Mercy Home is filled with incredible team members who work tirelessly to better the lives of Chicago’s youth. Thirty years ago, Monti Clayton was brought to Mercy Home after an unfortunate situation. Monti was working at Cabrini Green, a public housing complex, where she would visit with the residents to help them better their lives. She quickly became aware of the way people were living and the culture within the complex. One night after work, she was waiting at the bus stop to go home when she felt a bullet whiz past her ear. One of the residents was shooting from their window and Monti and her coworker had to run back inside to shield themselves. As she was running, she was shot. Monti was rushed to the hospital and when she arrived, the workers assumed she was a resident of Cabrini Green and she was treated poorly, even having to walk herself from the entrance to the ER. The experience had a huge impact on Monti and she decided she wanted to work in a safer atmosphere and teach preschool. Monti always had a strong passion for helping those in need and when the preschool launched an afterschool program, she quickly signed up to help the students.
As she started getting more comfortable in her position at the preschool, she decided she needed to step out of her comfort zone once again. She saw a position at the recently opened Mercy Home girls campus and decided to apply. When she began working at Mercy Home, she faced challenges in gaining the trust of the young girls but eventually learned that patience, time and natural conversations would soon solve this. As she spoke with the girls, it was hard for her to relate to the traumatic events that they had experienced but she always searched for a common, healthy way to bridge the gap and overcome their personal challenges, which sometimes was as simple as teaching them how to relax, play and just have fun.
After three decades at Mercy Home, Monti once again got the itch to step out of her comfort zone. She became aware of an opportunity at a program that supports Mercy Home alumni, AfterCare, which sparked her interest. She applied and became the Manager of Coordinated Support where she works to provide support to alumni. Monti has been an incredible Mercy Home team member, helping countless boys and girls better themselves, and will continue to have a great impact on them in AfterCare.