In addition to helping our kids with career resources and post-secondary options, Jaquan also coached Mercy Home’s Illinois Inter-Agency Association basketball team. Though he said much of it was a learning experience for him—“I don’t have much experience coaching,” he explained—he had a great team working with both the other coaches and the boys.
“Eric [Anthony], Justin [Earls], Eddie [Meredith], I just want to give a shout out to those guys because they definitely know a lot more than me. … I had just as much fun learning from them and teaching the kids and I think just when you have that relationship with your coworkers and fellow coaches and the youth, it makes it a really, really fun experience.”
And at the end of the day, it’s the relationships that Jaquan has built at Mercy Home that mean the most to him.
“My favorite part about working at Mercy Home is building relationships with the youth,” he said. “I will say that every time just because I don’t think there’s anything more important than that.”
He explained that something he especially appreciates about his job is that it allows the kids to see him both in program and also when he’s working in his office.
“I just love that the kids [can] see someone in a different light,” he said. “There’s youth care workers, therapists, program managers, people who are in the home with them pretty much deserve all the credit because they’re there 24 hours out of the day caring for them and watching for them … but I just think in my role it’s great because while I’m not always in the home, they can come and find me in my office doing work. They can come and set up meetings with me. They can have conversations with me to talk about their personal life and we can sit down and work on job applications, resumes, like actual work is getting done. But then also turning around and being able to say like, hey, I can come in program and play 2K and do some of the fun things you are doing in the milieu … I just think being able to relationship build with them in that manner provides a whole new light. Like, hey, you can work hard but also play hard.”