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The Commitment | A Mentor Reflects

Dan, a Friends First mentor, reflects on his experience as a mentor as his match reaches its two-year anniversary.

"Like all my relationship commitments, my commitment toward my mentee is a mix of successes and failures. Sometimes I just say the wrong thing. Sometimes I push my agenda, instead of just listening. Sometimes we have the best time ever. Like all real relationships, we have our moments, and we have mostly good ones, and we have kept trying and over the course of 2 years now, we have developed a strong bond in part because we have built a commitment toward each other over time."

Young Man Adopts Bold Goals

When Sylvester was a kid, he and a childhood friend would walk to school together. But during the summer after sixth grade, the unthinkable happened: his friend was randomly shot and killed just walking down the street.

"He wasn't a gang banger," Sylvester says. "He was in the Boy Scouts with me." Another day, Sylvester was walking in his neighborhood with his little sister, and the two heard gunshots on the next block. The victim was Sylvester's friend from basketball. "Kids my age shouldn't know about stuff like that," he continues. "It messes up your childhood."

Congratulations to Our Kids!

Our boys and girls have accomplished some pretty exciting things in school over the past few weeks. They are so proud of themselves, and we're proud of them, too! Here are some of the awesome grades and acceptance letters they've brought home.

Matt's MercyWorks Reflection

Matt, a Boston College graduate, served with MercyWorks in 2009-2010. He worked with our 11-17 year old young men in Bosco Home. Matt went on to receive his Master's in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Below is a reflection on his time at Mercy Home and what he learned about service and social justice.

Farm Team Jerseys for Our Boys

When Joe Wronka, Dan Greene, and Javier Herrera started their year as MercyWorks volunteers, they became fast friends. They happened to be the only three men in their MercyWorks class. Since their year of service, the three have remained close. And though Greene and Herrera no longer live in Chicago, they too have remained connected to Mercy Home.

Greene, who now lives in Buffalo, New York, started a company called Farm Team Apparel. The company designs apparel for "forgotten" sports teams (the "the best teams that never existed," as they put it), and for every shirt they sell, they donate a shirt to a youth sports team in need. The business allows Greene to provide uniforms to underfunded youth sports organizations, and to help give the athletes "character, vitality, and opportunity."

Photo Essay: Job Skills Workshop

Each year, Mercy Home's Leader Council hosts a Job Skills workshop for our young people, designed to help them put the skills they learn through our Career Resources department into practice.  The Leader Council is made up of professional women dedicated to empowering our kids through education.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon Information

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon lottery opens at noon Wednesday, March 5. Interested runners will have until Monday, April 7, to enter the Chicago Marathon lottery. Winners of the Chicago Marathon lottery will be announced April 14. 

Participants who don't want to take their chances in the Chicago Marathon lottery may secure their entry into the Chicago Marathon by registering with a charity organization--say, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls! To learn more about getting a guaranteed entry through the Mercy Home Heroes team, click here. No need to wait or run the risk of entering the Chicago Marathon lottery – secure your entry today!

Alex Kotlowitz stops by for Q&A with MercyWorkers about poverty in Chicago

Alex Kotlowitz is a big name among our MercyWorks volunteers. Kotlowitz’s 1991 biography There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America, a book about two boys who grew up in Chicago’s public housing projects, is required reading for all our MercyWorks volunteers in the summer before they join our program.

So when Kotlowitz stopped by our Home for dinner and a Q&A, our MercyWorkers were more than a little excited.

Boys Learn to Cook Italy

Off from school this Monday for Presidents Day, our boys had the chance to learn about something new: cooking Italian food! They participated in Cook Italy, a program for our young people founded by Mercy Home friend John Nitti to instill a sense of healthy eating in fun and unconventional ways. Nitti is the owner and founder of Isola Imports, Inc., and through his annual pasta dinner for our marathon runners and family-style Italian meals for our kids, he has made a wonderful impact on our home.

Mercy Home Awarded Urban Empowerment Community Service Award

At his Year Up graduation ceremony, one of our young men, Chad, took the podium to make a speech. He told the guests, and his fellow graduates, about Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. How he'd come here because he was looking for a fresh start. How Mercy Home gave the support he needed, and how it has helped him get where he is today. On behalf of the Year Up program, Chad presented Mercy Home with the 2014 Urban Empowerment Community Service Award "for outstanding dedication to empowering young adults to reach their full potential."

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