About Meridian Services

Welcome and thank you for your interest in Meridian Services!

Meridian Services has served people with disabilities, those with mental health issues, the elderly and their families for a quarter of a century. Currently our Case Management Department serves approximately 2,500 elderly, 1,500 people with mental health issues and more than 1,000 persons with developmental disabilities.

We are proud of our history of providing services of the highest quality, a quality that has been recognized by those we serve and for which our company has received international accreditation.

We invite you to learn more about us! Please take the opportunity to review our philosophy of service, upon which our company is built, as stated in our Vision and Mission statements and in our Code of Ethics.

We believe that our experience, our quality, and our company’s principals make us an excellent choice as you seek a service provider.

We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about our company and our services and look forward to working with you!

Our Leadership Team

Angela Cavalier

Angela Cavalier

Executive Administrator

Executive Administrator

Angela Cavalier

Angela is the Executive Administrator for the Zenith Services’ Employment and Day Services, various Meridian Services’ residential programs, Little Stars Kids Club, and In-Home Services. Angela also coordinates employee volunteer engagement for Headwaters Relief Organization.

Education
Angela received her Bachelors of Science at the University of Minnesota. Angela has a degree in Service Coordination for individuals with Intellectual and developmental disabilities with a concentration in Management and Psychology.

 

Experience
Angela began her career in social services with Meridian Services in 1998 as a Program Counselor at Silver Lake, in New Brighton. She was employed by Homeward Bound, Incorporated as a Lead Counselor and at Community Involvement Programs as a Program Manager and later, Residential Director overseeing operations at five SLS homes and a 6-bed ICF/MR. Angela returned to Zenith Services and Meridian Services in 2004 as a Program Administrator. She became the Executive Administrator for program services in 2010. Angela believes that high standards of care and commitment to excellence are what make Meridian and Zenith Services stand apart from other organizations.

Personal
Angela and her family live in Minnetrista. She enjoys baking, running and yoga. Angela loves to travel and experience new things. She is actively involved in Headwaters Relief Organization. Angela has a passion for service and has worked with local and international organizations to improve conditions for women and children around the world.

Personal Statement
Angela's philosophy about working in human services is to provide the highest quality services to the people served and their families. She believes that in order to provide quality services, a commitment must first be made to ensuring those individuals working directly with the consumers are trained and respected as professionals. Angela believes that our front line staff are the key to providing quality services.

Her favorite quote is from Mother Theresa. “Give, but give until it hurts.”

    Jenny Schraut

    Jennifer Schraut

    Executive Administrator

    Executive Administrator

    Jennifer is the Executive Administrator for the Residential Program Services.

    Jenny Schraut

    Education
    Jennifer’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. Jennifer’s education at the University was in Psychology and Communications. Jennifer continues to receive training in her field as well as business management.

    Experience
    Jennifer began working for Meridian Services as a Program Counselor at one of Meridian’s residential sites over ten years ago. She continued to work with the company and has been the Program Manager of our Silver Lake group home, Program Director of Residential Services, Program Administrator of the Residential Services until her current position as an Executive Administrator. Jennifer also owns a restaurant business in Saint Cloud with her husband.

    Personal
    Jennifer and her husband Adam, reside in Twin Cities area along with their son and daughter. Jennifer enjoys traveling, attending and participating in sporting activities, spending time outdoors, and being with friends and family. She continues to participate in our Headwaters Organization and is very proud of the work the company has accomplished for people needing assistance. Jennifer and many people who participate in Headwaters believe “gutting” is not for everyone but is a skill that should not be taken for granted. Jennifer also continues to be a volunteer for the Red Cross.

    Personal Statement
    Jennifer’s goal for Meridian Services Organization is to ensure the best care for our clients, being available around the clock as advocates and providers for any and all needs that our clients may have. She also endeavors to create a strong work team where each team member strives to make every home we run the best family environment, allowing independence to all our clients.  Jennifer and her team enjoy bringing people together and creating a positive and fun environment. She believes one of the responsibilities in her current position is to create and maintain a strong Program Team filled with a diverse group of team members on all levels, free to express ideas and implement those ideas to improve everyone’s quality of life. Jennifer continues to be amazed by the skills of her team members and the talents of the people that we serve, often teaching her new things.

