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2021-06-30 06:00:00

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Dave’s Story

Dave’s Story

“Come to my house and eat”

See how a simple invitation from a friend changed a young man’s life, and saved him from an abusive home.

Throughout Mercy Home’s March for Kids, we’ve been looking at the facts about child abuse. As discouraging as those realities can be, we can look to stories like Dave’s to uplift and encourage—and it’s because of contributions from people like you.

Dave’s story shows the power of your support, and how you can continue to help us save children’s lives. Today, thanks to you, a cycle of abuse has been broken and Dave has a loving family.

David Baez makes everyone around him feel good, but his warmth and easy smile conceal childhood memories that are still very painful. -To this day, uh, you know, I would think only a handful of people even know my story.  A story that began in this tough Chicago neighborhood. David, the seventh of eight children, had no relationship with his father, and his mother would beat the little boy for any infraction. She, uh, used to hit us with anything. Anything she could find.

As bad as that was, it was not the worst of it. – I remember my mom having different boyfriends and also being, you know, beaten by them, which probably hurt me more than, you know, my mom giving somebody permission to hit me and stuff. – Barely into his teens, he left home. He lived in cars, and stayed with friends for a night or two, often riding the L before his visits, he says, “So he would not overstay his welcome.” – I would get on the train, just ride the train back and forth. I didn’t want to get there too early because I felt like I would be bothering them. – One day, he was invited to have dinner at a friend’s home, a home unlike any other. – I went to his house and, uh, was surprised to find out that it was…he was actually living at Mercy Home. And, uh, he didn’t, we didn’t, he didn’t tell me anything like, you know, hey we’re on our way to a home and this is where I live. He just said, you know, come to my house and eat.

That very night, David asked to stay at Mercy Home, and he was embraced. His high school performance improved dramatically. – I went from under two grade point average to the Dean’s list. I was in the highest honor roll every quarter I was here. I finally had structure, I finally had, uh, I finally felt comfortable. I felt like I was, I had a home. – A real home for David Baez and countless other children over 125 years. Mercy Home has given them what you would want for your own kids: a warm place to live, an education, and love, all made possible by you.

99.7% of our funding comes from our donors; people who believe in the miracle of Mercy, who believe in the David Baez’s of the world and the 500 children that we’re caring for today. – Today, David is a parent himself, a loving father of three girls. And in his job as an investigator for the Cook County Sheriff’s police, he has a stunning work record. David has not called in sick in the 11 years he’s worked there. – Mostly it’s because, you know, a lot of people know I’m from Mercy Home, uh, you know, and it’s something they’ve instilled in me. You know, I want to show that I’m reliable, Mercy Home is reliable, you know, and we won’t let you down.

And 25 years after David last lived at Mercy Home, he gives back, volunteering there in a program that combines basketball with homework. – For 15 years, he has not missed a Saturday from January to June. He shows up in the gym always with a smile on his face, and always encouraging to our kids in a program that can get pretty heated. When Dave’s in the gym, everything’s under control. – Mercy Home has meant everything, it’s meant everything to me. It showed me, uh, it showed me how to be a man. It showed me to take pride in myself. It if wasn’t for Mercy, I don’t know where I’d be.

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