Tuesday, July 26, 2016

“A Day to Remember”

MCH Boys Ranch youth beat the heat and spent the day on the water during “A Day to Remember” ski day hosted by In His Wakes ministry. Twenty boys traveled to Fort Worth’s Marine Creek Park on July 11 to experience the joy of water sports while also learning more about Christ.

In His Wakes, a ministry that travels across the nation, offers youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity for an enjoyable day on a boat at the lake. They have made a stop in Fort Worth for several years to host youth from the Boys Ranch. As described on their website, In His Wakes “uses water sports as a platform to share about Christ’s love in a powerful interactive way.”

“This program also seeks to bring hope and healing to a hurting world which runs hand-in-hand with the Methodist Children’s Home mission ‘to offer hope to children, youth and families in a nurturing, Christian community,” said Anthony Mead, outdoor education director at the Boys Ranch.

This year, the boys were able to have an exciting day of tubing, boarding, and water skiing. It was the first time to be on a boat for many of the boys. During the day, the volunteers for the ministry were able to help several boys overcome their fear of water or fear of falling during their attempts to try something new. 

“This was an amazing time of building trusting relationships through the various interactive water sports and building community,” Mead said. “We also were able to talk about Christ and learn to grow in our faith. To me this is another way to nurture this hope we have in Christ by allowing our youth to participate in these type of ministries for years to come.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Recognized for Excellence

The Coalition of Residential Excellence (CORE) recently selected three individuals affiliated with MCH as recipients of annual awards. The purpose of the nonprofit association is “to establish excellence for residential care; assist programs in achieving excellence; influence policymakers to recognize the need for residential programs; and promote public support for residential excellence, research, and practice.”

Dr. Ann Weiss, a member of the MCH Board of Directors, was selected as Board Member of the Year and Julie Diem, MCH benefactor, was selected as Philanthropist of the Year. In addition, Ashley Burris, a former resident at MCH, was named Student of the Year. The three were recognized on April 26 at the annual CORE Residential Excellence conference held in Washington, D.C.

Ashley Burris –Student of the Year 
Ashley, a former resident of the Waco campus, graduated in May 2015 from Rapoport Academy. She came to MCH at the age of 13 after going through some family struggles with her mother. Ashley was recognized for her growth and leadership through MCH’s programs. Ashley’s accomplishments were described below in excerpts from her nomination:

Ashley exemplifies the Methodist Children’s Home core values through her strong connections with the MCH staff and students. She is always willing to meet and exceed expectations and focuses on her goals despite many obstacles she has encountered along the way. Ashley is focused on the future and utilizes all the opportunities available to her including but not limited to educational, volunteer services, and spiritual. Ashley is involved in many campus activities as an intern with the MCH Student Events Coordinator. Ashley completes volunteer services for her school and within the unit. She sets an example for her peers by the way she successfully maintained and worked the Steps to Success program and achieved the highest step possible in the MCH Program.

Ashley is a role model to her peers in that they turn to her for advice and guidance. The youth relate to Ashley’s initial struggle and anger when arriving at MCH. They view her motivation to refocus as a beacon of hope that they could do the same thing. Ashley is recognized by her peers for her positive attitude and cheerful smile. Ashley is admired for her ability to recognize the consequences of her actions and drive to be successful. She is able to do all of that with a smile on her face and positive words.

Julie Diem – Philanthropist of the Year
Julie Diem became a strong supporter of MCH after the tragic deaths of her daughter and grandsons. Diem found a way to honor her loved ones through MCH, a ministry that was close to the heart of her daughter. In 2015, Diem endowed a scholarship in her daughter’s name to honor her legacy. Her generosity and dedication is described in excerpts from her nomination below:
Julie's story is heart-wrenching and her resiliency has touched many. The power of her testimony brought new supporters to our organization and educated many on the wonderful opportunities available through our services, specifically our residential program.

