Founded in 1964, Merrick, Inc., is a non-profit organization that provides life enrichment and employment support for 375 adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the northeastern Twin Cities. Merrick has been an active part of the Vadnais Heights community since November of 2003 when the organization moved into a 52,000 square foot building on Labore Road in Vadnais Heights.This move would mark the first time since 2000 that all clients were served out of one location. Unique characteristics of the building provide a welcoming atmosphere and a nod to environmental awareness with features including natural lighting, a barrier-free design, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and a PV rooftop 525 panel solar array. Merrick’s newest environmental endeavor is a three-year prairie restoration project which will return pollinator-friendly plants to the property.

Merrick takes a person-centered approach to support the life enrichment and employment goals of each client who enrolls in a wide variety of offered services. The organization provides business solutions for local companies, large and small such as H.B. Fuller and Gable Pines. Currently, Roberta works on special projects at H.B. Fuller’s headquarters while a team of clients assembles adhesive boxes onsite at Merrick. At Gable Pines, Sovanny helps in the kitchen and dining room. She has also taught American Sign Language to residents and assisted with a fashion show. Once a week Sara volunteers at Gable Pines calling bingo, assisting residents with dining room trays, or helping in the memory care program.

Along with these types of employment in the general workforce, Merrick staff support small crews of clients at business partner locations. A third vocational support option allows clients to work onsite at Merrick with the stability of a familiar environment working side-by-side with friends that have similar life experiences. For some clients who are not able to work, or work is not the main focus, Merrick offers life enrichment activities. The goal in the two life enrichment programs is to improve, stabilize, or slow the decline of physical and cognitive health of clients. Participants in the programs enjoy meaningful social interactions with peers in the community, contributing through acts of volunteerism, and participating in many onsite therapeutic activities (musical therapy, pet therapy and artistic activities).

One of Merrick’s core beliefs is civic responsibility – action that contributes to the common good – and to realize this core belief is an investor in the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation, a member of the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake and White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce. Staff and clients adopt families from Vadnais Heights Elementary School to provide holiday gifts, and donate to the Vadnais Heights Lions Club’s Toy and Food Drive.

Merrick employs 160 professionals, mostly providing direct care and client support. Community members interested in making a difference in the lives of adults with disabilities are invited to visit www.merrickinc.org for information about available career or volunteer positions. Visitors are warmly welcomed at Merrick and the best times for a tour are any weekday between 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Please contact Karen Herrera, Development and Communications Director to schedule a visit or for more information about the organization at 651-789-6202 or karenh@merrickinc.org.