~In This Issue~ December 2015
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Save the Date(s)! 2016

Bowl-A-Thon: March 6, 2016
Charity Golf Schamble: June 6, 2016
Golden Gala: October 7, 2016

Focal Point Financial Services 
  is a broadly based independent financial service organization.  They specialize in helping find and secure the appropriate plan in light of the changing economic, tax and financial environment. Their primary purpose is to consider you, the client, first. 

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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A True Gift

Niecee (left), a client at Merrick and Support Service Staff Ermelinda "Nana" Zamora shared a smile at this year's client holiday party.
With the season of giving upon us, it is a timely message to think of the true gifts we have in life. Most of us would put family and friendship high on that list. Here at Merrick, we feel fortunate to use the term "family and friends," not only for those we work with, but also for those we work for. Knowing and loving someone with a developmental or intellectual disability broadens your heart in unimaginable ways, and the work of empowering adults with disabilities truly is a gift, not only to ourselves, but the community we live in as well. Thank you for your continued support of the work we do, and the gift you give to yourself and others by supporting Merrick.  
Year End letter from JWB
In this season of giving thanks, we are very grateful for supporters like you who have helped us grow from providing recreational activities to fifteen young adults who lived at home with their parents, to serving hundreds of clients and their families over the years, by providing meaningful work options, offering quality life enrichment services, and promoting self-advocacy activities.
JWB photo
Executive Director
John Wayne Barker
We are especially grateful for the many supporters who have attended our events, contributed on Give to the Max Day, made a donation to the Client Holiday Party, or named Merrick as the recipient of a United Way contribution. If you have already made a donation this year, I want to thank you for making a difference in the lives of clients at Merrick. If you haven't made a donation, or might consider donating again, I ask for your year-end support of our campaign to raise funds to purchase a dock lift. The cost of the dock lift and installation will be $25,000 and we are nearly halfway toward our goal already.
Every morning, a truck drops off the materials our crew of 15 clients will need to complete their work for the day. Without a dock lift to match the height of the truck's bed, the delivery driver uses a pallet jack to move the load from the back of the truck to the edge. He then uses a forklift to remove the load from the truck; this is repeated until all the loads are removed. A 10-minute job can take 45 minutes! The process is then reversed when loading the truck with the completed orders for business partners. Your gift will help us improve efficiencies, and ensure the stable and safe transfer of materials and shipments to our business partners.
Thank you for considering a tax-deductible gift to Merrick this holiday season. You can easily donate online at: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E198323&id=3
or go to our website, www.MerrickInc.org and click on 'Donate Today' in the upper right corner. 

Some supporters have chosen to make a gift through a Donor Advised Fund; if you would like to do so, our EIN is 41-0991279. Gifts of all sizes are needed and appreciated.
Best wishes to you and yours for a peaceful and joyful holiday season,

John Wayne Barker 
Get to Know Colleen Timbers - Director
Next up in our new series of highlighting staff members is management team member Colleen Timbers. Read on to "get to know" Colleen.
Colleen Timbers
Merrick's Program Resource and Training Director. 

