Monday, July 27, 2015

MCH students join U.M. Army

Ashley's group painted a house and constructed a wheelchair ramp
during the mission trip in Tyler.
Several MCH residents found that doing good for others is its own reward. Five youth accompanied spiritual development minister Ron Britton to Tyler, Texas for a mission trip with U.M. Army from July 12-17.

U.M. Army, or United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth, is a national organization with a mission to “provide Christ-centered, quality youth work camps that serve people in need and promote spiritual growth and leadership development in youth,” according to its website. MCH representatives Noah, Marvin, Diego, Ashley and Rachael worked with volunteers from Kingwood UMC to help less fortunate residents in the area that were in desperate need of home repairs.

Ashley’s group worked on a wheelchair ramp for an elderly couple and painted their house.

“What I like best is I can get away from my normal routine and focus more on God and what work He can have me do,” Ashley said.

The volunteers were divided up between houses this year to build wheelchair ramps, repair porches, paint homes, or minor home renovations. The work groups spend the day out in the field and returned to their host church, Lanes Chapel UMC in the evenings for dinner and worship.

“The MCH kids bring such a special dynamic to this camp,” said Lisa Donoho, director of the U.M. Army camp. “Many of the kids and families (from Kingwood UMC) want to be in the groups with MCH kids.”

Britton said youth are selected for the trip with first priority given to those who served in the past who worked hard and made a positive impact. Students can also submit applications and staff recommendations if they would like to attend.

“I cannot express adequately just how much our kids blessed the clients they worked for,” Britton said. “Every one of our kids worked tirelessly, through days that were 112 degrees and higher, to help fix homes, build wheelchair ramps, paint, roof, lawn work, and anything else that came up. I heard nothing but praise about our kids from their adult team leaders!”

Noah was one of five MCH residents attending U.M. Army this year.

Noah's group built a wheelchair ramp and porch for their client.

Diego (Baylor shirt) and his group also built a wheelchair ramp for a family in Tyler.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Project Transformation students visit MCH

Methodist Children’s Home hosted 14 college students from Project Transformation (PT) on July 10. Allison Crawford, director of volunteers and events, gave a tour of the Waco campus and Boys Ranch and provided lunch. Several of our staff spoke with the students about the services MCH offers.

“We are so pleased to be one of the sought after organizations that PT sends their students to,” stated Crawford. “We have partnered with them for several years now and love sharing our mission. You never know, one of these students may want to work at MCH one day.”

Project Transformation offers leadership development and career/ministry exploration opportunities for college age young adults through summer and one-year service terms.

“This trip to MCH is always a highlight for our interns,” shared Janalee Wiles, program manager for PT. “It really opens their eyes to different opportunities to be in ministry and service with children in a residential care nonprofit. Thanks again for letting us spend the day with you.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MCH athletics promotes Matt Rodgers, adds Jayson Mitchell to staff

Matt Rodgers has been promoted and will serve as the new athletic director of the MCH athletics department. Rodgers graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 2007 and worked for the Baylor men's basketball team as a student coach during those four years. He returned to Baylor in 2010 to begin the sports management program and worked as a graduate assistant for the men's basketball team. During this time Rodgers was also an assistant coach for the Waco Live Oak football team. Rodgers graduated from Baylor University with a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in sports management in 2012 and came to MCH in June 2012 as the boys athletic coordinator. Rodgers worked in his role as an athletic coordinator from 2012-2014 and coached the boys JV and varsity football team. He was promoted to associate athletic director in July 2014.

Jayson Mitchell is the new associate athletic director for the athletics department. Mitchell attended Texas Tech University where he played on the basketball team and graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2001. He went on to play professional basketball in the Canadian Basketball league for the Niagara Gamblers. He finished his basketball career in 2005 and returned to Texas and served as a case manager for at risk youth at  TYC and Mexia State Supported Living Center. Jayson had the opportunity to work with students and was hired as a 7th grade Texas history teacher at Tennyson Middle School in 2012 where he also served as the 7th grade basketball coach from 2012-2015. 

Please join us in congratulating Matt Rodgers and welcoming Jayson Mitchell!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Core Value Award for Hope - Marisol Gomez

Each year Methodist Children’s Home recognizes staff members who exemplify the Core Values of the organization. Staff are nominated by their peers and are recognized at an all-staff meeting during which the Core Awards are given.

