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!”