Friday, July 20, 2018

Bryan mother finds financial stability with help of MCH Family Outreach

Kerrianna worked with MCH Family Outreach to become financially stable
and recently received a vehicle thanks to a partnership with OnRamp. 
Kerrianna is a single mother of six children, ages 3-16, and was doing her best to make ends meet working as a substitute teacher. However, with limited financial means and transportation, she could only accept substitute jobs at schools close to her home. As a necessary solution, she accepted full-time employment at a local pizza chain near her apartment so she could walk her younger girls to child care before going to work.

Kerrianna learned about MCH Family Outreach in Bryan/College Station through a local childcare and educational program and hoped they could help her find a solution to her challenges. She began working with MCH case manager Susan Hays in February 2018 as part of the Family Solutions program.

Through the program, Hays was able to assist Kerrianna with identifying her goals and developing strategies to meet those goals. Kerrianna desired financial stability and also wanted to increase healthy experiences for her family. Hays provided her with support and encouragement through her journey and connected her with resources in the area to assist her in gaining financial stability.

“I think the program was very helpful,” Kerrianna said. “Since starting the program I have developed a ton of self-worth.”

Hays knew that a reliable vehicle would be a crucial part of Kerrianna’s goals. She nominated her to a local nonprofit called OnRamp that assists hardworking families in need with vehicles. She learned about the organization through friends and thought Kerrianna would be a great candidate for the opportunity.

Through this partnership, Kerrianna received a 2005 Dodge Caravan in June that is able to accommodate her six children. She is now searching for full-time employment at College Station ISD and will no longer have to worry about limiting her search to schools within walking distance. Kerrianna said she has also seen improvements in her relationships with her children.

“It has helped us become closer,” she said. “It’s given me the strength to listen to my kids more and we go and do a lot more now. I’m feeling happy and overjoyed that my family and I are closer and we can now travel more.”

Hays said she has enjoyed working with Kerrianna and is impressed by her ambition to do whatever it takes to support her family.

“Kerrianna has persevered through a lot of stress and hardship,” Hays said. “I don’t know many people who would walk their kids to child care and then walk to a job they don’t like every day in hopes of providing a better future for their children. She continues to move forward and do the ‘next right thing.’” 

Friday, June 29, 2018

MCH Family Outreach in Waco offers free parenting classes at McLennan Community College

Staff from MCH Family Outreach if Waco recently wrapped up its first parenting class as part of continuing education at McLennan Community College (MCC). The class, Connected Caregiver, was a success and will be followed up later this summer by a class covering Circle of Security® Parenting™ program.

“Working with MCC has been incredibly positive,” said Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “In partnering with MCC we are able to reach the broader Waco community. MCC has been supportive and eager to share our mission with others. At MCH Family Outreach we are always looking for creative ways to serve and engage our local community.”

The parenting classes are appropriate for anyone who is a caregiver for children and youth including parents, teachers, or childcare professionals. Participants learn about trauma-informed and evidence-based practices that will help them better understand behaviors and connect with children.

One class participant, Lori Colunga, decided to attend the Connected Caregiver class after hearing about it through her church. A former teacher, Colunga volunteers for a reading mentorship program where she works with children in Waco schools. She said she has learned a lot about how relationships can factor into children’s ability to interact and learn.

“We’re hearing about how important those connections are,” Colunga said. “If you don’t have those personal connections, the brain is not turned on for anything.”

Connected Caregiver classes ran through June, and Circle of Security classes will be Aug. 6 through Sept. 10 on Monday evenings. Circle of Security is a program that helps parents and caregivers better understand their child’s needs. Facilitators will work with parents and caregivers to better understand a child’s emotions, support their ability to manage those emotions, enhance their self-esteem, and honor the innate wisdom and desire for the child to be secure. 

To sign up for the free class, click here to visit the McLennan Community College website.

