phone

916 827 5257

844 MERISTEM

Awaken the possible.

MERISTEM serves young adults on the autism spectrum by helping them develop practical life skills, increase social capacity, and transition to work and independence. We build the foundation for a productive life by helping to optimize the potential of each individual. A special emphasis is placed on preparing students for entry into the workforce or pursuing higher education.

About Meristem

The real world is our classroom.

The three-year day and residential program uses a contemporary apprenticeship model to develop contextualized, transferable skills to transition young adults into work life. Students learn in highly personalized ways. Learning is individualized, structured, and self-directed.

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“When I started I could never have imagined I would have changed so much. I cannot find the words to describe what this program has done for me and I advise people to come and see it for themselves.”

— Marcy, Meristem Student

Approach

A proven method.

The MERISTEM method is inspired by the work of the Ruskin Mill Trust in England. Ruskin Mill has a 35 year history serving generations of students with autism across the United Kingdom. More than 70% of graduates transition into higher education, vocational training, or employment.

Learning through doing.

Our students learn to create – jewelry, clothing, a film, or a harvest of food. They learn resiliency, to embrace failure, to feel a sense of accomplishment. That sense of purpose, meaning, and value translates to growth, life long learning, and work.

Increasing social capacity.

The program develops social skills that ultimately lead to a stronger sense of self, healthy relationships with others and a recognition of one’s place in the world.

Developing life skills.

Our program is personalized for each student with the aim of fostering self-reliance.

The program includes:

  • Transformative movement

  • Digital media

  • Culinary arts and nutrition

  • Equine therapy

  • Sustainable agriculture

  • Carpentry and woodwork

  • Independent living skills

  • Farm and animal care

  • Textiles, jewelry, and metal work

  • Filmmaking & photography

Transition to work and independence.

A central aspect of the MERISTEM method involves preparing students for life after graduation. Throughout the three-year program, students build skills to enter the workplace or higher education. Many will work independently, others with assistance, but each graduate leaves with a greater sense of self-reliance.

Entering the workforce is a hallmark of the program. Our transition-to-work program develops vocational skills through work experience. Students grow and sell food from the campus farm, work in the culinary arts center, the campus café, or bookstore. With MERISTEM’s emphasis on community life, we seek opportunities to partner with local businesses for work placements and internships. We help graduates find work in the community or enter college.

Campus

A place to live, learn and grow.

Our flagship campus is located on 13 beautiful acres in Sacramento, California near the American River. MERISTEM consists of visual and practical arts classrooms, a working farm, a performing arts auditorium, outdoor fields, academic classrooms, an equine center, student café, bookstore, and residential living areas.

The Independent Living Center is the home to our residential students. Each suite contains
4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, living room, and an outdoor patio or balcony.

  • 13 beautiful acres

  • Biodynamic farm

  • Bookstore

  • Cafe

  • Dormitory suites

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Community

An inclusive and integrated community.

Our community is integrated with a teacher training college, farm apprenticeship program, community supported agriculture (CSA), and community workshops and events. Students develop skills through community integration and social inclusion.

Leadership

Guiding our future.

Our board of trustees and leadership team provide guidance, governance and oversight for Meristem’s mission, operations and program effectiveness.

Board of trustees

  • Russell J. Austin

    Partner,
    Murphy Austin
    Adams Schoenfeld LLP

  • Beth Barol

    Associate Professor,
    MSW Program Director,
    Widener University

  • Michael Chez, M.D.

    Pediatric Neurologist,
    Sutter Medical Group

  • Donna L. Courville

    Attorney,
    Boutin Jones Inc.

  • Maureen Curran

    Founder and Director,
    The Orcas Institute

  • Bill Dussault

    Principal,
    Dussault Law Group

  • Jane Einhorn

    Principal,
    Marketing Consultant

  • Viva Ettin, M.D.

    Law Offices of
    Viva Ettin, M.D.

  • Garry Maisel

    President and CEO,
    Western Health Advantage

  • Jesse Sprecher

    Former Vice Chairman,
    PricewaterhouseCoopers

  • Darrell Steinberg

    Former California Senate
    President Pro Tempore

  • Barbara Stern

    Family Therapist
    and Educator

  • Marc Turtletaub

    Entrepreneur

  • Louis A. Vismara, M.D.

    Executive Director,
    University Development Foundation

Advisor to the board

  • Aonghus Gordon

    Founder,
    Ruskin Mill Trust

Executive Leadership

  • Oliver Cheney

    President,
    Ex Officio Trustee

  • Michael Mancini

    Managing Director,
    Advancement and Strategy

“We know MERISTEM is unique – there’s no equivalent program in our region, state,
or nation. MERISTEM offers hope, purpose, and meaning. It is one of a kind.”

Darrell Steinberg, MERISTEM trustee,
former California Senate President Pro Tempore

A Campaign for All

Change the future with us.

Join our tuition assistance campaign to provide
equity and access for all families affected by ASD.

We request your support to provide young adults with ASD the opportunity to prepare for greater independence. Your gift will directly support a student attending the program.

The annual cost of operating this unique and diverse curriculum exceed the capacity of some families' ability to pay the tuition. The MERISTEM SCHOLARSHIP FUND is designed to fill this gap.

Thank you for your generosity. Your gift will change the lives of young adults with ASD and their families.

To participate, contact:

Michael Mancini,
Managing Director of Advancement and Strategy

mm@meristem.pro or (916) 864-4924