Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Core Value Award for Hope - Dr. Elise Pinney

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

Dr. Elise Pinney, director of psychological services, received the 2017 Core Award for Hope at the spring all-staff meeting. The recipient of the Core Award for Hope is someone who believes in the possibilities of the future.

According to her nomination, Dr. Pinney cares deeply about the safety and well-being of all our youth. She exemplifies the Core Value of Hope in the way she helps youth find an ideal balance of both structure and nurture to help them realize their full potential in life. She does this with a caring, compassionate and genuine demeanor which make youth feel heard and trusted.

Dr. Pinney meets with youth on a weekly basis to provide them support and encouragement on their goals and also handles many acute situations when our youth are in crisis.

Through her personable and caring approach, Dr. Pinney is able to quickly establish connections with youth in order to provide them a sense of felt-safety and comfort. She instills in them hope to help them thrive in our program.

Julie Spiech, associate administrator and Dr. Pinney’s supervisor, said she had the utmost respect for Dr. Pinney and the way she has worked to offer hope to those in the MCH community for many years.

A quote form Austin Brown, clinical therapist, further sums up Dr. Pinney’s impact on MCH: “It has been an honor for me to work with and learn from Dr. Pinney. She is always quick to serve as needs arise and she does so with a consistent calmness and stability that puts those around her at ease. She is someone who I think embodies the core values that we strive for as an organization.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Methodist Children’s Home again receives four-star rating

Methodist Children’s Home on July 1, 2017, received another four-star rating by Charity Navigator – the highest rating available from America’s largest independent charity evaluator, according to Tim Brown, president and CEO of MCH.

“Any success is based upon a steadfast commitment to service and excellence to which we are called, as well as accountability to those we serve and to those who believe in our life-changing mission and support us through their generosity,” said Brown.

 According to leadership of Charity Navigator, only a quarter of rated charities have achieved the distinction of a four-star rating.

“Attaining a four-star rating verifies that Methodist Children’s Home exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in their area of work,” said Michael Thatcher, president and CEO of Charity Navigator. “This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets Methodist Children’s Home apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.”

Thatcher explained that donors today desire greater accountability, transparency and for concrete results from charity evaluators and “the intent of our work is to provide donors with essential information to give them greater confidence in both the charitable decisions that they make and the nonprofit sector.”

“We are grateful to receive this outstanding rating because we take seriously the relationship with our faithful supporters and the trust they place in us as we go about our ministry,” Brown said. “This is a tremendous affirmation of our entire organization.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Break Week 2017

Late June and early July is a time for youth at MCH to have fun and to participate in classic summer recreation activities. Summer break week at MCH is a time to add a period of extra flexibility to schedules in the middle of summer.

Classic activities our youth are able to participate in during break weeks include swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking through Cameron Park, taking a stroll on Baylor’s campus, horseback riding, eating snow cones, and bowling. Youth are also introduced to new and creative activities such as slip-n-slide kickball, water sponge dodgeball and Larping – a type of interactive role-playing game in which the participants portray their own characters through physical action using props. All of these activities are brought to our kids by the MCH Recreation staff.

Summer break weeks are meant to be fun, engaging and energizing, preparing youth for another round of their normal summer programs. This week also provides a time for students to spend daily time off campus. Codi Stafford, recreation coordinator, stated that her favorite moment “is seeing the kids leave all their troubles behind when we go off campus and just have fun.”

It is the hope of MCH that youth are able to have experiences that they may not have been able to have at home. MCH wants youth to able to enjoy the joys of childhood during every season and forget about the challenges they face.

A highlight of the summer for Jr., a resident of MCH, is fishing and all that it entails.
“Worms are my favorite part of summer because they wiggle and because you can fish with them,” he said. “I love to fish because I don’t get to do it too much and because it is a chill adventure.”

Other young people shared that what they most looked forward to on summer breaks is getting to relax and have a stress-free schedule, as well as swimming and visiting a local water park.

“Swimming is my favorite,” said 13-year-old Christina. “I like to swim because you can just relax and do whatever you want in the water. I also look forward to going to water parks! I want to try the tall slide this year! I think I’m brave enough.” 

