From all of us to all of you. We hope that your Independence Day is full of laughter, Joy and time with Family.
The Staff, Students, Faculty, and Seniors Of Mercy Neighborhood Ministries.
The past two fiscal years have been quite the ride for Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia, Inc. Last year, we saw annual giving surpass $100,000 for the first time in our history. We also closed “in the black” for the second consecutive year and consequently, the second time in our existence. Kudos to our childcare staff who have achieved a Keystone STARS Level 4 accreditation, our adult daycare staff who continue to brighten the days of our senior populations, and our adult education volunteers who have led 5 learners to the successful completion of their GED.
Thank you for supporting our mission. This year alone, we have processed 951 gifts as of this writing – a 64 gift increase over our 2016 year-end total. The 2017 Mercy Neighbor Award saw a $13,000 increase in profits over last year and an additional 60 guests at our tables.
While we continue to progress as an organization, we need your support now more than ever. Despite our upward trend, some of our major gifts were not renewed this year and we will need to raise $60,000 by June 30th in order to achieve our goal of $400,000.
Our history is storied and we are now on the verge of the next chapter for Mercy. With an expansion on the horizon, we have the opportunity to serve more students at a new site in fiscal year 2018 and we hope that you will be along for the journey. During my two-plus years at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia, Inc., I have been fortunate enough to learn why so many of you share in the spirit of Mercy.
I encourage all of you to stop by the Mercy Family Center to share in the future of our mission.
Director of Philanthropy
Jose Figueroa’s work ethic has been present since his days of delivering newspapers at the age of 14. Now, 38, the route may not have been what he envisioned, but it’s brought him to where he should be.
“It was a decision to keep going to school or take care of your family and everything I’ve done, I’ve done for my children,” Figueroa says. This year, he became a grandfather and now has even more of a reason to value his legacy.
Jose’s decision to return to school brought him to the Philadelphia Public Library at Broad & Erie to research Adult Education programs. The staff referred him to Mercy, he walked over to investigate that day and thanks to Sr. Maureen, he was starting classes the next week.
The Mayfair native dropped out of Edison High School during his senior year of high school because he had a daughter on the way. He worked in fast food, retail, and spent ten years as a manager at Foot Locker.
“I tell my kids that they at least have to bring me a high school diploma. I ask them, ‘Do you want to flip burgers forever or find something you actually want to do?’”
He is open with his children that he struggled when he was younger because of his lack of a diploma and the need to provide for them. “My kids are the most wonderful thing,” he says. As his face lights up when he talks about his children, it is obvious that in his own path toward success, he keeps theirs in mind. Jose is thrilled to learn about his 12-year-old daughter’s achievements in school especially when he hears her excitement in telling him. He calls his 16-year-old son a “math genius” and admits with a laugh that he’ll often ask him for help when studying for his GED.
Recently, Jose finished the science portion of the GED; passing before he even finished the entire exam.
As the manager of a lounge, his hours often include overnight work and he is grateful for the patience of the instructors at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia, Inc. His customers often times provide him with inspiration as well.
“I’ve spoken to patrons about how difficult it is to keep going especially having been out of school for so long,” Jose says. “Then, just before my last test, one of my customers came in and gave me a small rock with the word ‘Faith’ painted on it. That belief from others helps with the belief in myself and I’m going to keep going.”
After he completes his GED, Jose will officially pursue his lifelong passion of cooking. The more diverse the better. He loves cooking Italian, Spanish, and Asian foods and hopes to learn more about Indian cuisine. He has registered with JNA Institute of the Culinary Arts in South Philadelphia and after 910 hours, he will have an Associates Degree, a Culinary Arts Degree, Pastry Degree, and Serving Degree.
His dream is to open his own restaurant and perhaps sprinkle a dash of his favorite hero, Batman, into the décor. While he recognizes the challenges that come with each opportunity, he has a tried and true mantra which keeps him going.
“You’re never too old to continue learning.”
Tell us why you Love Mercy. As a neighborhood staple, we serve over 300 families and have been around for over 20 years! We want to know your why! Why do you #LOVEMERCY is it because of our #SummerCamp
We are currently running our summer camp Fundraiser and are looking for Camp sponsors
Is it because of the preschool and Headstart educational program we provide, we know how much you love those early learners!
No? How about the adult Day Program and how we keep all of the Seniors engaged and busy? Yeah, that’s got to be it?
No that’s not it either? Jeez! Hummm..
Post your comments on any of our social media outlets or even down below in the blog comments.