Thursday, December 22, 2016

Church continues tradition of giving at Christmas

First United Methodist Church of Grapevine has shown dedication to the children and families of Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) for many years. Starting in the late 1980s, the church has donated bicycles to every child that wants one at Christmas time.

This year, FUMC - Grapevine donated 122 bicycles and helmets along with repair kits for the children of MCH. The bikes will go to residents on the Waco campus and Boys Ranch, young adults served through the Transition Services program, and children served through MCH Family Outreach in Dallas.

The giving process begins each October when the church corresponds with MCH to find out how many children are hoping for bicycles this year. FUMC - Grapevine then negotiates prices with local sports stores and makes the purchase. Then on a Friday in December a few weeks before MCH Christmas celebrations, church members put the bicycles together and load them onto a truck. Several members drive the truck down to Waco to deliver the bicycles in person. Church member Ted Vaughan coordinated the efforts for the church this year.

“We are so thankful for FUMC – Grapevine and their commitment to giving the children in our care the experience of receiving a brand new bicycle for Christmas,” said Allison Crawford, director of benefactor relations at MCH. “This tradition has been blessing our kids for over 30 years and we look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Youth play special roles in worship service

Youth at Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) have the opportunity to participate in worship services expressing their talents through song and dance.

The Spiritual Development staff work each week with youth who want to learn more about their God-given talents and how to channel these gifts in a positive way. These youth express their faith through praise dance, music, worship art and some also attend weekly Bible studies.

On Dec. 11, the Praise Team led the service by reading Scripture, interpreting Scripture through praise dance, and celebrating the birth of Christ through song.

“This was a wonderful community experience,” said Ahmad Washington, spiritual development minister. “The youth performing did a great job of communicating the message of the season as well as being supportive of their peers and enjoying the service.”

Youth who are part of the Praise Team run their own practices with staff assistance. The youth also choreograph the dances.

“This allows youth to have leadership roles,” added Washington. “It also helps teach youth how to be part of the process of a worship service and it being all that God wanted it to be.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Core Value Award for Hope - Matt Rodgers

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 MCH Core values are:
Christian Principles

Matt Rodgers, athletic director, received the 2016 Core Award for Hope at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient of the Core Award for Hope is someone who believes in the possibilities of the future.

According to Rodgers’s nomination, “Matt began his career at MCH in 2012 as an assistant coach. Matt experienced some trying times early on in his career at MCH and managed to push through in spite of personal strife and tragedy. Matt was promoted to Director of Athletics in 2015 and has done a great job. Matt has a heart for the population of youth we serve and believes there is hope for all youth. Matt role models Christian principles in his daily interactions with our youth and always strives to see the best in every situation. Matt exemplifies hope in his ability to push through the difficult times even when faced with adversity. Each year as head coach, Matt is challenged with meeting a new group of athletes and is challenged with forming new football and basketball teams. This is not the norm for any other high school and would be frustrating for most high school coaches. However, Matt takes it all in stride and has done an excellent job of motivating our athletes to work together as a team to win the game.  He successfully coached the varsity football team to the State Championship game during the 2015-2016 season. Matt truly cares about the athletes beyond the playing field. You will often find him at the MCH charter school eating lunch with them and communicating with teachers and staff on their progress in the classroom. He also takes time out of his busy schedule to visit with youth in their homes, encouraging them to stay focused on their goals. Matt personifies the Bible verse in Philippians 4:13 which states, ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.’ Congratulations Matt for receiving the Core Award for Hope.”

“It is an extreme honor to receive the Core Award for Hope,” said Rodgers. “I love how much you can learn about life and how to be successful from sports. So many of our youth have never played a sport, let alone been part of a team and it is a huge blessing to empower them with confidence and hope, and watch them come together and work together towards common goal. I am very blessed and thankful for the tremendous amount of support that MCH gives their athletic programs. I believe that the impact we make goes far beyond winning and losing on the field.”

Taneequa Newton, associate administrator and Rodgers’ supervisor, had this to share: “Matt is very deserving of the MCH Core Award for Hope. He challenges our youth to be the best that they can be and he is a great role model. Matt is not only a great coach, but a great mentor for our youth.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MCH staff mentor professionals in TBRI

Four Methodist Children’s Home staff members have teamed up with Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development to train others around the world in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). John Warren, Lee Davis, Ian Bracken and Clarence DeGrate have all traveled to Fort Worth and Austin to serve as mentors during the institute’s TBRI practitioner training.