Ana Chatham, case manager for MCH Family Outreach in Waco,
facilitates a Connected Caregiver class at MCC.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

MCH youth receive awards for academics, activities

Congratulations to students at the Methodist Children’s Home charter school who were recognized for achievements during the 2017-18 school year! Students were celebrated with certificates, letter jackets, patches, and other items during a school awards ceremony on May 18 and an Activities Banquet on May 22. Below is a list of recipients:

Charter School Awards
Bulldog Pride: Middle school – Lacey-Ann, Lucas, Dathan, Blake, Christina, Brittney; High school – Nikkie, Julianna, Emily, Josh, Faith, Kameron, Charles, Madison, Jaelyne, Marisa, Galen, Dina, Dominic, Synia, Alexis, Soleana, Jasmine, Daniel, Nebiyat, Arianna, Deborah

Academic Honor Roll:  Middle school – Alin; High school - Noah, Chandler, Rainn, Jaelyne, Marisa, Galen, Duane, Dina, Selam, Julio, Alexis, Soleana, Jasmine, Daniel, Nebiyat, Arianna, Deborah

Safe School Ambassadors:  Noah, Dan’tavion, Jaelyne, Marisa, Galen, Tremya, Amashia, Julio, Alexis, Adrianna, Damonte

Art Awards: Kelsey, Soleana, Tremya, Daniel, Lacey, Faith, Alayah, Jasmine, Deborah, Selam, Emone, Alexis N., Abigail, Charles, Alyssa

English Awards:  English 3 – Deborah, Nebiyat, Arianna; English 4 – Rainn, Dan’tavion, Soleana

FFA Awards:
Ag Mechanics Design and Fabrication – Noah; Diversified Livestock – KK; Ag Mechanics Repair and Maintenance – Galen; Vegetable Production – Jaelyne; Wildlife Production – Ladarius; Star Green Hand – Duane; Chapter Star Farmer – Galen; Chapter Star in Agriscience – Galen; Ag Education and Placement – Julio; Chapter Discovery (best 8th grader) – Sam

Crew Champions: Beef production – Marisa; Swine production – Roger; Sheep production – Layla; Goat production – Dustin

Athletics Awards
Football:  Co-MVPs – Julio, Damonte; Most Improved – Kendrick
Volleyball:  MVP – Amashia; Most Improved – Armani
Boys Basketball: MVP - Sir Dautrel; Most Improved – Xaivier
Girls Basketball: MVP – Emone; Most Improved - Ari
Boys Track & Field: MVP - Sir Dautrel; Most Improved – Dremon
Girls Track & Field: MVP – Justine; Most Improved - Rainn
Boys Golf:  MVP – Angel; Most Improved - Daniel
Girls Golf:  MVP - Dina
Bobby Gilliam Leadership Through Athletics Award – Tayshawn, Soleana

Fine Arts Awards
Theatre: Most Valuable – Lacey; Most Improved – Juliana
Cheer/Dance:  Most Valuable – Jaelyne; Most Improved - Christina
Choir:  Most Outstanding – Layla; Most Improved - Faith
Photography:  Most Outstanding – Alexis T.; Most Improved – Lauren

The charter school, located on the MCH Waco campus, is operated in partnership with the University of Texas – University Charter School system. Thank you to all our supporters and staff who contributed to another successful year for our students!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Students think like entrepreneurs for school project

The team for "The Beez Kneez Sweets" won first prize
in the food truck contest. 
Students at the Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) charter school were recently challenged to show their creativity and mind for business during a recent class project. Angie Hammond’s food science classes participated in the project which involved groups of juniors and seniors developing their own food truck businesses.

The charter school, located on the Waco campus of MCH, is operated in partnership with the University of Texas-University Charter School system. Hammond, a teacher at the charter school for 13 years, came up with the idea for the project after watching a show on The Food Channel. 

“I wanted them to learn what was involved in starting a food truck business and how to put together a proposal to present to a committee in the city where they want to set up your business,” Hammond said. “They also had to come up with a menu that would work for their truck, along with marketing slogans, jingles and models.”

The students were graded on the different aspects of their food truck project including their ideas for business structure, miniature truck models, menu items, design, and marketing ideas. They were also asked to make an item from their menu and bring to class. Students could work as part of a group or individually.

