Aug 14Meet Gerson
For Gerson, an affordable place to live connected with educational support has played a transformative role in his life. A 2019 recipient of the EPIC Educational Support Grant, he shared how having encouragement at his Mercy Housing home in Tacoma to pursue his goals has been so meaningful.
Gerson’s family has resided at Mercy Housing for seven years. He is the oldest of three kids and takes his role as big brother seriously. His parents are English language learners, so Gerson has really stepped up to help his sisters navigate the school system, study for the SATs and encourage them to get involved with after-school programs and activities. He is a cross-country and soccer athlete in school and credits his involvement in extracurricular activities for pushing him out of his comfort zone and helping him make friends at school.
Prior to living at Mercy Housing, Gerson’s family resided in a small one-bedroom apartment in Lakewood. Since moving, he enjoys the space now that he has his own room in a three-bedroom apartment. His parents always wanted the best for him and his sisters, including a home that they could afford and a supportive environment in which to study. Gerson is active with the Resident Services programs offered at his Mercy Housing community, including Homework Club, which offers structured homework help, study skills development, and tutoring. Spanish was Gerson’s first language, and he shared that “without the help that the Resident Services staff provided through Homework Club, I would have struggled a lot more in school.” Instead, he says, “Each day, my frowns would turn to smiles whenever I arrived home, since staff members always helped me with assignments.”
With the help of the EPIC grant, Gerson will pursue an undergraduate dual-degree engineering program at Pacific Lutheran University in the fall, and plans to become a civil engineer.