Monday, September 28, 2015

MCHS students get head start on college with dual-credit courses

This school year Methodist Children’s Home has 17 youth from the Waco campus and Boys Ranch who are participating in the dual credit program. The University Charter School (UT-UCS), located on the Waco campus offers this program which provides juniors and seniors the opportunity to enroll in courses that will earn them both college and high school credit.

Students will be attending classes at either McLennan Community College (MCC) or Texas State Technical College (TSTC). Each will earn dual credit or certifications in the following courses; freshman English, Psychology, Sociology, Texas Government, College Transition, Welding and Electronics.

Two of our students are participating in the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy (GWAHCA). GWAHCA is a new program affiliated with the Health Science program at MCC where students are able to earn a certificate as an Advanced Certified Nursing Assistant.

“What a great opportunity for our juniors and seniors to better prepare themselves for college and vocational careers,” said Betty Morrow, school coordinator. “By being exposed to college level rigor and routine, these students potentially have greater success when they graduate from high school and enroll in college.”

These students all had to have a 3.0 grade point average, in addition to having passed the college readiness test in order to qualify to take these courses. Good luck!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Looking Out for Our Athletes - Athletic Trainer Sarah Arocha

The Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) athletic program on the Waco campus is in full swing, with many of our youth participating in football and volleyball this fall. MCH also offers youth the opportunity to participate in basketball and track at different times during the school year, and for the first time this year, golf.

Sarah Arocha, athletic trainer, has been with MCH for five years. Arocha earned her Bachelor of Science in Education in athletic training and earned a master’s degree in sports management, both from Baylor University. During games, Arocha is a mainstay on the sidelines, keeping a sharp eye on the players during live action and consulting with athletes on the sidelines throughout the competition.

“Often people are not sure of what I do, so I explain that athletic training is a branch of sports medicine,” said Arocha. “As the athletic trainer my responsibilities are to prevent, evaluate, treat and   rehabilitate athletic injuries. I try to educate our students that as an athlete they have the responsibility to themselves and to their teammates to take care of their bodies.”

Another part of prevention is education. MCH athletic staff promote healthy habits by encouraging our student athletes to eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, and report any injuries.
 “Youth in our care face many challenges, but when they participate in athletics, it is an opportunity during practice and games, to have fun and learn something new about themselves,” Arocha said.

“What I enjoy the most about my job is seeing the smiles on our student athletes’ faces when they get the volleyball over the net for the first time or make their first basket,” she said. “When a student is injured I am calm and reassuring because I know they are automatically thinking the worst. I try to build trust by being there for them when they are not feeling their best or spending one on one time with them, encouraging them when they are doing their physical therapy.”

Athletic staff keep the students who may be out with an injury connected by letting the student assist coaches, give pointers to other players or cheer on their teammates during practice.

Matt Rodgers, athletic director and Arocha’s supervisor, had this to share: “Sarah is a huge asset not only to MCH athletics but to the MCH community. She serves in many different areas and is a constant source of reassurance and gives our youth confidence through our athletic programs.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

MCH receives inaugural 2015 Charity Champions award

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) has been named a Charity Champion by The First National Bank – McGregor. 

For the next 12 months, MCH will be the focus of a marketing campaign funded by the bank, which launched the Charity Champions initiative to commemorate its 125th anniversary in 2014 and to celebrate and give back to the community. Nonprofits are nominated for the award and are voted on by the employees and board of the bank. Just six organizations are chosen as Charity Champions each year.

Winners are notified of their selection and the bank reveals the organization with an on-field presentation during a Baylor football game. MCH President/CEO Tim Brown received the award on Saturday, Sept. 12 during Baylor’s home-opener against Lamar while a video presentation was shown on the McLane Stadium jumbotron.

“It is an honor for Methodist Children’s Home to be selected as the first Charity Champion of the 2015 season, especially as we commemorate our 125th anniversary of offering hope to children, youth and families," said Brown. “Whether it is through our residential youth programs or our Family Outreach offices providing valuable in-home and community based services, MCH is committed to building stronger and healthier families.”

The bank also features the winning organization through press releases, newspaper ads and television commercials. In addition to the marketing awareness, MCH’s staff and leadership team will have the opportunity to participate in an executive training program that is also funded by the bank. Led by 360 Solutions, a global leadership and organizational training company, trainees will examine their organization's long-term strategy, the roles and responsibilities of the teams and evaluate the skills needed to be a successful nonprofit organization.

“Methodist Children's Home has been a champion for children, teens and families for many, many years,” said David Littlewood, president, The First National Bank. “With a long and well-respected history in Central Texas, the bank is honored to welcome MCH into the Charity Champion family."

Monday, September 14, 2015

MCH Family Outreach in Corpus supports local families at Back to School events

With the close of summer and a new school year beginning, MCH Family Outreach in Corpus Christi made sure to be available to help families during this transition. In the month of August, the MCH Family Outreach team attended five major events in the greater Corpus Christi area to support back-to-school efforts.

“We use the events not only to connect directly with clients, but with other vendors in attendance to learn more about what they do,” explained Marisol Gomez, director of MCH Family Outreach in Corpus Christi. “Our staff uses this time to share how we can work together with the families we serve. We were able to get referrals from these events and speak with clients directly about the services we provide.”

Attending community events throughout the year – not just during the back-to-school rush – is one of the many ways the MCH Family Outreach is able to stay involved in the Corpus Christi community. This year the Corpus Christi staff participated in more back-to-school events than in the past. As a result, they were able to make more connections with families as well as referral sources.

