Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mercy Center Inc

2,346 pageviews

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Recreational Centers, Family Services, Human Services, Job Training, Public & Societal Benefit, Sports

Mission: Mercy Center is a nonsectarian center for parents and families in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. Its mission is to provide educational, technical, human and supportive services to women, parents and other family members empowering them to reach their full human potential, lead meaningful lives, and be agents of change in their families and communities.

Target demographics: Women and Familes

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 2,000 women, men and children benefit from our services each year.

Geographic areas served: Mott Haven

Programs: In fulfilling its mission, Mercy Center currently offers the following programs: Family Alternatives to Violence seeks to break the cycle of violence in family interactions and provide the skills that lead to healthy family interactions. Parenting Courses, Family Weekends, and mentoring relationships are complemented by other programmatic initiatives, such as: a Teen/Young Moms and Dads Program that reaches out to young and teen parents and offers them the resources that will enable them to grow and develop in ways that are healthy and productive for themselves and their children; Family Development, a 2 year program for a limited number of families to empower them as individuals and family units; and Anger Management, a 12-week course designed to improve anger awareness and provide skills and techniques for appropriate expressions of anger. All programs are offered in Spanish and English. Employment - Yes! aims to enhance the job readiness of women in the area we serve by assisting them in obtaining meaningful employment and supporting their ongoing success in that employment. It includes computer training, office skills, entrepreneurial basics, self-esteem building, resume writing and interviewing practice. Specific programs include: Keyboarding (Basic and Advanced); Business Training and Administrative Assistant courses (12-week programs that provide further training to high school graduates in basic grammar, computer basics (Windows, Word, Excel), resume preparation and job interview readiness); Intro to Word and Excel; Job Search Skills; Employment Counseling and Job Development ESL Classes are offered in Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels and are complemented by the availability of language labs and the assistance of Conversation Partners, reading and computer labs/resources. CHAMPIONS (Children Have A Major Place In Our Neighborhood Services) is a series of programs for the children of Mercy Center's families, presenting them with alternatives to the violence and negativity to which they are often subjected. They include After School program, Saturday Reading Enrichment, Girl Talk for middle school and high school girls, winter and spring and summer camp opportunities, seasonal celebrations and special events, all of which address the needs of children for a safe environment and an opportunity to advance their creative and educational potential through individual assistance and group activities. Social Services and Case Management is provided for women and men participating in Mercy Center programs who do not receive case management services from any other agencies. This program, time-limited and goal/outcome oriented, provides an opportunity for participants to work one-on-one with a case worker to solve current problems and create a support structure that will prevent those problems from recurring. Personal Development opportunities include various support groups, Yoga, guidance in personal goal setting and achievement, spirituality support sessions in English and in Spanish, breathing exercises, events and workshops around the theme of non-violence, and comprehensive personal assistance.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had an amazing time interning at Mercy Center during the summer of 2013. The center extended their culture of community and attention to staff members and interns, always making sure they felt a part of the Mercy Center family. The Center also provided additional volunteer opportunities for interns , exposing us to different initiatives and allowing us to flourish in our positions. Really grateful to have contributed to this institution!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering here has been a grateful experience. I felt that I was in a team and we all had a goal to "win." To "win" meant to serve the children and allow them to enjoy their time. The team here is supportive and dependable. It has been a honor to work with the team here.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with Mercy Center during the summer of 2014 and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in the non-profit world to date. Due to the true community feel of the organization, I was able to connect with participants I worked with, making the whole process feel more valuable and personal. I was also able to connect with and learn from the other people who worked in all sectors of the organization, from which I learned an incredible amount about non-profits and about the community we served. The high-energy and heart-filled environment at Mercy Center made every experience there a positive one from which I learned, and the organization's genuine commitment to and value placed upon community members as people taught me as much about leadership and connecting to people as the actual work did about issues facing documented and undocumented non-citizen residents of the Bronx.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Mercy Center is a wonderful non-profit located in The Bronx, NY that has been providing social services to families in the Mott Haven neighborhood for the past 24 years.
I have been associated with Mercy Center for over 20 years as a volunteer teacher, donor, committee member, Board member and Trustee.
I have come to know the both the dedicated volunteers and staff serving the community and the families who come to Mercy Center for help.
From the moment you see the attractive building and its garden to the warm welcome you receive when you enter Mercy Center to the caring staff and volunteers who listen and help, Mercy Center is an exemplary service organization that not only helps family members with their requested needs but also seeks to help all family members achieve their full potential.
Mercy Center is one of those special places that not only helps the community but also helps its staff and volunteers achieve their full potential!



Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked at the Mercy Center this past summer and it was super rewarding and inspiring. I learned a lot -- the business side of the immigration process, the human side of social work, and how much of a positive difference I can personally make. Everyone has so much heart and they are making a really important impact in the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for over a month at Mercy Center, an organization consistently hospitable and comfortable in nature. Originally attracted to the variety of programs and classes offered by Mercy Center, I have since witnessed that the organization offers even more. It is refreshing to see a center focus its energies on the needs of the population it serves, even if that means a redirect for its staff and resources in order to more effectively serve greater numbers. Of course, with the limits that most non-profits face in funds, staff, and space, Mercy Center can never give as much as it would like. However, I have already witnessed several efforts to offer referrals when the site cannot provide the assistance that is being sought. Its holistic approach and welcoming atmosphere definitely grant Mercy Center five stars!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at the Mercy Center for over six months and it's been a very rewarding experience. Primarily working at its immigrant services center, it's been great to see how much is being done and how it's all growing to cater to the needs of the community. The help that is being provided to kids and adults with their citizenship cases, ESL, etc., is vital to them, and they feel grateful to have a center like this help them prepare for their next step in life. One can't help but feel grateful, too, as every day is a new experience. I've come to know staff from all different departments at Mercy, and everyone is so invested...and approachable...they have a real passion for what they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mercy Center is a place that all should know about. It's a place that empowers all people who attend and gives them a sense of self. It's palpable how Mercy Center participants feel and look more empowered as the gain skills through the different programs that they partake.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently joined Mercy Center as a full-time volunteer; I have been amazed at the high commitment level of the staff, and how much effort is put into making Mercy Center a welcoming place to work and receive services. Although the services Mercy Center provides are free, a strong dedication exists to provide quality and comprehensive services. The legacy of Catherine McAuley and the values of the Sisters of Mercy are definitely visible in this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great programs...offers the non English speaking community a fighting chance.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with the Mercy Center's Office for New Americans (citizenship) program for several months in 2013 and 2014 and also assisted with some of the organization's other programs and events. It is a great organization! It is well managed, well organized, has wonderful, friendly and dedicated staff, and does an amazing job serving its clients. I learned a tremendous amount during my time volunteering and would highly recommend the Mercy Center.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern with the Office for New American at Mercy Center during the summer of 2013. It was an amazing time filled with many diverse and enriching experiences. The staff and volunteers at the Mercy Center were welcoming, kind, and absolutely wonderful. They provided an environment for volunteers and participants alike that made one feel cared for and comfortable. While I interned with a specific office within the Mercy Center I was able to partake in many other volunteer opportunities within the center and enjoyed interacting with all those who walked through those doors. I learned a lot about the non-profit field and was witness to how vital the Mercy Center is to its community. They do everything they can with the resources at their disposal to help others.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered at Mercy Center in the winter of 2003. My first task was helping moving things into their new building from the rooms they rented in the local elementary school. This newly constructed building was a place of warmth and welcome in a part of the Bronx that desperately needed it. I was welcomed by the staff members and community members with open arms. I have continued to volunteer in various other ways(children services, afterschool, and citizenship) through the years if I lived close enough to Mercy Center. They are a great organization with a professional staff who care deeply about their volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an intern at Mercy Center from February till August 2014. It was an enriching experience for me. Not only did I learn a lot about how a non-profit works but I also had the opportunity to witness the valuable services that it provides to the surrounding community. It makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the people who live in the area. The staff and volunteers at Mercy Center do an incredible job every day at helping people find their way in life and giving them the necessary skills to improve their situation and build a better future for themselves and their children. Even though resources are scarce, everyone makes the best of what they have. They are truly an inspiration to everyone who visits Mercy Center.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year, I volunteered to teach a Job Readiness class. I had not taught in a number of years, and I was a bit nervous to work with adults. Immediately, I was put at ease by the welcoming staff and warm reception I received from my students. My students were eager to learn and I was amazed by the progress over such a short period of time. In a matter of weeks, my class went from learning computer basics to being able to produce PowerPoint presentations and maintain Microsoft Office Calendars all on their own. Two of my students even managed to secure employment during the semester!
All of this would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of the Mercy Center staff. I am amazed at how efficient they are in their use of limited space and limited budgets. Nothing is wasted at Mercy Center - neither time, supplies, or effort. I will be teaching again this semester and am looking forward to a new class and a new wonderful experience.

Pat_40

Advisor

Rating: 5

I first visited the Mercy Center about 10 years ago when dropping off donated clothing from my daughter's school's Dress for Success drive. That's all it took, one visit, to make me know that this is a very special place run by very special people doing a tremendous amount of good in a very under-served part of out city. The center serves poor women and their families by empowering them to help themselves. The result is an atmosphere of mutual respect and great sense of community that is immediately felt when you walk through their doors. Truly amazing is how they manage to run their programs and are always looking to expand them on a shoe string budget. Over the years I have invited friends to Mercy Center events. What speaks volumes for the mission of the center is how quickly people "get it" and want to help.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been connected with Mercy Center for nearly 20 years and I continue to be amazed at how much this South Bronx community resource accomplishes on a shoe string budget, using a small staff of 20 and more than 165 regular volunteers, serving the poorest of the poor in the nation's poorest Congressional District. Mercy Center provides support, skills and hope to 2,000 persons a year. The majority are Latin American and West-African immigrants. Two-thirds of Mercy Center families earn less than $15,000 annually, half of these families survive on less than $10,000 a year. What inspires me to support Mercy Center with my time and money is how it serves poor women and their families by addressing the needs of the whole person and by building a community of respect, hospitality and nonviolence that makes transformation possible. Mercy Center is a very special place that helps those it serves take charge of their lives and gives them a reason to hope.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Mercy Center is an inspiration to all who visit there. You can just feel the energy, the love and the respect with which they treat all who are engaged with the center in one way or another. This center is not just helping women, but helping families in addressing whatever needs they have.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Mercy Center is a special place. You can feel the love, the sense of purpose, and the sense of sanctuary as soon as you walk in the front door: children playing in the front room, parents hurrying down stairs to classes, staff talking on the phones to outside agencies. These feelings are why I decided to get more involved with Mercy Center and have helped with their fundraising for a few years now. I am amazed at the sisyphean task that Mercy Center faces every year to meet their budget, but they do so without complaint and without failing. I am honored to be associated with such wonderful people.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm in awe of Mercy Center's Employment Yes! program which addresses the needs of a swelling number of women seeking their invaluable work-readiness resources in a neighborhood where few services exist.

