My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Mercy Communities Inc, Springfield, IL, USA
My name is Sr. Margaret Mary Byrnes O.P. or Sister Maggie as the moms and children called me. In March 2000 I received a call to tell me about M.E.R.C.Y. Communities. Then I was asked if I would be interested in working there. I decided to find out more about M.E.R.C.Y. and the job there. Finding out what the initials stood for (Mentors,Empowerment,and Resources for Change in Young Faimilies) was one of the big selling points for me. It was the word empowerment that attracted me. I had heard the saying, "Give a person a fish and it will last for a day. Teach a person how to fish and it will last a lifetime." I knew that I wanted to be part of a program that empowered women with children to be self-sufficient. I also learned that since the Transitional Living part of the program had started by accepting its initial client in December 1999,it was growing The Service Director needed an assistant. I knew that I wanted to be that assistant and started working as her assistant in August 2000. One part of my job was to do the initial interview with a woman who wanted to come and stay in an apartment at M.E.R.C.Y. I explained to the woman that at M.E.R.C.Y. she would re ceive help so that she could set her goals to one day become self-sufficient. She would receive individual help since each person is unique. One woman that I interviewed said that she had food stamps but after 3 weeks she ran out of stamps and she had very little to feed her 3 children until the next month when she got more. I told her about a food pantry that she could get food from once a month. When she came to M.E.R.C.Y.,I helped her figure out how she could have those food stamps last a month. Also I told her that there would be regular classes (such as parenting) that we offered at M.E.R.C.Y. to help her reach her goals. One 6 week class that I taught was on self-esteem. During that class I found out that many of the moms lacked good self-esteem and therefore didn't really believe that they were capable of reaching their goals. Helping them work toward obtaining a good self-esteem gave them the motivation to reach their goals. Some comments that were made were: I gave up obtaining my G.E.D. years ago. I realize now that I can't change or blame my past for my failures now but I can change the effect they have on me now. I am a worthwhile person. I can learn to love and accept the person that I am. It's been a joy to know that women have completed their goals and are succeeding at living on their own.
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