Though many of our kids were off school, Presidents’ Day at Mercy Home was filled with many different opportunities to learn thanks to events organized by The Academy.

The day began with a career panel, which was attended by around 40 of our young people from both campuses. Speakers included Mercy Home chef Nyah Griffin, Board of Regents member and special investigator at the Illinois Attorney General’s office Eddie Gamble, Matthew Searle, assistant director at the experimental station of Blackstone Bikes, and family nurse practitioner at Lurie Children’s Hospital Kat Brennan.

Each speaker discussed what they do at their jobs and how they got into their field of work. They also discussed their first jobs and that even though they may not have had anything to do with their current careers, they still taught them valuable lessons about how to be a good employee.

“We wanted to make the connection to say hey, you may not be washing the dishes the rest of your life but being on time and working hard is going to be applicable to any job you have in your future,” Vice President of the Academy Patrick Bittorf said.

“We wanted to make the connection to say hey, you may not be washing the dishes the rest of your life but being on time and working hard is going to be applicable to any job you have in your future.”

The afternoon gave our kids the chance to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement through of a performance of “The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights.” The “MLK Project” is a one-woman show that looks at a Chicago student’s study of the Civil Rights Movement and the transformation it makes in her life. The student interviews local heroes of the movement and discovers how to forgo violence and channel her anger into action with inspiration from those “fighting the good fight.”

The show combined real interviews conducted by the playwright with poetry, hip hop, history, and multimedia projections. Our kids learned more about figures such as Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles, who was present when Dr. King was killed, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Emmett Till, to name a few.

Following the presentation, our kids were able to participate in a discussion about the Civil Rights Movement and ask questions about the play and the Civil Rights Movement.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in giving our kids a great day of learning this Presidents’ Day!

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