Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Core Value Award for Relationships - Jo Ann Evans

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
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

Jo Ann Evans, case manager for the MCH Family Outreach office in Abilene, received the 2017 Core Award for Relationships at the All-Staff meeting in March. The recipient for the Core Value Award for Relationships is someone who builds healthy relationships through communication, respect, trust, and love.

Jo Ann exemplifies this Core Value through the way she always strives to build trusting and meaningful relationships with everyone she encounters because she knows it is the foundation of what we do.

Jo Ann often goes above and beyond despite her busy schedule. Recently when a co-worker was having car troubles, she offered to drive them to and from visits as needed.

According to her supervisor Megan Harbin, Jo Ann didn’t hesitate to take on a larger case load and more parenting classes when the Abilene office experienced staff transition.

Jo Ann plays a significant role in training new Family Solutions case managers to ensure they understand the program and are 100 percent ready to start taking on cases of their own. This had resulted in many life-changing relationships being created.

Jo Ann is known by her peers as having a passion for the work she does and the families she serves.
Megan also stated, “It is truly a privilege and blessing to get to work alongside Jo Ann and have her as part of the Abilene team.”

Kelly Smith, administrator for the Western region of MCH Family Outreach, said, “Jo Ann understands the value of relationships and she facilitates coalitions and partnerships that help develop resources for both clients and team members. Her skills in this area are vital to the work we do at MCH.” 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MCH Music Workshop 2017

A group of budding musicians at Methodist Children’s Home were able to get lessons and tips from some of Baylor’s best performers during the MCH Music Workshop on April 29. The workshop, which took place on the Waco campus, was set up by MCH recreation staff.

“This workshop is purposed to boost musical ability, confidence and stage presence, particularly for our students participating in choir, drumline and praise team,” said Jill Sims, recreation coordinator. “It is also designed to give the students a chance to interact with college students who are dedicated to their studies in music.”

MCH had 22 students participate in the workshop led by members of Baylor’s VirtuOSO acapella group, as well as undergraduate and graduate music students. Sims said the workshop was also meant to prepare the students for the upcoming “Collaborate Concert” on May 11 where students from choir, drumline, praise band, praise dance and the cheer team will perform as a group on the Waco campus.

“Collaborate is a concert that was birthed out of the idea of creating a space of community and support among the performing arts students at MCH,” Sims said. “Rather than have competition between the groups, we wanted to provide a space where the students could come together and create art built by the whole community.  At the beginning of the semester, songs were chosen and distributed among each of the groups.”

The workshop was organized into individual tracks for vocal, percussion and guitar. Each group met for three session to hone their skills. In the vocal track, students worked on vocal basics, harmony and blending, and stage presence and performance. Percussion students first focused on drums used in drumline, then were introduced to other percussion instruments such as cymbals, chimes, rain sticks and the triangle. In the third session they worked on their contribution to songs for the Collaborate concert. Guitar students first learned about basics in guitar, then moved to reading and playing with chord charts, followed by lessons on performance and worship leadership.

At the end of the sessions, the groups came together for closing “jam session” where teachers and students, totaling 29 people, performed their Collaborate concert songs together.

“The workshop was a tremendous success!” Sims said. “Students from all tracks were excitedly telling me throughout the day the things that they were learning in their classes. We were also able to open the workshop up to a limited number of students outside of our programs and these students asked to join our programs at the end of the workshop.”

   

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Empowered to Connect 2017


MCH Family Outreach in Waco brought together several members of the community for the Empowered to Connect conference simulcast April 7-8 at the Waco campus. The conference was hosted by The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University and Show Hope, a nonprofit organization based in Franklin, Tenn.

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) has a partnership with the Purvis Institute in utilizing Trust-Based Relational Intervention techniques into its childcare practices. Show Hope is an international movement to care for orphans through adoption aid, care centers, adoption support and student initiatives. The two agencies joined together for the Empowered to Connect conference which is designed to give professionals and adoptive and foster parents insight into connecting better with children who have experienced emotional or physical trauma and help them to heal.

The conference was held in Tennessee, but many agencies, including MCH, hosted simulcasts in their communities. Around 40 people attended the MCH simulcast including foster and adoptive parents, social workers, school staff, counselors and local nonprofit case managers.

“We believe that the information provided in this training and other trauma-informed care trainings we offer at MCH have the power to offer hope and transformation to families,” said Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “We desire for everyone who is a caregiver or works with children to be exposed to this information and be equipped with practical tools which can assist them in their different roles with children.”

The two-day conference provided presentations to explain the effects of trauma on the brain, how to form healing connections, helping improve behavior, and other helpful trainings.