What is your current position with the company?  My current position is Program Resource and Training Director.  I have been in this position since July of 2014.
How long have you worked at Merrick and what have been your roles?  In the fall of 1984, I moved to the Twin Cities from Green Bay, Wisconsin and started as a substitute with the company. In November of 1984, I was hired as a Program Staff and within a year, I was promoted to a Program Coordinator. In January of 1988, I was promoted to the position of Program Director and held that position for over 25 years.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced working in the field of social services? The biggest challenge is attempting to move the focus from a service system to a person-centered approach in determining services and supports for each individual.
What are your greatest accomplishments at work? In collaboration with my colleagues and self-advocates, laying the foundation for self-advocacy; supporting self-advocates in their self-discovery to be strong leaders and advocates, valued members of their communities; promoting a culture for staff and clients of respect, integrity, transparency, and accountability.
Colleen (back row - third from right) and her large family enjoy spending time together, including annual jaunts to Door County, WI. 
How do you spend your time away from the office?  I love spending time with my family (i.e. parents, brother, four sisters, nephews, nieces, and extended family members) and close friends, shopping at antique stores, watching the Green Bay Packers and St. Paul Saints, redecorating/repurposing, sketching, traveling, cooking, going to movies and concerts, gardening, family debates, participating in political events, engaging in late night discussions with my sisters, and reading historical and non-fiction books. I enjoy my family's annual trek to beautiful Door County where we shop, play games, cook and bake, hike and bike, go on haunted tours, and laugh A LOT.
What is your favorite indulgence? My favorite indulgence is sitting on the deck at Pier 500 with family members or friends on a beautiful day looking out at the St. Croix with a tall Bloody Mary--extra olives and a beer chaser.
Who is your hero, and why? I would not be where I am today if it weren't for my parents' guidance, love, encouragement, humor, and support. They instilled in their children the philosophy that having difficulties in life and  growing from those experiences prepares us to have amazing lives and we need to lead in solutions rather than be passive bystanders in the area of civil and human rights.
What are your goals for the year ahead?  1). Collaborate with the Adult Day Services team in providing excellent services and supports.  2). Enhance the program team's person-centered and assistive technology efforts. 3) Provide technical support to the program team. 4) Provide resources to families about effective strategies when working with people with Dementia/Alzheimer's. 

Giving spirit evident at Merrick 
Jo Ann Lizakowski (left) and Tara Ungar
help wrap gifts purchased with staff & company donations to give to local families in need "adopted" by Merrick this holiday season. 

With giving hearts, three groups organized holiday giving campaigns at Merrick this season. 

Headed by Finance Manager Judy Vollbrecht, staff members continued on with the tradition of "adopting" families in need from the local elementary school. Monetary donations from staff were matched by the company to fulfill the wish lists of four families with 11 children. Additionally, the Merrick crew at the University of MN was joined by U of MN staff in adopting another family.
The Self-Advocates United group also spread good will in the community by hosting a toy and food drive in partnership with the Vadnais Heights Lions Club. 
Members from the Self Advocates United group pose with Santa and their collected donations. 
Comings and Goings on the Board of Trustees
At the December meeting of Merrick's Board of Trustees, we welcomed new Trustee Heather Monnens who is replacing outgoing Trustee Mark Duea
Merrick's newest
Board Member,
Heather Monnens

Heather is employed with the firm GDO Law (formerly Geck, Duea & Olson) She focuses her family law practice on helping clients with divorce, property division, child custody, paternity, and adoption. She also handles various estate planning matters for her clients.
In addition to her family law work, Heather also acts as the Assistant City Prosecutor for the cities of White Bear Lake, Gem Lake and Lino Lakes. In this role, she represents the cities in various criminal and municipal matters. 

Thank you Mark for your years of service, and welcome to Heather! 
Crystal Ball sparkled with good cheer and generous guests
Our premier fundraiser of the year, The 2015 Crystal Ball, took place Friday, October 23 at the Prom Center in Oakdale. 300 guests enjoyed dinner, musical entertainment by the Mick Sterling Trio featuring Cate Fierro and Joshua Stigen, a fabulous silent auction - with special thanks to our amazing "basketeers" Colleen Mosley, Kay Verros, led by Robin Norsted and Anne Lingle. They really know how to make our events sparkle! 
From left:
Dr. Jeff Norsted, Robin Norsted, Anne Lingle, and Dr. Scott Lingle

View the event photos here: 
https://flic.kr/s/aHsko5r49L Thanks to our donors who helped us raise nearly $15,000 for the supported employment services program.

To watch the video produced by SharkBait LLC which debuted at the Ball, visit: 
Open House let community learn more about Merrick
On December 9, we opened the doors to Merrick a little wider than usual and welcomed community members for an open house. About fifty business partners, community members, family, and friends joined us for tours that highlighted each of our client service areas and ended in the commons with a reception catered by Kowalski's Markets. 
Robin Mallek (center) Program Director, looks on as
Trish, a client at Merrick, meets an open house guest at our community event earlier this month. 

Stations were set up along our main hallway and in some of the program areas where visitors were greeted by a manager and client from that area who described the choices they are able to make at Merrick and how we support them in achieving their own personal goals. The open house gave visitors an opportunity to personally meet clients, ask questions, and learn for themselves how we make a difference in  our community and empower adults with disabilities. 

