Thursday, February 25, 2016

MCH Athletics adds golf team

MCHS students now have a chance to play golf competitively with the addition of a boys and girls golf team to the athletic program.

“We decided to have a golf program so that we could provide a different kind of athletic program that could cater to maybe a different type of student that we have at MCH,” said Matt Rodgers, MCH director of athletics. “It also provides lessons on honesty and integrity which are life skills that all students should learn, and so it is good to be able to work on those aspects of golf that could one day roll over into their lives as well.”  

Players spend Monday and Wednesday afternoons during practice at the school learning the rules and basic knowledge of the game to understand how to play. For many of the players, this is their first experience with golf. The players also spend some time hitting foam practice balls to learn basic pitching and putting techniques. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the players practice at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course. The team received golf bags from Sun Mountain and received a reduced price on full sets of golf clubs from Dallas Golf.

The golf team will be led by Coach Preston Powell, a second-year history teacher at MCHS. Powell has been involved in golf his whole life, competing since the age of 7, teaching golf lessons since his freshman year of high school and volunteering with the Midway high school golf program.

“My expectations for the golfers is to establish a good foundation for the sport, as well as gain a love for the game,” Powell said. “I want them to be able to find confidence in their ability to work hard on something for months and months and be able to look and see how much their hard work has paid off. That can look different to each one of the golfers, but that is the beauty of this being an individual sport. I also hope that some of our students can find something they love and can do for the remainder of their lives.”

The boys and girls teams will compete against UIL teams mainly from central Texas to start out the season then against other teams in the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship for district tournaments.  The boys will take five-man teams to UIL tournaments with four best scores counting toward the team total. Then in TCAF tournaments, teams of four will compete with the top three scores counting toward the total. The girls will play as individuals at the tournaments this season.

The team kicks off the season on Monday, Feb. 29 with the Mart Invitational at Battle Lake Golf Course in Mart, Texas. Click here for a full schedule of tournaments for the MCHS golf team. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

MCH Family Outreach expands to new communities

Program Administrator Traci Wagner, Intake Coordinator Julius McCarter,
and Director of Transition Services Christina Gerhardt attended the
Fort Hood Howdy in Killeen to promote the new MCH office location.
MCH Family Outreach services will be available to more families in need with the addition of offices serving Killeen and Bryan/College Station, Texas, and Las Cruces, N. M. The Killeen and Las Cruces locations are set to open in late spring 2016 while the Bryan office is expected to open this summer.

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) decided to expand to these cities after determining a need for our services in the communities as well as strong partnerships available in the area. Killeen also offered an opportunity to serve military families, while Las Cruces will allow MCH to double its presence and impact in New Mexico.

Kelly Smith, program administrator for the western region of MCH Family Outreach, is leading the effort to open the Las Cruces location. The office will be located at 230 S. Alameda Street in the Western Heritage Bank building. Smith said work will begin immediately in the community after a director is hired. Staff will include a director, administrative secretary and case manager to offer Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP), parent education and in-home services through the Family Solutions program.

“The idea to expand to Las Cruces began with the desire to increase the number of families and children we could serve in New Mexico,” Smith said. “Social services in New Mexico are typically tied to state contracts or grant funding, and we believed we could provide quality services and contribute to the community without taking away from what is already being done. We are very excited to be joining the Las Cruces community.”

The Killeen office will be located at 3202 WS Young Drive, Suite 104, in Killeen. The office will consist of a director, support staff and two case managers to offer GAPP and parent education followed by the Family Solutions program.

For the Bryan location, MCH board member Tom Wilkinson assisted with securing a location and getting MCH connected to the community. This office will be led by a director who will also oversee support staff and two case managers.

“These two communities are excited that MCH is coming and I am honored to be a part of the groundwork to set up services in two new locations,” said Traci Wagner, program administrator for the eastern region. “Executive leadership and other departments within MCH, as well as the board, have been supportive and instrumental in moving these plans forward. I believe MCH will thrive in these areas and will be proud to serve families and bring our ministry there.”

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MCHS hosts Multicultural Fair

Students at the Methodist Children’s Home Charter School held a school-wide Multicultural Fair on Feb. 5. Both middle and high school students collaborated to transform a classroom into a cultural adventure showing displays, banners and flags to represent different countries.

“I really liked how this all came together. It was amazing,” said Carmen Rojas, MCHS teacher. “I got the idea from a school where I did my field experience in college. We picked countries from the curriculum we have been studying.”

For the fair, students created displays about Italy, Germany, Ethiopia, the Philippines, and France. Displays showed maps of the country’s landmarks and examples of cultural interests such as clothing, music, food and other customs.

Throughout the day, classes came through and were given passport books to write down what they learned about each country.

“I hope our students will learn about tolerance and the appreciation of other cultures,” added Rojas. “I think it is a valuable lesson for everyone and the students did a great job.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

MCHS students compete in 2016 McLennan County Livestock Show

The FFA class at MCH School competed in the 2016 McLennan County Junior Livestock Show with 30 students showing animals and 11 shop projects included in the agricultural mechanics show. Out of all schools competing, MCHS took second place sweepstakes in the agricultural mechanics show. The 2016 McLennan County Junior Livestock show was held in Extraco Events Center from Feb. 9-12.