Diem contacted MCH in 2015 and decided to start the “Elizabeth Dowdy Scholarship.” Diem wanted to create a scholarship that would help girls from our residential program who had dreams similar to those of her daughter. Diem started raising funds for the scholarship by selling special wreaths which she began making as a way to honor her daughter and grandsons.

The response of her effort was amazing. In less than eight months, proceeds from the wreath sales, and contributions from others impacting by the story, produced more than $25,000 for the scholarship! The Diems then decided to start a second scholarship fundraising effort to create a named fund for their grandsons.

It is inspiring to see someone turn a great loss into something that will bless others. Julie is a powerful example of how these scholarship gifts can impact our young people as well as how one person can bless so many others. Many more people are aware of MCH because of Julie’s advocacy and so many have found encouragement during tough times because of her influence.

Dr. Ann Weiss – Board Member of the Year
Dr. Ann Weiss has been an advocate for MCH for more than 30 years. In that time she has held numerous leadership roles as a board member, volunteer and benefactor. Dr. Weiss’s commitment and service was described in excerpts from her nomination:

Dr. Weiss offers her insights as an educator to help ensure MCH uses its resources for the highest and best use for the children in our care. Dr. Weiss has served on numerous boards and leadership councils. She is eager to use those connections to link likeminded organizations in order to produce the most good. Her advocacy for MCH has brought trauma-informed care and the importance of the residential service model to leadership through the United Methodist Church and our service areas.

Dr. Weiss has a voice and she lends it to our program. Her support of our emphasis on trauma-informed care has opened the eyes and ears of others to understand about the challenges facing the young people in our communities and this innovative approach to serving them. Her voice is strong in support of our program but also used in a way to help ensure MCH is aware of the complex issues that may be encountered as we seek to achieve our goals.

Many of the accomplishments achieved by MCH are a result of the generosity of our supporters, many of those who were brought to MCH and encouraged by the leadership of Dr. Weiss.
Dr. Weiss connects with individuals in an authentic way. Although highly educated, she can articulate the intricacies of our program in a way that can be understood by those who care about our children and mission. Dr. Weiss is a “natural nurturer” and shows a high level of dedication to sharing the MCH story but also mentoring young leaders. Her position on the Board was more than a title; it was a way to carry out her true passion which is providing for the wellbeing of children. She is respected by her peers and youth for her ability to be lead, encourage and inspire.
Congratulations to our Coalition of Residential Excellence award winners!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Core Value Award for Hope - Brett Greenfield

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

Brett Greenfield, case manager for MCH Family Outreach in Waco, received the 2016 Core Award for Hope at the all-staff meeting in March. The recipient of the Core Award for Hope is someone who believes in the possibilities of the future.

According to Greenfield’s nomination, “Hope is exactly what Brett brings to MCH every day. As a case manager, Brett does not simply offer referrals and send families off with well wishes. He partners and walks alongside the families through the messes and celebrations of life. Many of the families we serve come experiencing traumas; some are homeless and in need of tangible goods while others are overwhelmed by fractures in their lives. Brett empowers our families to identify goals and walks alongside them through the process. He encourages and speaks to their strengths. Whether he is assisting in filling out applications for housing, advocating for a child at school or simply ‘being with’ them while a parent or child experiences difficulties, he demonstrates hope in the mist of joy and struggle supporting families with perseverance and tenacity. Brett has had the opportunity to share a message of hope to parents at Midway ISD, LaVega ISD, McLennan Community College, and CareNet. Brett has a skilled ability to inform parents and school faculty on best practices with professionalism and kindness.  He consistently receives positive reviews and is asked to come back. Brett recently displayed hope when he was working with two families who were in need of mattresses. After seeking local resources with no return Brett sought out a corporate donation as a final effort. To his surprise, the company responded generously. Brett received seven mattresses to deliver to the families. To know that these families were sleeping on new clean mattresses is priceless.”