Aside from all the fun and games and possible thrills, summer break week serves as another great opportunity for MCH staff to continue to model and build trusting relationships with youth, keying in on a few of our core values, growth and relationships. For Stafford, “building trusting relationships with the students in a playful and safe way” is what she looks forward to most. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Two moms form special bond while fostering through MCH

Denise Davis and Bethany Falls lived in the same city, but their paths had never crossed before. Then in 2013, both women and their husbands embarked on an emotional journey to become foster parents through MCH Family Outreach in Tyler. 

They became acquainted in weekly trainings as they pursued licensing for foster care. Then both received placements within one week of each other of boys who were born only one day apart. Evan was placed with Falls and her husband, David. Jacob was placed with Davis and husband, Keith.

Evan’s case was a voluntary placement and the family thought he would go back to his mother after a few months. However, she relinquished her rights and they thought at that point he was theirs to adopt. Jacob came into Davis’s family with expectations that his case could turn into an adoption. But the roller coasters for both cases had just begun.

Evan’s biological father unexpectedly came into the picture when he was 1 year old, leading to visitations and court appearances. Even though their situations were unstable, Jacob’s biological mother and father each fought for custody which led to two separate jury trials. During the trials, the biological parents’ rights were terminated but then appeals and more legal issues followed. 

Throughout the journey, Falls and Davis grew closer as they were experiencing the same emotions and challenges.

“We were kind of thrown into it together but I am thankful for that,” Falls said. “I wouldn’t have been able to make it through as easily.”

 “It was a Godsend,” Davis said. “God knew I needed that friend that could identify and be there right beside me.”

The mothers would call each other in the emotional times of waiting in the car as the biological parent was having a visitation. Or sending a hopeful text as they knew the other was waiting for news. During the trials, the mothers leaned on each other for support as they waited to learn the fate of their family.

 “We could speak truth and speak scripture to each other when we need it most,” Falls said.
They also relied on each other for advice as they experienced new behaviors in the boys that their older children did not have.
“It felt like for the first time I didn’t know how to parent,” Davis said. “You have to parent so differently. Obviously, because you are a foster parent you also have to discipline differently. But their behaviors are so different and you have to figure out if it is a toddler thing or an emotional trauma issue? And you can feel isolated in that because your friends don’t understand the difference. You feel like an island on your own sometimes. We were able to talk about that.”

Both mothers’ journeys led to the adoption of the boys and their boys have now grown to be great friends. Looking back, the mothers are thankful to each other and for God’s role in their experience.
“I don’t know how people foster without being firm in their faith,” Falls said. “I can’t imagine going through this without God. To know that He has my back and is protecting these babies and knowing that no matter what the outcome, His Will will be done.”

“With Evan and Jacob, God chose them and plucked them out to give them a fresh start,” Davis said. “It is such an honor and a blessing. I’ve said to friends considering (fostering), it is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it is so rewarding. And I think as a family unit, it has been amazing to see my older kids know it is a ministry and see that they want to minister this child and get them through. They grow and the growth that comes from it, you are amazed by that.”

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Core Value Award for Service - Max and Lou Larseingue

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

Max and Lou Larseingue, home parents at the MCH Boys Ranch, received the 2017 Core Award for Service at the all-staff meeting in March. The recipients of the Core Award for Service is someone who shows compassion through generosity and care.

Max and Lou exemplify the Core Award of Service through their dependability and willingness to always be the first to volunteer when extra help is needed on the Ranch.

They strive to create a family-like environment and enjoy planning and celebrating special events, birthdays and holidays with the boys. Their positive attitudes and willingness to go the extra mile, whether it is chaperoning hunting trips, teaching boys how to cook-out and grill, or getting certified to help at the Alpine Tower are just a few ways they are an example of service to their MCH peers and the Boys at the Ranch.

The Larseingues have helped build a good foundation in the Turner home and the positive work that is being done in that unit is largely in part to their ability to work as a team with their partner house parents and unit manager.

According to Meagan Molnar, unit manager at the Ranch, “The amount of love and grace they blend into their work every day is an inspiration to others and exemplifies their dedication to the Ranch.”

Laura Bonner, Boys Ranch administrator, said, “Not only do the Larseingues model service, but they also strive to instill a mission of service in the boys they work with through ranch chores and volunteer work within the community. We appreciate Max and Lou and are grateful for their service and commitment to MCH.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

MCH Awards 2017

Methodist Children’s Home celebrated student achievements for the 2016-17 school year during an awards ceremony on May 22 at the Johnson Student Center. During the ceremony, students from the MCH charter school, operated in partnership with the University of Texas – University Charter School system, were recognized for academic honors and extracurricular activities. Students received certificates, plaques, letter jackets and patches based on their individual achievements.

