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Zylife Blog

Inaugural Zylo on the Streets: The Village of Merici


Roughly 39 years ago, a newly graduated Occupational Therapist embarked on a long career of serving physically and mentally disabled K-12 students across Indianapolis.

Somewhere along the way, she was approached by a colleague who knew of a little boy with developmental disabilities who needed a good home. She didn’t think twice – my mom and dad, Colleen and Joe, adopted my brother Jason shortly after, a decision that initiated a series of lasting improvements in the Indianapolis community of disabled adults.

Colleen Discovered a Need in Indianapolis

As my parents and Jason have aged (Jason just celebrated his 40th birthday this past weekend), a few looming questions hung over their heads: What will happen to Jason when they’re no longer here to help him financially and professionally? What happens to other adults with disabilities with primary caretakers who they eventually outlive? Are there structures in place to help support these individuals?

In 2007, I helped my mom prepare for a meeting of 10-15 parents of adults with disabilities to discuss glaring needs in Indianapolis. They had heard of a few highly successful living communities in other states (Misericordia in Illinois, Daysprings in Kentucky) and soon realized Indiana had no such residential options in place.

The Village of Merici Uniquely Serves Indianapolis

Fast forward 7 years, after a few very generous donors and some creative fundraising tactics, the Village of Merici opened its doors to 22 adults with a wide range of mental and physical disabilities, providing each with an affordable home and an amazing community of support.

Now full-time Executive Director of the Village of Merici, my mom, along with her team, dedicate a significant portion of their waking hours to creating an environment in which caretakers can feel safe that their family members with disabilities receive the support needed to live a more independent lifestyle.

Matt Renie Helps Zylo Give Back

A few months ago, I took a career risk and switched from serving some of the world’s largest companies as a management consultant to joining the tech startup world as a Customer Success Manager at Zylo.

As Zylo continues to see early success in enabling our customers to manage the SaaS explosion, we feel extremely lucky to have built such an effective product and dedicated team. As the team has grown, our priority of giving back to the community has become apparent.

Admittedly during my time in consulting, I was not very engaged with my local Chicago community. I never truly felt like I was making a difference outside of my client and campus recruiting roles (a fault of my own and not the firm itself).

Of course, I attended our company days of service and went through the motions, but looming client deadlines often had my mind elsewhere. Regrettably, I felt a disconnect from the organizations we were supporting.

Now at Zylo, Vice President of Talent Julie Barker aims to formalize our Zylo’s commitment to the Indianapolis community. Last month she sent out a survey asking if any team members knew of organizations that would be open to hosting an afternoon of service: I couldn’t fill out the form fast enough.

Zylo Volunteers at the Village of Merici

A month later, during the inaugural Zylo on the Streets, our entire company spent an afternoon helping the Merici staff re-paint its interior, beautify the facilities’ landscape, and tie up a number of other odds and ends. Most importantly, we spent time with the residents of the Village and made many new friendships along the way.

Every time I visit Merici and witness the selflessness of the incredible staff, I’m re-energized. When I was able to introduce my Zylo teammates to a cause I’m passionate about (and see their generosity in action), I became even more certain that choosing a career at Zylo was the right move.

I’m honored to facilitate an ongoing relationship with Zylo and the Village of Merici.

Learn More: Village of Merici

Named after Saint Angela Merici, patron saint of the disabled, the Village of Merici is a growing, non-profit living community that provides low-income housing, accessible life skills coaching, and a built-in group of friends and neighbors for disabled adults.

Residents are offered government-assisted coaching hours that can be used for services such as learning how to cook and grocery shop, developing personal budgets, and a number of other life skills taught by an in-house coaching staff.

Aside from serving the needs of immediate residents, the Village has expanded its services to adults with disabilities in Indianapolis, including a wildly successful book club. In the future, the Village will expand, housing up to 30 new residents.

Donations welcome but not expected.

Learn More: Zylo on the Streets

Close to the hearts of Zylo team members is the wish to give back. As our team has grown, our ability to provide community service and volunteering opportunities has grown as well. We feel deeply honored by our position to positively impact Indianapolis.

Zylo is committed to providing a day of giving annually. To invite Zylo to volunteer for your cause or organization, tweet @getzylo.