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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spiritual Development Summer Music Project

Artistic talents of youth are shining this summer through the MCH Spiritual Development’s (SD) summer music project. SD Minister Ahmad Washington, who is also a musical artist and producer, is sharing his knowledge and expertise of the music industry with youth as they create songs during the first phase of the summer music project. Once the songs are created, the second phase of the project, led by SD Minister Ron Britton, will bring in visual artists who will design and create the album covers for their peers.

Recently Washington helped an MCH youth create an album of her own music and several other youth expressed the desire to also share their talents and learn about music production. With such a high level of interest in the project, Washington held auditions and conducted interviews with youth to form the music production class. During the process, youth were selected based on their talent, attitude, work ethic and willingness to work as a team. Six youth from the Waco campus and three from the Boys Ranch were selected to be a part of the music project. The youth from the Waco campus are all songwriters and vocalists/rappers and include Alex (vocalist), Kristen (vocalist), Nadia (rapper), Xavier (rapper), Jesse (rapper/vocalist), and Jayden (rapper). Youth from the Boys Ranch are music composers and include Prince, Ramero and Yacci.

Washington said in the class, the youth are learning about developing song concepts, focused creative writing as well as what it takes to create a radio-ready song including the preparation, practice and process of recording. The group came together to follow a common theme of “hope” and brainstormed for ideas and concepts for a collaborative song. Youth at the Boys Ranch are learning how to compose and record music and beats which they will present to the Waco group.

Many of the youth have faced hard circumstances and challenges and music is giving them a way to express themselves, Washington said.

“They are learning that music is more than a technique and sound, but about your heart coming through in your sound,” Washington said. “The goal and the purpose of this project is to make both the student and listener feel like no matter what they’ve gone through, they can make it.”

Once the group song is complete, the youth will also have the option to record their own song. Britton will interview and hold auditions for artists who are interested in creating the graphic design or illustrations for the album covers. This experience will provide students with an avenue to grow in their craft as well as an opportunity to share their talents and build their self-confidence.

“I am excited, impressed and incredibly proud of them,” Washington said. “During this experience, there are certain things that you see at work spiritually.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

MCH students join U.M. Army

Ashley's group painted a house and constructed a wheelchair ramp
during the mission trip in Tyler.
Several MCH residents found that doing good for others is its own reward. Five youth accompanied spiritual development minister Ron Britton to Tyler, Texas for a mission trip with U.M. Army from July 12-17.

U.M. Army, or United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth, is a national organization with a mission to “provide Christ-centered, quality youth work camps that serve people in need and promote spiritual growth and leadership development in youth,” according to its website. MCH representatives Noah, Marvin, Diego, Ashley and Rachael worked with volunteers from Kingwood UMC to help less fortunate residents in the area that were in desperate need of home repairs.

Ashley’s group worked on a wheelchair ramp for an elderly couple and painted their house.

“What I like best is I can get away from my normal routine and focus more on God and what work He can have me do,” Ashley said.

The volunteers were divided up between houses this year to build wheelchair ramps, repair porches, paint homes, or minor home renovations. The work groups spend the day out in the field and returned to their host church, Lanes Chapel UMC in the evenings for dinner and worship.

“The MCH kids bring such a special dynamic to this camp,” said Lisa Donoho, director of the U.M. Army camp. “Many of the kids and families (from Kingwood UMC) want to be in the groups with MCH kids.”

Britton said youth are selected for the trip with first priority given to those who served in the past who worked hard and made a positive impact. Students can also submit applications and staff recommendations if they would like to attend.

“I cannot express adequately just how much our kids blessed the clients they worked for,” Britton said. “Every one of our kids worked tirelessly, through days that were 112 degrees and higher, to help fix homes, build wheelchair ramps, paint, roof, lawn work, and anything else that came up. I heard nothing but praise about our kids from their adult team leaders!”

Noah was one of five MCH residents attending U.M. Army this year.

Noah's group built a wheelchair ramp and porch for their client.

Diego (Baylor shirt) and his group also built a wheelchair ramp for a family in Tyler.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Project Transformation students visit MCH

Methodist Children’s Home hosted 14 college students from Project Transformation (PT) on July 10. Allison Crawford, director of volunteers and events, gave a tour of the Waco campus and Boys Ranch and provided lunch. Several of our staff spoke with the students about the services MCH offers.

“We are so pleased to be one of the sought after organizations that PT sends their students to,” stated Crawford. “We have partnered with them for several years now and love sharing our mission. You never know, one of these students may want to work at MCH one day.”

Project Transformation offers leadership development and career/ministry exploration opportunities for college age young adults through summer and one-year service terms.

“This trip to MCH is always a highlight for our interns,” shared Janalee Wiles, program manager for PT. “It really opens their eyes to different opportunities to be in ministry and service with children in a residential care nonprofit. Thanks again for letting us spend the day with you.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MCH athletics promotes Matt Rodgers, adds Jayson Mitchell to staff

Matt Rodgers has been promoted and will serve as the new athletic director of the MCH athletics department. Rodgers graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 2007 and worked for the Baylor men's basketball team as a student coach during those four years. He returned to Baylor in 2010 to begin the sports management program and worked as a graduate assistant for the men's basketball team. During this time Rodgers was also an assistant coach for the Waco Live Oak football team. Rodgers graduated from Baylor University with a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in sports management in 2012 and came to MCH in June 2012 as the boys athletic coordinator. Rodgers worked in his role as an athletic coordinator from 2012-2014 and coached the boys JV and varsity football team. He was promoted to associate athletic director in July 2014.

Jayson Mitchell is the new associate athletic director for the athletics department. Mitchell attended Texas Tech University where he played on the basketball team and graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2001. He went on to play professional basketball in the Canadian Basketball league for the Niagara Gamblers. He finished his basketball career in 2005 and returned to Texas and served as a case manager for at risk youth at  TYC and Mexia State Supported Living Center. Jayson had the opportunity to work with students and was hired as a 7th grade Texas history teacher at Tennyson Middle School in 2012 where he also served as the 7th grade basketball coach from 2012-2015. 

Please join us in congratulating Matt Rodgers and welcoming Jayson Mitchell!