Issue 50 | February 2024

In This Issue of Merrick's Navigator

A Beloved Tradition

A New Endowed Fund

Immediate Openings | Refer a Client Today

Mark Your Calendars | Bowl-A-Thon & Golf Scramble

Ambassadors for Respect

Rapacz Joins WIB

Emily's Special Friend | A Client Spotlight Story

How $5 Makes a Difference

A Beloved Tradition

During the second week of December, Merrick held three (yes, three!) separate holiday parties for clients enrolled in our employment and life enrichment programs. 

A beloved Merrick tradition that clients look forward to all year long, the holiday parties provide those we serve with the opportunity to experience the joy of the holiday season. While certain aspects of the holiday parties have become customs such as a catered meal, dancing, and portraits, every year brings about new activities (e.g., spin art) and changes as new ideas are brought to the table. This year was no different. 

For the first time, Merrick held a party exclusively for independently hired clients at Mancini’s Rathskeller on the evening of Tuesday, December 5. The other two parties took place on Friday, December 8, at Vadnais Heights Commons (also, a new party venue!) and Merrick’s Labore Road site. In total, we had 36 clients attend the Rathskeller party, 80 clients attend the Labore Road party, and 190 clients attend the Commons party.

If you donated to or volunteered your time at Merrick's holiday parties this year, we say "thank you!" Because of your support, we raised $18,629 and hosted parties that the clients will remember long into the future.

Top: Anthony and Heather pose with props at the Rathskeller party; Upper Middle: PPC Kaitlyn and Keely from Enhanced Services at the Commons party; Lower Middle: Alijajuan "Bow Wow" from Utility Services shows off his Grinch balloon at the Commons party; Bottom: DSP Alyssa and Chris from Willow Lake pose with props for the photo booth at the Labore Road party.

Photo Caption: Mary Ann, Amy, and Bob DeYoung pose in front of Amy's picture in the main hallway at 3210 Labore Road.

A New Endowed Fund

In December, Merrick received a remarkable $60,000 gift from Pamela and William Anderson, to establish the Robert and Mary Ann DeYoung Endowment. This enduring legacy was created in celebration of Pam's parents' 60th wedding anniversary. Pam’s parents, Bob and Mary Ann DeYoung, are cherished members of our community, with Amy, Pam's sister, having been enrolled at Merrick since 1993.

The fund's earnings will be dedicated to Merrick's self-advocacy initiatives. The Anderson family's extraordinary generosity has brought this significant contribution to fruition, showcasing their unwavering belief in Merrick’s mission and our self-advocacy program. We extend our deepest gratitude to the Anderson family for their instrumental role in making this invaluable gift possible.

For those intrigued by the idea of establishing an endowment to benefit Merrick, we invite you to contact Karen Herrera at 651.789.6202 or via email at Your support can help further our mission and impact the lives of those we serve.

Photo Caption: Andrew receives Employment Services through Merrick to help him keep his job at Kwik Trip.

Request a Tour

Immediate Openings

Refer a Client Today

Do you know someone who is seeking support services to enhance or maintain their quality of life? At Merrick, we have immediate openings for clients seeking day support services with the staff-to-client ratios of 1:5 or 1:6.

In addition, we are also accepting referrals for our onsite employment service program for clients with a staff-to-client ratio of 1:6 or 1:8 and for our employment service program for clients who want additional support to help them keep their job.

To start the referral process, individuals must submit an application at Interested parties may also request a tour at to help them determine if Merrick is the right fit for them.

Please help us spread the word about these immediate openings at Merrick so individuals seeking services can submit their application.

Mark Your Calendars!

Bowl-A-Thon: April 21

Grab your bowling ball and start practicing your throw because Merrick's Bowl-A-Thon returns to Flaherty's Arden Bowl on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

Merrick's Bowl-A-Thon is a family-friendly and client-focused fundraising event in which bowlers of all ages and abilities are invited to join us for a fun-filled morning that includes 2-hours of bowling, donuts, prizes, raffles, and pizza.

Details regarding registration, sponsorships, and volunteer opportunities are now available at Pledge packets will be available upon request starting at a later date for individuals who intend to crowdfund. Until then, be sure to mark your calendars for April 21 and look out for future emails about this most fun fundraiser.

