Monday, March 30, 2015

ReCreation Weekend and Holy Hip Hop Jam 2015

Ahmad Washington, MCH Spiritual Development Minister
Youth explored their faith through events hosted by Spiritual Development staff this month. The Holy Hip Hop Jam on March 14 at Carver Park Baptist Church featured Christian artists as well as a performance by an MCH student. ReCreation Weekend, an annual event featuring a concert, group sessions and special worship service, was held March 20-22 at the Waco campus.

Spiritual Development minister Ahmad Washington organized the Holy Hip Hop Jam sponsored by Movment Up, Carver Park Baptist Church, Soul Fishing Media, Grind4God, and 254 United. Several MCH residents and staff joined members of the community to listen to Christian music from artists A.H.M.A.D.D., Minister Slugger, T. Gambine, Minister Chris Crump, Minister BC, and Capital G. Ema Rose, an upcoming artist and current MCH student, also performed her own original songs from her album “Picture Perfect” produced by Washington with one track produced by Minister Chris Crump. Her songs can currently be heard online at https://soundcloud.com/ema-morrison/sets/picture-perfect

“The purpose of the concert was to show artists who share their faith and hope in Jesus Christ through music so our kids can experience God’s music in a similar form that they are used to hearing and stroke the flames inside them,” Washington said.

Washington said the community concert served as a springboard to ReCreation Weekend. ReCreation Weekend began as a collaboration between Recreation and Spiritual Development who host a weekend of events to focus on spiritual growth and community building. During this year’s ReCreation Weekend, MCH youth gathered in the Harrell Memorial Chapel to hear a concert from Christian artists on Friday evening, followed by a day of group sessions and senior lunch on Saturday and special worship service on Sunday. This year, the weekend focused on encouraging youth to explore their identities through Christ.

This year’s concert featured performances by Greg “Puntin” Cooks and Chyrie Randolph. Cooks performed at last year’s Holy Hip Hop Jam. Between performances, Recreation staff hosted entertaining “Minute to Win It” challenges for student volunteers. On Saturday, boys and girls were separated for group sessions to discuss topics pertaining to challenges they may face led by guests Cooks, Randolph and April Neal. The guests shared their own testimonies and talked to youth about how they can walk out their faith in their current lives as young women and men. 

“Our guests talked about the temptations and setbacks they faced, and continue to face, on their faith journeys and gave practical advice on how they continue to move forward: poetry, music, scripture, mentors, etc.,” explained Kim Clark, director of spiritual development. “There were so many different personalities and theologies this year. It gave our students a real view of the Kingdom of God…a variety of thoughts, practices, cultures and talents that all glorify our creator.”

This year, a senior lunch was added to Saturday activities to offer youth a chance to gather together and discuss their upcoming transitions before graduation. The weekend concluded with a special worship service in the chapel. Clark said she hopes students learned from their experiences during ReCreation Weekend.

“I hope our students understand that God has so much more for them than they have imagined for themselves,” Clark said. “I hope they begin to claim a life of purpose and passion. I never want them to settle for less.”

Ema Rose, MCH resident, performed her original music at the Holy Hip Hop Jam. 

Greg "Puntin" Cooks

Chyrie Randolph

Monday, March 23, 2015

Core Value Award for Service - Mike Baxley

Methodist Children’s Home annually recognizes staff who exemplify one of our core values.  Staff members are nominated by their peers and are recognized at an all-staff meeting during which the awards are given.

The Core Values of MCH are:
Christian Principles
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

Mike Baxley, director of technology, received the Core Value Award for Service. The Core Award for Service is defined as someone who shows compassion through generosity and care. According to Baxley’s nomination, “Mike could qualify for all six Core Awards. He builds healthy relationships through communication. His responsibilities at MCH are very complex and important to our daily business. He is vital to the smooth operation of systems both behind the scenes and on the front line working directly with staff. Mike is very knowledgeable and shows compassion and a caring attitude when a stressed staff member seeks his help to fix their technology problem. He offers hope by always looking for ways to help improve and grow our communications across all programs, and goes above and beyond to make sure all systems are up and running, not only at our Waco campuses but also in our outlying MCH Family Outreach offices. He is always running here and there and is never seen with a frown on his face, but only with a look of focused and determined concentration.”

Baxley has worked for MCH for nine years. “Computers, electronics have been a passion of mine for over 25 years,” Baxley said. “I feel very fortunate to have a career doing something I truly enjoy and at the same time contributing to the mission of such a wonderful organization like MCH.”

Julie Mitchell, vice president for finance and Baxley’s supervisor had this to share: “Mike has implemented many improvements over the last several years. I am proud that Mike has received this recognition for his dedicated service to MCH.” 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Break 2015

Whether their interest is in art, sports or local attractions, MCH residents have a variety of opportunities to choose from during the week of Spring Break. Recreation staff compile a full schedule of activities for residents to enjoy during their week off from school.

“Our goals for these activities are for the students to have fun, get out of the home unit, experience something new or something they love, and have the opportunity to build trusting relationships with students and staff,” said Beth Harris, director of recreation.

