Coworker Corner: Taeisha Stewart
There’s something that keeps Taeisha Stewart coming back to Mercy Home. It’s that Mercy Home “understands the assignment,” as the kids say these days.
For those not fluent in social media speak, understanding the assignment means going above and beyond to do a good job—something our coworkers strive to do each day.
“I believe in the mission,” Taeisha said. “We do really great work here. It’s a family-oriented place, [there are] a lot of good friendships I’ve created during my time at Mercy Home.”
Taeisha began working at Mercy Home in 2006 as a supervisor in Walgreen Home, where many of our high school aged girls live, before transitioning into the therapist role in that program. In 2010, she left Mercy Home for about six months before returning as the therapist in Seton Home, a home for our middle schooled aged girls. After having her daughter, she again took some time away from Mercy Home to adjust to her family’s schedule. But about two years ago, she was again drawn to return, this time as the Manager of Admissions.
“I’ve grown up in this place,” she said. “I was very excited about it. Because I worked in program for so many years, I understood at least some of the workings of Admissions and [the challenges] of partnering with program.”
Given Taeisha’s passion for working with youth, it may come as a surprise to learn that she has an undergraduate degree in computer information systems. She worked as an engineer who repaired ATM machines for about five years before deciding to attend graduate school at Roosevelt University for community counseling.
Taeisha explained that in high school, she was passionate about two things: computers and helping people. In high school, she volunteered at a domestic violence shelter and loved the feeling of making a difference. Though she initially chose computers as a career path, she didn’t forget her passion for helping others—and things came full circle when she did an internship at the same domestic violence shelter she volunteered at in high school.
During this time, Taeisha discovered that she especially loved working with children—and that’s what led her to work at Mercy Home.
“I always encouraged those girls to use the resources they had [at Mercy Home] so that they can navigate a little bit better when they become an adult”
– Taeisha Stewart, Manager of Admissions at Mercy Home
As a therapist, Taeisha said that she particularly enjoyed working with the kids and their families. The more time she spent with our kids, the better she was able to understand the different challenges they faced, she explained. Working with our high school girls was especially rewarding as she helped prepare them for adulthood.
“I always encouraged those girls to use the resources they had [at Mercy Home] so that they can navigate a little bit better when they become an adult,” she said. “It was really good to see the growth in the young ladies and to learn how to support them through that. I learned a lot on how to support the youth and getting all the trainings that Mercy Home offered I believe helped me become a better therapist.”
When Taeisha began her role in Admissions, she knew that her experience working in program and the relationships she built would be an asset. And though the pandemic has resulted in a smaller department, this has allowed her to have a better understanding of the many different roles and responsibilities in Admissions.
Taeisha does the assessments for the young people coming into Mercy Home, when she learns more background information about them. In these assessments, they discuss what struggles they are having, as well as things they would like to improve on and goals for the future.
“We try to get as much on the front end as we can,” Taeisha said. “Then program is prepared or knows at least a little of what to expect when the youth moves into the home.”
It’s always been—families have always been my passion since I started working in Walgreen Home as a therapist.
Taeisha also does regular check-ins with youth and families on the wait list, which she has found is also useful in doing assessments, because she is able to start building a relationship with them sooner. And this engagement with families is one of Taeisha’s favorite parts of her job at Mercy Home.
“I think that’s the biggest piece for me,” she said. “It’s always been—families have always been my passion since I started working in Walgreen Home as a therapist. I feel like understanding what’s going on with the family helps us better support youth and reunite them with their families.”
And her other favorite thing about Mercy Home? The coworkers, of course.
“Everybody is nice and welcoming at the Home,” she said. “I actually was just at the girls campus and I didn’t realize I needed the laughter that they brought. The atmosphere can definitely make a difference. And that’s been a big piece for me too, that connection that you have with your coworkers and everybody caring about each other.”