Go to Bowl-A-Thon Page

Golf Scramble: June 3

We're heading back to the beautiful Troy Burne Golf Club on Monday, June 3, 2024, for Merrick's 29th Annual Charity Golf Scramble.

Whether your an avid golfer or a relative newcomer to the sport, you're invited to join us for a day at our favorite golf course where you'll enjoy lunch, raffles, contests, games, dinner, and more.

Golfer slots are limited and have sold out for the past several years. Hence, please save the date of June 3, 2024, and watch for further information regarding how and when to register.

Photo Caption (clients listed clockwise starting from upper left corner): Christine (Hwy 61), Cindy (ES), Leanne (US), and Sam (US) get ready for A4R.

Ambassadors for Respect

This year, five self-advocates from Merrick are participating in Peacemaker MN’s Ambassadors for Respect (A4R) program.

An anti-bullying campaign first launched in 2013 at Merrick, Inc., A4R provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to tell their story to a classroom of fourth-grade students and to advocate against bullying. As an alternative to bullying, the students are encouraged to include others, to use person-first language (e.g., a person with a disability), and to advocate for others themselves.

In recent weeks, the five ambassadors from Merrick have been practicing their presentation under the direction of Merrick’s Self-Advocacy Facilitator Danéa Davis. They will start visiting local elementary schools in February and are expected to reach more than 200 fourth-grade students in our local community over the next few months.

Learn More About A4R
Learn More About WIB

Rapacz Joins WIB

In January of 2024, Donna Rapacz, Director of Business Operations at Merrick, Inc., was appointed by St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter to the Workforce Innovation Board of Ramsey County (WIB).

When Donna had a free minute, she answered a few questions about her new role on the WIB and how their work makes the community better.

What is the mission of the WIB?

The Workforce Innovation Board of Ramsey County is the catalyst for comprehensive workforce development strategies that address both employer and job seeker needs.

Why did you join the WIB?

I am excited to be on the Ramsey County Workforce Innovation Board because it aligns with the services Merrick, Inc., provides for individuals with disabilities and their business partners.

How does the WIB make the community better?

The Workforce Innovation Board provides tools and works to bring stakeholders together through workshops, cohorts, and summits. New partnerships develop through these resources, and I know that our work is helping countless individuals connect to better jobs.

Congratulations, Donna, on your appointment to the WIB. We know that you will make us proud. To learn more about the WIB and their work, visit their website.

Top: Emily and Brooke at Merrick's 2023 Holiday Party at 3210 Labore Road. Bottom: Emily playing a sort-a-shape activity board game.

Emily's Special Friend

A Client Spotlight Story

Between 2:15 and 2:30 pm each afternoon, the tinkling of piano keys can often be heard echoing through the halls of Merrick’s Willow Lake Boulevard site. The notes do not form a clear melody line, and their sparseness may lead visitors to question whether the tinkling sound was just their imagination. Ask any staff member about it, and they will tell you that it’s Emily. Playing the piano is part of her afternoon routine. A routine that was not always so easy to follow.

When Emily first started at Merrick in the summer of 2023, nothing was routine. Being that Emily is non-verbal, uses limited American Sign Language, and had no prior experience at a day program, it proved a challenge for Emily to learn the daily routine. From where to place her personal belongings to when it was time to use the bathroom, none of it came easily at first. Slowly that all changed, in part, thanks to Emily’s new friend, Brooke, a Direct Support Professional on our WLB team.

Read Full Story

Mollie and Shelley (staff) from Merrick's Enhanced Services program.

Make a Donation
Give Monthly

How $5 Makes a Difference

There is not a whole lot you can purchase for $5.00 these days. But at Merrick, $5.00 makes all the difference.

That's because at Merrick the average daily cost of providing services to one client is $80.00 whereas the average government reimbursement is $75.00. This disparity creates a $5 gap that we have to fill in order to maintain the quality of our services. And you can help us do it.

By donating $5.00, you can fill the gap for one client for one day: one day in which the client will receive reliable transportation to and from work, job coaching that helps them maintain their job, and therapeutic recreational activities. So what do you say? Will you help us fill the gap and donate $5 to Merrick?

To donate, please visit

Merrick Logo
Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube