Mercy Family Center, located at 1939 W. Venango St., provides care and assistance to anyone in the Nicetown-Tioga area who may need it.
The center got its start when a local parish house realized there was something missing in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood. “In 1990, we had three Sisters working in different parishes in Philadelphia. One Sister had started an after-school program for the children of this neighborhood because there was no Catholic school here,” said Executive Director Sister Ann Provost. “In 1993, the parishes merged together and services were cut so the three of us asked to stay and do work on our own. So we continued to service the neighborhood in individual work through a resource center.”
According to Provost, it wasn’t until 2007 that the Sisters were asked by the Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia Inc., to come together to form what is now the Mercy Family Center.
“We heard from our families that there isn’t a quality preschool [in the neighborhood] so that wasn’t in our minds, however, we thought ‘well, we’ll give this a try’,” Provost said. “When we do a program, we try to respond to the needs of the children and the families that they tell us exist.”
The Mercy Family center not only serves the children of Nicetown-Tioga, but is also licensed to provide Adult Day Care and a GED program. In the GED program, students practice basic reading and writing skills, and are also taught how to use computer programs such as MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Shirley Watson, who is a part of the Adult Day Care program, enjoys what the center has been able to provide her with. “They helped me a lot and it’s really a nice place to be,” Watson said. “[I enjoy] bingo and we [also] go for walks.”