“One of the biggest impacts is to witness the relief and understanding that washes over caregivers when they hear the effects of trauma on children and adults,” Davilla said. “Many of our caregivers feel at a loss or don’t know how to explain what they are experiencing with their children, so when they hear they are not alone and that there is hope for healing, it is transformative.

“Overall, we think it was a huge success,” she continued. “We hope to continue to offer opportunities such as this in the future for our community.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Core Value Award for Christian Principles - Alicia Carter

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 of MCH are:
Christian Principles
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

Alicia Carter, director of the MCH Family Outreach office in Albuquerque, received the 2017 Core Award for Christian Principles at the all-staff meeting in March. The recipient for the Core Award for Christian Principles is someone who applies the principles of the Christian faith which serve as the foundation for this ministry.

Carter embodies the Core Value of Christian Principles through her active and solid relationship with Jesus Christ and how her faith intentionally affects her work and relationships.

In her work, Carter is known to measure her work and decisions against God’s Word and uses examples from the Word to encourage and teach the team.

Carter also pushes others to see past the petty things of the world and see the real reason why we do what we do.

Carter is quick to realize when she has made a mistake and asks for forgiveness. And she is someone who others can truly look up to and visibly see the Lord at work in and through her.

According to Albuquerque case manager Allisya Otto, “Alicia not only serves as leader and offers encouragement, but is also a sounding board. The hope starts with us to overflow to communities and MCH as a whole. We are the hands and feet of hope given freely, like Christ, and it all starts with our director, Alicia Carter.”

Kristal Hansen, also a case manager in Albuquerque, said Alicia exemplifies the Core Value of Christian Principles because “she is empathetic and at the same time a strong leader through love, grace and empowerment of her employees. Simply put, to me, she acts like Jesus would.”

Kelly Smith, administrator for the Western region of MCH Family Outreach, said Alicia lives and works the principles of her faith. She believes her work and work of MCH is a mission, and shares her gifts unselfishly.

Monday, April 17, 2017

MCH Family Outreach offices advocate for Child Abuse Prevention


Corpus Christi partnered with several other local agencies
for its pinwheel garden.
MCH Family Outreach in Abilene, Dallas and Corpus Christi partnered with other local nonprofits in planting pinwheel gardens to raise awareness for child abuse prevention. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the gardens serve as a reminder to the community to take a stand against child abuse and show support for local agencies serving children.

This year, MCH Family Outreach in Abilene partnered with McMurry University for their garden, while the Dallas office partnered with First United Methodist Church of Sherman whose children will help plant the garden late in the month. MCH Family Outreach in Corpus Christi teamed up with multiple agencies including the Education Service Center – Region 2, HOPES program (Healthy Outcomes through Prevention and Early Support), BCFS-Health and Human Services, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for the awareness campaign. Their garden is located at the CASA building.

“I am excited about this year’s growth in sponsorship,” said Marisol Gomez, director of MCH Family Outreach in Corpus Christi. “We have more agencies that offer prevention services coming together to share with the community all that we do. The more we can make the community aware of our services and show that help is within reach, the more hope we can offer to a family in need,” Gomez said.

The gardens are part of an initiative called Pinwheels for Prevention that began in 2008 by Prevent Child Abuse America, a national organization who work to prevent abuse and neglect of our nation’s children. The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention, signifying the “happy childhoods all children deserve.”

MCH Family Outreach supports children and families through early intervention and family preservation services including programs for in-home case management, parent education, and support for grandparents raising their grandchildren. MCH now serves 13 communities through our outreach offices.

Corpus staff helped plant the pinwheels.

MCH Family Outreach in Abilene partnered with McMurry University.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Supporting our employees

As part of Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) strategic plan, the Human Resource department has been charged with focusing on employee recruitment and retention and look for ways to improve agency practices.

As part of the plan, the Human Resources department is researching best practices and evaluating the agency’s methods, strategies and processes in an effort to expand recruitment outreach, empower new employee engagement and support supervisors as they build their teams.

The department has significantly evolved since 1992 when Judy Broadway, vice president for human resources and Mary Rollins, employee compliance manager were members of what was called, The Personnel Department.

“When I came to MCH we employed approximately 100 people,” said Broadway. “Today we employ more than 360 staff in various roles throughout Texas and New Mexico.”

In recent years, the department has added staff members Karina Valencia, employee recruiter; Anita Tovar, administrative services associate; Miranda Pena, employee benefits manager; and Jean Wright, strategic recruitment manager.

Wright’s position will focus in part on developing strategies to recruit and retain employees that reflect MCH’s service population and communities, a goal in the current strategic plan.

“I think the addition of this position demonstrates the agency’s commitment to progress and improvement,” said Wright. “I consider this an opportunity to invest in the future of our employees and indirectly impact the children, youth and families we serve.”

