Giana Finds Her Stride

Giana Finds Her Stride

Heartbreak comes in many forms. It can be especially painful when it comes from our parents, the people who are meant to provide for and care for you. That’s what so many of our kids face before coming to Mercy Home.

And, unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of heartbreak that Giana endured. At school, she was a budding track runner who her coaches believed was talented enough for a scholarship, if she worked hard enough. Giana also had a supportive group of friends and was a hardworking student. On the outside, everything was perfect. But inside, she held a dark secret.

When Giana turned 11 years old, her father began to abuse her when her mother wasn’t home. He was supposed to be someone who loved her and would never hurt her. So why did he only lay hands on her in anger?

“That’s when I fell in love with running,” Giana said. “It helped me cope… until I almost lost everything.” It was only when Giana was on the track, her pain couldn’t catch up to her. Every stride distanced herself from the horror of her father’s actions. But, eventually, her trauma got faster, smarter, and more uncontrollable. Her friends began to notice Giana’s unwillingness to participate in group outings, and at least two teachers pulled her aside after class to talk about her sluggish performance. As the weather got warmer, it became impossible for Giana to hide the bruises. And once people started noticing she seemed to have a new injury every week, her hidden pain was no longer something she could keep to herself.

It helped me cope… until I almost lost everything.

“I knew I couldn’t keep it a secret after that,” Giana said. “I had to start giving people honest answers.” Months later, now separated from her father, Giana’s saving grace was Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. “My mother couldn’t take care of me by herself, and she wanted what’s best for me,” Giana said. “I told her none of it was her fault, but she still felt like I deserved better than she could give me.

”At Mercy Home, Giana continued to run. But this time, she wasn’t running away from her sorrow. She was running through it thanks to the unconditional love she was provided with on a daily basis which gave her the courage to persevere. “

I didn’t even realize I was grieving until I came to Mercy Home.” Giana said. “But my dad took a lot from me. Here, though, I learned that I could take my power back.” At Mercy Home, Giana was given the resources she needed—including therapy, supportive staff members who checked in with her regularly, and tutoring to get her grades up to their highest potential. She was also provided a warm bedroom where she could sleep soundly through the night, unafraid of what tomorrow might bring.

A Home For All

Because Mercy Home seeks to provide a loving home for every child who comes to our doors, their unique needs and circumstances are accounted for. For Giana, outside of routine therapy, she and her advocate take Saturday morning runs to help her keep up with her training. Then, they get donuts and talk about whatever came up in Giana’s mind during their run.

Mercy Home is a life-changing place for children who’ve undergone unspeakable heartache. Mercy Home is a solution, it’s a new start, and, most importantly, it’s a family. Thank you for making this possible for our kids.

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