Bright Student Finds Joy and Stability Again

Bright Student Finds Joy and Stability Again

On school nights, many young people are hard at work on their homework or at sports practice. And by 11 p.m., most of them are safely at home and in bed.

Things were a little different for Jada. At 11 p.m. most school nights, she was just finishing her shift at a local convenience store. She tries to study when she can, pulling out a folded-up study sheet every time her boss looks away.

But it doesn’t always work. When Jada’s boss catches her studying, he threatens to cut down her shifts if she doesn’t stay focused during work. The choice is hard, but she knows that without that shift her mother may not be able to make rent.

Bright student Jada smiles after finding joy and stability again.

Situations like these weren’t uncommon for the high schooler. Growing up in the far south side of Chicago as an only child, she and her mother were incredibly close. Especially after her father left the picture when she was hardly three years old.

Jada was also a bright student who took her studies very seriously. She was even accepted to a prominent magnet school in the city for high school. Still, her academic aspirations didn’t come without challenges that seemed beyond her control. To help support her mother with the bills, she often skipped tutoring sessions, club meetings, and other opportunities that kids her age got to enjoy just to get to work on time. Her paychecks were to live, not for football games or homecoming dances.

She often worked late at night, too, because it took so long to get home from school. But this wasn’t the only sacrifice she had to make. For years, Jada enjoyed taking ballet classes in a studio near her home. In the studio, surrounded by mirrors and music, she was free. Now, with her new and challenging high school and part-time job, Jada unfortunately had to give up that freedom.

One day at school after failing her algebra exam, Jada’s math teacher pulled her aside to discuss her recent performance. She knew that it wasn’t like Jada to perform so poorly in class.

After Jada courageously opened up about her home and work life, her teacher knew just how she may be able to help. And after many conversations between the school administration and Jada’s family, Jada made the decision to move into Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.

This is when everything began to change for the better. Now living at Mercy Home, Jada didn’t have to work to help support her mother. Instead, Jada could dedicate more of her after school time to homework and even extracurricular activities, like ballet.

When Jada’s boss catches her studying, he threatens to cut down her shifts if she doesn’t stay focused during work. The choice is hard, but she knows that without that shift her mother may not be able to make rent.

Though she’d grown mostly accustomed to waking up early and working late, Jada was thankful to get the sleep she so desperately needed. And, without her work shifts, Jada’s joy was multiplied by the opportunity to begin ballet instruction once again.

No longer spending hours commuting to class, Mercy Home provided Jada with transportation to and from her high school, so moving into Mercy Home didn’t separate her from the academic promises of the school she knew and loved.

At Mercy Home, our trusted team of loving coworkers helped support Jada as a student and as a person. After school tutoring helped Jada improve her math scores, as well as to think about what she wanted to do after high school. With extra time to herself, Jada for once had the energy to think beyond just getting by.

Mercy Home also provided Jada’s mother with a weekly supply of groceries, so Jada could rest assured that her mother was doing well without her at home. In the spring, Jada looks forward to dancing in a showcase of young talented Chicago teens and sharing her passion for dance with others.

When she takes center stage, know that the boundless joy that this experience will bring Jada would not be possible without your prayers and support. When we can tell success stories like Jada’s, a gift to Mercy Home becomes priceless. Thank you to our friends for helping

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