The Core Awards for MCH are:
Christian Principles

Marisol Gomez, director of the MCH Family Outreach in Corpus Christi, received the Core Award for Hope at the spring 2015 all-staff meeting. The recipient of the Core Award for Hope is someone who believes in the possibilities of the future.

Gomez has worked for MCH for five years. “I was fortunate to be in attendance at the all-staff meeting that day. When Mr. Brown said my name I was so surprised, I really was not expecting it. MCH is a great agency with amazing staff and I am honored to have been selected for such an award.”

According to Gomez’s nomination, “Marisol is genuine in her interactions with everyone she meets and believes deeply in the ministries of MCH. Under her direction, Marisol has helped grow the services offered in the Corpus Christi area. She has implemented the Family Solutions Program, which is impacting families beyond measure. The prevention programs have flourished and two additional case managers have been added due to the demand for services. Marisol is generous of her time, skills, and talents and goes above and beyond to support colleagues, staff and clients. She sees the best in everyone she meets.”

The Corpus Christi staff had this to share about Gomez:
“At Marisol’s core is a deeply caring heart for the children we serve. She is also mindful and supportive of her staff. Her door is always open to offer us guidance.”

“Marisol, is a knowledgeable and a well prepared leader. She has a generous and tender heart, and I am honored to be under her supervision.”

Traci Wagner, MCH administrator and Gomez’s supervisor said: “It was an honor to watch Marisol be recognized for the Core Award for Hope. She gives so much to the ministry in Corpus Christi and is such a blessing to MCH.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

Coalition for Residential Education Award Winners 2015

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) is a member of The Coalition for Residential Education (CORE), a nonprofit association that supports and strengthens residential education programs and schools for children and youth whose families and communities cannot meet their needs. CORE serves as the national voice of residential education, advocating on behalf of its members.

Student of the Year: Aman Meerza
Aman, a recent high school graduate and resident of MCH, was one of two recipients of the Student of the Year Award presented by CORE. The Catherine Hershey Award for Student of the Year is given to a graduating student “who shows outstanding leadership and dedication. This student demonstrates a commitment to making the most of his/her talents and abilities, to helping fellow students in the program, and personifies the ideals and values of his/her program.”
Aman’s accomplishments are described in excerpts from his nomination below:

Aman came to Methodist Children’s Home in October 2010. He was born in the United States, moved to India and Germany, but came back to the U.S. for safety and educational opportunities. Aman was raised by his mom but after being homeless and moving through several abuse centers, he decided to seek placement at Methodist Children’s Home. Aman attended A.J. Moore Academy his 9th grade year and experienced another upsetting transition when A.J. Moore Academy announced in 2012 that they would be closing and he would have to relocate to University High for his 10th through 12th grade years. He entered the engineering program his 9th grade year at A.J. Moore Academy and would continue this educational track at University High through is 12th grade year. Aman has been in advanced placement classes and has maintained all A’s and B’s from 9th grade to present. Since coming to MCH he has been active in numerous clubs, trips and activities while not letting his past transitions affect his behavior choices or educational abilities.

Aman has participated and done well in UIL competitions from 8th grade to present in dictionary skills, science, and number sense. In the 8th grade Aman tutored other 8th grade students for the TAAKS test. Aman was in the Science Olympiad club in 9th grade. Aman attended camp ARCH at Texas A&M University for architecture in July of 2012. He participates in volunteer work in the community with his home unit at Ridgecrest Retirement and Health Care Center and on his own, such as waiting tables at the Mother and Daughter Christmas extravaganza, writing letters to soldiers in Iraq, and donating money to Salvation Army. Aman has worked for the Spiritual Development Department on the MCH campus since August 2012, where he controls the sound board for church and other activities.

While at MCH, Aman has maintained a leadership role in his home and has strived to be involved by joining clubs, academic activities, and volunteer work to improve his knowledge and prepare for his college career. He has successfully achieved the highest step in our program, Off Step since August 2012. Aman was also a member of the Student Leadership council for MCH.

