Our Quiet Nest Helped Jamiyah Spread Her Wings
I’m very grateful for what Mercy Home has given me.
Jamiyah had an awakening in high school. Seeing her parents and siblings struggle while they worked minimum-wage jobs at fast food restaurants had a profound effect on her. It dawned on her that if she didn’t prioritize education, she faced a future of dead ends.
“There was no emphasis on education and discipline in my household whatsoever,” Jamiyah said. “It was the opposite of a good learning environment.”
Loud music, parties, and crowded rooms often greeted Jamiyah when she returned from school, as well as an overall ambivalence about education. It was no place to study, so she often stayed late at school to do homework. But her commute to and from school was two hours, which ate into her study time.
Vowing not to be like her parents, Jamiyah wanted to live in a place where she could buckle down, focus on her studies, and be surrounded by people who encouraged her ambition and celebrated achievement. Taking it upon herself to research solutions, she came across Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.
Moving into our Home was an absolute gasp of fresh air. Finally, Jamiyah found what she was looking for: a quiet space, a robust learning environment, and a positive network of therapeutic support. With a firm foundation under her feet, she catapulted herself to where she needed to be.
Jamiyah graduated at the top of her class from Hyde Park Academy High School. She was even asked to be the valedictorian, but, in a reflection of her humbleness, she turned it down due to other responsibilities. During her senior year, she interned at the Obama Foundation in the human resources department, then switched to the finance department after taking an interest in business.
She had a lot of momentum after graduating high school, but like many other young people, Jamiyah was forced to modify her plans to go away to college as the COVID-19 crisis struck. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, however, she switched gears and decided to stay local.
Jamiyah is now a freshman at Harold Washington College in Chicago, studying business and finance. She’s anxious to get her realtor’s license and become a real estate agent.
In the meantime, on top of school, Jamiyah has packed her schedule with an impressive agenda to stay sharp and get ahead. She’s an intern at Bank of America, the secretary of the Black Student Union, and a senator on the Student Council. Jamiyah is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, serves as a student mentor, and is an active alumna of Urban Alliance, which provides job skills training, mentoring, and paid internships to young people of color during high school.
With such an ambitious list, it’s no wonder Jamiyah describes herself as a workaholic. That’s why Mercy Home’s support network of staff and therapists have worked with Jamiyah to set boundaries between work and relaxation, so she doesn’t burn herself out. Each night she has a set time where she has to join her peers and unplug from school and work, whether that means playing a board game, cooking, or doing a puzzle.
“Doing this really helps me take a break and work on my coping skills if I get overwhelmed,” Jamiyah said. “And therapists really helped me address social anxiety that I never realized I had. I consider myself an extroverted introvert.”
If anything, Jamiyah’s success highlights what a haven Mercy Home is, especially for young people like her who really take advantage of what our Home has to offer.
Thanks to the generosity of good friends like you, our Home is an incubator of excellence.
“I’m very grateful for what Mercy Home has given me,” Jamiyah said.
Sometimes, young people like Jamiyah just need one thing to take flight. In her case, it was a quiet, supportive home where she felt encouraged to blossom as an intellectual. That’s made all the difference in the world, thanks to your compassion.
And thanks to our therapists and youth care workers who design individual treatment programs, young people like Jamiyah can discover new ways to enhance and build upon the skills they already have. At Mercy Home, we create a nest where our kids can hatch plans, spread their wings, and soar.
Please note: Because we care deeply about protecting our children’s privacy, the names and certain identifying details in this story have been changed