“I am both honored and humbled to receive the Core Award for Hope,” said Greenfield. “I see the hard work being done by everyone at MCH to fulfill the mission statement, and to be given this award is an encouragement to continue working hard for children and families in our communities. I feel undeserving and all the more gracious for the support provided to me by MCH.”

Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco and Greenfield’s supervisor had this to share, “The role of a case manager is difficult because things are not always resolved or suddenly better despite best efforts. We are thankful for Brett as he carries this sense of hope in our office and to our families in the community.”

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dallas case manager receives award from school district

Rosemary Hinojosa received the "Team Player"
award from Dallas Independent School District.
Dallas Independent School District (DISD) honored Rosemary Hinojosa, case manager at MCH Family Outreach in Dallas, with the “Team Player” award recognizing “all-stars” within the community. Hinojosa received the award due to her collaboration with the DISD Office of Parent Engagement for her volunteer efforts to help educate Dallas families.

Hinojosa has made several presentations at DISD schools which has helped her recruit for Nurturing Parenting classes and GAPP case management clients. Her efforts began the collaboration between MCH Family Outreach and the DISD Office of Parent Engagement.

“I’m very honored to have received this honor for my service to the parents of the Dallas ISD,” Hinojosa said. “I love speaking to parents throughout the district about Nurturing Parenting and its cultural relevance to them and of course, I always start my presentations with information on Methodist Children’s Home and MCH Family Outreach programs!”   

On May 18, MCH was invited to sponsor an exhibit table, at no charge, at the annual DISD Parent Resource Fair and Appreciation. DISD collaborates with community organizations such as MCH Family Outreach to reach parents and students and provide an avenue to resources in the community. 

The fair has been held at a school in the district for several years in the past. Due to increasing attendance, this year it was moved to the Centennial Building at Fair Park. The DISD Office of Parent Engagement was in charge of the event. They were expecting 800-1,000 parents who were bussed in from most DISD schools. But this year the event was a great success with an attendance of 1,600, 1,300 of which were parents from across the district.

Rosemary Hinojosa and Maria Pintor, Dallas office
administrative secretary, worked the MCH booth at the DISD event.

Rosemary Hinojosa is pictured with a group of parents
who attended one of her parenting classes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MCH staff trained for new parent education program

Several staff members at Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) now have new tools to help families after receiving Circle of Security training from May 16-19. Twenty staff members attended the training in Plano, Texas, while two attended in Santa Fe, N.M. Another training session will be offered in Las Cruces, N.M., in June.

Circle of Security is described as “a relationship-based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children.” The program is based on research revealing that secure children exhibit more self-esteem and empathy while also forming stronger relationships and performing better in school. Through the program, facilitators help caregivers to identify children’s needs and determine the best ways to meet those needs.

MCH decided to implement Circle of Security after a recommendation from partners at Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development. It will be offered in addition to Nurturing Parenting and Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) programs.

“The program marries well with Nurturing Parenting and TBRI and it’s simple to facilitate,” said Kelly Smith, program administrator for the Western region of MCH Family Outreach. “After these rounds of training, all offices will have a trained COS Parenting trainer. Circle of Security provides participants with a model for parenting through secure attachment, allows exploration of attachment styles and teaches skills to facilitate a secure attachment with their children.”

Brooke Davilla, MCH Family Outreach director in Waco, attended the training in Plano.
“Often in our roles at MCH we hear ‘fix them,’ ‘fix us’ or ‘tell us what to do’ from families and community members who are seeking assistance,” she said. “The COS training is unlike other programs or interventions that offer a three-step guide to this or a behavior intervention that does that. The COS approach moves past the distraction of the behaviors and gets to the heart of the issue, our innate need for connection.

“During our training we were immersed in attachment theory and reminded that if we can help create or repair connection then we can move towards security with resiliency and wholeness,” Davilla added. “This specific model pairs nicely with TBRI and other services we currently offer at MCH. Circles of Security is rich in research and theory but simplistic in implementation. I believe we will continue to bring a message of hope to families through this approach and look forward to offering it in our community.” 