TCU approached our staff to see if they were interested in helping out during the week-long sessions. These trainings typically occur four times a year. Sarah Mercado, training specialist with the Institute, said mentors have become an integral part of their TBRI practitioner training. They lead small groups in role play activities as well as breakout groups to learn about sensory integration, nurture groups, life skills and mindfulness.
“They are remarkable at developing relationships and building trust to make participants comfortable and able to learn,” Mercado said. “The mentor also serves as a wonderful support for our staff. Whether they are roaming the room with a microphone to aid in audience participation, leading sensory breaks, helping carry heavy boxes or lending a hand wherever asked, they have become an invaluable part of our training.”

Warren, director of training at MCH, said he plans to serve as a mentor again this spring and enjoys being able to share TBRI with others.

“We love doing it,” he said. “It is great to be up there. It energizes us and helps give us ideas. It is good to connect and see what others around the world are doing and stay connected with the people at TCU.”

People attending the training are from various professional fields including other childcare agencies, occupational therapists, medical doctors, therapists, and educators. Lee Davis, youth care counselor supervisor at MCH, has attended three trainings as a mentor so far and also plans to return in the spring. 

“I am very happy to be able to share and to hopefully have a greater impact on the lives of kids and their caregivers,” Davis said. “Without exception, the people that I have mentored have been highly motivated and dedicated to helping children heal.”

Davis has been using TBRI in his position at MCH for five years now and believes it has a huge impact on the children we serve.

“I think that TBRI is without a doubt the best system that can be used to address the behavioral issues associated with trauma, abuse and neglect,” Davis said. “Having been on the front lines of implementing TBRI here on our campus and experiencing the tremendous positive changes in our culture, I want to share our knowledge and experience with others who have the same desire to be effective in changing the lives of children from hard places. I have been blessed to work and grow in this ministry and to use my talents in utilizing and teaching the TBRI principles.” 
“We love partnering with MCH with our mentor program,” Mercado said. “The staff are clearly TBRI champions and have wonderful hearts for kids from hard places. We know that our training is enhanced by the mentors from MCH.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

MCH kicks off holiday season with choir concert

MCH students shared their voices during the first choir concert of the year on Nov. 17. The Bulldog Café concert at the Waco campus featured several group, ensemble and solo performances by the MCH choir.

This semester the choir students have been working on blending, building their sound and connecting as a group according to Jill Sims, MCH choir director.

"With five returning students and eight new students, it has been important that we focus on building community as much as we focus on building our sound,” Sims said. “In each rehearsal, I try to balance singing with exercises that focus on team building as I teach the students that our attitudes toward each other affects our singing as a group. It has been wonderful to see how quickly they have bonded as a group.”

As they prepared for the concert, Sims said students were heavily involved in selecting the songs to perform. She met with choir vice president, Iona, prior to the semester to create a starting point for their repertoire, and she also took note of what students enjoyed singing during voice lessons throughout the semester. Sims said she wanted her students to connect with the music.

“I am tremendously proud of the choir students,” Sims said. “They have worked very hard this semester to learn their music, and have learned how to blend as a group. They are also incredibly supportive of each other and they clearly love singing together. They have grown so much in this short time together and have all shown an increase in confidence since the beginning of the semester. I am excited to see how they continue to grow as a group and perform at future concerts and competitions.”

The MCH Choir will perform during the Carols and Candles Christmas service on Dec. 15 and plan to host a Christmas Coffeehouse where several of the students will perform Christmas solos they have been working on during voice lessons. They also plan to carol at the administration buildings next month.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

MCH invests in administrative professionals

Administrative professionals are often the first point of contact in an office. As an essential support element of a workgroup, their work is important to keep a team operating like a well-oiled machine. To support and encourage this group of individuals, Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) recently held the Administrative Professionals Conference (APC), gathering together for the first time support personnel from all MCH offices.

According to John Warren, director of training at MCH, the APC was an important part of an organization-wide strategic plan to strengthen employees.

“Since 2009, the agency’s commitment to employee professional growth across all departments and programs has increased as a result of the strategic plan,” Warren said. “The APC is an important part of this commitment that came out of the implementation of the agency-wide training plan. The APC, in particular, was the result of an intentional emphasis on a group of employees who work in many different departments, but utilize a similar skillset.”

