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Young Man Finds a Safe Haven for Discovery
Jordan could spend all day in his backyard, especially during spring when nature sprang back to life. The apartment he lived in with his parents, aunt, and cousins was cramped, so he preferred to stay outside under the blue skies where he felt free.
The sirens and car horns of city life, along with his parents’ violent arguments, seemed to disappear when Jordan stepped into the backyard. The plants, animals, and insects fascinated him. It was like stepping into another world. Rabbits and squirrels bounced in the grass, and a toad lingered in a crevice under the leaky spigot.
Jordan liked to collect the robin’s blue eggs shells after they hatched. One time he found an empty wasp’s nest the wind had knocked down. Jordan took note of it all in his nature notebook, often sharing his observations and collections with his eighth-grade science class.
His classmates teased him for bringing “weird and gross” things he found in his backyard, but Jordan’s teacher encouraged him and asked him to join an after-school biology club. Jordan gladly accepted—the more time he could spend away from home, the better.
Jordan’s parents fought constantly over money and bills. There never seemed to be enough of anything. Occasionally, if his father had been drinking, things turned physical. Jordan felt helpless during these times, and often sought refuge in the backyard. There, he’d try to identify bird calls, but it was hard to ignore the sound of dishes being thrown against the wall.
One night, Jordan’s mother woke him and told him to be quiet—they were leaving to go stay with her friend. He only had time to throw some clothes in a garbage bag, and in his haste many things were left behind, including his nature notebook and backyard collections.
It was calmer and safer at the friend’s apartment, but it didn’t feel like home. It felt temporary. Worst of all, there was no backyard. The apartment was in a huge building on a busy road surrounded by auto body shops and a scrap metal salvage yard. The nearest park was littered with trash, broken bottles, needles, and people slumped over on benches. Jordan never made the mistake of returning for a second visit.
“I really missed my backyard,” he said. “It was the one place where I felt free to explore and just be myself. When I didn’t have that space, things went downhill.”
Jordan became depressed and his grades tanked. He stopped showing up for his biology club, mainly because he had a much longer commute to his new home. His science teacher took notice and pulled him aside after class one day. When his teacher asked what was wrong, Jordan let the floodgates open.
“It felt good to finally tell someone what was going on,” he said. “I was always ashamed about the violence in my home and I tried to hide it.” The school’s social worker recommended Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. Jordan was hesitant at first, but when Mercy Home shared resources for victims of domestic violence with his mother, he was convinced.
“It felt good to finally tell someone what was really going on,” Jordan said. “I was always ashamed about the violence in my home and I tried to hide it.”
“I like that Mercy Home doesn’t just help me, they help my family,” Jordan said. “Plus, Mercy Home’s campus is beautiful! There are so many trees! It’s like an oasis in the middle of the city.”
With a safe and spacious place to live while his mother gets on her feet, Jordan has been able to reconnect with his love of nature and science. He started a new notebook and fills it with new observations of the things he finds around Mercy Home’s campus. He has taken charge in our garden and loved preparing our flower and vegetable beds for planting this spring.
Feeling revived, Jordan improved his grades and returned to his biology club. Now he’s looking ahead to his freshman year of high school, where he’s excited to take Advanced Placement science classes.
Thanks to your dedicated support, Mercy Home continues to be a haven for kids like Jordan. And we owe it all to your generosity, which provides a beautiful place for our young people to heal from the trauma of their past.
Please note: Because we care deeply about protecting our children’s privacy, the names and certain identifying details in this story have been changed.