Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Core Value Award for Service - Mary Rollins

Mary Rollins, human resources compliance manager, received the Core Award for Service. Mary has a genuine desire to be of service to others in a professional, honest and healthy manner. Mary always has a smile on her face and practices the “open door policy” to the fullest. Mary is most often the person our employees go to for assistance due to her warm greetings and her willingness to help them above and beyond what is deemed necessary.

Judy Broadway, vice president of human resources had this to say about Mary, “She is an extremely dependable employee whose job performance is unquestionably superior. Mary’s greatest asset is her ‘service heart.’ She will stop what she is doing to help an employee, guest or applicant until all facts are understood and the person is comfortable. I have been told that when you leave Mary’s office you feel good and valued.”

Friday, December 27, 2013

End-of-Semester School Projects

MCHS students ended the semester with some inventive classroom projects.  Several teachers at the Methodist Children’s Home School challenged students to use their creativity and knowledge acquired throughout the semester as they finished out the curriculum for the semester.

“The semester went well,” said Michelle Arocha, assistant principal at MCHS.  “Teachers have been working to incorporate engaging lessons with more project and group based activities to stimulate today’s learner.” 

In Carmen Rojas’ Spanish class, students chose from a variety of projects related to Spanish countries including writing their own skits or songs, cooking food and creating cultural artisan crafts.  For example, the Spanish II class researched countries and worked together to make a piñata and a Peruvian craft.

In Environmental Systems taught by Angie Hammond, students wrote and illustrated children’s books about the weather, global warming and pollution. Each student had to research their topic and create a story and their own drawings for a 10-page book.   

Middle-school students also participated in end-of-the-year activities. Teachers Amber Foster and Dee Beatty teamed up their English and Social Studies classes for a project on the White House. The English class was in charge of putting together a factual report while the Social Studies class built models of the White House using marshmallows, icing and toothpicks.

Also wrapping up the semester, Susan Roberts’ art class created perspective drawings by sitting in the hallways and drawing their view from their own vantage point.  Steve Kruse’s Ag Sciences class also had their woodworking projects displayed in the front corridor of the school including colorful benches and a handmade rocking horse. Projects such as these continue to help students become more invested in their learning.

“We are raising the level of expectation academically for the students and they have generally responded in a positive manner by taking a more active role in looking at their grades, talking with teachers about their learning, and attending tutoring if there is a need,” Arocha said.  “I have enjoyed seeing this trend develop and look forward to seeing the success of the students as they transition into post-secondary education and the workforce.  We have a large graduating class this year, so the spring semester will be very busy for teachers as well as students as we all work towards the common goal of high school graduation for all seniors.”

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bike donation from FUMC Grapevine

For the past 30 years, First United Methodist Church of Grapevine has blessed our children and youth with new bicycles for Christmas.  Our Christmas season kicked off on Saturday, December 14 with the arrival of 89 bikes.  Forty FUMC Grapevine members bought and assembled these bikes that will be enjoyed by our youth on the Waco and Boys Ranch campuses and children in our Dallas and Tyler Family Outreach offices.   

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Carolers bring Christmas spirit to MCH administration

The MCH choir spread Christmas cheer to staff in three administrative buildings on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The youth traveled to the Administration Building, Perkins Heritage Home and Johnson Student Center to perform Christmas carols and brighten the day for staff.  After the caroling, the students were treated to hot chocolate and refreshments in the JSC lobby.

Caroling provided the youth with some extra practice before they perform for the Carols and Candles worship service on Dec. 19. During the service, the choir also plans to perform a special Christmas carol  remix including a beat created by choir member Patrick and a rap written as a group effort by the choir members. The MCH Drum Line will assist with the performance of the remix.

The choir consists of 10 students led by recreation coordinator Kimberly Bobbitt and choir instructor Amy Toney. The youth have been singing together since September 2013 as part of an after-school recreation program. They first met informally to discuss their objectives and assess the students’ experience with singing in a choir. Toney said initially, the students greatest concern was singing in front of people, a fear they met head on during the caroling and in class.

This year Toney and Bobbitt have taught the students lessons on basic music theory, note reading, and vocal health. The choir has also participated in fun activities such as karaoke, sing-offs and music charades as well as singing challenges. The choir has taken group trips to view advanced groups such as the Baylor a cappella group Virtuoso, to help the students to see what their hard work can accomplish.

“The students have worked hard in choir,” Bobbit said. “For me one of the most rewarding aspects of choir this semester has been that even on days when it is challenging for the students to work together, once they start singing the dissonance is gone because the whole room is then working to build musical harmony. Those melodies, and the joy that singing them creates, make it all worth it.”

Next semester, the MCH choir will be preparing for the TCAL competition in April where they will compete in solo and ensemble contests. Congratulations to our choir for all their hard work!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Wishes from China Spring Intermediate

Fifth grader Hannah Crawford had the idea to get her school
involved in making Christmas cards for youth at MCH.
No matter what age, one person’s thoughtfulness can influence many. After visiting Methodist Children’s Home with her stepmother, 10-year-old Hannah Crawford felt compelled to reach out to the youth served through this ministry. Thanks to her efforts, this year MCH youth will be receiving special Christmas sentiments from China Spring Intermediate’s fifth and sixth grade classes.
“I’ve come to Methodist Children’s Home a few times for Christmas and I’ve made some friends,” Hannah said. “I know that they get presents here but I wanted to give them more cheer and thought Christmas cards would be great so that when they open their gifts, they see that there’s someone else out there who cares.”