Attendees included administrative professionals from the Waco campus, Boys Ranch and the MCH Family Outreach offices located throughout Texas and New Mexico. During the two-day conference they heard from various MCH leaders on topics such as MCH’s legacy of ministry, building a culture of community and connection, and supporting the MCH mission. They also toured the Boys Ranch and new Daniels Home and received training from MCH’s training staff. Sarah Aynesworth, a professional etiquette consultant, delivered an interactive keynote address on professional and social interaction and conversation.

Jean Wright, MCH staff trainer, explained that the title of the conference, “The Connected Community,” was “to remind us of the importance of staying connected so that we can continue to strengthen our community even while we work in different cities and areas of the agency every day.”

“I think all of us can forget the scope of our programs and services at times,” Wright said. “We each play a different role, but we all contribute to MCH’s legacy and mission and are all connected to the accomplishments and developments taking place.”

Genie, Greer, administrative assistant in the MCH Family Outreach office in Lubbock, has been with MCH for nearly 15 years. She said the APC was a good time of encouragement and validation for her and her peers in similar positions.

“MCH has always been good to accept that the position of administrative professional, with all its different titles throughout the years, is important,” she said. “Coming from a managerial background, I know that is not always the case. Organization, flexibility, problem-solving, reliability, and sociability are not always attributes one finds within the same person. It is good to be recognized as one of the persons using these skills on a daily basis.

“MCH administration validated our position’s importance with the conference,” she added. 

Maria Pintor, administrative assistant in the MCH Family Outreach office in Dallas, said it was good to meet others from around MCH with whom she communicates regularly and who are instrumental in her work.

“This conference helps new staff to learn the ministry of MCH and the difference it makes in the lives of many,” Pintor said. “It is also important to hear new ideas from one another that can make us more effective in our roles as administrative assistants.” 

Wright said her “two primary goals going into the conference were to find ways to demonstrate to our administrative professionals how very much they are appreciated and valued for their service as well as create an environment in which we can all intellectually develop together. I hope and believe we accomplished that!”

Friday, November 11, 2016

Core Value Award for Service - Charles Ehlers

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

Charles Ehlers, grounds supervisor for the Waco campus, received the 2016 Core Award for Service at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient for the Core Award for Service is someone who shows compassion through generosity and care.

According to Ehlers’s nomination, “Charles is always willing and available to assist, especially when it may not be his usual duties. Charles is friendly, helpful and cooperative. He has a positive attitude. He goes above and beyond often arriving early and staying late. The MCH campus is always so beautiful and staff and visitors often comment on how nice it looks. Congratulations to Charles on receiving the Core Award for Service.”

“I was honored to receive the award,” said Ehlers. “I am but just one of many on the Plant staff that help take care of the grounds and buildings. “It is a ‘team’ effort.”

Tim Fedro, property administrator and Ehlers supervisor had this to share: “I was very pleased to see Charles receive the Core Award for Service. Charles is a very dedicated and motivated employee, who takes a lot of pride in his work.”

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Core Value Award for Growth - Marchelle Villa

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

Marchelle Villa, unit manager, received the 2016 Core Award for Growth at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient for the Core Award for Growth is someone who provides opportunities for spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual development.
According to Villa’s nomination, “Marchelle’s ambition and work ethic have been present since she began her employment in 2014 as unit manager for the Daisy Meredith home. Marchelle quickly became absorbed in learning her role while implementing new routines and traditions. Marchelle is creative and innovative. She also brings an atmosphere of ‘fun’ wherever she goes. While Marchelle was warmly received by youth and staff, she still had professional gains to be made as she was new to this field of work. Marchelle has actively sought out her peers and her supervisors for guidance when working with youth from hard places and their families. Her desire to continue to improve and develop professionally had become visible to others as she is currently managing two homes. This past July, Marchelle was asked to provide coverage for the Price home. She not only agreed, but volunteered to fully manage both the Price and Daisy Meredith homes. The Price home was her first experience with managing a shift work home and working with male youth. Marchelle was able to implement processes and routines at the Price home that have assisted with the success of the youth and staff. Marchelle’s growth is evident in her ability to see the agency from a global perspective. She had an array of ‘tools’ in her professional toolbox that have allowed her to work with especially challenging youth. Marchelle is currently working toward her Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) licensure. It is encouraging to witness Marchell’s growth and investment in her role at MCH.”

