Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spiritual Development Weekend 2017

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) youth spent the weekend learning more about Christ and were invited to ask difficult questions related to forgiveness and their own faith journey during Spiritual Development Weekend. Kimberly Clark, director of spiritual development, and her team led the activities that focus on spiritual growth.

The weekend started with a Friday evening concert where Christian artists recruited by Pastors Ahmad Washington and Colin Campbell came to the Waco campus to perform. This year, MCH welcomed Bus Seven, Capital G, Jeremy Beggs and MxC for the concert. On Saturday, the day began with a worship service with guest speaker Apostle T followed by a senior lunch. Sunday morning concluded the weekend with a closing worship service in the chapel.

Clark said they want to show the youth different artists and speakers who use their talents to glorify God.

“The Bible contains stories of God’s interactions with His people throughout history but those interactions aren’t just contained to a book,” she said. “God continues to interact and work in and through His people now, and we want our students to be exposed to others outside of the agency who are willing to share how God has moved and breathed into their lives.

“We like to expose our residential students to faithful people in Waco and surrounding areas,” she said. “It allows them to connect with the greater Christian community, gives them fresh faces and voices to receive from, and hopefully encourages them to continue to find places to worship once they leave our care."

The theme of the weekend was “forgiveness,” and the story of David was central to the focus of the entire weekend and as youth looked at Scripture to see examples of God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Clark said this theme brought up many questions from the youth such as: How do you forgive someone that has hurt you so deeply? How do you regain trust after forgiveness is given? Why did God choose to forgive me? Can you forgive when you can’t forget?

“This weekend was a great example of the opportunity this ministry gives us to share the good news with our young people,” said Trey Oakley, vice president for development. “We do so in a safe environment where we don’t shy away from tough questions.

“Since our ministers’ focus is on helping build authentic relationships with God and in our community, we don’t have to conjur up easy or quick fix answers,” Oakley continued. “Sometimes we can say ‘I don’t know but let’s trust God to heal, comfort and seek answers together.’ That’s an amazing thing we get to do for all those we serve throughout Texas and New Mexico.”

MCH has hosted spiritually-focused weekends for almost 20 years, formerly called ReCreation Weekend and RARE event. These weekends continue to be a time for MCH youth to dialog about and grow in their faith.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Houston case manager speaks on serving grandparents during local conference

Nicole Washington, case manager at MCH Family Outreach in Houston, shared her experience in working with grandparents at a recent convention in Stafford, Texas. The Children’s Case Management Coalition (CCMC) hosted its 8th annual conference on February 24 at the Stafford Centre.

Washington was invited to speak at the conference after meeting several coalition members during an interagency meeting. The CCMC is “a collaborative group of case management providers in Houston and surrounding counties, who are invested in the special needs and issues of children and their families.” Every year the coalition hosts a conference for the community where social workers, nurses, nutritionists, parents and other professionals learn more about issues and services available for families and children.

Washington presented to the group to provide insight on what grandparents feel, think and struggle with when they are called to care for their grandchildren.

“Over the past seven years I have worked with grandparents in the Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) and one thing remains consistent – they give all they have while caring for their grandchildren,” Washington said. “They know it comes with a price, themselves, and they have no problem giving their all. However, the entire family suffers when the price depletes the one who holds it all together. I constantly remind my clients, ‘if you don’t take care of yourself then you are not taking care of the kids. You are your best advocate, so care and advocate for yourself.’”

Around 150 people attended the event to hear about topics related to the conference theme “Trauma-Informed Care: Recognizing and Responding to the Effects of Trauma in the Family.” Washington said the experience of presenting to her peers was enlightening, and she enjoyed speaking up for grandparents. 

“I love my GAPP grandparents,” Washington said. “They truly inspire me. I am so honored to work with them.”


Friday, March 3, 2017

MCH students surprised during field trip to McLane Stadium

MCH students surprised during field trip to McLane Stadium
Some special visitors joined a group of Methodist Children’s Home charter school students during a tour of McLane Stadium, home to the Baylor Bears football team. On March 1, five Baylor players surprised the middle schoolers and helped to give them a field trip they will not soon forget.

