This week, members of our Youth Advisory Board gathered to present the different acts of kindness performed by Mercy Home youth last November as part of the Love Chicago initiative – and they were joined by two very special guests: White Sox manager Rick Renteria and his wife Ilene.
The Renterias got to know several members of our Youth Advisory Board during a visit to the Home last summer and returned in the fall to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to our children. This time, they had a chance to learn about our kids’ community service projects while asking questions and offering words of encouragement.
Some of the acts of kindness performed by our kids included creating appreciative mugs to give to firefighters, writing thank you letters to veterans for the holidays, volunteering at a food and clothing pantry, making baby blankets, and volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
During their presentations, youth discussed their experiences as well as some of the perspectives they gained.
“It’s sad, but just being able to help them and give back to them, it really did mean a lot to us,” said Noah, a resident at Mercy Home. Noah’s project included passing out hygiene care packages to adults experiencing homelessness
Rick Renteria offered some advice and let our kids know that they are making a difference in the lives of others.
“The truth is that sometimes giving is more fulfilling than receiving,” Rick said. “And these are human beings that have lesser, so-to-speak, circumstances than others – and you guys are impacting them in a big way.”
Ilene also shared words of encouragement for the acts of kindness our children performed as well.
“It’s really nice to see that you all are making an effort to connect to the people in the community,” Ilene Renteria said. “And because you may not be able to see always the outcome, you guys need to know that it does make a difference. And you’re appreciated by people that sometimes feel that they’re not being seen or noticed.”
“The truth is that sometimes giving is more fulfilling than receiving. And these are human beings that have lesser, so-to-speak, circumstances than others – and you guys are impacting them in a big way.”
– Rick Renteria
Following the presentations, the Renterias took the time to ask our kids about school and how things were going in their lives. They also facilitated a discussion about how our kids can continue to make a difference in the community through acts of kindness and encouraged them to come up with new and creative ways to do so. The group will also have the chance to meet more members of the South Siders’ exciting 2020 lineup along with some White Sox legends and Hall of Famers at this weekend’s annual Sox Fest at McCormick Place. White Sox TV posted a video about the gathering, and you can watch it here.
We are very proud of all of our kids who impacted the lives of others through these acts of kindness, and of the members of our Youth Advisory Board for putting together a terrific presentation. We also want to thank the Renterias and the White Sox organization for the active role they play in supporting our children.