“It was an honor and I am extremely grateful to receive the Core Award for Growth,” said Villa. “In my first few weeks as a unit manager I was quickly given huge opportunities to put my skills to work, while at the same time learning and growing in every aspect of my professional and personal life. I am thankful to be at an agency that has taught me so much and continues to teach me every day.”

Erica Reyes-Rosas, associate administrator, and Villa’s supervisor had this to share. “Marchelle is tenacious and eager when it comes to her role as a unit manager. She has encountered transitions as she has worked in various homes with a diverse set of youth. She always finds creative ways to connect with youth in order to foster success. It has been a joy to witness the skills and wisdom that Marchelle had gained during her time at MCH. Marchelle is an asset to our community and we are thankful for her dedication to service!”

Friday, October 28, 2016

MCH Golf Classic 2016

Friends of Methodist Children’s Home teed off in support of the ministry during the 2016 Golf Classic on Oct. 21 at Twin Rivers Golf Club in Waco. Twenty-one teams competed in a four-man scramble tournament for the annual fundraiser.

“The MCH Golf Classic is a great opportunity to share the ministry and mission of MCH with members of the community, and this year’s tournament was a great success!” said Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator. “We are thankful for all of those that participated – either as players or as one of our generous sponsors. The funds raised through this event will impact those we serve in a big way!”

The team from Central National Bank, Matt Smith, Dan McLaughlin and Robbie Hetland, won first place and received trophies and golf bags. The team from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Corsicana took home the second place prize of Titleist Pro-V1 golf balls.

Other prizes included a football signed by Troy Aikman, a gift basket donated by Baylor University’s golf program, golf lessons from Heart of Texas Golf Academy, a gift basket from Cabela’s, basketball tickets donated by Baylor IMG, and several gift cards. D1 Sports Training also gave away a two-week membership to each participant and gave away two three-month memberships and two six-month memberships in the drawing. MCH students in the agriculture program also donated several of their own projects created during class as prizes for the drawing.

Sykora Family Ford sponsored the hole-in-one contest on hole 17. Integ donated banners and signs for the event while Coca-Cola, Rudy’s BBQ and Chick-fil-a provided food and beverages.
A special thanks goes to our sponsors of the tournament. Sponsors included: Gold/VIP sponsors – Insurors of Texas, Magnolia Foundation; Legacy sponsor – John W. Erwin General Contractor; Hope sponsors – Pattillo, Brown, & Hill, Wells Fargo Advisors; and Bronze sponsors Naman, Smith, Howell, & Lee, Midtex Fence & Repair, Central National Bank, First Baptist Church of Woodway, DuBois Furniture, Mark and Sandy Olinger, and DC’s Produce.

Click here to view our photo gallery of the 2016 MCH Golf Classic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Core Value Award for Responsibility - LaSonia King

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 MCH Core Values are:
Christian Principles

LaSonia King, case manager at the MCH Boys Ranch, received the 2016 Core Award for Responsibility at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient of the Core Award for Responsibility is someone who is accountable for self and others.

According to King’s nomination, “LaSonia has been a true asset to the MCH Boys Ranch and Edwards West home. She displays dedication and professionalism in her work ethic, and goes above and beyond to support her home parents through challenges. She is a strong advocate for her boys and acknowledges the importance of their individuality and uniqueness. LaSonia has the perfect balance of structure and nurture and sets high expectations for her boys’ personal growth and success. She is well organized, flexible, and dependable. LaSonia is the trainer of new unit managers, the party planner, Ranch Easter bunny and the gift wrapping elf at Christmas, and the list goes on. We are happy that LaSonia received the Core Award for Responsibility.”

“I am very thankful to have received the Core Award for Responsibility,” said King. “It is a great feeling to have our efforts recognized. I am thankful to be a part of an organization that helps youth and families have a successful future.”

Laura Bonner, Boys Ranch administrator and King’s supervisor had this to share, “I am thankful for LaSonia and the work ethic she displays in her role as a unit manager. LaSonia has a fun personality, develops relationships easily and ensures that needs are met. I was very happy to see LaSonia recognized for the Core Award for Responsibility. We are blessed to have LaSonia at the Boys Ranch.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo 2016

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) was well represented in this year’s Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo livestock show. The FFA chapter from the MCH charter school, operated in partnership with University of Texas – University Charter School on the Waco campus, had students showing four steers, seven swine, two hair sheep, three goats and six market lambs.

