Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MCH joins other childcare agencies at State Capitol


Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) joined representatives from other childcare agencies across Texas at the State Capitol in Austin on Feb. 1 for the awareness event “Never Alone Star State – Advocating for Children in Foster Care” sponsored by the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services (TACFS).

“The alliance put together the event as an opportunity to unite together to advocate for children in foster care in Texas and encourage legislators to make these children a priority this legislative session,” said Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator for MCH who helped coordinate the event on behalf of MCH.
According to its website, the mission of TACFS is to strengthen services to children and families through quality care and advocacy. The alliance is made up of agencies that focus primarily on working with children and families who are at-risk, children who have experienced abuse and neglect and families dealing with low income, loss of jobs, domestic violence, and other issues.

Tim Brown, President/CEO of Methodist Children’s Home, also serves on the Board of Directors for TACFS. He said MCH felt it was important to participate in the awareness event due to the potential for wholesale changes to the Child Welfare Regulatory and Services system in Texas.

“Many of the changes being proposed are positive, but there are others that may impact agencies in unanticipated ways, agencies such as MCH who also serve children placed privately by their own families and caregivers,” Brown explained. “We felt like we could add balance to the proposed solutions by bringing a wider view to the discussions.”

Brown, along with several other agency leaders, was recognized at the Texas Senate during the session by Senator Charles “Carlos” Uresti of Senate District 19. Uresti serves as vice chair for the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Uresti sponsored the conference portion of the event which also included breakfast, presentations and speakers throughout the day, including remarks from Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott. Agencies participating also spent the afternoon making legislative visits. 

MCH is accredited through COA, accepts placements and referrals from TDFPS and is licensed and regulated by the department. Brown pointed out that MCH holds an excellent record of compliance and safety for those in our care.

 “We wanted the opportunity to participate in the dialogue and support positive and necessary change without further encumbering providers with additional changes or regulations unnecessarily,” he said.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

McLennan County Junior Livestock Show 2017

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) FFA students had a record year at the 2017 McLennan County Junior Livestock Show with five animals making it into the sale. The Ag Mechanics team consisting of 17 students also won second place in sweepstakes.

The FFA chapter is part of the charter school at MCH operated in partnership with the University of Texas–University Charter School system. Every year, students in the agriculture classes learn to care for livestock and show them at local events. This year MCH had 23 students compete in the McLennan County show.

Here are the results:

Steers: Nick – 4th (sale), Galen – 5th (sale), Josh – 6th, Kel – 8th; also participated – Jacob

Swine: Julio – 5th (sale), Noah – 6th (sale); also participated – Chris, Lester, Danny, Yacci, Alex

Goats: Selena – 2nd (sale); also participated – Edwina, Ladarius, Tameka

Sheep: Marisa – 3rd, Iona – 4th, Jaylen – 2nd; also participated – KK, Rainn, Akia, Gail

Ag Mechanics Show: Gates (Lester and Jacob) – 3rd, Wooden salt feeder (KK, Akia, Selena) – 2nd, Headache rack (Alex) – 1st, Towable barbeque (Nick, Galen, Josh) – 2nd, Cedar coffee table (Danny) – 2nd, Cedar chest (Marisa) – 1st, Cedar table (Ag classes) – 2nd, Quail house (Rainn, Jaylen, Tameka) – 2nd, also entered – BBQ (Galen) and Fire pit (Noah, Kel); Shop light (Galen) – 1st and Reserve Division Champion, Turtle trap (Nick, Galen, Kel) – 2nd and Reserve Division Champion, Indoor lamp (KK, Akia, Selena) – 1st and Division Champion; Team received Second in Sweepstakes

Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

Congratulations to all our students on their hard work!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Youth learn life skills through campus internships

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) creates opportunities for youth to work as interns in different departments on the Waco campus. The internships help youth learn job skills and life skills and builds relationships with MCH staff.

Ben lives in the Prothro home and has been interning for several months alongside Candyce Haddock, home service specialist for the Prothro home. Home service specialists are responsible for cooking and grocery shopping for the home which allows them to also build relationships with youth and attend to their special dietary needs and requests. Haddock said she appreciates her role in the house and having the opportunity to work with Ben.

“I enjoy the boys in the home and getting feedback on the meals we serve,” said Haddock. “Ben is a quick learner and very helpful. He has a great imagination and I love to hear his stories about his day at school. Ben has even planned a few of our evening meals.”

Ben is responsible for getting snacks ready for the rest of the boys after school. He helps with food preparation for the evening dinner and gives input on the weekly meal planning.

“I have learned so much about food and how it is prepared,” said Ben. “I used to have food issues which kept me from eating and trying new things. Working in the kitchen has helped me feel more comfortable with what I am eating and now enjoying it.”

According to Nick Molnar, unit manager for the Prothro home, “Ben was a picky eater. Since working with Candyce, he takes pride in his work in the kitchen and enjoys the extra spending money. Also, because he is eating more consistently, his mood has increased, he has more energy and his body is just healthier in general.”

Ben has also learned a new life skill that will become valuable to him in his everyday life that will help him now and in the future.

“I like knowing I can go on a home visit and cook for my siblings,” he said. “My very favorite meal now is steak and potatoes.” 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Las Cruces staff give back to their community

The staff of the MCH Family Outreach office in Las Cruces, N.M., are dedicated to helping others. Along with their everyday duties on the job, the group also devotes time to volunteer at other local nonprofits. Kimberly York, director of the Las Cruces office, said her team has committed to a “Day of Service” at least once every quarter and feels it is an important aspect of their work in this new outreach location.

“It has been great for us to learn about what each person (on our team) is passionate about,” York said. “Deciding our next assignment sparks some great discussion about how people would like to give back to our community while learning more about the great work other agencies are doing. It is heartwarming to see that our team shares a genuine passion for giving back.”