We welcome visitors at any time. To set up a tour, contact Volunteer & Events Coordinator Jo Ann Lizakowski at JoAnnL@MerrickInc.org or by phone at 651-789-6207. 

Offer from St Croix Cleaners in celebration of partnership
St Croix Cleaners has partnered with Merrick for over 17 years by providing job opportunities for clients. They currently employ eight clients that help with daily home delivery operations. Each team member takes great pride in their role. They connect and build relationships with others in the community and are acquiring skills that will help them with future goals. 
St Croix Cleaners is a locally-owned, Minnesota based, eco-friendly dry cleaner with 18 locations across the metro, offering free home delivery service options. In celebration of our long-standing partnership, St Croix Cleaners is offering a $10 discount to new home delivery customers via this link: 
Thank you to our recent donors
Andersen Corporate Foundation 
Arnold, Rodman, Pletcher PLLC 
Cheryl Bailey
Mary and John Wayne Barker
Peggy Barker
Laura Barker
Bernice Bednarz
Beltmann Group 
Jane Birks
Boeser Sheet Metal, Inc. 
Jim Chicone and Donna Borton Chicone
Doris Ellen Braley
Scott and Diane Bronson
Kristy Brown
Maureen Cahill
Brian Carnes
James Chicone
Lynne Conley
Patti Cullen
John Cundy
Linda and Doug Curtis
Ryan Danielsen
Kathleen Davis
Ken and Kendra Davis
Maureen and Ken Deceuster
Bob and Mary Ann DeYoung
Charlotte and Paul Donahue
Ellen Donnelly
Rod England
Lisa Erickson
Leah Faiad
Russ Gagner
Geck, Duea, and Olson, LLC 
Jim Gerlich
Mike Greenbaum
Linda Gresback
Cheri Guirere
Kurt and Linda Hallgren
Cathy Hamilton

Rick and Jean Hansen
Tim Harding
Nicole Heimer
Deb Helseth
Emberly Hermann-Johnson
Karen and Cadex Herrera
Donna and Erv Hinrichs
Tom and Joanne Hirtz
IPS Worldwide 
Emily and Matthew Johnston
Sherrie and Thomas Kenny
Denise and Lawrence Kerr
Jean and Mike Koch
Steve Kopeski
Steve and Mary Kosel
Kayla Krey
Romona Mogg & Dr. George Krienke
Lake Area Bank 
Erik Levy
Daniel Lew
Scott and Anne Lingle
Jo Ann Lizakowski
Robert Lockwood
Lynn  and Richard Lomen
Bill Mahre
Diane Malfeld
Stephanie Mann
Phil Manz
Phyllis Martin
John Marzitelli
Len de Llano and Wayne Matesky
John McDonough
Lynne Megan
Mary Moehrle
Margaret Monn
Michael Morgan
Colleen Mosley
Sue Moyer
Terry Nelson
Mary Ann Nowak
Diane Olson

Michael O'Neill
Suzanne Paki
Rita Pechmann
Andy and Jane Peltier
Chris Penn
Christine Ramirez
Donna Rausch
Nancy Rausch
Daniel Reed
Diogo Reis
David Richter
John Rieke
Ford and Susan Runge
Judie Rush
Karen Sager
Crystal Saric Fashant
Teri Scattarelli
Lori Scherer
Mel Schroyer
Cindy Senarighi
Diana Smith
Brad Stamp
Pat Strong
Kirsten Talentino
Brad and Liz Tauer
Colleen Timbers
Rita Torborg
Kim and Renee Trenary
Vadnais Heights Area Community Foundation 
Vadnais Heights Lions Club 
Ann Vance
Gary Vander Vorst
Judy Vollbrecht
Bill Walsh
Wesli Waters
Wedding Day Diamonds 
Carol and Greg Whittier
Joan and Robert Wilson
Millie Woodbury
Gil and Audrey Zachman
Gust and Carole Zahariades
Paula and Judd Zandstra

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Thank you for your continued support of Merrick, Inc.