Until he was 12 years old, he was a happy kid. He enjoyed school, and he always got good grades. He got along well with his older sisters and brothers and with his mom. He especially liked spending time with his oldest sister, who would take him to the movies and give him advice.
But when Julian turned 12, it all fell apart.
His oldest sister left the family. She ran away with a boyfriend and stopped contacting them because she knew her mother didn’t approve. Julian was devastated.
Not long after, Julian overheard a phone conversation and found out that his mom wasn’t really his mom at all. She was his aunt, and his siblings were his cousins. His biological mother struggled with mental illness and was nowhere to be found.
When Julian’s cousins knew the truth, they started treating him differently. They teased him and pushed him around. They started rumors about him at school. Julian felt so alone.
His teacher would call on him in class and he’d realize he hadn’t heard the question. His brain felt scrambled. Class would end and he’d realize he hadn’t heard what the homework was. He was too embarrassed to ask, so he wound up missing assignments. His grades started to plummet.
He stopped talking to other students in his class because he was so worried they were talking about him behind his back. No one knew what he was going through. In a short span of time, Julian’s life had fallen to pieces. He didn’t know where to turn.
His teacher noticed the change in Julian’s grades and his behavior, so she asked him what was going on. When he explained what had been happening at home, she told him about Mercy Home. She told his aunt, too, and they came to meet with our admissions team.
When Julian moved in, he started working with our Mercy Home tutors right away. They worked through his assignments piece by piece. They taught him strategies to stay organized and keep track of homework. His focus and his memory began to improve. His grades and his confidence did, too.
Julian still kept to himself, afraid to connect with our coworkers or with the other boys. Our youth care workers led group therapy activities and exercises that helped Julian feel closer to his peers. In time, he was ready to trust again.
He liked exercising in our fitness room and playing sports in our basketball gym and our soccer field. He developed great relationships with the other young men he knew through those activities. And whenever he felt overwhelmed, he knew he could go to the exercise room and he’d feel better.
Because of your kindness, Julian’s life has transformed. He is supported and loved here at Mercy Home. He is excelling in school and goes out of his way to help new kids feel included at our Home. And through family therapy, his relationship with his family has improved dramatically.
Thank you for all you do for bright young people like Julian. You change the course of their lives, and for that, we are forever grateful.
Please note: Because we care deeply about protecting our children’s privacy, the names and certain identifying details in this story have been changed.