So far the Las Cruces team has volunteered to serve hot meals at the El Caldito Soup Kitchen and put up walls in Habitat for Humanity homes of some of their very own Circle of Security class graduates. They next plan to volunteer at the Gospel Rescue Mission’s Clothing Center where they refer several of their Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) clients for free clothing. Beatrice Jimenez, administrative assistant for the office, participated in both ‘days of service’ events.

“Being new myself to social services and as the administrative assistant, I feel we can all contribute however we can to understand the needs of the community,” Jimenez said. “Volunteering is a great way to hear and see the effect that it has on people and learn what challenges face our area in particular.”

York said the Las Cruces community has welcomed MCH and they have received an “outpouring of support” from the school board to the mayor’s office since the office opened last summer. They currently serve 19 grandparents through GAPP and are leading four parenting classes in the community. York said they also have plans to connect with several more organizations in the area to strengthen the support net for the families they serve.

York is proud of her team and their efforts to connect with others in the community through volunteer service. 

“I truly believe that what comes from the heart reaches the heart and that people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day,” York said. “When I first moved to New Mexico a year ago, I did so with a mission to get a bird’s eye view and understanding of the unique Southwestern culture. When you are in the trenches with people, you get to know so much about their journey and what’s meaningful to them. It’s an opportunity to see the world through someone else’s eyes and to grow as a result of the rich exchange.”





Thursday, December 22, 2016

Church continues tradition of giving at Christmas

First United Methodist Church of Grapevine has shown dedication to the children and families of Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) for many years. Starting in the late 1980s, the church has donated bicycles to every child that wants one at Christmas time.

This year, FUMC - Grapevine donated 122 bicycles and helmets along with repair kits for the children of MCH. The bikes will go to residents on the Waco campus and Boys Ranch, young adults served through the Transition Services program, and children served through MCH Family Outreach in Dallas.

The giving process begins each October when the church corresponds with MCH to find out how many children are hoping for bicycles this year. FUMC - Grapevine then negotiates prices with local sports stores and makes the purchase. Then on a Friday in December a few weeks before MCH Christmas celebrations, church members put the bicycles together and load them onto a truck. Several members drive the truck down to Waco to deliver the bicycles in person. Church member Ted Vaughan coordinated the efforts for the church this year.

“We are so thankful for FUMC – Grapevine and their commitment to giving the children in our care the experience of receiving a brand new bicycle for Christmas,” said Allison Crawford, director of benefactor relations at MCH. “This tradition has been blessing our kids for over 30 years and we look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.”



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Youth play special roles in worship service


Youth at Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) have the opportunity to participate in worship services expressing their talents through song and dance.

The Spiritual Development staff work each week with youth who want to learn more about their God-given talents and how to channel these gifts in a positive way. These youth express their faith through praise dance, music, worship art and some also attend weekly Bible studies.

On Dec. 11, the Praise Team led the service by reading Scripture, interpreting Scripture through praise dance, and celebrating the birth of Christ through song.

“This was a wonderful community experience,” said Ahmad Washington, spiritual development minister. “The youth performing did a great job of communicating the message of the season as well as being supportive of their peers and enjoying the service.”

Youth who are part of the Praise Team run their own practices with staff assistance. The youth also choreograph the dances.

“This allows youth to have leadership roles,” added Washington. “It also helps teach youth how to be part of the process of a worship service and it being all that God wanted it to be.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Core Value Award for Hope - Matt Rodgers

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) annually recognizes staff who exemplify our Core Values. Staff are nominated by their peers and recognized at an all-staff meeting.

The MCH Core values are:
Christian Principles
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

Matt Rodgers, athletic director, received the 2016 Core Award for Hope at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient of the Core Award for Hope is someone who believes in the possibilities of the future.

According to Rodgers’s nomination, “Matt began his career at MCH in 2012 as an assistant coach. Matt experienced some trying times early on in his career at MCH and managed to push through in spite of personal strife and tragedy. Matt was promoted to Director of Athletics in 2015 and has done a great job. Matt has a heart for the population of youth we serve and believes there is hope for all youth. Matt role models Christian principles in his daily interactions with our youth and always strives to see the best in every situation. Matt exemplifies hope in his ability to push through the difficult times even when faced with adversity. Each year as head coach, Matt is challenged with meeting a new group of athletes and is challenged with forming new football and basketball teams. This is not the norm for any other high school and would be frustrating for most high school coaches. However, Matt takes it all in stride and has done an excellent job of motivating our athletes to work together as a team to win the game.  He successfully coached the varsity football team to the State Championship game during the 2015-2016 season. Matt truly cares about the athletes beyond the playing field. You will often find him at the MCH charter school eating lunch with them and communicating with teachers and staff on their progress in the classroom. He also takes time out of his busy schedule to visit with youth in their homes, encouraging them to stay focused on their goals. Matt personifies the Bible verse in Philippians 4:13 which states, ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.’ Congratulations Matt for receiving the Core Award for Hope.”

“It is an extreme honor to receive the Core Award for Hope,” said Rodgers. “I love how much you can learn about life and how to be successful from sports. So many of our youth have never played a sport, let alone been part of a team and it is a huge blessing to empower them with confidence and hope, and watch them come together and work together towards common goal. I am very blessed and thankful for the tremendous amount of support that MCH gives their athletic programs. I believe that the impact we make goes far beyond winning and losing on the field.”

Taneequa Newton, associate administrator and Rodgers’ supervisor, had this to share: “Matt is very deserving of the MCH Core Award for Hope. He challenges our youth to be the best that they can be and he is a great role model. Matt is not only a great coach, but a great mentor for our youth.”