The Issue: Residential Program Lacking Bicycles for Youth
The at-risk youth who live at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls attend schools that best fit their individual needs. Younger students ride in carpools to school and older youth often take public transportation, but many of the schools are within biking distance. Though Mercy Home owns several bikes already, many of them are rundown and, in any case, there aren’t enough of them to go around. Biking to school and work not only helps save on time and transportation costs, but also provides a means of exercise at a time when more than 20% of Chicago's children are overweight or obese, according to a report from the City of Chicago.
The Campaign: Providing Bicycles to Youth Riding to School
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Mercy Home for Boys & Girls to provide bikes for youth living in the residential home. Every $100 raised will purchase one bicycle, one helmet, one bike repair kit, and one set of lights. Diana’s Bananas will provide up to $750 in matching donations.
The 170 boys and girls who live at Mercy Home can share the bikes for their daily needs. During the school year, bikes will help youth get to school and after-school jobs, while providing a source of play and transportation to internships in the summer. By following bike lanes around the city, they can discover more about what their neighborhoods have to offer.
Mercy Home for Boys & Girls
Dedicated staff members at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls strive to provide a true home for young people in their care. A venerable Chicago institution since 1887, Mercy Home has sheltered more than 25,000 youth who have suffered abuse, abandonment, the death of a parent, and other challenges. The organization provides around-the-clock care, setting expectations and schedules for youth ages 11 to 21.
Young people in the program are given lodging and meals and sent to school. They can work on homework during study time, and paint or sculpt during art therapy sessions. In addition to the residential program, Mercy Home provides lifelong support and resources such as therapy, scholarships, and career referral for former members after they age out of the program, along with academic support and one-on-one mentoring for other children in need.