Below is a list of awards: 

Senior Awards
Relationship Award: Chrislynn, Sky, Xavier
Growth Award: Edwina, Joseph, Keondra, Jacob
Service Award: Iyahnna, Xavier
Hope Award: Diego, Ja’Vianne, Devin, Jakenzie
Responsibility Award: Tameka, Ja’Vianne, Athina, Zakaree
Courage Award: Kel, Tameka
The Charles W. and Mariam Hawes Academic Excellence Award (top seniors with highest GPAs):  Athina, Nick
Outstanding Senior Award: Stephen, Sky

Charter School Awards
Academic Honor Roll: Noah, Xaivier, Iona, Selena, Rainn, Jaelyne, Marisa, Galen, Dina, Stephen, Ladarian, Ladarrius, Athina, Soleana, Jakenzie, Arianna

Bulldog Pride:  Nikkie, Iona, Emily, Faith, Lucas, Selena, Dathan, Marisa, Galen, Dina, Quentrell, Kaitlyn, Stephen, Benjamin, Alexis, Athina, Soleana, Christina, Arianna

Art Awards: Edwina, Jaelyne, Daniel, Joshua 

(The Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through their learning experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers)
Ag Mechanics Design and Fabrication: Nick
Ag Mechanical Repair and Maintenance: Galen
Diversified Livestock: Marisa
Vegetable Production: Jaelyne
Chapter Star Creed speaker: Rainn
Star Discovery Award: Danny
Star Greenhand Award: Chris
Chapter Star in Agriscience: Nick
Belt Buckles: Beef production – Kel; Swine production – Julio; Sheep production – Iona; Goat production - Selena

Recreation/Afterschool Programs
Choir/Vocal Performance: Most Improved - Luther, Kiayani; Most Outstanding - Layla, Iona
Drumline: Most Outstanding - Faith
Cheerleading: Most Improved - Tremya; Most Outstanding – Adrianna
Theatre: Benjamin, Nicole
Dance: Rainn, Marisa

Volleyball: Most Improved Player (MIP) - Soleana; Most Valuable Player (MVP) - Amashia
JV Football: MIP- Dathan; MVP - Dremon
Varsity Football: MIP - Reggie; MVP - Xaivier
Girls Basketball: MIP - Justine; MVP - Jamion
JV Boys Basketball: MIP - Johnathan; MVP - Dremon
Varsity Boys Basketball: MIP - Eli; MVP – Jakenzie
Girls Track: MIP – Alexis; MVP – Justine
Boys Track: MIP – Christian; MVP – SirDautrel
Golf: MIP – Dina; MVP - Emily
Bobby Gilliam Leadership through Athletics Award: Justine, Stephen

Congratulations to our students and staff on a successful school year!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Core Value Award for Relationships - Jo Ann Evans

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

Jo Ann Evans, case manager for the MCH Family Outreach office in Abilene, received the 2017 Core Award for Relationships at the All-Staff meeting in March. The recipient for the Core Value Award for Relationships is someone who builds healthy relationships through communication, respect, trust, and love.

Jo Ann exemplifies this Core Value through the way she always strives to build trusting and meaningful relationships with everyone she encounters because she knows it is the foundation of what we do.

Jo Ann often goes above and beyond despite her busy schedule. Recently when a co-worker was having car troubles, she offered to drive them to and from visits as needed.

According to her supervisor Megan Harbin, Jo Ann didn’t hesitate to take on a larger case load and more parenting classes when the Abilene office experienced staff transition.

Jo Ann plays a significant role in training new Family Solutions case managers to ensure they understand the program and are 100 percent ready to start taking on cases of their own. This had resulted in many life-changing relationships being created.

Jo Ann is known by her peers as having a passion for the work she does and the families she serves.
Megan also stated, “It is truly a privilege and blessing to get to work alongside Jo Ann and have her as part of the Abilene team.”

Kelly Smith, administrator for the Western region of MCH Family Outreach, said, “Jo Ann understands the value of relationships and she facilitates coalitions and partnerships that help develop resources for both clients and team members. Her skills in this area are vital to the work we do at MCH.”