Gene4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered 2 days a week for about 10 years. What I liked most and kept me coming back was the sense of community. A person may start out as a participant and after a while become a volunteer helping others.I was always happy to see how many women made Mercy Center an important part of their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From time to time, one of the women at Mercy Center asks my help in untangling her knitting. Having had the good fortune to have learned knitting as a girl from a mother who was there to correct my mistakes and teach me what to do instead, I now play this maternal role for a new generation of knitters. While engaging in a meditative group activity, these women take pride in making something both beautiful and useful for themselves and their families. I enjoy using my skills to help these beginners to see where their stitches went wrong, fix what can be fixed, and offer encouragement to keep moving forward. This strikes me as an apt metaphor for much of what I and so many others do at Mercy Center.

At present, I am in my sixth semester of teaching beginning English language learners and I also interview people seeking naturalization. This service to the poorest of the poor is rewarding in a way that practicing law seldom was for me.

Our ESL class is made up of adults who attend four mornings a week, even though they may have as many as five children or have worked a night shift. They come from Central and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Often, they have literacy issues even in their native languages. Despite these challenges, they are motivated to change their lives by improving what little English they may already know.

Our course is very practical: rather than literature, there are units on such topics as visiting the doctor, shopping, and making telephone calls. I supplement our course materials with flyers from local supermarkets, directions to the Bronx Zoo, and subway terminology. We sing songs and exchange recipes used on special occasions in different countries. In addition to emphasizing English grammar, I introduce the students to American culture, New York history, and teach quarts and pounds to those used to the Metric system. Some of the parents have remarked that this helps them because it is what their children are learning in school.

A woman from Mexico once said that she needed to learn English so she could find work. Everyone rejoiced when she proudly told us she’d been hired to answer the phone in a coffee shop. And I was so pleased when she remarked that she was using vocabulary we had learned like “side order.”

On another occasion, a pregnant woman from Algeria stayed after class to ask my help in reading her sonogram report. It looked pretty good to me, but after some discussion, it turned out she had been crying all night over the list of body parts under the heading “not well seen.” She interpreted “not well” as “ill” and thought the baby was malformed. Reassuring her that all the parts that could be visualized were reported as perfect, I felt I was in the right place at the right time. (And I followed up by making sure the next month’s report was just fine.)

As a supporter of Mercy Center for over 20 years, I have seen so much good and so much growth in the people, the programs, and the facility. We do big and little things with great love in a nurturing environment. We learn from each other and show that positive change is indeed possible.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a longtime financial supporter of Mercy Center, I have been gratified to see all the good the staff does and how the services offered to the neediest New Yorkers have grown over the years.

Now that I'm retired from the practice of law, it gives me great pleasure to volunteer 2 days a week at Mercy Center. In particular, I enjoy teaching in an ESL program is very practical in its focus on empowering the students to use English in everyday situations, such as speaking to doctors, merchants, and their children's teachers. Programs like this enhance the participants' confidence and strengthen the whole family.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have come to know Mercy Center as an Ignatian Volunteer and am privileged to share, in a small way, (two days per week) in so much good that happens for and among the participants of Mercy Center. I do various and sundry tasks in my volunteer role from teaching in the Employment Yes program (computer skills and work place readiness) to tutoring in an Afterschool program for Grades K – 5.

The time I spend volunteering at Mercy Center is the highlight of my week!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have come to know Mercy Center as an Ignatian Volunteer and am privileged to share, in a small way, (two days per week) in so much good that happens for and among the participants of Mercy Center. I do various and sundry tasks in my volunteer role from teaching in the Employment Yes program (computer skills and work place readiness) to tutoring in an Afterschool program for Grades K – 5.

The time I spend volunteering at Mercy Center is the highlight of my week!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I coordinate a food program for 20 Mercy Center families.
My favorite day of the month is the day I visit Mercy Center. It is the most uplifting, heartwarming experience for me. There is a warmth that is exuded from the staff and the participants that permeates my soul. It is a gift to give of oneself, but the great gift is what you get in return.

Review from Guidestar