“I was very impressed with the thought and creativity that went into each individual or group project,” Hammond said. “The groups worked together very well and the individuals also did an excellent job. They all said that they liked the project.”  

Staff and students voted on the projects and winners were announced during the school awards ceremony on May 18. Winners were: 1st Place: The Beez Kneez Sweets; 2nd Place: Koi Lantern; 3rd Place: Mobile Munchies.

“I found this project to be an inspiration and it brought our group closer together,” said Nikki, 18, a member of The Beez Kneez group. “It was a really fun project that brought out our creativity.”

Hammond said as part of her food science class, students also learned about taste test panels where the class conducted their own panel. She said they also compared fat-free foods to regular foods, and gluten free with regular foods. Hammond said she plans to include the food truck project in her curriculum next year and hopes to also add a field trip to local food trucks as part of the lesson.

2nd Place - Koi Lantern
3rd Place - Mobile Munchies

Monday, May 7, 2018

Students visit Boys Ranch for Wildlife Expo

Methodist Children’s Home charter school students gathered at the MCH Boys Ranch on April 18 to get a lesson on the great outdoors. Ag teachers Steve Kruse and Kevin Gibbs organized the Wildlife Expo with the help of Boys Ranch and charter school staff.  This is the second time they have hosted this event.

“I wanted the students to learn something about outdoor education and nature, and also see how special the Ranch is,” Kruse said.

During the event, students were divided into groups and rotated around stations. There were a total of eight stations including:

  • Fishing at Slator Pond with MCH staff member Jason Bartlett
  • Horsemanship led by MCH staff member and equine coordinator Tim Price
  • The Falls County Game Warden teaching about his work
  • Beekeeping by Trig Bees
  • The Urban Interface, a wildlife organization that brought in several birds to show students
  • A BB-gun marksmanship station sponsored by Cabela’s Waco with Cabela representative Jeffrey Haslam
  • Archery sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife, led by Travis Glick
  • Taste of the Wild allowed students to eat venison that was shot by Ranch boys during their hunting trip and cooked by Kruse and Ranch staff member Tyrone Robinson.

Kruse and Gibbs also worked with the art teacher at the charter school to hold a student art contest with prizes awarded to the top artist. Students and staff voted on the art throughout the afternoon.

“This was a good way for the school staff and all the MCH staff to come together to work for the good of our students,” Kruse said. “Like the old saying goes, ‘it takes an entire community to raise a child’ and we are raising about 135 of them.”

Thursday, May 3, 2018

MCH Family Outreach joins efforts for Child Abuse Prevention month

Corpus Christi Outreach office staff partnered with local agencies to plant a
pinwheel garden to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The month of April marked Child Abuse Prevention Month and several MCH Family Outreach offices took part in efforts to raise awareness in their communities.

MCH Family Outreach in Corpus Christi and El Paso partnered with local agencies in planting pinwheel gardens. The gardens are part of an initiative called Pinwheels for Prevention led by Prevent Child Abuse America, a national organization who works to prevent abuse and neglect of the nation’s children. The gardens are meant to serve as a reminder to the community to take a stand against child abuse and show support to local agencies serving children.

MCH Family Outreach in Corpus Christi planted a pinwheel garden for the third year. With 1,176 pinwheels this year, the garden was nearly four times the size from the first year when the office planted 300 pinwheels. They partnered with CASA of the Coastal Bend, BCFS Health and Human Services, Education Service Center Region 2 Home Visiting Program, and Arms Wide to plant pinwheels to represent the children in foster care for Nueces, San Patricio and Aransas counties in 2017. They also participated in a “Ringing of the Bells” ceremony on April 5 with the Chamber of Commerce, mayor and city council members to “ring in the month” of April to bring awareness to child abuse prevention.

Staff of MCH Family Outreach in El Paso collaborated with Child Protective Services and Girl Scout Troop #52104 for its first pinwheel project. The Girl Scouts and parents learned the meaning behind the pinwheel gardens and helped plant 500 pinwheels. They were also invited to attend Go Blue Day celebration on April 6 which included a balloon release to build awareness in the community for child abuse prevention.    