The livestock show ran from Oct. 1-16 at the Extraco Show Pavilion at the Extraco Events Center in Waco. The FFA students worked with their animals for eight weeks, spending two-and-a-half hours a week with them during class time. Steve Kruse, Ag teacher at the charter school, was proud of the efforts of his students competing in a large show with minimal experience with their animals. He said out of 22 students, only eight had previously showed the same type of animal.

Here are the results:
Steers:  Nick - 5th, Kel - 5th, Galen - 6th, Laura - 6th
Swine:  Julio - 2nd, Brandon - 3rd, Danny - 5th, Chris - 6th; also participating - Kyra, Noah, Yacci
Goats:  participating - Selena, Edwina, Tamika
Lambs:  Iona - 9th, Marisa - 10th, Rainn - 7th, Akia - 11th; participating - Jaelyne, Iyahnna, Kiayani, Gail

“I want our students to place well and win like everyone else that shows, but I feel like we did win in so many other ways,” Kruse said. “Each and every student had to train the animal, pass all classes, learn how to show, and get out of bed very early to go and exhibit. As far as teaching life skills, we had many champions this week.”

Click here to visit our photo gallery of the event.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Core Value Award for Relationships - Ramonia Ross

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

Ramonia Ross, case manager for the MCH Family Outreach office in Houston, received the 2016 Core Award for Relationships at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient for the Core Award for Relationships is someone who builds healthy relationships through communication, respect, trust and love.

According to Ross’s nomination, “Ramonia is an amazing individual who exemplifies all our core values in her daily life without even having to try. She has a beautiful spirit and is definitely a servant leader. She offers ‘service and hope’ to not only her clients, but to her co-workers and everyone who plays a role in ensuring that our office runs efficiently. She is genuinely kind, considerate, and compassionate to the maintenance workers in our building, cleaning crew, her clients, as well as each of her co-worker’s clients. Ramonia has a servant’s heart with a gleaming personality and Southern charm that shines a light on everything that she does and everyone who is blessed to come in contact with her. It is truly an honor having an opportunity to work with Ramonia. She always shines a light on those around her, and even if you have lost all hope, she manages to make you feel humbly blessed to know that there is always hope not matter what the situation. Ramonia takes the time to establish healthy relationships with every member of the families she works with through communication, respect, trust and love. Ramonia’s care and compassion for all around her is contagious and spreads a feeling of desire to take the extra step to help others. All of her clients easily develop a sense of trust with her because she allows them to gain a feeling of hope for their futures as well as the futures of the children that we all serve.”

“It was such a surprise and very much an honor to receive the Core Value Award for Relationships,” said Ross. “I love being a part of MCH and what we represent as an agency. I am also very blessed to be a part of the Houston Outreach office. It is my home away from home, and the respect and support we have for each other plays a vital part in how we function as a team. I am truly grateful for my seven years with the agency and hope to experience many more.”

Veronica Whalon-Peters, of MCH Family Outreach in Houston, and Ross’s supervisor, had this to share: “Ramonia has been a pleasure to work with. She genuinely cares for children and families and constantly supports the MCH mission. She exemplifies the MCH Core Values in her daily work and interactions with everyone.”  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Core Value Award for Christian Principles - Brooke Davilla

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

Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco, received the 2016 Core Award for Christian Principles at the all-staff meeting in September. The recipient of the Core Award for Christian Principles is someone who applies the principles of the Christian faith which serve as the foundation for this ministry.

According to Davilla’s nomination, “Even though I do not work with Brooke on a day-to day basis, I have had the honor and privilege of working alongside her in various workgroups and on specific assignments. I have never known her to speak a negative word of another person or situation. She clearly serves from a deep place of calling and purpose and models the love and servanthood of Christ in a beautiful and humble way. It is not unusual to receive a random card in the mail or email in your inbox in which she expresses her gratitude and a word of encouragement. She goes above and beyond to make sure those around her feel supported, appreciated and valuable. She is a bright spot in not only the outreach department, but in all of MCH. She truly lives out servant leadership. She had been a true blessing to me on more than one occasion and I am certain I am not the only one. I always come away from an encounter with Brooke feeling encouraged and listened to. I am so grateful for her! She is an incredible example of the core value of Christian Principles.”

Traci Wagner, program administrator and Davilla’s supervisor had this to share: “Brooke is an asset to MCH in her role of Waco Outreach Director. I am blessed to work alongside her. I was so glad to see her recognized for the work she does that impacts children and families in the Waco community and surrounding areas.”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Growth to continue at MCH

The leadership of Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) is pleased to announce the funds have been secured to complete two additional homes on the Waco campus.

