Field of Dreams Becomes Reality for Mercy Home Youth
Mercy Home resident Maurice had never played baseball before last May when he took the field to try something new. The idea to play for his high school’s baseball team came from a conversation with a friend on the bus one afternoon.
“He told me to try it out because it was so fun, and I signed up right away,” Maurice said.
After making the team, Maurice enjoyed playing in the outfield and learning how to bat. At the same time, he was also learning how to be a team player and a successful student athlete.
“We had to do chores and tutoring after baseball practice and dinner,” Maurice explained. “But I think I handled it pretty well.”
Maurice credits the structure of Mercy Home for his ability to be committed to both his sport and his classes.
“Mercy Home helped me to stay organized,” Maurice said.
Though he had mandatory practices and at least three games a week, Maurice never
missed tutoring hours at Mercy Home. He also never made excuses for why he couldn’t
get everything done that he needed to do.
At Mercy Home, our team of caring coworkers helped to keep Maurice on track. This way, he didn’t have to manage everything alone.
I had a lot of people here supporting me.
One such person was Christine Miller, Education Coordinator at Mercy Home
who became close with Maurice throughout his baseball journey.
Christine has known Maurice since October of 2021 and witnessed a tremendous transformation in Maurice’s attitude after he joined the baseball team.
“It was hard to even get him out of his room and off his cell phone,” Christine said. “So when he came to me and asked, ‘Hey, can I join the baseball team?’ we were all absolutely taken aback because it was out of character for him—but in a good way.”
At Mercy Home, we believe that there should be no barrier between a child and their goal, big or small. That’s why whenever Maurice needed a ride home from practice, or equipment to play on the team like every other child, Mercy Home stepped up to the plate to support him.
“Another staff member or I would always go pick him up,” Christine said. “So after practice Maurice never had to worry about finding his way home alone.”
And when he needed pants and a belt for his uniform—the only items the school
didn’t provide—Christine and another staff member took Maurice to get them. “Mercy Home was able to provide him with that, which was cool,” Christine said.
Before joining the baseball team, Maurice was a quiet young person who mainly stuck to himself. He had difficulties communicating his needs and prioritizing his responsibilities at our Home.
Christine remembers Maurice as a child who mainly stayed isolated and wasn’t interested in group activities with his peers at Mercy Home. However, after joining the baseball team, Maurice was more confident about expressing his needs and handling his mounting responsibilities as a student athlete.
While he was learning how to hit a curve ball, he was also learning how to be a better communicator.
“Sometimes, he would have to call us to let us know if games or practices were cancelled,” Christine said, “So he had to work on his communication skills with his coaches and teammates at school.”
Mercy Home was able to support Maurice’s baseball journey in ways that extended beyond rides to practice and the necessary equipment. Mercy Home also provided Maurice with the emotional support that every child deserves. At each game, at least one staff member was in the crowd. And at his final game, Maurice’s peers from Mercy Home made posters and boldly cheered him on as he took the field for the last time that season.
“He’s kept those posters to this day,” Christine said.
While taking a risk by joining the team, Maurice was grateful to have his friends and
Mercy Home family as a loyal fan base.
“It was very clear that Maurice viewed Mercy Home as a support for him,” Christine continued. “He wanted Mercy Home to be there for him. Whenever he saw us at the games, he’d always wave. He was proud of Mercy Home.”