MCH Family Outreach in Houston also participated in a balloon release for Go Blue Day to honor children affected by abuse and neglect. Staff from MCH Family Outreach in Waco wore blue to show their support for the cause as well.

In Dallas, Outreach staff handed out blue bracelets that said, “Be a Hero – Foster a Child” to foster parents, clients, friends, families, and other employers in their office building to recognize Child Abuse Prevention month. They also wore shirts that said, “There is no excuse for Child Abuse” every Thursday in April to raise awareness.

Thank you to our MCH Family Outreach offices for their efforts during Child Abuse Prevention Month!

Dallas Outreach office staff

El Paso Outreach office staff

Houston Outreach office staff

Waco Outreach office staff

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

MCH students showcase talents during TCAF competitions

Methodist Children’s Home charter school students spent months preparing their entries for the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship competitions this spring. This year, students competed in dance, music, photography, theatre, and cheer.

Students brought home high scores for their work with a dance duet by Jaelyne and Camrayon receiving second place overall, photography by Layla and Nikki receiving first place overall, one-act play performer Jack receiving First All-Star Cast and cheerleaders earning second place in the co-ed high school novice division.

“While the list of awards on some level attests to the hard work and talent of our students, it does little to capture the initiative and creativity demonstrated by the students in months leading up to these competitions, or to attest to the perseverance and engagement of teachable moments required of students who successfully participated,” said Kimberly Bobbitt, director of recreation. “On so many levels it is this day-to-day learning process, not the competitions themselves, that makes the experience beneficial for our students.”

Bobbitt said students had the opportunity to work in a classroom environment with an instructor to write monologues, develop dances, learn songs and capture photographs based on their interests. This year saw the addition of the photography competition, and Bobbitt said she was proud of the initiative and drive she witnessed from many students throughout all categories of competition.

“Students get a chance to work out what it means to be part of a team, experiencing both the positive reward of what they can accomplish as a group,” she said. “Also students learn to weather challenges, like learning to move past difficulties of team members not holding up their part of the commitment or on the opposite side learning the importance of following through on a team commitment.”

Gabe Garcez, recreation assistant, led a team in theatre competitions this year.

“The competition allowed them to think in terms of a long term goal while we focused on the small goals we had week to week," Garcez said. “I think it showed them how the small things they worked on individually added up to something greater than they could have accomplished on their own.”

Below is a list of results:

Fine Arts/Visual Arts Competition (Music, Photography, Dance)
Dance: Kiayani - Excellent rating (dance solo); Jaelyne and Camrayon – Superior rating (dance duet), Second place overall

Music:  Keyon – Excellent rating (piano solo); Faith – Good rating (drum solo); Cameron – Excellent rating (vocal solo); Alexis – Excellent rating (vocal solo); Victoria – Good rating (vocal solo); Intermediate vocal ensemble (Hunter, Cameron, Victoria, Nikki) – Excellent rating; Beginner vocal ensemble (Alayah, Jack, Lacey, Faith, Alexis) – Good rating

Visual Arts:  Nikki – Superior rating and first place overall (basic photography); Layla – Superior rating and first place overall (basic photography); Madison – Superior rating and third place overall; Bryce – Superior rating (basic photography); Lauren – Superior rating (basic photography); Alexis T. – Superior rating (basic photography), Alexis F. – Excellent rating (digitally-manipulated photography)

Fine Arts Competition (Theatre)
Monologues: Shelby – Excellent rating; Victoria – Excellent rating; Kendrick – Good rating; Lacey – Excellent rating; Autumn – Excellent rating; Jasmine – Good rating

One Act Play: consisting of Actors – Jack (First All Star Cast), Victoria, Juliana, Sheldon (Honorable Mention), Autumn, Lacey; Alternate – Jasmine; Technology Sound – Faith; Technology Lights – Shelby

Cheer Competition
Cheer team consisting of Gabi, Christina, Kiayani, Alyssa, Selam, Nikki, Ben – Second Place in Co-ed High School Novice Division

Congratulations to our participating students!