“We are excited that the campaign has been well received by so many of our supporters, staff, Alumni and friends,” said Tim Brown, President/CEO. “The short amount of time it has taken to raise this $5.2 million is evidence that this plan for the 21st century home for our children is resonating with donors and our supporters. I am pleased to visit with the young ladies and staff living in the Daniels Home and hear how much they enjoy the new home.”

The Daniels Home
In addition to building the Daniels Home which was dedicated in June of this year, the capital campaign involves the closure and demolition of the West Home and Scharbauer-Thomas Home in order to build the two new homes that will be named after the main contributors, the Mabee Home and Hilliard Home.

The West Home was a gift from Mrs. J.M. West of Houston, in memory of her husband, Jim West. The Scharbauer-Thomas Home, was a gift from lifelong friends, Mrs. Phil Scharbauer of Midland, and Mrs. Alma Thomas of Austin and was given in memory of their husbands. These homes have blessed countless children, staff and supporters over the years and we are grateful for the generosity of these families.

 “This is truly an exciting time at MCH,” Brown said. “Throughout the history of this organization there have been times when changes have been made for the betterment of the ministry and to ensure MCH was ready to meet the ever-changing needs of children, youth and families. We know God is blessing this ministry.”

FFA students attend festival for veterans

Future Farmers of America (FFA) students of Methodist Children’s Home School (MCHS) spent the afternoon at the Waco VA Medical Center for its annual Farm Festival and Carnival. MCHS was one of four schools to attend the event; other local schools present were China Spring, Robinson and Crawford. This was the first time MCHS was invited to attend the event.

Each year the VA hospital invites schools to visit the campus during the festival and bring along animals. Galen, Marisa, Laura, and Noah along with teacher Steve Kruse represented MCHS FFA and brought along a steer, two goats, two pigs, two sheep, two quail, and three chickens to show to the crowd of veterans and employees. Students had the opportunity to visit with veterans and share information about their animals throughout the afternoon.

The Waco Farm Festival and Carnival was held in the inner circle of the medical center. Along with visiting the students with their animals, veterans were treated to lunch, games, live music and other activities. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

MCH Family Outreach and youth work together to volunteer in Waco

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) youth volunteered alongside our MCH Family Outreach in Waco and transitional services staff last weekend at the “Just Between Friends” consignment sale at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.

“Just Between Friends” provides quality goods at a great price to the community. They utilize their platform to promote local charities such as MCH Family Outreach. At the end of the sale any items not sold are identified as donations and given to local charities. In return MCH Family Outreach provides volunteers to assist with post breakdown, sorting and donation gathering.

“This volunteer experience allows our youth and staff to come together as an MCH family to work on a greater project that gives back to our community,” said Brook Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco.

The donations are brought back to the MCH Family Outreach building and placed in the family resource closet. The resource closet allows families participating in MCH services to select items such as clothing, toys and bedding.

“The family resource closet was lovingly decorated a few years ago by a local girl scout,” added Davilla. “We hope we can provide a way to meet our families’ needs in a way that is filled with dignity and respect.”

Any items not utilized through current participants in case management or parent education, are also shared with local agency partners such as Care Net, Acts Church, Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and children and local after school programs.

“One day a local church asked us if we had any little girls clothing for two sisters who were in need,” said Cathy Lawless, administrative secretary for MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “We welcomed the church to bring the girls so that they could select their own clothing and have a ‘shopping spree.’ It was a joy to witness the excitement of the girls as they shopped. To be able to meet tangible needs of families in a way that is honoring and fun for them is a daily blessing.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Daniels Home welcomes visitors

Dr. Jack Kyle Daniels tells stories about his time at MCH
to the girls at the new Daniels Home.
The construction is complete, the furniture is in place, and the students and staff are now settled into their new home. On Aug. 15, the residents and staff of the Dr. Jack Kyle and Evelyn Daniels Home held an open house to introduce their new house to other MCH staff and students. Visitors toured the rooms and enjoyed refreshments as they experienced the new layout design.

“The open house at the new Daniels Home was an amazing experience,” said Charlsie Whitney, Waco campus administrator. “I, personally, was so moved by the positive responses of the staff and youth who visited during the occasion. I am also very proud of the ownership that the residents have taken of their new home. I think it has exceeded all of our expectations, and we are very grateful for every person who made it possible.”
The Daniels Home is the first component of a broader capital campaign in which state-of-the-art homes will be built to better meet the needs of the youth served by MCH. The new home incorporates design elements to encourage more interaction while also providing added feelings of safety for residents as well as apartments for home parents. Bethany Parrott, unit manager for the Daniels Home, said her staff and residents are enjoying the new design.

