Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas Carol

MCH theater students gave a special Christmas treat this year with a production of “A Christmas Carol.” The famous Christmas story by Charles Dickens was performed on Dec. 11 at the Harrell Memorial Chapel on the Waco campus.
The theater students are led by instructor Kira Rockwell, a Baylor BFA graduate in theater performance. The class spent two days in October doing auditions for the play. On the first day, Rockwell met with students interested in the technical aspects of theater such as light, sound, costume, makeup, and set design. The following day, auditions for acting roles were held where students performed scenes from the play in groups of two or three. Below is the final cast and production crew:

Narrator and Belle – Beth
Scrooge – Ben
Mr. Cratchit – Josh
Fred and Young Ebenezer – Trey
Mr. Jeeves, Peter Cratchit, and Broker 2 – Alfred
Tiny Tim, Ignorance and Boy – Chris
Marley’s Ghost, Fan, and Mrs. Dibler – Kimberly Bobbitt (Recreation Coordinator) filled in for Mae who was out sick
Spirit of Christmas Past, Janet, and Mrs. Oliver – Jade
Spirit of Christmas Present – Apryl
Mrs. Cratchit, Want, and Broker 1 – Grace
Martha Cratchit – Jessica
Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come – Aaron
Light and Sound Designer – Natasha
Costume and Make-up Designer – Jade
Set Designer and Lead Stagehand – Aaron

“The students did incredible,” Rockwell said. “Every student on that stage challenged themselves and grew exponentially since day one of class. They had fun, they were creative, they were brave, and they were confident enough in themselves to perform in front of their peers and finish the show. Most importantly what I am most pleased with is the fact that they completed the production feeling so proud and accomplished.”

In Rockwell’s after-school theater class, she said the students began the semester by focusing on cultivating a “team spirit” within the group and established warmups that they do in every class. Throughout the semester, they learned the basics of theater and the actor’s process as well as attended a production at Baylor, “Into the Woods.” Rockwell said the students also read plays with different styles of acting such as Greek, Shakespearean, Improv and contemporary drama.

“My desire for these students is that in this class they would not only learn about theatre and play a few acting games, but they would leave as confident, educated young theatre artists who are knowledgeable of the styles, techniques and the disciplines it takes to do theatre outside of Methodist Children's Home,” Rockwell said. “Of course we have our fun and play those acting games, but I truly feel this group allows students to discover something they've never tried or never thought they could do and realize they actually can and that they're pretty great at it, too.” 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Core Value Award for Responsibility - Taneequa Newton

Methodist Children’s Home recognizes staff annually who exemplify our core awards. Staff members are nominated by their peers and recognized at an all-staff meeting.

The Core Values of MCH are:
Christian Principles

Taneequa Newton, director of transition services, received the 2014 Core Award for Responsibility. The recipient of the Core Award for Responsibility is defined as someone who is accountable for self and others.

Newton has worked at MCH fort 16 years, first as a youth care counselor (YCC) and then a YCC supervisor while attending college for social work. She was the unit manager of the Williams home unit before becoming director of transition services.

According to Newton’s nomination, “She has always been kind and caring and has excellent Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) skills. Over the years, she has always been professional and continues to strive to find ways to best meet the needs of the youth in her care. She takes great pride in her work and in working with families to improve their relationships with their children. Taneequa is an active member of the Spirit Committee and can often be seen at sporting events cheering on her youth. In August, Taneequa was promoted to director of Transition Services. In her new role, she has quickly become attuned to the needs of our young adults and is intentional about helping them to succeed. Taneequa is respected for her sense of urgency, responsibility and dedication to MCH.”

“I truly thank MCH for honoring me with the Core Value Award for Responsibility,” said Newton. “Working in many different capacities has given me the opportunity to serve our youth and be a voice for them in their time of need and t that is a responsibility that I take very seriously. It is a blessing to be able to work for an agency that provides a nurturing environment for our youth and gives them hope for the future.”

Jeff Creel, associate administrator and Newton’s supervisor, had this to share: “I enjoy working with Taneequa and she had exhibited tremendous growth over her time at MCH. It is obvious that she genuinely cares about all of the young adults we serve through MCH. Taneequa is very nurturing and also empowers the young adults to work toward their full potential. She understands TBRI and the importance of meeting the young adults where they are ‘walking with them’ as they go through transitions in life. We are blessed to have her at MCH.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ranch Showmanship 2014

A large crowd of MCH staff and youth gathered at the Boys Ranch pavilion on Tuesday, Dec. 9 for the first-ever Ranch Showmanship event. Students from the FFA program showed their animals and were judged on their presentation as well as the appearance of the animal. 

The event was an opportunity for the 35 ag students to gain experience outside of local livestock shows in presenting their animals before a judge. MCH welcomed John Kuretsch as its guest judge.

“I wanted the kids to get an opportunity to show again and for the rest of the students not in ag to see what it is about,” said Steve Kruse, ag teacher.

Kruse leads the students in class as they learn to properly care for their animals, prepare them for showing and practice showmanship. The ag program teaches youth responsibility while also helping them to build self-confidence.

Steers, lambs, goats and swine in several categories were showed by the youth. The winners were:

Steers – Star
Lamb – Iyahnna
Goat – Tameka
Swine – Prince

Congratulations to all our student participants!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tutoring with Baylor students

Thanks to the benevolence of some Baylor University students, several MCH youth are getting a better understanding in their most challenging subjects. During the fall semester, 12 students from Baylor’s Medical Service Organization volunteered to tutor students in the Methodist Children’s Home School.

The tutors meet with students in seventh to tenth grade for an hour and a half once a week. The students are looking for help in the subjects of reading and math. Not only has this partnership been successful academically, but also provided the students with a person to look up to.