      Leann Thompson

      Leann Thompson

      Executive Administrator

      Executive Administrator
      Leann Thompson

      Leann is the Executive Administrator of Meridian Services’ Case Management Department.  Her main responsibility is to ensure the organization is providing the highest quality services to those individuals and families Meridian serves and that it is done within the budgetary guidelines that have been established by the counties.  Leann is currently a member of the Zenith Services and Meridian Services Boards.  Leann is also a member of the following professional organizations/committees:

      Region 10 Board Delegate for the Minnesota Social Service Association; National Association of Social Workers; Medica Advisory Committee for Minnesota Senior Care Programs; Pinnacle Services, Inc. Human Rights Committee; DHS Committee ~ Seniors and People with Disabilities in Managed Care; Hennepin County Council on DD Employment and DT&H Services.

      Leann attended Mankato State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a minor in psychology.  In addition she has a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management at Concordia University, Saint Paul.

      Leann was employed at the Saint Peter Regional Treatment Center during high school and college.  After college Leann worked at an Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded where she served as Unit Director for twelve individuals with severe to profound developmental disabilities and high medical needs.  She feels this experience gave her a greater appreciation for the services that Meridian Services provides.  Leann believes the individual care and attention that  Meridian Services’ consumers receive makes a tremendous difference in their ability to be independent and access the community in the most effective and normalized way.  She began her work at Meridian Services as a Program Manager.  Leann was promoted to Program Director, Program Administrator and subsequently to the position of Executive Administrator.  Over the years Leann has been involved with almost all of the organization’s projects and programs.

      Leann lives in Maple Grove with her daughter Sophie, and son Elliot.  She is devoted to spending time with her family and has a passion for the outdoors.  Leann enjoys bike riding, walking/hiking, gardening and volunteering.  She feels that one of her greatest achievements was twice completing the Minnesota to Chicago AIDS Ride, now called the Red Ribbon Ride.

      Leann’s philosophy about working in the field of developmental disabilities is to provide the highest quality services to individuals and their families.  She believes that services need to be provided in creative ways in order to help to keep those we serve in the community as long as it is possible and appropriate.  Leann firmly believes that Meridian Services provides such services, and she is greatly honored to be a part of the organization’s team.  Leann’s passion in working for Meridian Services includes having been able to have many different careers within one agency.  Meridian Services is on the cutting edge of many new ventures and there is always room and encouragement to expand one’s interests within the agency to serve both  current clients and the community at large.  Leann is also passionate about volunteering within her own community and other communities within the state and county.  Headwaters Relief Organization offers a way to do this.  She truly appreciates the fact that volunteerism is now a part of the fabric of who we are as a company.

        Ginny Benson

        Ginny Benson

        Program Administrator

        Program Administrator

        Ginny Benson

        Ginny is the Program Administrator for a portion of Meridian Services’ Residential Services.

        Education
        Ginny attended the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Psychology, with a minor in Family Social Science.

        Experience
        Ginny began her career with Meridian Services in February 2009. She started working every other weekend at the Golden Hills Specialized Services in Golden Valley. Ginny then began working between Golden Hills, Hampshire South, and Bassett Creek to fill a full time position. She took a full time position at Golden Hills and then was promoted to Program Manager of Golden Hills in November 2010, to Program Director in November of 2011 and then to Program Administrator in August 2012. She has gained much insight into the field and has learned a lot in her short time with Meridian Services.

        Personal
        Ginny lives in Brooklyn Park with her dog, Winston. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, shopping, going to the cabin, playing with her dog and spending time outside.

        Personal Statement
        Live every day to the fullest with no regrets.

          Ruth DesJarlais

          Ruth Desjarlais

          Program Administrator

          Program Administrator
          Ruth DesJarlaisRuth is a Program Administrator for Meridian Services, overseeing the Bayport, Calhoun, Northwood, Riverside, Timber Crest, and Woodridge programs.

          Education
          Ruth attended Pillsbury College in Owatonna, Minnesota, where her studies focused on Graphic Design.

