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

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.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MCH staff mentor professionals in TBRI

Four Methodist Children’s Home staff members have teamed up with Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development to train others around the world in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). John Warren, Lee Davis, Ian Bracken and Clarence DeGrate have all traveled to Fort Worth and Austin to serve as mentors during the institute’s TBRI practitioner training.

TCU approached our staff to see if they were interested in helping out during the week-long sessions. These trainings typically occur four times a year. Sarah Mercado, training specialist with the Institute, said mentors have become an integral part of their TBRI practitioner training. They lead small groups in role play activities as well as breakout groups to learn about sensory integration, nurture groups, life skills and mindfulness.
“They are remarkable at developing relationships and building trust to make participants comfortable and able to learn,” Mercado said. “The mentor also serves as a wonderful support for our staff. Whether they are roaming the room with a microphone to aid in audience participation, leading sensory breaks, helping carry heavy boxes or lending a hand wherever asked, they have become an invaluable part of our training.”

Warren, director of training at MCH, said he plans to serve as a mentor again this spring and enjoys being able to share TBRI with others.

“We love doing it,” he said. “It is great to be up there. It energizes us and helps give us ideas. It is good to connect and see what others around the world are doing and stay connected with the people at TCU.”

People attending the training are from various professional fields including other childcare agencies, occupational therapists, medical doctors, therapists, and educators. Lee Davis, youth care counselor supervisor at MCH, has attended three trainings as a mentor so far and also plans to return in the spring. 

“I am very happy to be able to share and to hopefully have a greater impact on the lives of kids and their caregivers,” Davis said. “Without exception, the people that I have mentored have been highly motivated and dedicated to helping children heal.”

Davis has been using TBRI in his position at MCH for five years now and believes it has a huge impact on the children we serve.

“I think that TBRI is without a doubt the best system that can be used to address the behavioral issues associated with trauma, abuse and neglect,” Davis said. “Having been on the front lines of implementing TBRI here on our campus and experiencing the tremendous positive changes in our culture, I want to share our knowledge and experience with others who have the same desire to be effective in changing the lives of children from hard places. I have been blessed to work and grow in this ministry and to use my talents in utilizing and teaching the TBRI principles.” 
“We love partnering with MCH with our mentor program,” Mercado said. “The staff are clearly TBRI champions and have wonderful hearts for kids from hard places. We know that our training is enhanced by the mentors from MCH.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

MCH kicks off holiday season with choir concert

MCH students shared their voices during the first choir concert of the year on Nov. 17. The Bulldog Café concert at the Waco campus featured several group, ensemble and solo performances by the MCH choir.

This semester the choir students have been working on blending, building their sound and connecting as a group according to Jill Sims, MCH choir director.

"With five returning students and eight new students, it has been important that we focus on building community as much as we focus on building our sound,” Sims said. “In each rehearsal, I try to balance singing with exercises that focus on team building as I teach the students that our attitudes toward each other affects our singing as a group. It has been wonderful to see how quickly they have bonded as a group.”

As they prepared for the concert, Sims said students were heavily involved in selecting the songs to perform. She met with choir vice president, Iona, prior to the semester to create a starting point for their repertoire, and she also took note of what students enjoyed singing during voice lessons throughout the semester. Sims said she wanted her students to connect with the music.

“I am tremendously proud of the choir students,” Sims said. “They have worked very hard this semester to learn their music, and have learned how to blend as a group. They are also incredibly supportive of each other and they clearly love singing together. They have grown so much in this short time together and have all shown an increase in confidence since the beginning of the semester. I am excited to see how they continue to grow as a group and perform at future concerts and competitions.”

The MCH Choir will perform during the Carols and Candles Christmas service on Dec. 15 and plan to host a Christmas Coffeehouse where several of the students will perform Christmas solos they have been working on during voice lessons. They also plan to carol at the administration buildings next month.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

MCH invests in administrative professionals

Administrative professionals are often the first point of contact in an office. As an essential support element of a workgroup, their work is important to keep a team operating like a well-oiled machine. To support and encourage this group of individuals, Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) recently held the Administrative Professionals Conference (APC), gathering together for the first time support personnel from all MCH offices.

According to John Warren, director of training at MCH, the APC was an important part of an organization-wide strategic plan to strengthen employees.

“Since 2009, the agency’s commitment to employee professional growth across all departments and programs has increased as a result of the strategic plan,” Warren said. “The APC is an important part of this commitment that came out of the implementation of the agency-wide training plan. The APC, in particular, was the result of an intentional emphasis on a group of employees who work in many different departments, but utilize a similar skillset.”

Attendees included administrative professionals from the Waco campus, Boys Ranch and the MCH Family Outreach offices located throughout Texas and New Mexico. During the two-day conference they heard from various MCH leaders on topics such as MCH’s legacy of ministry, building a culture of community and connection, and supporting the MCH mission. They also toured the Boys Ranch and new Daniels Home and received training from MCH’s training staff. Sarah Aynesworth, a professional etiquette consultant, delivered an interactive keynote address on professional and social interaction and conversation.

Jean Wright, MCH staff trainer, explained that the title of the conference, “The Connected Community,” was “to remind us of the importance of staying connected so that we can continue to strengthen our community even while we work in different cities and areas of the agency every day.”

“I think all of us can forget the scope of our programs and services at times,” Wright said. “We each play a different role, but we all contribute to MCH’s legacy and mission and are all connected to the accomplishments and developments taking place.”

Genie, Greer, administrative assistant in the MCH Family Outreach office in Lubbock, has been with MCH for nearly 15 years. She said the APC was a good time of encouragement and validation for her and her peers in similar positions.

“MCH has always been good to accept that the position of administrative professional, with all its different titles throughout the years, is important,” she said. “Coming from a managerial background, I know that is not always the case. Organization, flexibility, problem-solving, reliability, and sociability are not always attributes one finds within the same person. It is good to be recognized as one of the persons using these skills on a daily basis.

“MCH administration validated our position’s importance with the conference,” she added. 

Maria Pintor, administrative assistant in the MCH Family Outreach office in Dallas, said it was good to meet others from around MCH with whom she communicates regularly and who are instrumental in her work.

“This conference helps new staff to learn the ministry of MCH and the difference it makes in the lives of many,” Pintor said. “It is also important to hear new ideas from one another that can make us more effective in our roles as administrative assistants.” 

Wright said her “two primary goals going into the conference were to find ways to demonstrate to our administrative professionals how very much they are appreciated and valued for their service as well as create an environment in which we can all intellectually develop together. I hope and believe we accomplished that!”

Friday, November 11, 2016

Core Value Award for Service - Charles Ehlers

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 Core Values for MCH are:
Christian Principles

Charles Ehlers, grounds supervisor for the Waco campus, received the 2016 Core Award for Service at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient for the Core Award for Service is someone who shows compassion through generosity and care.

According to Ehlers’s nomination, “Charles is always willing and available to assist, especially when it may not be his usual duties. Charles is friendly, helpful and cooperative. He has a positive attitude. He goes above and beyond often arriving early and staying late. The MCH campus is always so beautiful and staff and visitors often comment on how nice it looks. Congratulations to Charles on receiving the Core Award for Service.”

“I was honored to receive the award,” said Ehlers. “I am but just one of many on the Plant staff that help take care of the grounds and buildings. “It is a ‘team’ effort.”

Tim Fedro, property administrator and Ehlers supervisor had this to share: “I was very pleased to see Charles receive the Core Award for Service. Charles is a very dedicated and motivated employee, who takes a lot of pride in his work.”