There are only a few hours left to help out families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Gifts made today will be matched.
#GivingTuesdayNow is almost over. Only a few hours left to help our families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Gifts made today will be matched up to $50,000 thanks to the generosity of a dedicated group of employees at William Blair and its matching gifts program.
“I think that was the first time I met a group of friends that I actually felt like I belonged to…I feel more supported now than I did back then.”
Building relationships hasn’t always been easy for De’Mere. Before he came to Mercy Home, he usually kept his head down and had a hard time looking people in the eye.
As he got older, he realized how much he wanted a relationship with his father. But for that to happen, he first needed to learn how to open up to others.
De’Mere’s parents were in high school when he was born, and when he was two years old, they separated. De’Mere went to live with his grandmother, and though his mother stayed with them, she sometimes left for weeks at a time.
De’Mere saw his father occasionally, on holidays or his birthday, but not very
often. Yet when he was 12 years old, he decided he wanted that to change.
“I wanted to go live with him since I saw other people with their dads,” De’Mere said. “So I went with him. It was kind of rough at first, because when you haven’t seen a person in a while and they expect you to have the relationship you had when you lived with them before, but I didn’t even really remember.”
Living with his father was much different than De’Mere anticipated. His father had remarried, which was something De’Mere didn’t really process until he moved in. And while his grandmother had made sure he stayed ahead of his schoolwork, he did not find the same academic structure in his father’s home.
“After two years of living with him, it really didn’t work out,” he said. “So, I came to Mercy Home to get extra help with building relationships and trying to open myself up more.”
When he first arrived, De’Mere was shy and kept to himself. But after about a month, he began to feel more comfortable and started gaining confidence. He finished the academic year at the same school he had been attending, but the following year, he started at a new school.
“I think that was the first time I met a group of friends that I actually felt like I belonged to,” De’Mere said. “I feel more supported now than I did back then. I felt like I was kind of against the world because I didn’t really have any groups, or stuff that I belonged to, and I didn’t really like being at home either.”
“I feel more supported now than I did back then. I felt like I was kind of against the world because I didn’t really have any groups, or stuff that I belonged to, and I didn’t really like being at home either.”
Now in his senior year of high school, De’Mere has certainly found his place. He plays on the football and volleyball teams at his school, and thanks to the encouragement of his friends, he is also a member of the student council.
“I always wanted to plan events, and I never had my voice heard,” he said. “So I just joined so I could have it heard, and give ideas, and be part of the committee.”
When it comes to his schoolwork, De’Mere has found that academic assistance is always available whenever he needs it at Mercy Home. After he graduates this year, he plans to go on to college. His dream job is to become a firefighter.
In five years at Mercy Home, De’Mere appreciates the relationships he’s been able to build with our coworkers. Without Mercy Home, De’Mere says his life would be very different.
“I don’t think I ever would have opened up to anybody,” he said.
Now, with the skills he’s gained at Mercy Home, De’Mere continues to improve his relationship with his father.
“It’s been getting better ever since I got here,” he said. “I remember when I first got here, I didn’t really want to talk to him, and I wanted to stay here. Now, because of my therapist and the staff, I’ve been wanting to go home more, and I talk to him more.”
“I remember when I first got here, I didn’t really want to talk to him, and I wanted to stay here. Now, because of my therapist and the staff, I’ve been wanting to go home more, and I talk to him more.”
Thank you for supporting young people like De’Mere. Your generosity helps them find their confidence and provides the tools they need to build strong family relationships.