          Experience
          Ruth began working in social services while attending college in Owatonna. She realized her passion for working with those in need during that time. Ruth worked at Our Homes South, Incorporated, working overnights with an adult with Downs syndrome. After moving back to Minneapolis, Ruth sought a job at Meridian Services where she was hired as a full-time direct care staff person at Bassett Creek SLS. She was promoted to Program Manager of Bassett Creek in June 2008, was promoted to Floating Program Manager in April 2013, and was promoted to Floating Program Director in December 2013.

          Personal
          Ruth currently resides in Blaine with her best friend. She enjoys reading, going to movies, playing and listening to music, and spending time with her family and friends. Ruth also enjoys traveling to seek new adventures.

          Personal Statement
          Ruth is thankful for the opportunities given to her by Meridian Services. She believes that is important to help adults with disabilities to maintain their independence. Ruth enjoys her role as a Floating Program Director, being able to serve a variety of consumers and getting to know some amazing staff along the way. She strives to ensure that her consumers receive the highest quality of care that each deserves.

            Krista Hastings

            Program Administrator

            Program Administrator


            Krista attended Saint Cloud State to study Psychology, and plans to continue her education in the near future.

            Experience
            Krista has worked in Direct Care for over five years. She has a history working with disability law, as well as a coordinator for a mental health services program for children and adults.

            Personal
            Krista likes to relax during the weekends and enjoy the outdoors, weather permitting.  She likes to cook from scratch, and has recently begun refinishing furniture.

            Personal Statement
            “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

            -Theodore Roosevelt

              Erin McCartan

              Program Administrator

              Program Administrator

              Erin is the Program Administrator for Fee for Service programs.

              Education 
              Erin graduated from Winona State University with her Bachelors’ Degrees in Sociology and Psychology.

              Experience
              Erin began her career working with people with disabilities when she was in college and worked part-time at a group home with four women. After college, Erin moved to Minneapolis and worked in a different field for about a year before returning to Human Services. Erin worked at Life By Design since 2008 as a coordinator and later as a manager. In 2014, Erin was part of the team transitioning the acquisition of Life By Design to REM. In 2016, Erin joined the team at Meridian Services as Program Director.

              Personal
              Erin grew up in Wisconsin but has lived in Minnesota for over ten years. In her free time, Erin enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, being outside, riding her bike, and spending time with family and friends. She and her husband became certified scuba divers a few years ago, and enjoy diving whenever they can, whether in the lakes of Minnesota, or the Caribbean.

              Personal Statement
              You will never regret being kind to others.

                Amber Wells

                Amber Nielsen

                Program Administrator

                Program Administrator

                Amber WellsAmber is a Program Administrator for Meridian Services, overseeing the Colorado, Hampshire, Silver Lake, Green Fields, and Logan programs.

                Education
                Amber most recently attended Minneapolis Community Technical College for her general coursework.

                Experience
                Amber has been working in the field since 2005. She has provided a variety of services including 245B, Adult Foster Care, Vocational training, and ILS. Prior to Meridian Services, Amber managed three group homes along with an ILS program. Most recently Amber worked as a Mental Health Associate at the St. Cloud Hospital.

                Personal
                Amber lives in St. Cloud. She enjoys biking, gardening, camping, golfing, and pretty much anything outdoors. Amber loves to travel and would love to continue exploring other cultures.

                Personal Statement
                “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” - Gandhi

                  Kari Reinhart

                  Kari Reinhart

                  Program Administrator

                  Program Administrator

                  Kari Reinhart

                  Kari is a Program Administrator with Orion Associates, responsible for the development of Mental Health Services to include individual therapy, group therapy, housing, and rehabilitative services.

                  Education
                  Kari’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology from St. Cloud State University and a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling-Marriage and Family Therapy. Kari has recently completed a Narrative therapy training program and has a certificate in Narrative Therapy from the Kenwood Center.

                  Experience
                  Kari has over a decade of experience working with people with disabilities. She began her work while she was still in High School through the school district as an aide in a Special Education Preschool program. She then continued her work with Opportunity Manor in St. Cloud while she was attending college as a Direct Care staff at one of their ICF/MR’s. Upon graduating Kari began working with Meridian Services as a Program Manager at their Logan home from there she transferred to the Aquila home. In 2001 Kari moved into a Contracted Case Management position with Meridian Services serving children and their families in Anoka County. In 2006 Kari started working with Hennepin County’s case management and providing both individual and group counseling services. She is currently working on expanding our Mental Health services through Orion Associates.

