916 963 1000
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.
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.Inquire About Enrollment
— Marcy, Meristem Student
The MERISTEM method includes students working in agriculture, craftwork, independent living skills, and work skills classes with an emphasis on transformative movement techniques that help students overcome the spatial challenges that often accompany autism.
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.
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.
Our program is personalized for each student with the aim of fostering self-reliance.
The program includes:
•Culinary arts and nutrition
•Carpentry and woodwork
•Independent living skills
•Farm and animal care
•Textiles, jewelry, and metal work
•Filmmaking and photography
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.
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
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.
Our board of directors and leadership team provide guidance, governance and oversight for Meristem's mission, operations and program effectiveness.
Adams Schoenfeld LLP
Sutter Medical Group
Boutin Jones Inc.
Founder and Director,
The Orcas Institute
Law Offices of
Viva Ettin, M.D.
President and CEO,
Western Health Advantage
Former Vice Chairman,
Former California Senator
University Development Foundation
Ruskin Mill Trust
MERISTEM Board Member,
former California Senator
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:
Shannon Shields, Development Executive
firstname.lastname@example.org or 916 963 1000