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
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

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.”

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Core Value Award for Growth - Marjorie Parker

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
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

Marjorie Parker, youth care counselor (YCC) supervisor, received the 2016 Core Award for Growth at the all-staff meeting in March. The recipient of the Core Award for Growth is someone who provides opportunities for spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual development.

According to Parker’s nomination, “Marjorie has been a valued employee since 2012. Marjorie came to MCH with no previous experience in the field of working with youth from hard places in a residential setting. Marjorie began to learn quickly exactly what she had ‘gotten herself into’ and did not hesitate to jump immediately into situations, seek support from her supervisors and attend trainings to build her skills. Marjorie was trained in Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) and had a natural ability to balance structure and nurture and create an environment that fostered connections with youth and co-workers. Marjorie also demonstrated the ability to learn and gain insight into behaviors and needs of youth in her care. Marjorie very quickly grew to be sought out by not only the youth in her home but other youth across the MCH campus. Marjorie’s abilities as home parent excelled so quickly that she was asked to help with training new home parents. Marjorie’s skills continued to expand as she worked with youth who presented greater and new challenges. Marjorie has utilized opportunities through the training department to attend continuing education classes as a way to further develop her skills. Marjorie’s growth in her knowledge and understanding of agency policies and procedures make her an excellent candidate to promote to the YCC supervisor in 2015.”

“I am very honored and thankful to receive the Core Award for Growth.  I am exceptionally grateful for the opportunity and the acknowledgment from MCH,” said Parker.

Erica Reyes-Rosa, associate administrator and Parker’s supervisor had this to share, “Marjorie is a joy to supervise because of her desire to provide exceptional childcare and her willingness to continue to learn new skills and techniques.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Core Value Award for Responsibility - Jean Wright

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
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

Jean Wright, staff trainer, received the 2016 Core Award for Responsibility at the all-staff meeting in March. The recipient of the Core Award for Responsibility is someone who is accountable for self and others.

According to Wright’s nomination, “Jean goes above and beyond her work duties as a staff trainer to serve the ministry of MCH. Jean serves as the Mentor Committee co-chair. The growth of this program owes much to Jean’s leadership and responsibility. She repeatedly takes steps above and beyond what is expected, keeps the committee well informed, and helps us keep a high level of accountability to assure the success of the work we are trying to accomplish. She is always on top of things, well prepared, consistently helpful, and encouraging. Jean stands out as a person who exemplifies what it means to take on responsibilities at MCH to help this ministry succeed in all that it does.”

“I was humbled and thankful to receive the Core Value Award for Responsibility. There are many MCH employees who are far more deserving of this recognition, but it is especially meaningful to be acknowledged by your co-workers,” said Wright.

John Warren, training director and Wright’s supervisor had this to share, “It was no surprise that Jean was nominated for the Core Award for Responsibility. She is a valuable asset to the training department and to MCH. Responsibility is a characteristic that defined her both in her role as a youth care counselor (YCC) and now as a staff trainer. I am so proud to see her recognized, and excited to see how she will impact the agency in the future!”

Monday, April 25, 2016

MCHS Students show talents in fine arts and cheer competitions

The MCHS cheerleaders wore the jackets they won
during competition this month in San Antonio.
This month, several Methodist Children’s Home School (MCHS) students competed against their peers during a cheer competition at Sea World and the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship Fine Arts competition.

A team of five girls traveled to San Antonio to showcase their hard work at the Spirit Celebration events on April 2-3. The MCHS cheer program won first place in their division, receiving medals, jackets and a $1,000 donation to CASA programs. Cheerleaders Ema, Kelli, Rainn, Iyahnna and Emberlynn were led by their coach Storme Moore who said she was proud of the work the team put in to prepare for competition.

“By competing in cheerleading competitions, such as Spirit Celebration Events, MCH students are able to gain valuable life experiences which allow them to build their skill sets in the sport and feel a sense of empowerment by competing against their peers from other public and private schools in Texas,” Moore said. “After the completion of each competition, they have expressed a higher level of self-esteem and stronger love for the sport.”

On April 4, MCHS students also faced the judges during the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship fine arts competition. The students performed musical duets, vocal solos and duets, dance routines, and theater monologues as well as performed as a choir group. The results were:

Chris (theater monologue): Excellent
Skylar (theater monologue): Superior, Second Place overall for all Monologues
MCH Choir Group: Good
Jesse (vocal solo): Excellent
Hawa (vocal solo): Excellent
Jamia (vocal solo): Good
Vanessa (vocal solo): Excellent
Alfred (vocal solo): Excellent
Hawa and Jordan (vocal duet): Good
Iona (vocal solo in Italian): Good
Kelli (dance solo): Good
Rainn (dance solo): Good
Emberlynn and Kelli (dance duet): Good
Justice and Apryl (xylophone duet): Good

The MCH choir is led by director Jill Sims who works with the students during afterschool programs.

“I love seeing the students believe in themselves and accomplish something that they never thought was possible, such as singing a solo for the very first time or singing Italian art songs as a 13- or 15-year-old,” Sims said. “I also enjoy taking them to concerts and seeing their eagerness to experience musical styles across the spectrum. The greatest enjoyment, however, comes when they are proud of what they accomplish together. Watching them celebrate finally learning a difficult choir piece, or enjoy singing in another language, are among the greatest moments that I experience in my role as the choir director.”

Rick Kleine, drumline instructor, feels competitions such as these are beneficial for students.

“Students gain confidence, knowing that if they work on it, they will achieve which is something that we all need, particularly teenagers,” Kleine said. “Working on their event, performing it and then taking the critique (positive or negative) is crucial for every teen.”

Congratulations to all our students who participated in the competitions this month!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Core Value Award for Relationships - Christina Gerhardt

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.

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

Christina Gerhardt, director of transition services, received the 2016 Core Value award for Relationships at the all-staff meeting in March. The recipient of the Core Award for Relationships is someone who builds healthy relationships through communication, respect, trust and love.

According to Gerhardt’s nomination, “Christiana has worked at MCH for eleven years, as a unit manager for several homes and currently as the director of Transition Services (TS). Christina is very organized, dependable and reliable. She works diligently to build healthy, trusting relations with our youth by continuously being involved in their curriculum and keeping in contact with them, offering words of wisdom. Christina’s relationships continues with her staff, building connections and making them feel appreciated, respected and part of the team. She is always willing to go that extra mile to give a hand when help is needed. She builds relationships with new staff by offering assistance as they adapt to their new roles. Christina has been warm and welcoming as she took on her role as Director of TS. She took the time to get to know her staff as a group and as individuals. She has been open to listening to how things have been done and has listened to new ideas for the future. She was open and friendly as a unit manager and it has helped with moving into her new role. She always has a warm smile on her face and helps you when you are having a bad day. Christina exemplifies ‘relationships.’ MCH is blessed to have her as part of the team.”

“I am honored to be recognized for building relationships with youth, for it is a privilege to do what I do,” shared Gerhardt.

Jeff Creel, associate administrator and Gerhardt’s supervisor said, “Christina is a great asset to TS. She is very nurturing and is willing to walk step by step with our youth as they work toward independence.”