                  Personal
                  Kari and her husband Aaron, reside in Coon Rapids, along with their three daughters, Madelyn, Isabella, and Gabrielle. Kari enjoys gardening, reading and spending time with her family. She is active in her daughters dance company, girl scout troops, as well as their soccer and baseball teams.

                  Personal Statement
                  Kari enjoys the opportunities that she has with Orion Associates. Over the years her roles have changed, but she has always been able to maintain a strong working relationship with the consumers. It has been wonderful to see the impact that can be made across the various areas she has worked in. Through direct care, management, case management and administratively she has been able to see the differences that can be made in the lives of others.

                    Leota Bemis

                    Program Developer

                    Program Developer

                    Leota is the Program Administrator responsible for Meridian Services’ Crisis and Transition Services. She is also responsible for a handful of Meridian’s SLS homes.

                    Education 
                    Leota attended the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Gerontology. She received a Master’s Degree in Health and Human Services Administration from Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis.

                    Experience
                    While working on her Bachelor of Arts Degree, Leota worked for Trillium Services as a Program Counselor at a variety of SLS homes in Duluth. After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree, she moved to California for a period of time, where she worked as a counselor at a facility for adolescent sexual offenders. After leaving California, and moving to Minnesota, Leota began working for Meridian Services in April of 2005 as a Program Manager of an SLS home. In August of 2006, she was promoted to the Program Director position. In February of 2007, Leota was promoted to the Program Administrator position.

                    Personal
                    Leota resides in Buffalo, Minnesota. Spending time with her family is of utmost importance. Beyond that, working out, walking the dogs, and relaxing on the lake are preferred ways to utilize her free time.

                    Personal Statement
                    There are many aspects of Leota’s job that she enjoys  She takes pleasure in working with the children and adults in all of her homes, as well as working with their families and Interdisciplinary Team members to develop the best care plan possible for all consumers. Leota takes pride in working with staff members and management personnel to become the most efficient and effective providers possible.  She feels privileged to work with the caliber of co-workers she is surrounded by and is grateful to work for a company that strives for the highest quality of care, and one that is constantly growing and progressing.

                      Our Mission and Vision

                      hands with flower

                      Mission

                      “Meridian,” the highest point stars reach in their courses, inspires our vision. Together, we will create an organization that reaches the highest levels of innovation, expertise, and compassionate care.

                      Vision

                      Our mission is to provide services of the finest quality, so that those we serve will be able to realize their dreams. To achieve our mission, we are dedicated to valuing creativity, seeking innovative practices, and achieving expertise.

                      We will conduct our operations in an ethical manner, maintain excellent standards, and strive always to do our best. Above all, we will uphold a tradition of service and caring for others.

                      Code of Ethics

                      Our Advisory Board, Officers, Administrators, and Directors will provide leadership and direction which reflects the mission, vision, and philosophical beliefs of the organization.

                      Our consumers’ preferences and choices will determine the direction of their pursuits of meaningful life choices and desired outcomes.

                      Our services will be provided with a person-centered approach and according to the unique interests and aptitudes of the individuals being served.

                      Our services will be delivered in a manner which promotes the respect, dignity and rights of each individual.

                      We will assist individuals to achieve independent and integrated community options that are meaningful and provide personal growth opportunities.

                      Our services will facilitate the individuals’ ability to make informed decisions with regard to their choice of community living opportunities and will not be based on program convenience or availability.

                      Our services will assist individuals to obtain necessary accommodations which promote their potential for successful community living.

                      We will develop respectful partnerships with community members by exchanging education and resources that promote successful outcomes.

                      Our services will respect each individual’s right to confidentiality and will be provided in accordance with data privacy regulations.

                      Our services will be provided by trained and qualified staff utilizing the most current practices.

                      Our marketing efforts will be conducted in a professional manner that is honest, image enhancing and delivered with integrity.

                      Our financial planning and management will comply with best business practices and applicable legal requirements.

                      Our staff will refrain from providing services which presents a potential conflict of interest and that interfere with the ethical standards of our organization.

                      Our services will be provided to individuals without regard to race, age, religion, sex, disability, marital status, affectional preference, public assistance status, ex-offender status, or national origin.

                      Our Philosophy Company History Your Questions

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