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May 21, 2010

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May 21, 2010

Over the past two years in my role as the director of a university volunteer center, we have had extensive contact with MERCY Communities on various service projects. Our students have assisted with spring cleaning efforts, painted apartments so families can move in, donated items to the MERCY Furniture Store, provided child care services for families, and assisted with renovations of homes for MERCY clients to include porch repair and painting. MERCY Communities does an amazing job of assisting local women and children, providing real support at a critical time. We have met some of the clients MERCY serves while working on various service projects for the agency, and can truly state that the work they are doing is changing lives and making a difference. One particular client told our students she would not have been able to become employed and become a home owner if it had not been for MERCY.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

hearing the words of clients they serve and seeing the difference they are making with the services they provide. MERCY has an incredible group of volunteers who are working to provide housing choices for those who are in desperate need of assistance.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 21, 2010

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May 21, 2010

As a landlord who has rented to MERCY, I became a supporter and donor after seeing firsthand the way the organization works with its clients to support them. Professionals are with the clients on a daily basis, helping them to set goals and achieve them. The staff is both compassionate and strict with the clients, holding them accountable for their actions. As one who has worked in the field of low-income housing for 20 years, I believe that the kind of supportive services that MERCY provides is the key to success of a housing program.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing good women as my tenants being supported by MERCY

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

recruit more donors so that it could expand its services.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing how the experienced and professional staff is able to help the clients.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Competent, professional and committed.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help a lot more clients.

Ways to make it better...

the organization could serve more clients

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

to grow without losing focus.

One thing I'd also say is that...

My association with MERCY has always been very positive.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 17, 2010

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May 17, 2010

Hello my name is Celeste Dean and I am a mother of 4 beautiful girls, MERCY Communities helped me in 2002. My experience at Mercy was exceptional, it helped me to become a better mother with the Life skills classes, as well as developing my self-esteem.And also in developing lifelong friendships with the mothers of the house. Mercy is a great place for mothers who are at-risk, or just need help with transitioning in their lives. Mercy is different from other organizations, because they are there for lifelong situations, they are there throught the ups and the downs, through smiles and tears. for example, when I go see Mary, she is ALWAYS there for me, to give advice, to keep encouraging me. I feel comfortable and confident with them, knowing Mercy has made a difference in my life and I can't thank them enough. Since Mercy I have maintained housing, accomplished my goal of finding my father and reconnecting with him, i have gone to school for Cna, and Currently graduated for Midwest Technical Institute, majoring in Massage Therapy, I am a business owner of Major Moves Massage Therapy, it was all in the efforts and support of Mercy. And I am thanking them by keeping up the good works and acheivments, and goals. and staying in touch with them in the aftercare program Thanks Mercy...Love ya

