Difference Maker: Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls
Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, opened in 1887, is located in Chicago's Near West Side, at Jackson and Racine. Photo credit Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) - For more than a century, a Chicago charity has helped children find their way in the world, many, against all odds.

This week's difference maker is Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.

“All of these children who come to us have experienced some kind of trauma: abuse, neglect, abandonment, hunger, homelessness and more, Mercy Home President and CEO Fr. Scott. Donahue said.

He said their mission now is the same as it was in 1887 when their doors first opened: to give children in need everything a family should.

“(It is) a place of safety number one, clothing and food and love, which is terribly important, and guidance and boundaries,” Donahue said.

Mercy Home also focuses on the importance of education, helping children through school and college and, in some cases, beyond.

Edward Gamble is one of their many success stories. He left his Cabrini Green home at 14, and, after living on the streets and sleeping on trains for two years, found his way to Mercy Home.

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls
Mercy Home President CEO Fr. Scott Donahue (left) and former resident and current Mercy Home's Board of Regents member Edward Gamble (right) Photo credit Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

“They were the lighthouse in the darkness. They told me I could stay. It was a relief because I had the security now. I could sleep without one eye open,” said Gamble.

Now 57, Gamble serves on Mercy Home's Board of Regents. His gift to the children is inspiration.

“They're like, 'oh wow, you were here? Really?’ You know, it's like a shock and awe type of thing for them,” Gamble noted

And, that brings great joy to Gamble.

Fr. Scott seconds that emotion.

“(I have) great joy. I rejoice in the success of our young people,” Donahue said.

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls
Mercy Home has taken in Chicago's troubled youth for more than 130 years. Photo credit Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mercy Home for Boys & Girls