A group of Mercy Home boys presented their projects at the Summer Enrichment Competency Fair at our West Loop Campus. Coworkers crowded in to listen to the presentations, all which shared this year’s theme, “Wild About Animals.” The young men displayed impressive knowledge of a variety of animals, such as snow leopards, black rhinos, and tundra wolves, while fielding questions from curious coworkers.


The Academy’s Summer Enrichment Program is for kids in middle school and high school who are too young for internships or summer jobs. The comprehensive program is academically focused, but also builds character by exposing the boys to sports, field trips, and other activities.

This year’s outings to the Shedd Aquarium and the Lincoln Park Zoo helped our kids discover the animal kingdom as they explored ideas for group projects. The boys also engaged in some hands-on experience during a fishing trip to the Humboldt Park Lagoon. Under the guidance of an instructor from the Chicago Urban Fishing Program and Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the boys spent an exciting afternoon baiting hooks and reeling in fish.

The kids also learned about the various animals that live in and around Mercy Home, such as our facility dog Pongo, the fish in our aquarium, and cats which help suppress the rodent population.

After the group presentations, the Summer Enrichment participants, special instructors, and volunteers were recognized for their hard work. In celebration of a job well done, the fair wrapped up with an ice cream party.

Thank you to coworker Liz Kuhn Tomka, Director of Academic Resources and After School Programs, for orchestrating the Summer Enrichment Program. And thank you to all the instructors and volunteers who facilitated the curriculum and delivered a summer of ferocious fun and learning to our kids.

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  1. Tonda Dearborn says:

    I found myself looking closely at young Isabelle and thought how much we resembled each other at that age. I truly wish the best for her in all that she does. I think she will come to realize how wonderful her environment today is and begin to see herself as she can be.

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