kaplan, Ph.D.  Dr. Kaplan knew just when to direct, coach, support and delegate as my major advisor. Those skills, as well as others, help shaped the person and the professional I am today.

What are your goals for the year ahead?
On July 1, 2016, I will close the chapter in my life's story titled, "Full Time Employment" and start the next chapter titled, "Retirement." My goal is to make that transition as smooth and enjoyable as possible. 

Jim (center in hat) with son Brandon, grandson Leo, wife Donna, daughter-in-law Becky, and grandson Dominic.
Self-Advocates working to make their voices heard
Self-Advocacy is an important part of being empowered for people who have an intellectual or developmental disability. Self-Advocacy means advocating for one's self, standing up for one's rights;
*       It is stating what one thinks and feels;
*       Personal identity;
*       Personal power;
*       Right to self-determination.
Mary, Abby, Katie, and John presenting at The Partners in Policymaking session about the Ambassadors for Respect program. 
The Shooting Stars and Self-Advocates United Self-Advocacy group members have been extremely busy over the last three months working to make their groups stronger and their voices heard in the community. There are three Shooting Stars Self-Advocacy groups that are hosted at Merrick and meet weekly. The Self-Advocates United group meets every other Thursday afternoon at J. Arthurs Coffee Shop in Roseville. Self-Advocates elect officers from the group who facilitate the meetings.
Here is brief rundown of their latest activities.
  • These two groups have raised over $800 through a sale event and the Gourmet Snack fundraiser. November 7, the Self-Advocates United group will be holding a taco feed and raffle at the Doghouse Bar and Grill in Maplewood from 1- 5 P.M. Everyone is welcome! 
  • Mary R, is settling in to her new role as a Peer Mentor; she works 15 hours per month and her focus will be coordinating articles for the Self-Advocate Miracle Newsletter, distributing information to the self-advocacy groups, helping design presentations, and attending Olmstead-related meetings. In addition, with her expertise in Person-Centered Planning (PCP) and Self-Advocacy, Mary is conducting three-hour PCP training sessions for staff and six-hour sessions for self-advocates.
  • In September, John C., participated in a panel discussion for the Partners in Policymaking leadership session at the Marriott Hotel in Bloomington. John was one of the Partners alumni selected from last year's class to share their stories about how the program changed their lives. 
  • Also in September, Katie M., John C., Mary R., and Abby H., delivered a presentation for the Partners in Policymaking session on self-advocacy and the Ambassadors for Respect activities.
  • This month's plans include representatives of the Ambassadors for Respect project giving a short presentation to the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities. The .Ambassadors have been notified that the grant they have to work with this year has increased from $15,000 to $20,000.
  • The Ambassadors were nominated for the Charlie Smith Award and an article was featured in the August edition of the Access Press newspaper.
If you wish to directly support internal and external Self-Advocacy activities, you can donate online through our website at  www.Merrickinc.org and note 'Self-Advocacy' in your donation, or send a check to Merrick, Inc., at 3210 Labore Road, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110. 
H.B. Fuller staff celebrated Make a Difference Day at Merrick
A  fabulous day happened earlier this week with help from a group of H.B. Fuller employees as they celebrated their annual Make A Difference Day at Merrick, Inc.
Labore Road Neighbors H.B. Fuller chose Merrick for their
2015 'Make a Difference Day.'

Volunteers spruced up both the greenhouse and courtyard, and gave the well-loved and much used Bocce Ball Court an update. On top of that, they hosted an Ice Cream Social for staff and clients. 

The volunteers from H.B.Fuller moved seven yards of sand and seven yards of pea gravel to improve the Bocce court. 
The huge smiles during the event from staff and clients were all the thanks the H.B. Fuller volunteers needed, but we will say it again here- THANK YOU H.B. Fuller employees for making a difference! 
Thank you to our recent donors
Alliance for Healing PA
Mary and John Wayne Barker
Big Wood Brewery
Border States Electric Supply, Inc.
Benjamin Bryant
Comprehensive Financial Resources
Patti Cullen
Dalco Enterprises, Inc.
Sid and Carol Davis
Tracy  Dunnwald
Ferlic Filter LLC
Cathy and Wayne Hamilton
Dede and Todd Hauck
Karen and Cadex Herrera
Higher Standard
Tom and Mary Jo Holly
Maura and Steve Howard
Kim Bennett Agency, Inc. - American Family Insurance

Elizabeth Knudsen
Erik Levy
Paula Lindblom
Maguire Agency
Stephanie Mann
MN Vikings
Mary Moehrle
Dr Richard Moen
Sue and Paul Moyer
Jeff Norsted
Northview Dental
Andy and Jane Peltier
Principal Financial
Christine Ramirez
SevenHills Benefit Partners
Triplett Consulting
Twin Cities Sound, LLC
Kay Verros
Zimmer | Madich

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Thank you for your continued support of Merrick, Inc.