Mercy Housing Lakefront September 2014 Newsletter

Seventh Grader Sets Great Example

Thanks to donors like you, Antwanay has the support she needs to succeed in school and develop the confidence she will need to succeed in life.  As Antwanay starts seventh grade, she knows that she will stay on track and continue to improve her grades and work toward her goals.

antwanayAntwanay started in Mercy Housing Lakefront’s after school program when she was in third grade.  She was struggling in school, especially with math.  During the time that she has participated in the after school program she has made remarkable improvement.  She went from failing in math to achieving B’s and C’s.  Antwanay said that so far her first couple days of seventh grade have gone well and she is very excited about the new SOLVE method for problem solving that they are learning for word problems in math.  She is determined to get all A’s and B’s this year so that she can get in to a good high school.  She loves to read, especially mystery novels.  She also loves to play tennis and spend time with her little sister.

This year she has been chosen to be a part of the mentor program.   The mentor program gives three of the most responsible and high achieving older students an opportunity to receive a small stipend for helping to supervise and teach the younger children.  Being a mentor is nothing new for Antwanay because she is already a role model for her younger sister Aniya.  Five year old Aniya is beginning Kindergarten this year and has now joined her big sister in Mercy Housing Lakefront’s after school program.

Back to School

It is hard to believe that summer is over, but the school year has officially begun. Thanks to the generous support of US Bank and Linden LLC, the school year is off to a great start for the children in Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Pullman Wheelworks and Westside After-School Program.

us bankOn August 20th US Bank hosted a back-to-school event at Pullman Wheelworks.  US Bank employees were there to distribute brand new book bags to 160 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Parents and students also celebrated the beginning of a new year with cupcakes, cookies and juice. Big thanks go to Eva, Ameila, and the entire US Bank team!

backpacksOn August 27th the youth in Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Afterschool Program in the Austin Community also celebrated the beginning of the new school year.  Thanks to the generous support of our community partner, Linden LLC, over 30 children were provided with brand new backpacks and much needed school supplies to start the year on the right foot.  Big thanks go to Mark Sullivan at Linden LLC for helping to make this event possible!

If your organization is interested in partnering with Mercy Housing to enrich the lives children and youth, please contact David Hays at

Veggie Bingo a Big Success

On September 3rd The Hideout hosted a Veggie Bingo fundraiser in partnership with Neighborspace to support Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Austin Youth Garden.  The event was a great success and the crowd filled the entire venue and the outdoor patio.  This summer’s youth garden was also a great success and a wide variety of vegetables were grown, sold and eaten.

Overflow-Crowd-Outside-the-Hideout-(2)The Austin Youth Garden program provides an opportunity for 15 young community members to earn a stipend over the summer while they work in the garden and learn about growing and eating healthy fruits and vegetables.  This year they grew an impressive array of produce, including tomatoes, peppers, celery, brussel sprouts, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, collard greens, eggplant, zucchini, strawberries, apples, melons, and more!

The produce was sold to residents and employees of Mercy Housing and other community members. Sales totaled more than $400 to benefit the program.  The program participants learned to make pickles with the cucumbers they grew, which were jarred and sold as well.  The kids also enjoyed eating the fruits of their labor.    Mercy Housing’s partner Chicago Cares came to teach the kids about healthy eating and held a cooking class using many of the items from the garden.

Thank you to The Hideout, Neighborspace, and all of the Veggie Bingo participants for making the fundraiser a success and supporting the Austin Youth Garden.  Because of you, young people are learning the joys of growing and eating healthy food.  If you are interested in getting your hands dirty and helping in the garden please contact Whitney Nash at wnash@mercy