“We love living in the new Daniels Home!” said Parrott. “It’s given the girls and the staff an environment that feels more like home. The girls have enjoyed decorating their rooms and having their own space. The open concept has allowed for us to spend more time together playing cards at the dinner table or having conversations around the kitchen bar. We are very happy to live in this new home.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 17, the home’s namesake, Dr. Jack Kyle and Evelyn Daniels, visited the Waco campus bringing along their daughter Lyn, her husband Mike and son Cole. After touring the Visitors Center at the Perkins Heritage Home, the family went to see the Daniels Home. It was the first time their daughter had seen the home and the first time Dr. and Mrs. Daniels had seen the home fully furnished.

“We were delighted with the furnishings and the bright colors which make a very comfortable home,” Dr. Daniels said. “We had a good time visiting with the residents and the home parents and learning a bit about the girls’ experiences at MCH.

“We are still overwhelmed with the honor of having the building named for us and welcomed a glimpse of the benefits that will come to the present and future residents of the Daniels Home,” he added. “We pray daily for MCH and have hearts full of gratitude for our lifetime relationship with so great a ministry.”

Staff welcomed visitors during the Open House for the Daniels Home.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back to School at MCHS

Methodist Children’s Home School (MCHS), a charter school operated in partnership with the University of Texas-University Charter School, began its 13th year on the Waco campus on August 18. Staff will welcome sixth through 12th graders from the Waco campus, Boys Ranch and from the community as part of the Day School program.

This year, classes will shift from block scheduling to seven class periods. Also, physical education will now be offered during the school day instead of during after school programming. Teachers all received new desks and furniture over the summer. Six new staff members will join the campus with several other staff receiving promotions. Cristy Cunningham, former principal, will now oversee two UT-UCS campuses, MCHS and Cedar Crest (Belton, Tex.) and become the executive principal. Michelle Arocha will move from assistant principal to associate principal while Samantha Dove will transition from instructional coach to school liaison. Michelle Whitehead joins the MCHS staff as assistant principal.

All school staff attended a two-day training on Trust-Based Relational Intervention, a model of care for children who have experienced some type of trauma developed by the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. They also listened to a presentation by Christian Moore, author of the book Resilience Breakthrough.

“Resilience is the key focus this year,” Cunningham said. “Resilience has been defined as the ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.”

MCH wishes our students much success during this coming school year!

Monday, August 8, 2016

MCH Family Outreach in Waco partners with Advocacy Center

Just in time for heading back to school, children of MCH Family Outreach families learned about bullying and healthy boundaries thanks to a partnership with The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco. On July 22 and 28, representatives of the Advocacy Center, Sarah Hopping and Aleigh Ascherl, led an educational and interactive presentation at the Waco office.

“As an outreach office collaborations are important to us and we work diligently to create strategic partnerships that benefit the families we serve,” said Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “We previously had the Advocacy Center come to one of our Grandparents As Parents Program support groups to provide psychoeducation to our grandparents. In return, the Advocacy Center asked if we would be interested in a group specifically geared towards our children.”

Davilla said the Advocacy Center hosted groups last year to connect children and their caregivers and received positive feedback so they were excited about having them back this summer. She explained that during the summer months, they like to break from the traditional support group model to offer interactive groups for parents and children. Along with the presentations, they have also met at splash pads at the park as well as hosted a family day at Hawaiian Falls water park.

“We were interested in offering these groups to our families for several reasons,” she said. “One reason is that the summer months can be stressful for both kids and caregivers. We wanted to give families something fun to look forward to and something for them to do together. Additionally, families are often concerned about their children keeping appropriate boundaries as well as bullying. We felt like an interactive group could be a good way to start talking about these topics in a safe and playful way.”

Sara Beth Stoltzfus, case manager for MCH Family Outreach in Waco, said many of her families had expressed a lot of interest in the topics of boundaries and bullying. During the presentations, the children participated in activities using props such as balloons, hula hoops and colors to learn about safe touch, empathy, using your voice, encouraging diversity and showing respect and teamwork.