Friday, May 20, 2016

One Act Play competes at state and district competitions

Methodist Children’s Home School (MCHS) students can take a bow after impressive performances at district and state competitions this spring. The One Act Play cast received several awards for the performance of “Indoor/Outdoor,” a sentimental comedy written by Kenny Finkle.

The play is about a cat named Samantha, played by Skylar, who is adopted by her new owner Shuman, played by Ben. At first, everything is going well, but soon Samantha begins to wonder why Shuman doesn’t understand her. The relationship grows even more complicated when she meets an alley cat and begins to wonder if she is meant to be an indoor cat or outdoor cat.

The One Act Play cast has been rehearsing the play since January 2016. They are directed by Kira Rockwell, MCH recreation coordinator, who said she chose the play for her students due to its lovable characters and relatable message.

“The play is hysterical, but it has a beautiful overarching message of unconditional love and explores the principal of self-worth,” Rockwell said. “I wanted the students to have a show they could truly love to perform for people. I wanted them to be able to walk away knowing they told a great story.”

For the district competition on April 15, Ben received first place male actor overall for his role as “Shuman” and Skylar made the second all-star cast for her performance as “Samantha.” The play also received second place overall. At state competition on May 13-14, Skylar received first all-star cast, Ben was awarded second all-star cast, Josh was an honorable mention for his performance as the mouse, and D-Nayjah was recognized as an all-star tech.  

Rockwell said state was very competitive and she is very proud of the recognition they received as well as the hard work her students have put in throughout the semester. She said it was the first play for many of the students and they showed so much initiative learning lines, attending weekly rehearsals and supporting each other. The students completely run the entire show once performances begin including lights and sound.

”As a teacher, I love looking back at where we began, remembering all the small moments in between, and allowing myself to really value how far we came as a team,” she said. “It is truly incredible to be able to witness the individual growth the students make in all areas of their lives through the practice of theatre. And beyond that, the best part really is just being able to share my love of theatre with students who may have never known it was something they would enjoy. It is such a gift to be able to create something meaningful together.”   

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Core Value Award for Service - James and Patti Garrett

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

James and Patti Garrett, home parents at the Scharbauer-Thomas home, received the 2016 Core Award for Service at the all-staff meeting in March. The recipients for the Core Award for service is someone who shows compassion through generosity and care.

According to the Garrett’s nomination, “Throughout the nine years James and Patti have been at MCH they have demonstrated a heart of service to the youth and staff they have worked alongside. It has been evident that the Garretts are invested in serving the lives of MCH youth. The Garretts come in the doors of MCH desiring with a great passion to show our youth that they can overcome the hardships of life. They do not merely just come ‘on duty,’ but they live ‘on duty’ with a mission that surpasses just being present. They intentionally spend their time teaching our youth life skills and making memories. Camping trips, fishing, and days at the lake are a few of the things that the Garretts do to provide new experiences for the youth in their home. They work hard to prepare youth to be independent and ready for the ‘real world’ once the leave MCH. The Garretts show their serving hearts in their willingness to serve alongside with the youth as they as they volunteer to help them with various tasks in the home. The Garretts have been willing to plan their personal lives around the needs of MCH. At times, they have changed their plans with little notice in order to cover for other staff. They are present at significant events of our youth. The Garretts are true examples of putting the needs or wants of others before themselves.”

“We were honored to receive the award and thank our co-workers who nominated us,” Patti Garrett said. “We are grateful to be employed by MCH and that we are given the opportunity to make a difference in these youth’s lives, which we love doing!”

Marchelle Villa, unit manager and the Garrett’s supervisor had this to share, “When I think of the Garretts and their serving hearts I am reminded of Mark 10:45 which says ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as ransom for many.’ I cannot think of any other more worthy for the Core Value of Service than the Garretts. It is a great honor to acknowledge their passionate and dedicated years of service to the MCH community.”