A haven of peace for the vulnerable children of Chicago

Mercy Home is refurbishing a dining hall as a multifunction and modern training center to even better counsel the vulnerable children of the poor neighborhoods of Chicago.

Social and Employment

Chicago, United States

Denisse Ike

10 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2012/06/05

Project leader

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

"I was deeply touched by the story of the very vulnerable children that Mercy Home takes under its wing. I felt it crucial to contribute to the adaptation of the premises for an even better readjustment to life and society for so many potentially ruined lives. I'm doing what I can to help recruit volunteer tutors and mentors who, I'm sure, will make good use of the new premises."

Denisse Ike

For 125 years, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls has been a haven of peace that has welcomed more than 24 000 children, abused, neglected or abandoned, offering them a chance to build a better future. More than 600 children of the Chicago area benefit each year from its programs, which range from mentoring to medical care, and include room and board.
The young people also benefit from psychological supervision and tutoring, and help in finding a job, even after having left the home. Through these programs, the children who arrive at Mercy Home, emotionally and physically wounded, recover the ability to reconstruct themselves and find the resources and encouragement to carry out a life project to match their potential.
The results are convincing: 74% of the children welcomed in the home have improved their skill in mathematics and 83% in reading, 95% of them finished their school year, 91% of the over 17s find a job. From the psychological standpoint, with more than 3 000 psychotherapy sessions, this means that 81% of the young persons are in better psychological shape.

Premises more propitious to tutoring

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls is converting a dining hall into a multifunction training center. The space, originally a cafeteria, is being completely refurbished to further the education of boys and girls at risk, as part of an educational program launched in 2008: the Academy. It is aimed at children having serious difficulties at school, due to a lack of family stability or to the violence prevalent in some schools. The Academy offers them tailor-made, interactive teaching and a learning-friendly environment. In addition to the basic curriculum, the program includes music, a reading club, public speaking, information technology and preparation for higher studies, as well as the acts of everyday life, like how to open a bank account.

A multifunction and customized training hall

The idea is therefore to convert completely a former dining hall into a genuine classroom including several work spaces allowing various groups of students to work simultaneously and provided with internet access and many screens. This Training Center is intended both for the residents of the home, and for the counselors and other residents who participate in courses in social and professional integration. Information and communication technologies are also useful for the psychologists in their art therapy and group therapy. A change in the wall covering of the hall guarantees better soundproofing of the premises, making them fit for use as a practice room and classroom for children who play music, individually or in groups, particularly in the Mercy Home rock band. This change in wall covering will also facilitate yoga and relaxation courses.

When unoccupied by the children, the hall will serve as a place for continuing education in the best educational and relational techniques for the volunteer counselors and the personnel.

Alongside the Hen, Metlife and McCormick foundations, the Veolia Foundation is happy to support this important nonprofit and the adaptation of its premises to its vocation.