“We heard so many of the children sharing reflective comments about bullying or being bullied and how they should treat their friends and peers,” Stoltzfus said. “Our presenters did a great job at creating an environment for all children to participate. Even our shy ones were able to be silly and speak up confidently!”

Sarah Hopping from the Advocacy Center

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

U.M. ARMY 2016

Several youth from Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) spent a week serving others in Bryan, Texas. Each summer, MCH partners with Kingwood UMC and United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth (UMArmy) for hands-on mission projects.

UMArmy holds work camps with youth and adult volunteers. Work camps provide much-needed home repair assistance for people in need.  FUMC Bryan hosted the youth for the camp, which was themed “True Identity.”

“The focus was helping all of us to take a look at how our identity in Jesus impacts the actions in our lives, and in the lives that we touch,” said Ron Britton, MCH discipleship minister. “I think our youth saw what a difference they can make in the lives of others and in the world.”

MCH youth pushed through long hot days at three different locations to build a wheelchair ramp, an awning and a deck for their clients.

“The highlight this year was Client Night, where we eat and worship with the clients that we have been with all week,” said Britton. “One client was so moved by the service and the youth’s willingness to help others that he broke out and sang a hymn a capella. He said he was encouraged to see youth who loved Christ and were living out their faith.”

Noah, who lives at the Boys Ranch had this to share: “I enjoyed the prayer walks and having an opportunity to help others in need. I felt I grew spiritually because there was no judgment from others on how you worshipped and everyone accepted others as they were.”

Friday, July 29, 2016

Expressions of Faith

Summer programs are helping our students discover new ways to express their spirituality. Ahmad Washington, spiritual development minister, leads two groups who are using their artistic talents in rap/spoken word and praise dance to glorify God.

Washington said students started showing an interest in developing their talents and thought it would be a good way to get more students involved in weekly worship services. He decided to post a sign-up sheet to get a list of those interested. He spoke with each student to discuss their motivations and level of commitment before beginning the weekly sessions.

Currently, five students are included in each group. The sessions start out with a prayer, and Washington said the group visits a particular scripture to get them focused and remind them of their reasons for their work. The scripture reads:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4: 12-16

During the spoken word/rap session, Washington will have beats prepared for the group and they begin working together to create a song. Each student contributes lyrics to the song, whether through freestyling or through writing their lyrics during the session. Washington helps the students with stage presence, their delivery and articulation as well as how to hold a microphone and how to recover if you mess up.

For praise dance, Washington said one of the girls has stepped up to become a leader of the group by developing choreography and teaching the dance to the others. Washington oversees the group, leads practices and offers encouragement.

“The goal is for the youth to become a regular participant in the worship services,” Washington said. “I want to eventually get to a point where we can also do things in the community and minister to other youth groups and participate in concerts in the city.”

Washington said the experience has given the performers a level of accountability while also providing a good example to the other students in the worship services.

“It has had a two-fold affect,” he explained. “It is a blessing for the kids to see their peers living in the same type of situation going through similar things to express their faith. They enjoy it and are able to relate to them. And for the kids serving in worship service, they learn that it is more than just holding a mic. They have to look at the standards in which they live.” 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

“A Day to Remember”

MCH Boys Ranch youth beat the heat and spent the day on the water during “A Day to Remember” ski day hosted by In His Wakes ministry. Twenty boys traveled to Fort Worth’s Marine Creek Park on July 11 to experience the joy of water sports while also learning more about Christ.

In His Wakes, a ministry that travels across the nation, offers youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity for an enjoyable day on a boat at the lake. They have made a stop in Fort Worth for several years to host youth from the Boys Ranch. As described on their website, In His Wakes “uses water sports as a platform to share about Christ’s love in a powerful interactive way.”

“This program also seeks to bring hope and healing to a hurting world which runs hand-in-hand with the Methodist Children’s Home mission ‘to offer hope to children, youth and families in a nurturing, Christian community,” said Anthony Mead, outdoor education director at the Boys Ranch.

This year, the boys were able to have an exciting day of tubing, boarding, and water skiing. It was the first time to be on a boat for many of the boys. During the day, the volunteers for the ministry were able to help several boys overcome their fear of water or fear of falling during their attempts to try something new. 

“This was an amazing time of building trusting relationships through the various interactive water sports and building community,” Mead said. “We also were able to talk about Christ and learn to grow in our faith. To me this is another way to nurture this hope we have in Christ by allowing our youth to participate in these type of ministries for years to come.”