This year, activities included fishing, disc golf, softball and skating as well as arts and crafts, baking and library outings. Recreation staff also organized a cook-out at Cameron Park and the Boys Ranch hosted a campfire breakfast.

“I hope that the students have fun and that the staff take advantage of these opportunities to have fun with the students,” Harris said.







Friday, March 13, 2015

Waco Family Outreach partners with Baylor students

MCH Family Outreach in Waco, located on the Methodist Children’s Home campus, recently teamed up with students from Baylor University’s School of Social Work enrolled in the Practice with Communities and Organization class this spring semester. This course allows students to learn about community based social work and how to practically fill those roles.

“As part of their semester project, the students are assisting the Waco Family Outreach staff in a local collaboration to facilitate a live simulcast, featuring Dr. Karen Purvis’s Empowered to Connect Conference,” said Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “This conference is geared towards foster and adoptive families as well as community members and professionals who serve children who come from hard places.”

Davilla said the students visited the MCH campus “to learn about our history, current services and the population we serve. They were given a tour of the Perkins Heritage Home and Visitor Center and viewed a DVD about our youth. They also received items commemorating our 125th anniversary and the Development staff led the students in a big Baylor ‘Sic’em!’”

At the Waco Family Outreach office, MCH case managers facilitated a panel for the students to ask questions about their real-life experiences in the field of social work.

“The students left with a true sense of MCH’s mission to offer hope to children, youth and families,” Davilla said. “We are excited to bring the Empowered to Connect simulcast to Waco and share our passion for serving children. It is our desire that community collaborations and partnering with future social workers will spread the stories of ‘hope’ happening at MCH in Waco and all over Texas and New Mexico.”

For more information about the Empowered to Connect simulcast, click here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

McLennan County Livestock Show 2015

Thirty students from Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) FFA chapter competed in the 2015 McLennan County Livestock Show Feb. 2-6 at Extraco Events Center in Waco. Out of the 30, only three students had ever shown an animal in a show before.

“This is the largest group of students that we have taken to a show since I have been an ag teacher here,” said Steve Kruse, Ag teacher. “It also was the most inexperienced group of kids with so many first time showman. The teacher in me is extremely proud of what the students have learned and how they represented Methodist Children’s Home.”

MCH entered two steers, one heifer, seven goats, six lambs and 14 pigs into the livestock show. One first-year FFA student, Ema, received Reserve Breed Champion for her Southdown lamb. Ema had never been around livestock before and had to teach her lamb to brace, stand and be led for the show. Below is a list of MCH participants:

Lambs
Southdown: Iyahnna - 4th, Jessica - 7th
Medium wool:  Star - 8th, Quentin - 9th, Hawa - 11th, Aaron H (participated)

Goats
Participants: Kiyanna, Alex, Ladarius, Chris, Tamika, Isaiah, Lane  

Cattle
AOB heifer:  Star - 2nd
Steer:  Justice - 7th, Star - 11th

Swine
Participants:  Sonja - 9th, Diego, Prince, Jaelynn, Justus, Mikayla, Drennon, Edgar, Chayce, Julio, Jayden, Marvin, Nick

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tyler Outreach sponsors Permanency Values training


MCH Family Outreach in Tyler reached out to their community and sponsored a day of training on Friday, Jan. 23, at Marvin United Methodist Church. Jason Gillentine, Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) permanency practitioner, and Kristi Hatchel, DFPS family group decision making trainer, provided Permanency Values training.

Permanency is defined as the highest level of physical, legal and emotional safety and security that can be attained for each individual child or youth within the context of a family relationship. Eighteen participants including DFPS employees, child placing agency staff, and family court agents and officers attended the training.

Gillentine and Hatchel set out to give participants a better understanding of concepts, related skills and developmental aspects of permanency values and show a link between family engagement and permanency and its lifelong benefits.

“Permanence is NOT a place,” explained Traci Wagner, MCH Family Outreach eastern regional administrator. “Permanency is a state of mind, and not a placement. Permanence is having the feeling that you are connected – that there is someone in the middle of the night who will answer your collect phone call or miss you when you do not show up.

“Another way to think about permanency is a parenting relationship with an adult, a mutual understanding that this relationship is meant to last forever; unconditional commitment by the adult(s); participation by all parties in the relationship; lifelong mutual support and involvement; and belonging.”

The Permanency Values training is being offered throughout the State of Texas and several MCH Family Outreach offices have attended in their areas.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Under 12 youth get time for play

Methodist Children’s Home recreation department staff have the challenge of meeting the unique recreation needs of our youth who range in ages. While the staff do a wonderful job of balancing the needs of the younger youth and the older youth in their home units, they are constantly seeking opportunities outside of the home unit for the younger youth to get out their energy and be able to engage in age appropriate activities.

Monthly our 12 and under youth get to hang out exclusively with their own age group. This month they went roller skating at Skate World.

“This was a great event because it allowed them not only to act ridiculous and play as a 12 and under youth should, but also burn off their unending energy,” explained Kimberly Bobbitt, recreation coordinator. “Once we were on the skating rink, we skated for hours nonstop. Another great aspect of these events is that it creates another space for these younger youth to get more one-on-one attention they need from loving adults. I am so grateful to get to be part of these events and love on these youth.”