When Hannah’s class was making Christmas cards, she told her teacher about MCH and asked if she could ask a few of the children to make cards for MCH youth. Her teacher made an announcement to the class and the students joined in. The next day, Hannah wanted to see if she could possibly get the whole school involved. She met with the school counselor who suggested she write a letter about her desire to start a Christmas card campaign. The principal of the school sent Hannah’s letter out to all the teachers and the entire fifth and sixth grade agreed to participate.

“I was so happy,” Hannah said. “It is good to know that all these kids are helping other kids. It’s great that even though the kids at school haven’t been there, they are willing to make the cards.”
Hannah’s stepmother, Allison Crawford, volunteer and special events coordinator at MCH, was very touched by Hannah’s sentiment.

“Hannah has a big heart and we’re so proud of her,” Crawford said. “It meant a lot to me that her visits to MCH had such an impact on her.”

The cards will be delivered to MCH by Tuesday so they will be ready in time for gift opening after the Carols and Candles Christmas celebration on Dec. 19. Youth will have something a little extra under the Christmas tree this year.

“I hope it will put a smile on their face to know that other kids out there think of them and that it will help put them in the holiday spirit,” Hannah said. “My intention was to make them happy and just say ‘Merry Christmas.’”

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tyler foster family adopts three brothers, continues respite care

Pictured above, left to right: LaTasha Hickman, case manager; Tyler; Karel; Patrick; Chris; Aaron.

Chris and Karel Clore have been licensed foster parents with Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) since April 2010. The Clores said they let God guide them in their decision for expanding their family and deciding to foster with MCH.

Chris and Karel accepted their first placement in August 2010. During their licensure, the Clores have accepted placement of three brothers, as they were born, each just one year apart. When the Clores began the process of becoming foster parents, they never dreamed they would adopt three children, but they always had hopes of adopting through foster care.

For the past two and a half years, the Clore family has been blessed to adopt their three sons through foster care. The family has participated in three National Adoption Day ceremonies and adopted three-year-old Tyler, two-year-old Patrick and one-year-old Aaron.

Chris and Karel said God placed these boys in their lives and they could not imagine their family in any other way. They have provided the boys with a loving home and family, and they thank MCH for all of the support they have received over the years.

The Clores plan to remain as foster parents to serve by providing respite for families. The Tyler outreach office is blessed to have such a loving and compassionate family as one of its own.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Life Books save treasured childhood memories

The Corpus Christi Outreach office held a Life Book Training Party for foster families in November. During the training, foster parents were able to make pages for their current foster children’s Life Books. Parents brought a variety of stickers and scrapbooking pages, scissors, glue and markers. The foster children were able to participate in the process and assisted with their own Life Books.

The Life Book is a collection of photos or a scrapbook that is carefully developed by foster parents and MCH staff while a child is in care. Many Life Books contain information about the child’s life and experiences while in foster care, such as samples of schoolwork, artistic creations and other important pieces. The Life Book ensures that fond memories, accomplishments and milestones are captured for every child and family. The Life Book is created to go with the child when they return home.

At the training, MCH staff discussed the importance of having a Life Book for each child. Foster parents were able to share tips on how they stay current with the Life Books, such as scheduling time and purchasing items on sale. (Foster parents also utilized pre-made pages from the following website: http://www.ifapa.org/publications/ifapa_lifebook_pages.asp.)

MCH believes in the importance of supplying Life Books for each child in care. The foster parents enjoyed this time together and were able to fellowship and exchange information in the process.

Here are some photos from the recent training in Corpus Christi:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Core Value Award for Hope - Beth Harris

Beth Harris, second from right, is pictured with
 MCH youth Justice, Chelsea and Ema.
Beth Harris, recreation director for the Waco campus, received the Core Award for Hope.  Beth has a quiet inner strength and goes about her work with a smile on her face.  As our recreation director, Beth coordinates and facilitates our summer enrichment program, and has been instrumental in establishing our after school program which now includes the drum line, choir and theater arts.  She has a keen understanding of Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) and instills these skills in the staff she supervises as well as her work with our youth.

Charlsie Whitney, campus administrator had this to share about Beth, “She has a sweet spirit and a kind nurturing nature; but also has nerves of steel and is willing to do whatever it takes to make therapeutic recreation an integral part of our program.  She always demonstrates a professional demeanor and is caring, creative and encouraging.  These attribute guide her innate ability to offer hope to our youth through therapeutic interactions in all aspects of our recreation program. We are very fortunate to have Beth as part of our MCH team.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For the Record: School registrar shares her reasons for working at MCH

Shannon Valles-Moss, MCH School Registrar
Shannon Valles-Moss, a staff member for MCH on the Waco campus for 14 years, is serving currently as the school registrar. For the past two years, her role at the MCH School has been to enroll students from the Waco and Boys Ranch campuses. She keeps attendance each day, and keeps up with the activities of our students and their records to ensure that all their earned credits are not lost during transition. This enables students to stay on track for their projected graduation dates.

Shannon shared why she loves working at MCH.

“We do awesome work here and I enjoy seeing the students every day,” Shannon said. “I often am the recipient of a student’s kindness which reminds me of the importance of our relationships with them. I feel fortunate to be in a position to see the end result of our work through events like prom, student awards day and graduation. And I am blessed to be working with such a great staff. It really does make a difference.”