The group of students were from Mr. Zachary Byrd’s Core class. Byrd, the middle school social studies teacher at the charter school, said one of his objectives in his class is to teach the children leadership and positive peer interaction.

“A lot of my kids in the class are big sports fans,” Byrd said. “I wanted them to have the opportunity to interact with some of their heroes and see the stadium. I emphasize to the kids that there are a lot of jobs involved with sports and you don’t have to be a great athlete to have a career in sports or athletics. I think them seeing the stadium showed them some of the career opportunities involving athletics.”

Byrd coordinated with Baylor athletics to surprise the students. At the beginning of the tour five players, Wyatt Schrepfer (running back), Josh Malin (tight end), Will Jones (defensive tackle), Clint Kelly (long snapper), and Chris Lutzel (long snapper) along with Associate Director of Football Operations Ryan Kelly filed into the stadium.

During the tour, the group was taken through the press box, president’s suite, recruit lounge, post-game interview room, locker room and football field. The players spent their time talking with the students, signed autographs, and even tossed around the football and kicked field goals with the students on the field. 

“Seeing the kids interact with the players absolutely made my day,” Byrd said. “Their positive interaction with them was amazing. The kids’ smiles and comments afterward were awesome."




  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MCH joins other childcare agencies at State Capitol


Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) joined representatives from other childcare agencies across Texas at the State Capitol in Austin on Feb. 1 for the awareness event “Never Alone Star State – Advocating for Children in Foster Care” sponsored by the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services (TACFS).

“The alliance put together the event as an opportunity to unite together to advocate for children in foster care in Texas and encourage legislators to make these children a priority this legislative session,” said Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator for MCH who helped coordinate the event on behalf of MCH.
According to its website, the mission of TACFS is to strengthen services to children and families through quality care and advocacy. The alliance is made up of agencies that focus primarily on working with children and families who are at-risk, children who have experienced abuse and neglect and families dealing with low income, loss of jobs, domestic violence, and other issues.

Tim Brown, President/CEO of Methodist Children’s Home, also serves on the Board of Directors for TACFS. He said MCH felt it was important to participate in the awareness event due to the potential for wholesale changes to the Child Welfare Regulatory and Services system in Texas.

“Many of the changes being proposed are positive, but there are others that may impact agencies in unanticipated ways, agencies such as MCH who also serve children placed privately by their own families and caregivers,” Brown explained. “We felt like we could add balance to the proposed solutions by bringing a wider view to the discussions.”

Brown, along with several other agency leaders, was recognized at the Texas Senate during the session by Senator Charles “Carlos” Uresti of Senate District 19. Uresti serves as vice chair for the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Uresti sponsored the conference portion of the event which also included breakfast, presentations and speakers throughout the day, including remarks from Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott. Agencies participating also spent the afternoon making legislative visits. 

MCH is accredited through COA, accepts placements and referrals from TDFPS and is licensed and regulated by the department. Brown pointed out that MCH holds an excellent record of compliance and safety for those in our care.

 “We wanted the opportunity to participate in the dialogue and support positive and necessary change without further encumbering providers with additional changes or regulations unnecessarily,” he said.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

McLennan County Junior Livestock Show 2017

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) FFA students had a record year at the 2017 McLennan County Junior Livestock Show with five animals making it into the sale. The Ag Mechanics team consisting of 17 students also won second place in sweepstakes.

The FFA chapter is part of the charter school at MCH operated in partnership with the University of Texas–University Charter School system. Every year, students in the agriculture classes learn to care for livestock and show them at local events. This year MCH had 23 students compete in the McLennan County show.

Here are the results:

Steers: Nick – 4th (sale), Galen – 5th (sale), Josh – 6th, Kel – 8th; also participated – Jacob

Swine: Julio – 5th (sale), Noah – 6th (sale); also participated – Chris, Lester, Danny, Yacci, Alex

Goats: Selena – 2nd (sale); also participated – Edwina, Ladarius, Tameka

Sheep: Marisa – 3rd, Iona – 4th, Jaylen – 2nd; also participated – KK, Rainn, Akia, Gail

