How A House Becomes A Home

How A House Becomes A Home

What makes a house a home? Is it a place where people return once their daily work is done? Is it just a space to keep our belongings?

Or is home much more than that? Before coming to Mercy Home, Kenzie knew home as a two-bedroom duplex on the northwest side of Chicago. Home was also where she lived with her mom and her dad, and where she had posters of her own beautiful paintings hanging on her wall. Kenzie loved to paint and, one day, she dreamed her art could be at a museum for hundreds of people to see.

Then, one winter’s night, the canvas of Kenzie’s life was forever changed. Just as sleep began to overtake her, a pounding resounded from the door along with frantic footsteps from her parents’ bedroom. After the police paraded into their home and left with her distressed father, Kenzie knew home would never be the same again.

Kenzie didn’t know it, but her father had been involved with drug trafficking for years, which started after he lost his manufacturing job. Promising to still provide for his family, he turned to a life of crime. When Kenzie understood why her father had been arrested, she was devastated.

After the police paraded into their home and left with her distressed father, Kenzie knew home would never be the same again.

With her household also down to one income, Kenzie was forced to pull her own weight to help her mom make ends meet. She got a job at a local thrift store but found it hard to concentrate on her schoolwork after her shift. As a result, her grades began to suffer.

Between her poor grades and her poor attendance, she was in danger of having to repeat tenth grade, but her counselor was willing to give her one last chance. And, she even had a solution. After meeting with Kenzie and her mother, they decided on Mercy Home.

“Home is where your family is. And I found one at Mercy Home.”

– Kenzie

A New Start

Safe within our doors, Kenzie could dedicate her free time to studying and working on her painting now that she wasn’t burdened with providing an income. At the end of the school year, not only was her attendance spotless, but she was also named a new member of the National Art Honor Society, a prestigious opportunity she worked hard to attain. At an annual art show at school, Kenzie featured the blossoming cherry tree outside of her window at Mercy Home. The title of the painting is “A New Start.”

“I painted the cherry tree because it represented a new beginning, and my transition to Mercy Home. To me, Home is where your family is. And I’ve found one here at Mercy Home.”

No matter how heavy our children’s past is, our mission is to relieve the weight of their trauma so that they may always have the chance to begin again.

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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