Friday, July 31, 2009

Serving and Sweating

Boys from one Waco campus home have spent the summer beautifying the Waco community by doing yard care in several neighborhoods around town. The boys bring lawn mowers to the homes and empty lots, cut the grass and pick up trash in the area. Coach Johnson, an MCH staff member who works with the boys, believes that it is a great service project because of all that it teaches.

"The boys learn responsibility," Coach said. "It shows them to give back to their community, but it also teaches them an important skill, taking care of a piece of land."

Several other homes from the Waco campus and the Boys Ranch also serve the community by providing lawn care to families and churches in need. While it is definitely hot and sweaty work, the boys feel that it is rewarding to see the properties are well-maintained.

Stephen started up the mower...

and received instructions from Coach Johnson.

Iram enjoyed listening to his MP3 player while mowing.

Alexis spent his time mowing the side yard.

Here is a video of Stephen mowing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Water Day

On Thursday, the Boys Ranch held a Water Day. They even invited youth from the Waxahachie campus to join them. The afternoon was filled with water balloon games and relay races, all designed to help the kids cool off and enjoy the hot summer day. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, but we will let the pictures and video speak for themselves!

The balloon toss.

The water balloon "fight" with over 1,000 balloons!

Everyone took a break for Sno-Kones.

The bucket relay race was a big hit with all of the kids!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Service to the Community

Youth from across the MCH community are giving back by spending part of their summer on community service. Youth from the Waxahachie campus are serving at a local nursing home, helping with their school and even cleaning up their campus by picking up trash. Boys Ranch youth have volunteered to pick up trash in the Lake Waco area as well as some county roads around the Ranch.

The Waco campus youth have given their time to a wide variety of projects. However many homes have given a substantial amount of their time to help the local Salvation Army. Salvation Army representative, Christie Harper was very complimentary of their efforts.

"They are a great group," Harper said. "They have been a huge help to us. In fact, we sometimes have trouble keeping them all busy because they are such hard workers!"

Here are a few photos and a video of MCH youth and staff serving at the Salvation Army warehouse.

The boys working outside to clean the drop-off driveway.

The girls work to sort and hang donated clothing to be sold in the Salvation Army store.

The boys and MCH staff join in on the sorting.

Way to serve, MCH!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pigs Galore

The Boys Ranch is proud to announce several new arrivals to the pig barn. Actually, over the past few weeks they have welcomed 41 brand new piglets, and more are on the way! Here are some pictures of the newest Ranch residents and the boys on the hog crew.

Jocolby, holding a very sleepy piglet.

Trent (right), and Hayden helping the newest piglets.

Stuart, holding the biggest piglet.

The hog crew boys.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Internships

This summer, interested youth from the Waco campus are participating in internships across campus. This year, we have over 40 youth participating in the summer internship program. Internships are a great way for our youth to learn more about different careers and engage with wonderful staff across the MCH community.

Meron is enjoying her job in the Administration building.

From left: Jennifer, Tori, Stephanie and Simona are interning in the accounting office helping with mailings and filing. They are even learning a little accounting on the side!

Tsion (left) is helping staff member Allison Zenkner make up new employee handbooks for the Human Resources department.

Kendal (right), a resident of the Waco campus, is enjoying his internship at the MCH Plant with Daniel Mendoza. Kendal gets to deliver and pickup mail, work in the cooler sorting food for our campus home and participate in hands-on learning at the Plant.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Something for Everyone

Summer is a busy time at Methodist Children's Home! There are too many great things going on to feature only one, so here are a few bits of news from across the MCH community.

Summer School is Better with Ice Cream
Summer School students at the MCH Charter School in Waco were treated to a demonstration in ice cream making. The instructional presentation by Douglas Brown, an MCH volunteer and member of the Waco community, was offered as a part of a communications and speech class. Throughout the class students have been able to hear a variety of presentations from individuals across the Waco community. On this occasion, students learned the basics of making homemade ice cream and even got to try the process for themselves.

Volunteer, Douglas Brown, demonstrates how to make ice cream with the help of some MCH Charter School students.