Ag Mechanics Show: Gates (Lester and Jacob) – 3rd, Wooden salt feeder (KK, Akia, Selena) – 2nd, Headache rack (Alex) – 1st, Towable barbeque (Nick, Galen, Josh) – 2nd, Cedar coffee table (Danny) – 2nd, Cedar chest (Marisa) – 1st, Cedar table (Ag classes) – 2nd, Quail house (Rainn, Jaylen, Tameka) – 2nd, also entered – BBQ (Galen) and Fire pit (Noah, Kel); Shop light (Galen) – 1st and Reserve Division Champion, Turtle trap (Nick, Galen, Kel) – 2nd and Reserve Division Champion, Indoor lamp (KK, Akia, Selena) – 1st and Division Champion; Team received Second in Sweepstakes

Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

Congratulations to all our students on their hard work!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Youth learn life skills through campus internships

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) creates opportunities for youth to work as interns in different departments on the Waco campus. The internships help youth learn job skills and life skills and builds relationships with MCH staff.

Ben lives in the Prothro home and has been interning for several months alongside Candyce Haddock, home service specialist for the Prothro home. Home service specialists are responsible for cooking and grocery shopping for the home which allows them to also build relationships with youth and attend to their special dietary needs and requests. Haddock said she appreciates her role in the house and having the opportunity to work with Ben.

“I enjoy the boys in the home and getting feedback on the meals we serve,” said Haddock. “Ben is a quick learner and very helpful. He has a great imagination and I love to hear his stories about his day at school. Ben has even planned a few of our evening meals.”

Ben is responsible for getting snacks ready for the rest of the boys after school. He helps with food preparation for the evening dinner and gives input on the weekly meal planning.

“I have learned so much about food and how it is prepared,” said Ben. “I used to have food issues which kept me from eating and trying new things. Working in the kitchen has helped me feel more comfortable with what I am eating and now enjoying it.”

According to Nick Molnar, unit manager for the Prothro home, “Ben was a picky eater. Since working with Candyce, he takes pride in his work in the kitchen and enjoys the extra spending money. Also, because he is eating more consistently, his mood has increased, he has more energy and his body is just healthier in general.”

Ben has also learned a new life skill that will become valuable to him in his everyday life that will help him now and in the future.

“I like knowing I can go on a home visit and cook for my siblings,” he said. “My very favorite meal now is steak and potatoes.” 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Las Cruces staff give back to their community

The staff of the MCH Family Outreach office in Las Cruces, N.M., are dedicated to helping others. Along with their everyday duties on the job, the group also devotes time to volunteer at other local nonprofits. Kimberly York, director of the Las Cruces office, said her team has committed to a “Day of Service” at least once every quarter and feels it is an important aspect of their work in this new outreach location.

“It has been great for us to learn about what each person (on our team) is passionate about,” York said. “Deciding our next assignment sparks some great discussion about how people would like to give back to our community while learning more about the great work other agencies are doing. It is heartwarming to see that our team shares a genuine passion for giving back.”

So far the Las Cruces team has volunteered to serve hot meals at the El Caldito Soup Kitchen and put up walls in Habitat for Humanity homes of some of their very own Circle of Security class graduates. They next plan to volunteer at the Gospel Rescue Mission’s Clothing Center where they refer several of their Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) clients for free clothing. Beatrice Jimenez, administrative assistant for the office, participated in both ‘days of service’ events.

“Being new myself to social services and as the administrative assistant, I feel we can all contribute however we can to understand the needs of the community,” Jimenez said. “Volunteering is a great way to hear and see the effect that it has on people and learn what challenges face our area in particular.”

York said the Las Cruces community has welcomed MCH and they have received an “outpouring of support” from the school board to the mayor’s office since the office opened last summer. They currently serve 19 grandparents through GAPP and are leading four parenting classes in the community. York said they also have plans to connect with several more organizations in the area to strengthen the support net for the families they serve.

York is proud of her team and their efforts to connect with others in the community through volunteer service. 

“I truly believe that what comes from the heart reaches the heart and that people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day,” York said. “When I first moved to New Mexico a year ago, I did so with a mission to get a bird’s eye view and understanding of the unique Southwestern culture. When you are in the trenches with people, you get to know so much about their journey and what’s meaningful to them. It’s an opportunity to see the world through someone else’s eyes and to grow as a result of the rich exchange.”