From Despair to Redemption: Mercy Home Alum Gets A Second Chance at Life

From Despair to Redemption: Mercy Home Alum Gets A Second Chance at Life

Marcelo’s story is one of redemption and second chances. A young man who rebounded from a serious mistake in his life and found a Home that extended grace and compassion, allowing him to rebuild and redefine himself. Watch the video to witness the powerful journey of Marcelo Sandoval from the depths of despair to a life full of hope and success.

Video Transcript

[Music] this is a story of redemption a story of second chances i was 17 years old in cook county jail it was probably one of the worst chapters in my life

in the good moments of life you want to have people there to companion and to celebrate with you more so in the difficult moments of life the story of a young man who rebounded from a serious mistake in the home that extended grace and compassion he saw that he definitely messed up he made a bad choice but he still had a sense of determination not to make it the summation of who he is as a person if i didn’t have mercy home i would be dead

marcelo sandoval’s early life was marked by extreme poverty in a dangerous chicago neighborhood it was horrible it was three children with my mother and an addict it was very bad there was roaches it was not a living situation where they should be any human being marcelo’s father had left the family and his mother an immigrant first sold tamales on the street then worked all night at a factory making paper cups she was not there at night you can only imagine as a 15 14 year old boy would do at seven o’clock nine o’clock ten o’clock eleven o’clock at night no adults at all he joined a gang as an early teen one night a rival gunman pulled up in a car and shot marcelo in both legs then got out of the car and pointed the weapon at marcelo’s head he was 15. what was going through my mind was my mother just that i didn’t really get to accomplish a lot of things in life and i was just going to become another statistic you thought you were dead i was i was dead but a police car was down the street and the gunman took off marcelo was spared now recovering from leg wounds marcelo would find a port in the storm the mercy home for boys and girls they accepted me as a broken child and they built me back up they give me every support system that i needed with structure guidance and love marcelo’s life changed he went from halfway going to school and asked all f’s to a’s and b’s he was one of the smartest kids that we had in program at that time at mercy home for boys and girls once a young person is here for a while and they figure out that the only reason mercy home exists is for them and they begin to trust the system that they’re in and the care that they’re receiving miracles happen it was it was beautiful [Music] we’d like to be able to say from that point it was happily ever after but the streets were calling again marcelo hooked up with friends outside the home and they had guns we robbed three individuals of their belongings and then the police came and they they grabbed us and next thing you know i lost everything and i’m facing three felonies from the mercy home for boys and girls to cook county jail probably like any parent any father anyone who really cares for another terribly disappointed saddened to be honest i thought mercy home was gone i couldn’t even imagine their support i was a junior in the national honor society at that point gone my mother i seen her at my bond hearing tears coming out of work i can tell she had a work clothes crying i seen i witnessed it i hated myself you know [Music] everything was gone

but marcelo was wrong the home rallied around the 17 year old we didn’t give up on him we doubled down on him you know we we made sure that he had the environment to bounce back from this it doesn’t excuse his behavior and he made mistakes he made a huge mistake but we’re not defined by our mistakes we really should be defined by our potential and so you forgive you show compassion and you try to enhance life that’s what we’re all called to do after marcelo was kicked out of his high school father scott donahue arranged for marcelo to go to his alma mater saint viator in arlington heights when i think that he was going to leave me behind he referred me to his high school like what is wrong with this man i tell my mom all the time i know he’s a priest but he’s my father he was there in my corner when i needed him the most from there marcelo graduated from depaul university and today is a credit analyst for a financial holding company i can’t even believe that i went through what i went through i have a beautiful wife i have a two year son and i’m evaluating multi-billion dollar companies at work the mercy home for boys and girls has saved countless lives and made our community stronger and safer sometimes a second chance is all we need it was amazing it was that’s why i excelled because i got the resources i needed for any individual to excel it’s truly a beautiful organization it’s well needed in the city of chicago i want our donors and my friends to know and deeply grateful i’ve seen miracles happen like in the life of marcelo and i also know that without you without you these miracles just won’t happen so i love you and i say thank you [Music]

Marcelo Sandoval’s early life was marked by extreme poverty and a dangerous Chicago neighborhood. With a father who had left the family and a hardworking immigrant mother, Marcelo was often left alone at night. This led him to join a gang as an early teen, and at the age of 15, he was shot in both legs during a violent encounter. This near-death experience marked the beginning of a transformative journey.

Following the shooting, Marcelo found a safe haven at the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. Mercy Home welcomed him as a broken child and provided him with the support, structure, guidance, and love he needed to turn his life around. Marcelo went from barely attending school and failing classes to achieving A’s and B’s, becoming one of the smartest kids in his program.

Unfortunately, Marcelo’s journey was not without setbacks. The lure of the streets led him to make a terrible mistake, resulting in his arrest and the loss of everything he had worked for. But instead of giving up on Marcelo, Mercy Home doubled down on their support, showing him compassion and forgiveness.

“We’re not defined by our mistakes; we really should be defined by our potential.”

– Fr. Scott Donahue

Marcelo’s life took a positive turn when Fr. Scott Donahue arranged for him to attend his alma mater, Saint Viator, after being expelled from his previous high school. From there, Marcelo graduated from DePaul University and now works as a credit analyst for a financial holding company. With a loving wife and a young son, Marcelo has found a new beginning and a brighter future.

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls has saved countless lives and made our community stronger and safer. Marcelo’s story is a testament to the power of second chances and the importance of support and compassion in helping individuals overcome their past mistakes and reach their full potential. As Fr. Scott Donahue says, “We’re not defined by our mistakes; we really should be defined by our potential.”

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