Mercy Neighborhood Ministries (MNM) has been a focal point to the Nicetown community since 1997 and Sister Ann Provost, the executive director of the ministry, has been there since the beginning.
MNM has a wide range of programs that cater to the improvement of the children in the neighborhood. A program was recently implemented at the ministry is STEM, an after-school program focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.
“I really enjoy the STEM program that we have because it’s something new and the kids really enjoy getting engaged and involved with the activities because its a lot of hands-on and experimenting,” said Shanta Lemons, a second- and third-grade teacher at the ministry.
These programs are important for the children in this community because of some of the disadvantages of the neighborhood and things that go on at home, she added.
“The average income of a family of three in our neighborhood is under $30,000 a year,” Steven Ziegler, the director of philanthropy, said. “The deep poverty rate is 12 percent, the unemployment rate of this area is 17 percent.”
MNM also provides programs and services that assist adults. It offers adult education courses through a GED program and also has senior care for elderly who are unable to stay at home alone.
According to the Census Bureau, only 41.6 percent of the people 25 years and older in the area received their high school diploma. In addition, only 5.2 percent received an associate’s degree and 3.1 percent received a bachelor’s degree.
The statistics show that there is a lot more work to be done in the community and Mercy Neighborhood Ministries believes it is on the right track by lending a helping hand to the kids and adults in the community in need of a proper education and care.
“In this ministry, we invite many people to come and see it,” Provost said, adding volunteers are welcome.
“It’s a place where you can reach out and help others in any variety of ways.”
-Text, video and images by Rasheed Reynolds.