As far back as he can remember, Temarion has always been angry. And from an early age, he learned only one way to cope with his anger: by fighting.
Temarion lived with his grandmother, and since she worked late every day, he would go to his uncle’s place after school. Many of Temarion’s cousins and friends from school lived in the same neighborhood, and when they went outside to play together, things turned violent.
Although he wasn’t even in high school, “I fought almost every day,” Temarion recalls.
The causes were as numerous as the fights themselves. Sometimes, a play-fight would go too far. Other times, friends would bring other kids, and trouble would start as they tested one another. “I would see…a person jumping on my cousin or arguing,” says Temarion. As the oldest cousin, he felt he needed to “do what he had to do” to protect his family.
His uncle, aunts, and grandma would discipline Temarion for his actions, but their punishments seemed to have no effect. Every time he went over to his uncle’s house, it seemed like he got into a fight.
Things were only slightly better when he was at home with his mother. Temarion had a strained relationship with his father, who lives in a different state, and he struggled to manage his anger. Still, he had his mother to rely on. But when he was in second grade, his mother suffered a car crash that left her in a coma. After the accident, Temarion found it harder to keep his anger under control. His grades began to slip and his behavior worsened.
Then, last year, his mother passed away. Temarion was 11 years old.
When that happened, Temarion says, “[I was like], whatever, I don’t even care if I get in trouble or not.”
He began to get into more fights, and was dangerously close to failing his classes. His grandmother, fearing for his safety and future, began to search for someone who could help. That’s when an agency she spoke to recommended Mercy Home.
Initially, Temarion looked forward to coming to our Home. “Excited…I was excited,” he remembers. But he was also nervous to be away from home. And when he arrived, he found it difficult to adjust to the new daily structure and routines. “Some stuff I thought was not necessary,” Temarion says.
As he struggled with his transition, Temarion remembered something his grandmother told him on his arrival at Mercy Home. “My grandma was like, well you’re here for a reason, so you might as well use it while you can.” As he thought about his grandmother’s words, Temarion realized being at Mercy Home was his chance to better himself—to make a change.
He learned to adjust to the structure at our Home, and enjoyed working out in the gym. Even better, Temarion found it easy to make friends. “I got along with everybody,” he says. But he still had difficulty managing his anger. “I came in here thinking that [my anger] is what I needed,” Temarion remembers.
That was a year ago. Now, with the help of two Mercy Home coworkers, Temarion has developed healthy habits to cope with his emotions. One of his favorite places to positively channel his anger, he says, is on the basketball court. There, he’s learned “to motivate others and motivate myself to do better.”
Temarion is grateful for the difference Mercy Home has made in his life. He’s especially thankful for the progress he’s made in school. “Before I came to Mercy, I used to have D’s and F’s,” he says. “It’s not because I couldn’t do the work…It’s because I chose not to.” Away from trouble in his neighborhood, and with tutors to help him get back on track, Temarion turned his grades around by the end of 7th grade. “[I] ended the school year with three or four A’s,” he says proudly.
Thank you for giving children like Temarion a safe place to heal, learn, and grow.