For Rashaun, doing well in school wasn’t a priority in his life. He had more pressing matters to deal with at home, like his relationship with his grandmother, whom he had lived with since he was 3 years old.
“There was friction between me and my grandma because I wanted to be grown, even though I was only 11 years old at the time, so I acted out,” he says. “She just wanted to protect me, but I’d push her away. I wanted to be independent. Most of the time she’d let me go. She told me, ‘Go see what it’s like to survive on your own.’”
Rashaun never strayed too far. He mostly kept close to his neighborhood or dropped by his buddy’s house to play video games. Sometimes he’d go to a nearby park. It may sound like a harmless routine, but an unsupervised kid wandering the streets can lead to trouble. By this time, Rashaun was seeking help to deal with his behavior issues, but he wasn’t following through.
“I had a therapist before I came to Mercy Home, but I would skip a lot of sessions,” he says. “I’d just go outside or to a friend’s house.”
When Rashaun’s behavior and grades showed no sign of improving, his therapist mentioned a possible solution: Mercy Home.
At first, Rashaun didn’t like the idea. “But once I saw it, I was like, ‘wow,’” he says. “When I got the tour, my first impression was: this place is big! When I saw the gym, I knew that I was going to enjoy living here.”
Our youth care coworkers cautioned Rashaun—an avid basketball player—that it wasn’t going to be all fun and games at Mercy Home.
“They explained that I still needed to work on my [behavior] and education,” he says. “That’s the part I didn’t like, but I knew it was important.”