#MakeMercyReal through Second Chances
September 21, 2017
By Gary Loncki
Certainly, Jennie Hagerty knew of the Mercy Center for Women in east Erie, Pennsylvania, when she applied for the job of executive director earlier this year. But her eyes opened anew once she took the post.
“I have to admit, I was naïve,” she said. The center welcomes women suffering from domestic abuse, homelessness, addiction and other issues. They receive a second chance through transitional housing, mentoring, programs and support. Some have children living with them.
“I never knew the realness of what these women here go through. Their needs are so great,” said Jennie.
“She has been great!” voiced in unison Jordan and Danielle. Both women have just graduated to townhouses in the area after calling the center home with their children for the past several months.
“Being here helped build my self-esteem, and I learned to trust people again,” said Jordan, a mother of four originally from Texas. “I am blessed and uplifted by their support.”
Danielle, who has two children, attributed her growth, new skills and confidence to Jennie and her staff. “I don’t know where I would be if not for this place!”
Jennie smiled as they excitedly shared their stories. “These are our success stories,” she said. She noted that she learns as much from the women as they say they do from her.
Helping Women on their Journey to Recovery
Jennie’s passion and excitement come out of her desire to make a difference in the lives of others. She sees her role as providing the center’s clients leadership, mentoring and vision. “There are so many women and children who need support. I want to help them on their journey to recovery,” she said.
She credited a well-trained and professional staff with meeting the needs of the 14 women and seven children presently in transitional housing. The staff also builds self-esteem in women to “make their lives whole again.”
100 Miles for Mercy
In addition to her work at Mercy Center for Women, Jennie is an energetic cyclist. On October 2 she will cycle 100 miles from North East, Pennsylvania, to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, as part of a group raising awareness about the social justice work of Catholic sisters. “I am so happy to be part of this,” she said. “I would cycle 200 miles for Mercy!”