“This is the first year we were able to participate in the LEAD First backpack stuffing event where almost 2,000 backpacks were filled with school supplies, snacks and food coupons for children and families in need,” Gomez said. “The staff felt this was a fulfilling experience to be able to participate in this event that would in turn assist many children in need in the community. This was a great team-building exercise for staff although it had not been planned out as that initially.”

In addition to helping stuff backpacks with the LEAD First Foundation, MCH Family Outreach attended back-to-school fairs at Flour Bluff, First United Methodist Church of Portland, Keach Family Library, and the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD). Partnering with organizations in the Corpus Christi community provides many mutually beneficial relationships between MCH Family Outreach and other local agencies, Gomez noted.

“At the CCPD Operation Safe Return Fair we were able to connect with several grandparents who are raising grandchildren and inform them not only about our services but of upcoming events for grandparents,” Gomez said.

In July, nine families in Corpus Christi were participating in the Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) and by the end of August, that number had almost doubled. GAPP supports grandparents and other relatives who serve as the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. Through MCH Family Outreach, grandparents can receive assistance through monthly case management, access to community resources, support groups and workshops.

To learn more about all the services MCH Family Outreach provides, as well as to find the office nearest to you, click here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

MCH to recreate historical event during 125th anniversary celebration

This historical photo of a gathering at Haynie Garden was the
inspiration for MCH's plans for the 125th Anniversary Celebration.
On October 10, Methodist Children’s Home will commemorate 125 years of service during a celebration on the Waco campus. During the event, a scene from MCH’s history will be recreated as the community of MCH staff, children, families and supporters come together for an outdoor luncheon near what was once the site of the Viola Haynie Garden.

In 1921, Mrs. Viola Haynie of Rice, Texas, donated $1,000 to construct the outdoor venue. Haynie Garden was constructed behind the Abe Mulkey utility building, an area that is now located near the Administration building that faces Herring Avenue. The boys of Methodist Children’s Home used limestone to fence in the area and form tiered seating for the audience. They also built a wooden Grecian archway as a backdrop to a stage and landscaped the area surrounding the venue with shrubs and grass.

On May 27, 1921, Haynie Garden was dedicated during a ceremony with several hundred guests in attendance. The garden became a popular venue for MCH’s children and supporters that featured various musical and theater performances as well as gatherings such as watermelon picnics until the 1960s. It was also an appealing backdrop for photographs and can be seen in group pictures throughout MCH’s history. In fact, it is a photograph of a watermelon picnic that inspired the plan for this year’s 125th anniversary event.

“This area of our campus has special significance,” said Trey Oakley, vice president for development. “Many of our alumni and tenured staff remember events in this Haynie Garden area. We pray for good weather but we know, no matter what, this location is the perfect spot to celebrate our 125th anniversary.”

The 125th anniversary celebration on Oct. 10 will begin at 10 a.m. with an exclusive Q&A with special guests Chip and Joanna Gaines. The picnic-style barbecue luncheon starts at 12:30 p.m. and is free of charge but registration is required. MCH employees and residents will receive specific instructions regarding plans for that day.

Staff, MCH residents and alumni, families and visitors to the Waco campus are invited to “come by our Visitors Center in Perkins Heritage Home to view the Haynie Garden exhibit and see some of the photos from our past that inspired our plans for the Oct. 10 event,” Oakley added.

This photo shows the construction of Haynie Garden back in 1921.
The Haynie Garden display is featured in the Vistors Center located
in the Perkins Heritage Home on the Waco campus.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to School 2015 - MCH School

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) Charter School, located on the Waco campus, officially started classes this past Thursday, Aug. 20.  In the 12 years of our partnership with the University of Texas-University Charter School system, 245 students have earned their high school diploma.

“Over the summer we completed a number of improvements at the school,” said Moe Dozier, vice president of residential services. “The improvements include new lighting in all the classrooms and new classroom furniture for our students. Our partnership with the University of Texas–University Charter School remains strong and we are pleased to be adding sixth grade and expanding our Day Student Program.”

The most noticeable change is the uniforms our students will be wearing. Our students will have the choice of slacks, shorts or skorts along with different colored polo shirts which have the MCH logo on them.

Cristy Cunningham, principal, had this to share, “The overall response from students has been positive about the additions and changes. We have had fewer schedule changes this year than in the past and our Ag classes are full. We are excited about the new year!”

Friday, August 14, 2015

MCH School staff take on the Alpine Tower

Staff from the Methodist Children’s Home School (MCHS) have been preparing all summer to lead students through challenges as they begin another school year. On June 5, school staff took on a different challenge as they tackled the Alpine Tower course at the Boys Ranch.

School staff were invited for the second year to the Boys Ranch to spend the morning testing their skills on the ropes course. Cristy Cunningham, principal at MCHS, wanted her staff to participate after she said her previous school did a ropes course as an exercise to “work together as a professional learning community.” She said it creates an opportunity for staff to learn each other’s strengths and fears.

The MCH recreation department led the school staff through the ropes course training in the morning. After the training, staff were invited to eat lunch at the Ranch with the boys and visit their homes. Cunningham said the day was a great experience for her staff.

“New staff are supported by returning staff,” she said. “Leaders and ‘outside the box thinkers’ are identified immediately. The greatest goal  of the ropes training is that we come together as one team cheering each other on to accomplish a task that may seem overwhelming to an individual, but as a team there is victory.” 

MCHS, located on the MCH Waco campus, was established in 2003 and is operated in partnership with the University of Texas – University Charter School.