Beat the Heat with GAPP
Summer is heating up and the Grandparents as Parents Program is working hard to relieve some of the pressure on local grandparents trying to raise their grandchildren. GAPP has already developed a strong support community among grandparents in the Waco area, but this summer they are doing even more to offer assistance to families.

The Grandparents Day Camp is a new summer initiative for GAPP grandchildren. The grandchildren spend at least one day a week on the Waco campus or out in the community with GAPP staff and volunteers. The Day Camp allows the youth to learn new skills, experience the city of Waco and have fun beating the heat of summer. Activities so far have included trips to the Waco Water Park, lessons in basketball skills, knitting classes and even supervised time playing children's computer games.

Te'Aerra shows off a coloring page she is working on.

Arescia (left) is learning to knit with Kari, a GAPP volunteer.

Happy to Help
When Tom Stribling, an MCH foster parent, learned that Jerome, his long-time foster child, was interested in taking a summer job with the city of Happy, Texas, he was determined to help him reach his goal. The job Jerome wanted involved serving as an assistant to city workers and would provide him with hands on experience working 40 hours a week for most of the 2009 summer.

Funded by stimulus money directed through the US Department of Labor's Workforce Investment Act, the job was specifically designed for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds (such as foster children). Jerome, a "soon to be" high school senior, thought the job was the perfect fit. And because of his responsible nature and status as an MCH foster child, Jerome and the Striblings thought he would easily land his summer dream job.

However, when the city received Jerome's application they were confused about whether he really fit the description of a foster child. Eleven years ago, Jerome's family voluntarily placed him in foster care through Methodist Children's Home. Because of the voluntary placement, city officials assumed that Jerome did not qualify for the city job.

When the Stribling family heard that Jerome was not chosen for the position because of his unclear foster child status, they immediately made an effort to clear up the misunderstanding. Stribling went to the city judge and called Methodist Children's Home administrators to help fight for Jerome's dream. After several hours of patient waiting, explanations and many phone calls and faxes, the city of Happy gladly welcomed Jerome as a member of their summer staff.

Now that he has been working for several weeks, Jerome is loving his job. Repairing city streets, helping with pet vaccinations, mowing city property and repairing equipment are just some of the activities that fill his days.

Stribling couldn't be more proud. "You know, he wants to work," Stribling said. "He really enjoys working, this was his dream job and it wouldn't have been right to not help him achieve his dreams."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Mission Trips

It seems like only yesterday summer was just beginning, and yet our MCH residents have already put in many hours ministering on mission trips and serving the community through community service with their home units. During the month of June, MCH had two different groups of youth serve on short-term missions teams through the Central Texas Conference Youth in Mission program.

Youth from our Waco campus served the community of Mt. Pleasant, Texas alongside young people from Austin Avenue UMC of Waco, Dido UMC of Fort Worth, Good News UMC of Cedar Park/Leander, Mart FUMC and Palo Pinto UMC. Our youth worked tirelessly to build wheelchair ramps, repair roofs, paint homes and share the love of Christ.

Calvin, a Waco campus resident, works to fix a roof.

For Anthony, a Waco campus resident, the trip was a great combination of meeting new friends from other youth groups and serving people in need. "I loved helping clean up this one woman's house. She really needed help power washing the outside and then repainting it," Anthony said. "She was really grateful." The weeklong mission trip was filled with these experiences, in fact, Anthony said there was only one downside - they had to get up early.

Anthony (in foreground), repaints a home with his CTCYM team.

The team from MCH Waxahachie teamed up with the First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie to serve a community in Monroe, Louisiana. Their experience was similar to Anthony's. They served individuals in need by helping paint, rebuild and restore their homes. Working alongside youth from Graham FUMC and Weatherford FUMC allowed them to meet other young people while they immersed themselves in service.

Amy (left), a Waxahachie resident, works with Katlynn, from FUMC Waxahachie, to build a wheelchair ramp.

Special thanks to MCH Chaplain, Steve Heyduck and FUMC Director of Children and Youth, Amanda Sargant for the pictures.