Fighting Fire With Mercy

Fighting Fire With Mercy

“Coming to Mercy Home was like coming up for air after being underwater for too long.”

Last January, in the middle of the night, Jasmine woke up to the smell of burning plastic. She rushed to her grandmother’s bedroom. The power strip that the space heater was plugged into was melted and shooting sparks.

She roused her grandmother and pulled her to her feet as the drapes caught fire. They fled outside to the sidewalk in their socks and called the fire department. It was bitterly cold, so they hugged to stay warm.

Luckily, the fire was contained to the bedroom. Firefighters saved the house, but it would be months before repairs could start because Jasmine’s grandmother didn’t have the money. In the meantime, their only option was to move in with Jasmine’s aunt in her cramped apartment.

Until the fire uprooted their lives, Jasmine had been an honor-roll student, despite her challenging childhood. Her father’s whereabouts are unknown, and her mother struggled with alcohol abuse. When Jasmine was six, her mother sent her to live with her grandmother, and she’s lived there ever since.

Her grandmother lived in a dangerous neighborhood, so Jasmine found refuge in school. She immersed herself in academics and after-school clubs and was captain of her debate team.

But moving in with her aunt was more than Jasmine bargained for. Her uncle, her uncle’s friend, and four cousins also lived under the same roof. Every room and bed were occupied, and Jasmine’s grandmother got the couch.

Jasmine tried sleeping on the floor in her cousin’s room, but it was too crowded and chaotic. Jasmine preferred her own space, so one night she unrolled her sleeping bag on the kitchen pantry floor. It was slim and cozy but didn’t get much heat. She had trouble sleeping and felt agitated all the time due to the lack of privacy.

“I found it really hard to concentrate in that environment,” Jasmine said. “I felt like I was drifting, like I didn’t have a home.”

She tried to make it feel like home by hanging out with her cousins more. But they turned out to be bad influences which led Jasmine to make poor choices. She felt peer-pressured and started experimenting with drugs and alcohol, like her cousins.

“I didn’t even like the way those things made me feel,” she said. “I just did it to fit in.”

Soon after, Jasmine stopped showing up to her after-school clubs and was kicked off the debate team because of failing grades. With her outlets and extracurricular activities at school taken away, Jasmine didn’t know what to do. She knew hanging out with her cousins was only going to lead to trouble, but she didn’t know where to go.

“I felt like I was drifting, like I didn’t have a home.”

Thankfully, her guidance counselor had an answer. She knew Jasmine was a bright student and wanted to understand what was going on. When Jasmine told her about the fire and her current living situation, her guidance counselor recommended Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.

Jasmine was nervous about moving away from her grandmother, but she knew she needed a more stable environment to get back what she’d lost—her grades, her afterschool activities, and her sense of self. Many kids find the transition to Mercy Home a little awkward at first. It takes time to get accustomed to a new place.

But Jasmine hit the ground running. Mercy Home’s structure, safe environment, and caring coworkers made her feel at home.

“Coming to Mercy Home was like coming up for air after being underwater for too long,” Jasmine said.

Our coworkers in our Education and Career Resources department worked with Jasmine to create academic goals that not only helped her regain her scholastic standing, but also challenged her to hold herself accountable.

“I just needed someone in my life to give that extra push and make sure I followed through,” she said.

Now Jasmine is back on the honor roll and the debate team. And repairs have begun on her grandmother’s house. Both are hoping to move back in by this summer.

“I just needed someone in my life to give that extra push and make sure I followed through.”

Thanks to your ongoing support, young women like Jasmine have a safe place to land when life veers off course. We are truly grateful for your commitment to our boys and girls.

Please note: Because we care deeply about protecting our children’s privacy, the names and certain identifying details in this story have been changed.

Comments

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover More

Comments

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *