Gabrielle’s Life Turns Around

Gabrielle’s Life Turns Around

One of Gabrielle’s earliest memories was watching the children in her neighborhood wait outside for the school bus. She longed for the day when she would be old enough to go to school too.

But Gabrielle’s home situation didn’t set her up for success with her education. Her father left the family almost immediately after she was born, and her mother wasn’t very interested in caring for a child. Gabrielle was passed around to family and friends as babysitters while her mother spent much of her time going out.

Eventually, Gabrielle’s mother told her that she would be moving in with her sister, Gabrielle’s aunt, permanently. Her aunt wasn’t much more prepared to be a parent than Gabrielle’s mother, even though she did have other children.

Gabrielle’s aunt didn’t have the resources to care for all the children living in her home. She worked several jobs and left her oldest child to run the household. Food was scarce, and Gabrielle rarely had a healthy meal. There was no steady routine. Gabrielle and her cousins often stayed up late watching TV, even on school nights. There was no adult around to stop them.

Though Gabrielle loved going to school, she struggled to get good grades. She was often tired and hungry in class and had a hard time paying attention. She tried to do her homework, but it was always loud and chaotic at home. There was nobody to help her when she had questions. Without a support system at home, her grades suffered.

For years, Gabrielle seemed to slip through the cracks. Her teachers continued passing her despite her poor grades. But when she started eighth grade, her English teacher noticed that despite Gabrielle’s interest in school, it wasn’t reflected in her grades.

She arranged a meeting with Gabrielle and the school guidance counselor. Gabrielle openly shared about her upbringing and home life. It soon became clear to her teacher and guidance counselor that she needed a different environment to be successful.

Fortunately, her teacher knew about Mercy Home from the priest at her local parish. Gabrielle wasn’t sure about leaving her aunt’s home. Even though it could be a difficult place to live, it was all she knew for many years. But after touring our campus and meeting some of my coworkers, she began to feel differently. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. And she realized that she would get all the support she needed to change her life and be successful.

Gabrielle moved in soon after. My coworkers helped her get caught up on missing assignments, taught her new ways to study, and encouraged her when she felt like she would never understand something. After working hard with them and her tutors, her grades started to improve.

She also realized that she held a lot of hurt from being abandoned by her mother. She was able to work through these feelings with help from her therapists. Meeting other young women who had similar experiences helped, too.

And for the first time, Gabrielle learned how to follow a routine. She thought she would hate it after so many years of doing whatever she wanted. But it brought her comfort to know what to expect and to learn to organize her time.

With the loving support of the Mercy Home family, Gabrielle’s life began to turn around. She now has hope for a future that is bright.

Thank you for your loving and prayerful support of children like Gabrielle!

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

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