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

see above

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 5, 2010

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May 5, 2010

My name is Joelle Knoles, I live in Springfield, IL, and would like to share my story about a wonderful local charitable organization called M.E.R.C.Y Communities. On Christmas Eve 2001, my 7 year old daughter, Bethany and I lost our home in a fire. At the time of the fire, I had no insurance, no job, and now we had no home. Needless to say I was terrified for our future, and wondering what we were going to do. We stayed with my mother, but seeing that she lives in a 3 bedroom mobile home, and my sister was also staying there, the quarters were pretty tight, and we found ourselves stepping on one another's toes. I knew that we had to get out and find our own place, but I didn't know how I was going to do this. I started working at Blue Cross Blue Shield in February 2002, so I at least had an income coming in, but I still did not have enough money for a security deposit. I was not making enough money to get a nice place, so I just felt kind of stuck. I was looking through the housing packet that I received from Red Cross, and I noticed a flier for a place called M.E.R.C.Y Communities. I started reading through the information, and was pleased to see that the rent was income based. In addition to affordable rent, I also saw that they offered some services that I could benefit greatly from including counseling, parenting skills development, and budget management to name a few. I called M.E.R.C.Y, and was pleased to find out that I could get in immediately for an interview. I was a nervous wreck when I went in, because if I could not get an apartment there, I was basically out of options. During my interview, it became apparent to the staff member that I had some physical issues that I needed to address, and was instructed to get in to see a doctor before I could be considered a candidate for residency. Thank you Sister Maggie for making me see the doctor. I was diagnosed with a hypo active thyroid, and severe depression, and was immediately put on medication for both conditions. About a week later, I received a call advising me that I was eligible for the program, and they had an apartment that my daughter and I could move in to immediately. When I saw the apartment that we would occupy, I broke down in tears because it was so beautifully furnished, and I did not have to worry about what I didn't have because of our loss, but I could focus on rebuilding our lives in a home that had all the essentials that we needed. I soon came to learn that living at M.E.R.C.Y came with a price, or so I thought at the time. I had to attend regular group and individual counseling sessions. I had to start paying my bills on time. I had to start keeping a clean home. I had to start participating in my daughter's life. I had to start being accountable and responsible for developing our future. I DID NOT LIKE THIS!!! I am ashamed to admit that I was a hard client to deal with. I was rebellious, I was insolent, I was self absorbed, and I was selfish. I tried to get my caseworker, Heather fired. I complained about her to whoever would listen. I would refuse to talk to her. In other words, I was throwing temper tantrums and pouting like a 3 year old. Luckily for Bethany and myself, Heather never gave up on me even when I wanted to give up on myself. Heather continued to embrace me with compassion, empathy, and understanding, and eventually I came to realize that if this woman who had heard me talk about abusing my daughter physically and verbally, who heard me tell of the times that Bethany was forced to fix her own dinner because I was sleeping. Heather, who had heard me tell about my anger and fears, if she still had faith in me, then maybe I was worth it. One day after having been at M.E.R.C.Y for a couple of months, I suddenly realized that I wasn't looking for the negative in everything and everyone. I noticed that I wasn't as angry. I noticed that I heard my daughter's laughter more, and I realized that I had a wonderful daughter to spend quality time with. I noticed that I wasn't screaming, yelling, and hitting my daughter like I had in the past. Suddenly I had a clean home and my bills were paid. What was happening to me? Was I actually growing up? Apparently I was. I know I was growing up because my now husband, Bryan proposed to me after I had been at M.E.R.C.Y for about 4 months. I don't think that this would have been possible if not for M.E.R.C.YI left M.E.R.C.Y after I had been there for about 14 months to finalize my wedding plans, and marry my wonderful husband. When I left M.E.R.C.Y, I thought that this was a chapter of my life that was closed, and would not be revisited. I received invitations to participate in after care meetings, but was too busy with my new life. I kind of shut that door in my life to focus on my new family and continuing to improve my relationship with Bethany. Two years after getting married, I got pregnant with my daughter, Alexis, so that kept me busy too. Now back to how M.E.R.C.Y continues to impact my life today. As I stated earlier, I started working for Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2002, and continue to work there today. Last year, I was offered an opportunity to assist in our United Way campaign, and worked closely with others to promote United Way during our campaign week. While working with these people, I kept thinking about M.E.R.C.Y, and how much their help and assistance saved my life and my relationship with Bethany, and I felt moved to share my story. I thought that if I could personalize the services that United Way supports, then maybe I could get one person to donate one extra dollar. I never would have dreamed that it would have the effect that it has had. Several co workers approached me after hearing my story and informed me that they had never given to the United Way in the past, but signed up for it because of my story. Apparently, my story moved one of the United Way representatives also, because she contacted Brian Ganz who now works at M.E.R.C.Y, and informed him of my story. Brian in turn contacted me and asked if I would be interested in speaking at M.E.R.C.Y Communities 10 year dinner celebration in November of last year which I was very excited and nervous to do, but I did it because I would not be the woman that I am today without all of the assistance and support that I received from M.E.R.C.Y. I continue to speak on behalf of M.E.R.C.Y, and I recently became the newest member on their board of directors. I have worked closely with senior management to encourage some fund raising opportunities for M.E.R.C.Y. The staff at M.E.R.C.Y treats me like I am now doing them a favor, but what they do not realize is that they are the ones doing me a favor. They have reinvigorated me, and I feel like I am finally giving back. I may not be able to repay them for the life that I have now, but I can help pay it forward. Thank you M.E.R.C.Y for helping me to become a woman that my daughters can be proud of. Thank you for helping me to hold my head high and realize that I mattered. Lastly, thank you for helping to make me the type of woman that I would be proud for my daughters to be.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

benefiting from the services that are offered.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Growing into the woman that I am today, and now having the opportunity to help other women achieve the same things.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help to empower more women to become more self sufficient and better parents.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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-Respite Childcare
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