“The tutors give our students some positive role models that are not much older than them,” said Michelle Arocha, assistant principal at Methodist Children’s Home School. “They can see success in someone just 3-5 years older.”

Arocha said several MCH students had the option of receiving tutoring during the day but chose to receive tutoring after school with the Baylor students instead. She said they felt like they learned more in the smaller student ratio and enjoyed learning from a young person.

Baylor student Bunnarack Kuch, from Quinlan, Texas, learned about MCH when he volunteered over the summer. He was interested in returning and helped initiate the service project for Medical Service Organization students to volunteer as tutors throughout the fall. 

“I really enjoyed tutoring at MCH,” said Kuch, a premed junior at Baylor majoring in biochemistry. “Everything was well organized and the staff really made sure we had everything we needed. The students were wonderful as well!”

The partnership between Baylor tutors and MCHS students will continue next semester.

“I am excited about continuing to work with the Baylor volunteers and feel that the students really benefit from the project,” Arocha said.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Core Value Award for Service - Tyrone Robinson

Methodist Children’s Home annually recognizes staff who exemplifies one of our core values.  Staff members are nominated by their peers and are recognized at an all-staff meeting during which the awards are given.

The Core Values for MCH are:
Christian Principles

Tyrone Robinson, youth care counselor at the Boys Ranch, received the Core Award for Service. The recipient for the Core Award for Service is defined as someone who shows compassion through generosity and care.

According to Robinson’s nomination, “Tyrone brings a keen eye to his surroundings and the people in it, an ability to build relationships with staff and youth, and the drive to make a difference. Tyrone is passionate about working with youth and helping them to become successful and make good choices. Throughout his daily interactions, Tyrone role models hard work, dependability, strong morals, positive choices, logic, and patience for our youth. Tyrone is always there when you need him, whether it is for a transportation run, step trip, overnight coverage, or to help with a difficult situation. This willingness to be flexible to meet the needs of our youth makes a huge difference daily to both staff and youth. Tyrone is proactive in his approach to work with our youth and strives to de-escalate people and situations well before they become problematic. The boys and staff at the Ranch have great respect for Tyrone. He has high expectations for our youth and holds the boys accountable for their actions while also building playful and engaging relationships through sports, dominoes, and other activities.

Robinson has worked for MCH for four years. “When I am able to help youth accomplish their goals, I feel like I am truly giving something back to society,” he said. “This is why I love my job.”

Ian Bracken, recreation supervisor, and Robinson’s supervisor, had this to share: “Tyrone is great to work with. I appreciate his passion and drive to make a difference in youth’s lives, I could not ask for a better staff member.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ranch Family Day 2014

Boys Ranch welcomed families of youth on Nov. 25 to kick off a Thanksgiving week of fellowship. For this year’s Family Day, visitors gathered in the dining hall for the come-and-go event.

Families were treated to a dinner and snacks prepared by the dining hall staff. Ranch child care staff also provided families with goody bags filled with items promoting Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) techniques such as stress balls, pencil toppers, water, snacks and gum. TBRI is a method of care developed by Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development focused on helping children who have experienced relationship-based trauma to heal. Also included in the bags was a list of MCH’s 10 life skills that are taught to MCH youth during their stay. 

These life skills are:
1. Use good words to communicate
2. Be gentle and kind
3. Show respect
4. Listen and learn
5. Understand who is in charge
6. Accept decisions of authority
7. Make good choices
8. Focus and finish your work
9. Negotiate and compromise
10. Build trusting relationships

Ranch youth Charles, Chris and Jaden worked with homeparent Glinda Thorp to prepare a puppet show for the crowd to demonstrate several of these life skills and an example of a “redo.”  A “redo” is a conflict resolution technique that allows individuals to start over after having a disagreement.

“The kids worked hard on their show,” said Laura Bonner, Boys Ranch administrator. “They did a great job!”


Monday, November 24, 2014

Core Value Award for Relationships - Michelle Gunter

Methodist Children’s Home recognizes staff annually who exemplify our core values. Staff members are nominated by their peers and recognized at an all-staff meeting.

The Core Values of MCH are:
Christian Principles

Michelle Gunter, case manager in the Corpus Christi outreach office, received the Core Award for Relationships. The recipient of the Core Award for Relationships is defined as someone who builds healthy relationships through communication, respect, trust and love.

 According to Gunter’s nomination, “Michelle has a positive attitude that creates an energetic work environment. She works well with everyone and is willing to assist in any way. Michelle is an invaluable asset to MCH and the families she works with through the Family Solutions program. Michelle has the ability to help our families develop healthy relationships, and they develop a sense of trust and love as they work with Michelle. Due to her ability to connect with families, they know they can contact her in times of need as well as in times of celebration. Michelle clearly displays a gift for connecting in a positive way with people, including agencies and people of influence throughout the community. Michelle works with several community agencies and has established great working relationships to assist the families we serve. These agencies welcome us with open arms and see us as a vital resource for the community. Michelle is always positive and proactive as she helps instill hope and happiness in the life of struggling families.”

Gunter has worked for MCH for two years. “Receiving the Core Value Award for Relationships is truly amazing,” Gunter said. “I appreciate the recognition and the acknowledgement of the time I have worked for MCH. Being nominated and chosen is truly a blessing. Hearing the letter my director wrote about my work ethic is appreciated. I was a little emotional and wanted to cry, but I held it all in. I have never received an award like this and I will continue to practice the Core Value of Relationships with families I work with as well as the community.”

Marisol Gomez, director of the Corpus Christie Outreach office, and Gunter’s supervisor, had this to share: “I have enjoyed working with Michelle. She is a true advocate for her families and when promoting MCH services. I enjoy the energy she brings to the office and how she is always willing to help.”