Bryan was a shy kid. When he struggled in school, he kept it to himself.

“Sometimes I got frustrated or I didn’t pay attention,” he remembers. “Because I got distracted easily.”

Bryan’s grades were low, and he didn’t have the confidence to ask for the help he needed. At school, if he didn’t understand a concept, he wouldn’t speak up.

Bryan’s mother and stepfather didn’t press him to do his homework. So he fell further and further behind.

His peers didn’t help. Bryan didn’t have other kids to spend time with or confide in. “At my house, I didn’t have anyone to talk to except my mom and brother,” he says.

Bryan’s mom knew that he was struggling. When she heard about Mercy Home from a friend, she thought it could help. Bryan wasn’t so sure at first, but eventually, he agreed to give it a try.

When Bryan moved in, living with a group of other boys seemed intimidating. But quickly that became one of his favorite parts about Mercy Home.

You see, at Mercy Home, there was always someone for Bryan to talk to. He starting working out in the gym and playing sports with his peers. He got involved in basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

“Getting him into a community, a supportive peer environment — that has done wonders for his self-confidence,” says Rose Mesick, Bryan’s therapist.

Rose watched Bryan start to make the most of his time at Mercy Home, even asking the other boys for advice in group therapy. “He really uses this environment to help him find more capacity in school and at home,” she says.

Bryan started working with Mercy Home tutors, and his grades have steadily improved. To him, the support from our coworkers is what encourages him to keep going.

His favorite subject is science, and he loves doing hands-on work in class. “When we do labs,” he says, “that’s fun!” His favorite projects? Building a roller coaster or tower out of marshmallows and sticks.

Now, when Bryan needs help at school, he asks for it. “One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in Bryan is that he’s grown in confidence to stand up for himself in a very appropriate way,” says his advocate, youth care worker Luis Bahena. “Before, he would just let [things] happen to him. Now he looks for support.”

Bryan’s teachers have noticed changes, too. “They are happy and proud of me,” he says with a smile.

Bryan even took on a job at Mercy Home’s youth-run coffee shop—a chance to work with friends he made from all over Mercy Home and to talk to different people.

His newfound confidence has improved his mood—and has helped him with his family. Working with Mercy Home has given Bryan and his mother “tools to help them communicate in a more positive way,” Rose says. “It’s been great for their relationship.” She has been so impressed seeing his family utilize every resource Mercy Home has connected them with, just like Bryan has.

Luis expects him to find success in all his future endeavors. “He’s just super motivated and super organized,” he says.

Bryan dreams of becoming an engineer or a video game designer. His Mercy Home team knows he can achieve anything he sets his mind to. For now, he’s focused on one important new role he has embraced: being a good role model to his younger siblings.

Though Bryan was unsure about Mercy Home at first, his attitude has changed from the day he arrived. “I like everything about Mercy Home!” he says.

Thank you for giving Bryan, and all our young people, a place to learn and grow. You give them the resources, the support, and the confidence to do great things.

  1. Cedric Johnson says:

    I think the Mercy Home is a beacon of light for so many children struggling with self-esteem issues, adversity, and poverty. Keep doing what your doing. I stand in support of your mission.

  2. Delores Gallagher says:

    We have two sons, now 48 and 46 who struggled in school too. They both were tested at the University of MN
    and were found to have learning disabilities with reading/language comprehension. I had to fight very hard
    to get the school district to pay for the testing, which was very expensive, but I wouldn’t take no for an answer
    and they finally gave the OK. It turned out just as I said it would, and the testing was the proof of why they were
    struggling. I knew they were both smart, creative, hard working, had excellent social intelligence, and wanted
    to learn. It was hard for them,but they weren’t lazy in class, not paying attention on purpose, not interested in
    learning. WRONG The tests from the U of M showed the true situation. When they were finally put in a class with
    a teacher who was trained to teach kids with learning disabilities, their grades were better and they felt better about themselves too, because they knew there was a reason they were struggling, and it was not their fault. Thank God. Today they are very successful, have good jobs in supervisory, training and leadership positions.
    One of them makes over $100,000 a yr, and the other one makes $80,000 a year and is soon going to make much more, because he came up with a complete re-organization of his department that is saving them lots of money, so
    they created a new job just for him. They have good benefits and generous vacation time. So hang in there Bryan
    and other kids, keep your chin up,have a positive never give up attitude, work as hard as you can on your schoolwork, and when you are older and graduate from high school and maybe tech school or college work just as
    hard and then get a job, and apply the same principals, and you too will be successful, well-paid and proud of what you have accomplished.



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