(CBS) — Corporate dollars are hitting the streets for hundreds of young people getting a hand back onto the straight and narrow, reports WBBM’s John Cody.

Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, 1140 W Jackson, received $100,000 from a $1.1-million AT&T grant. Mercy Home VP Joe Wronka says the environment helps restore teens to academy parity with their peers.

“Most of our youth when they come to us are behind academically, sometimes as far as two or three years in basic math and reading and with the help of the AT&T Aspire Grant, our youth technically catch up in a year of their time here at Mercy Home.”

An 18-year-old named Aarion said he needed some direction, structure, help with basics like attitude and promptness, all provided by the Mercy Home residential program which brought him from wandering to a nursing certificate.

“I travel to elderly people’s homes and take care of them,” he said. “I also work within Mercy Home at a coffee shop called Alpha & Omega.”

The AT&T grant is also benefitting the Academy for Urban School Leadership, which received $300,000, UCAN operating in North Lawndale got $300,000, and Northwestern University researchers setting up stem programs for promising Chicago Public School students were given $400,000.