Mercy Home recently hosted its annual Employer Appreciation Dinner—a chance to celebrate and share our gratitude with companies and organizations across Chicago who provided our young people with transformative experiences through internships and career-exposure visits.

Katelyn Dollard, Director of Post-Secondary Options, thanked the employers for giving our kids the opportunity to put their job skills into practice as they gain real-world work experience, confidence, and connections.

“Our youth have learned many intangible and arguably more meaningful lessons as you welcomed them into each of your lives. You took a chance on them, showed them the care and trust of an invested adult, supported them, were interested in their experiences and were willing to share your own experience, wisdom, and time,” Dollard said. “For this we are incredibly grateful. Our summer would not be what it was without all our employer partners.

Two young women smiling at employer appreciation dinner
Two young women and one young man smiling at employer appreciation dinner

Father Scott Donahue shared words of gratitude for those who helped our kids see with “a different set of eyes” as they expanded their horizons. He related the story of a company helping to revitalize a struggling neighborhood, where “there isn’t the opportunity to present opportunity to young people” due to a “poverty of imagination.” By participating in Mercy Home’s internship program, however, employer partners are helping to address those issues.

“You give our young people the opportunity to see new possibilities, to meet new people, to see the gifts and talents that God has given to them and to use those gifts and talents well,” he said. “I’m deeply grateful for all of you who shared your time and resources and worked with our young people to give them the vision to see themselves in a new light and offer possibilities to build a bright future.”

Tiberias, a young man who interned at Walsh Construction spoke about the responsibility and focus he learned at his internship before introducing the featured youth speakers.

First to the mic was Destiny, a young woman who interned at staffing agency Swoon, where she used special software to work on projects for job recruiters.

“The thing that made me interested in an internship was the idea of having a productive summer and being in an environment where I could grow professionally, but also be challenged to be my very best self,” she said. “Swoon staffing exhibited great office culture. I received more than just an internship. I received a professional experience that I will value forever.”

Fr. Scott with youth and female employee for the employer appreciation dinner

Deandre, a young man from Daley Home described his internship at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

“I got to meet a lot of new people. I’m happy I tried something new. I loved the experience that I gained,” said Deandre. “The Harris Theater made me feel like I was reliable, and it also made me a more responsible person. It also made me feel more comfortable about myself.”

“I got to meet a lot of new people. I’m happy I tried something new. I loved the experience that I gained.”

Our Education and Career Resources team recognized our outstanding interns of the summer: Ashley, Destiny, Kali, Deandre, Carlos, and Noah. Our kitchen staff was also recognized, not only for providing a wonderful meal, but for also giving many of our young people their first job experience.

Thanks to all the employers and organizations who opened the doors of opportunity for our kids over the summer.

 

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