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.