Children thrive in a home with stability and security. Tragically, there are far too many children who never experience these comforts. Many of those young people wind up at the doors of Mercy Home, desperate for help and traumatized by the heavy burdens they carry by having to grow up too quickly.

It is nearly impossible for many of us to imagine bearing such a heavy load at such a young age. And it is truly heartbreaking. But that was the reality for Zach, one of the young men at our Home. Zach had a difficult childhood. He grew up in the heart of a dangerous neighborhood, and violence was all around him. He loved playing outside—in his backyard, in the park, at his friend’s homes—but he wasn’t often allowed to.

It was just too dangerous. Even though Zach knew that his neighborhood was unsafe, it didn’t really sink in until his older brother was killed right outside his family’s apartment. Zach was devastated. He couldn’t believe his brother was gone.

After his brother’s death, things continued to go downhill. His mother became so depressed that she couldn’t get out of bed. Eventually, she lost her job. That only added to the depression.

“Even though Zach knew that his neighborhood was unsafe, it didn’t really sink in until his older brother was killed right outside his family’s apartment. “

With his brother gone and his mom drowning in grief, Zach found himself in charge of the household. He took on odd jobs to help pay the bills. He did the grocery shopping, the cleaning, and the cooking. But no matter what he did, it never seemed to be enough. He didn’t have time to focus on schoolwork, so his grades dropped quickly.

The family couldn’t afford the rent and utility bills, so the electricity and heat were frequently shut off. And food was often scarce. Zach eventually dropped out of school so that he could work full time to make more money to support him and his mother.

The heavy burden of taking on so many adult responsibilities weighed heavily on Zach. He was always worried and exhausted. There seemed to be no way out. Eventually Zach’s aunt, who lived out of state, found out about the gravity of the situation. She knew that she needed to help her nephew find a better situation. After some research, she heard about Mercy Home. She immediately knew that it was the right place for Zach. And, after Zach visited our Home, he agreed.

As soon as Zach moved in, he immediately felt a huge sense of relief. He hadn’t fully realized the toll of running a household had taken on him. He was finally able to be a kid again.

We were able to help Zach get back in school. Always a dedicated student, he was so eager to catch up on all he had missed. With a little hard work, he brought his grades back up. Zach also spent many hours talking to his therapist, trying to deal with the grief he still felt over his brother’s death. He was relieved to discover that there were other boys here who suffered similar losses and understood what he was going through. Slowly, he began to heal.

Today, Zach is thriving at Mercy Home. As he nears high school graduation, his thoughts have turned his future plans, which include going to college to get a degree in engineering. He is so proud of all he has overcome, and we are proud of him, too—just like I know you are.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing us to give our boys and girls like Zach the precious gift of a childhood. I am so grateful for your love and support.

“As soon as Zach moved in, he immediately felt a huge sense of relief. He hadn’t fully realized the toll of running a household had taken on him. He was finally able to be a kid again.”

A special partnership for the sake of Mercy’s kids and for our televised Sunday Mass

You can make a difference in the life of a troubled child. Fr. Scott needs Partners to pray for our kids at Mercy Home–and also faithful Partners to help broadcast Sunday Mass at Mercy Home.

By pledging your support and your prayers, you’re offering a precious gift to Mercy’s kids–and helping our community of faith join together every week.

The boys and girls of Mercy Home are very proud of the difference they are able to make just by sharing their time and heart with others. None of this would be possible without our kind, faithful supporters, for not only sharing their friendship but for also setting an example of generosity and compassion for them to follow. During this month, please keep the young people of Mercy Home and all of our generous benefactors in your thoughts and prayers.

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