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2021-07-01 07:00:00

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#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.


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Raffi’s Story

A’s and B’s New Norm for Previously Struggling Student


No matter how smart a young person may be, if he is disorganized, he is less likely to succeed. Raffi was a good example of this—until he got help from Mercy Home.

Raffi was always bright, but he wasn’t living up to his potential. He grew up in a single-parent household with his mom working long hours to support her two sons. Raffi often came home after school to an empty house. Without structure and oversight, Raffi usually put off starting his homework until late in the evening. He’d often stay up until 2 a.m. working on his assignments.

Compounding the lack of effort, Raffi was also disorganized. “I didn’t use an assignment notebook,” he said. “I never knew what to bring home from school, or what to bring back to school.”

An unstructured home environment and poor organizational habits placed a severe strain on the young man both inside and outside of the classroom. Ultimately, Raffi lost the motivation to complete his homework at all and he began to openly defy his teachers.

When his schoolwork looked like it couldn’t get any worse, Raffi’s mom began to look for help. She found Mercy Home on the Internet and placed a call that would change her son’s life. In January of 2009, Raffi moved into Mercy Home.

Like so many of our kids, he was unused to having structure built into his day. He was unaccustomed to having adults there to make sure he did his homework. But soon enough, he began to succeed in school. With a set study time and bedtime each night, Raffi was able to complete his homework and get to bed before 10 o’clock—like most 12-year-olds.

Through volunteer tutors that Mercy Home provides five nights a week, Raffi was able to get one-on-one help with his homework. He also had someone there to hold him accountable for his schoolwork and his grades.

“At Mercy Home, your grades are monitored and you can get help when you need it,” Raffi said. “There’s always a child care worker around and you can tell they really care about their job.”

Recently, in partnership with the Rush Neurobehavioral Center, Mercy Home implemented an executive functioning program, which taught Raffi how to use an assignment notebook, helped him to keep his assignments in order and showed him how to prioritize his schoolwork. The executive functioning program has helped many of our kids become more goal directed, improve their organizational processes and practice better time management—all of which help in school and social settings.

“Executive functioning helps me a lot,” Raffi said. “It helps me make sure that everything is organized and in the right place.”

Almost a year after Raffi walked through Mercy Home’s doors for the first time, he is doing markedly better in school. His most recent progress report showed that he’s earning all A’s and B’s, is turning in his homework on time and is following school rules.

Raffi’s is not an uncommon story at Mercy Home. Many kids come to us more than two years behind in core subjects like math and reading. Their struggles stem from a variety of pressures in and out of the classroom, but so often, they are intelligent kids who just never learned the skills needed to follow through on schoolwork. But given the right tools and resources, these kids can be overachievers; they can be receiving A’s and B’s instead of failing.

You give them these tools through your support of Mercy Home. You open the doors for kids like Raffi to use the gifts they already have, and to realize their full potential. And for this, we thank you.