Aman will be in the 12th grade this school year and has been recognized as an Outstanding Academic Achiever for the past 2 years at University High. He has been a member of the Robotics club and participated in a competition and placed 4th out of 22 other schools from Central Texas. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has been an active participant in the Upward Bound Math and Science program for the past two years and was chosen to go to Washington, D.C., this summer. He has taken both the SAT (1680) and ACT (28), he did very well on both exams. Aman is taking dual credit classes at McLennan Community College this summer and in the fall. Aman is currently ranked 5th in his class out of 376 students at University High. He is committed to school and his education and desires to become a Civil Engineer. Aman has accomplished a lot and plans to continue accomplishing his goal of going to college despite barriers that may arise. Aman has been accepted to Baylor University, Texas A&M University, University of Houston, and The University of Texas. He currently plans on attending college at The University of Texas.

Residential Educator of the Year: Steve and Debbie Callison
Steve and Debbie Callison, homeparents on the Waco campus, received the Catherine Hershey Award for Residential Educator of the Year from CORE. Recipients of this award are residential educators who show “a high level of dedication to the students in their care. This educator goes beyond the call of duty in order to ensure the physical, emotional and general well-being of their students.

Steve and Debbie Callison have been valued members of the MCH staff since 2005, working as homeparents in the Prothro Home since 2007. Their service is described in excerpts from the nomination:

Steve and Debbie are “natural nurturers” and embody the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) philosophy of care. They are responsible, accountable and take pride and ownership in their home, the youth and in our Methodist Children’s Home community. Their position of home parent is not just a job for the Callisons, but it is their passion. They focus on building healthy and trusting connections with each youth so that they may have hope for the future. The Callisons are intentional and work to create a “home” atmosphere for their youth and encourage the youth to be a family. 

Steve and Debbie’s contributions are vast in regards to their efforts to improve the lives of youth in their care and support the staff they work with. Their dedication to the MCH community and the MCH mission is immeasurable. They are respected by their peers and youth for their ability to be kind, fair and firm. They set high expectations for themselves and they have high expectations for the youth they work with and strive to hold them accountable and help them to grow. Steve and Debbie lead by example. They role model TBRI and support, mentor and encourage other home parents.

The Callisons have an authentic approach in connecting with youth and staff. They bring a sense of acceptance and security to those around them. They treat others with dignity and respect and are passionate in their care and concern for the others. Steve and Debbie are quick to point out that working with youth has helped them to grow as individuals and as parents. I hope they realize the impact they have made on lives of the youth and staff they have served is immeasurable.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Core Value Award for Service - Diana Luvianos

Methodist Children’s Home recognizes staff members who exemplify the Core Values of the organization. Staff are nominated by their peers and are recognized at an all-staff meeting during which the Core Awards are given.

The Core Awards for MCH are:
Christian Principles

Diana Luvianos, accounting associate, received the Core Award for Service at the 2015 spring all-staff meeting. The recipient of the Core Award for Service is someone who shows compassion through generosity and care.

Luvianos has worked for the MCH accounting department for three years. “I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve at MCH. It is an honor to receive the Service award; it will be a reminder of the important work we are all doing here.”

According to Luvianos’s nomination, “Diana goes above and beyond to serve others. In her role at MCH, Diana is responsible for ensuring 400 invoices are processed accurately and on time each month in order for MCH to operate in an efficient manner. There are times when Diana sends payments that are not received by a vendor, client or family for reasons beyond her control. Diana does not waste time arguing about who is to blame but instead focuses her energy on resolving the issue and making sure no service connected to our children, youth or families is interrupted. With so much pressure related to her job, many are impressed with her willingness to stop what she is doing to assist them. She is dependable, pleasant and well respected by our youth. She shows she cares by building strong relationships with our student workers in the accounting department. In addition to being a great employee, Dianna is an amazing mom and friend to many.”

Maggie Calhoun, accounting administrator and Luvianos’s supervisor had this to share: “Diana’s commitment to quality is obvious in everything she does. The service she provides exceeds all expectations, and guarantees a continuum of successful relationships.”

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Two graduate from Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy

Methodist Children’s Home had two students graduate from the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA) on May 27. GWAMA offers workforce courses, which include robotics, electronics, design and advanced welding.

The GWAMA program provides high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to train for a particular profession. They can earn advanced workforce certificates and also have opportunities for jobs from area business after high school.
Andrew from the Boys Ranch graduated with honors and earned an Advanced Level II Certificate in welding and Forklift driving. Andrew plans on attending Texas State Technical College this fall and continue in the welding program. 

Cedric from the Waco campus also earned a certificate in Welding and Forklift driving. Cedric plans to attend Tyler Junior College in the fall.