Below is a complete list of MCHS results (ranks shown in class/division):

Steers:  Chayce - 9th, Stephen - 11th, Jacob - 12th, Mikayla - 13th, Galen - participated

Swine: Marvin - 9th; Participated – Austin, Noah, Nadia, Nick and Drennon

Sheep:  Jaelyne - 2nd, Rainn - 4th, Iyahnna - 5th, Chris - 5th, Amy - 6th, Marisa - 6th,Patrick - 7th, Daesha - 8th, Laura – 10th, Participated – Hawa, Juden, De’Andre and Bryson

Goats: LaDarrius - 6th, Alex – 10th, Sheldon – 11th, Participated – Adam and Daniel

Agricultural Mechanics: Second place Sweepstakes out of all schools
Clipping light – blue, 1st class, Champion division; Skull Lamp – blue, 1st class, Reserve division; Hog trap – blue, 1st class, Champion division; Wildlife feeder – blue, 1st class; Tailgate bench – blue; Barn wood furniture – blue, 3rd class; Arena drag – red; BBQ pit – red; Hay trailer – red; Pickup carry all – red; Cross furniture set – red

Congratulations to all our FFA students!

Monday, February 8, 2016

MCH Family Outreach case manager shares message to hope

Case manager Brett Greenfield found a generous company
to donate seven mattresses for a Waco family in need.
From Brett Greenfield, case manager for MCH Family Outreach in Waco:

“Offering hope to children, youth and families.” Here at Methodist Children’s Home it’s who we are and what we do.

The challenging part of working in an MCH Family Outreach office is that we never really know what the families we serve will need or when they will need it. This can make offering hope a little difficult sometimes.

Just when we think we have heard it all, we meet a new family that surprises us. This was certainly the case here in Waco when two families I had been working with suddenly found themselves in need of mattresses. Seven mattresses to be exact. Knowing that kids are sleeping on the floor is heartbreaking, and at the same time is not the easiest problem to solve.

After calling every contact and donation center I could think of and receiving the same disheartened response, hope seemed pretty thin. Every time I saw that familiar mission statement, offering hope, I felt the stinging conviction to keep trying. I eventually made a half-hearted request to a large corporate mattress manufacturer without really thinking it would do any good. Much to my surprise, after a few weeks of growing pessimism, I received an email stating they would be happy to donate not one, not two, but all SEVEN mattresses! I excitedly responded with the utmost gratitude and appreciation and coordinated the delivery of these brand new mattresses.

On delivery day I borrowed a truck, loaded up the mattresses and personally delivered them to these two families in need. The smiles on the faces of parents and children with clean, soft, and safe places to sleep is something I will never take for granted.

Too often we think the problems in front of us are too big, the requests we have too grand, and the resources available too small. Somehow in the midst of trying to hold on to hope, I forgot another command entirely, choose joy. It is abundantly clear that hope and joy are intimately linked. It is easy to lose sight of hope, and can be even easier to miss out on joy. Fortunately, the task of offering hope and choosing joy does not have to fall completely on us. Hope has a way of making itself known, this time in the form of mattresses. And in moments like these, joy chooses us. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

MCH expands Training Department

Training staff (from left): Rebekah West, Jean Wright,
John Warren, Ian Bracken and Geoff Nelson
The Training Department at Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) has been evolving to meet the changing needs of our employees and how training is implemented.

MCH has doubled the Training department’s staff from two trainers in 2009 -2014, to four in 2014-2015, and added a fifth in 2015-2016. The scope and focus changed from a department aimed at serving our residential employees to serving the agency as a whole.

“As this change occurred in 2014 the department took on the task of creating an Agency Training Department Manual,” said John Warren, director of training. “This plan was presented and approved in December 2014, and we are currently reviewing and updating it. The manual is designed to help us define our role and for outside departments to understand what we do and how we do it.”

The Training department staff consists of individuals who have worked at MCH for several years in various capacities, including Youth Care Counselors (YCC), unit managers, and Recreation staff, as well as some with experience from working in the community with programs such as the Gear Up program, Communities in Schools, Mission Waco and MHMR.

 “As we have been able, each trainer has been assigned 10 departments, units or groups of employees across our agency which includes the Boys Ranch and our Community Outreach offices, to make monthly contact with regarding their specific training needs,” Warren said.

The Training department has also expanded orientation from five days to eight days for direct care staff and for the third year trainers have been able to provide most of the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) MCH staff receives.

Warren said internal resources as well as outside speakers are used to educate staff.
“Our trainings are more interactive, experiential and fun,” he said. “Training staff has had a leadership role in the creation of and the work brought about by the Welcoming, Mentor and Cultural Awareness committees, all of which  enhance our new employee’s experience.”

The Mentor committee has created a pilot program that is currently running, the Welcoming committee has significantly changed the welcoming experience for our new employees, and the Cultural Awareness committee are having conversations working toward a plan to present that will enhance MCH’s diverse population of both staff and residents.

“We are blessed to work at an agency that places priority on professional development,” said Bryan Mize, vice president of quality improvement and Warren’s supervisor. “MCH is experiencing tremendous growth in the Training department as part of the strategic plan. I am proud of John, Jean, Ian, Geoff and Rebekah as they strive to meet a wide range of training needs. I enjoy watching them use their knowledge, experience and personal gifts and talents to make unique and significant contributions to this ministry.”