Through agency efforts like these, employees also have the opportunities to grow and reach their potential by participating in higher education opportunities and through their meaningful work every day. The department is currently seeking feedback from employees to find ways to strengthen their effort toward these goals.

“I feel blessed to have been a part of this ministry for 25 years and witness the wonderful growth in service to our youth and families,” added Broadway.

Monday, April 3, 2017

MCH students get high marks at district competition

Hard work paid off for Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) students who performed in the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship (TCAF) competition in March. The students prepared their performances for months and received high scores for their efforts. MCH students competed in choir, drumline, dance, drama, and cheer.

“We like to participate in events like this because it allows the students to work toward achieving a goal,” said Jill Sims, recreation coordinator and choir instructor. “Also, it shows them the benefit of hard work and dedication, gives them a broader worldview as they travel and connect with students from other parts of Texas, and prepares them professionally as they gain public and interpersonal communication skills through professional connections.

“Events like this also give the students a positive view of themselves and each other as they realize that they can not only achieve their dreams, but can collaborate with others as a team to invest in something that they will remember for a lifetime,” Sims said.
 
The choir and drumline received an Excellent rating while two vocal soloists received Superior ratings and advanced to the finals. One of the soloists received a perfect score and several middle school students were able to receive high marks competing at the high school level. Here are the results:

Choir:
Group Performance – Excellence Rating (Plaque)
Vocal Solos:
Nikki – Superior Medal (Received a perfect score), Advanced to Finals
Tianna – Superior Medal (1 point from receiving a perfect score), Advanced to Finals
Kiayani – Excellence Ribbon
Shelby – Excellence Ribbon
Layla – Good Ribbon
Leah – Good Ribbon
Iona – Good Ribbon
Faith – Good Ribbon

Drumline:
Ensemble – Excellence Ribbon
Drumline Solos:
Faith – Good Ribbon
Rebecca – Good Ribbon

Dance Solos:
Rainn – Good Ribbon
Marisa – Good Ribbon

Drama:
Monologues:
Ben – Superior Medal (3 points from receiving a perfect score)
Nikki – Excellence Ribbon

Cheer:
Earned two plaques in the Exhibition category
Varsity members – Iyhanna, Tremya, Nikkie, Edwina, Adrianna
JV members – Christina, Gabi, Kiayani, Rebecca

The students were led by Sims (choir), recreation assistant Matt Hagestuen (drumline, drama), and recreation assistant Kellie Bennett (dance, cheer). Students practiced their entries by performing for staff and students during a concert on May 24. 

“The kids felt accomplished and had a sense of belonging as they worked together to achieve their goals,” Sims said. “As I met with students individually to discuss their scores after the competition, they expressed their sense of accomplishment as well as noted and asked if we could work on areas of improvement for next year.” 





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spiritual Development Weekend 2017

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) youth spent the weekend learning more about Christ and were invited to ask difficult questions related to forgiveness and their own faith journey during Spiritual Development Weekend. Kimberly Clark, director of spiritual development, and her team led the activities that focus on spiritual growth.

The weekend started with a Friday evening concert where Christian artists recruited by Pastors Ahmad Washington and Colin Campbell came to the Waco campus to perform. This year, MCH welcomed Bus Seven, Capital G, Jeremy Beggs and MxC for the concert. On Saturday, the day began with a worship service with guest speaker Apostle T followed by a senior lunch. Sunday morning concluded the weekend with a closing worship service in the chapel.

Clark said they want to show the youth different artists and speakers who use their talents to glorify God.

“The Bible contains stories of God’s interactions with His people throughout history but those interactions aren’t just contained to a book,” she said. “God continues to interact and work in and through His people now, and we want our students to be exposed to others outside of the agency who are willing to share how God has moved and breathed into their lives.

“We like to expose our residential students to faithful people in Waco and surrounding areas,” she said. “It allows them to connect with the greater Christian community, gives them fresh faces and voices to receive from, and hopefully encourages them to continue to find places to worship once they leave our care."

The theme of the weekend was “forgiveness,” and the story of David was central to the focus of the entire weekend and as youth looked at Scripture to see examples of God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Clark said this theme brought up many questions from the youth such as: How do you forgive someone that has hurt you so deeply? How do you regain trust after forgiveness is given? Why did God choose to forgive me? Can you forgive when you can’t forget?

“This weekend was a great example of the opportunity this ministry gives us to share the good news with our young people,” said Trey Oakley, vice president for development. “We do so in a safe environment where we don’t shy away from tough questions.

“Since our ministers’ focus is on helping build authentic relationships with God and in our community, we don’t have to conjur up easy or quick fix answers,” Oakley continued. “Sometimes we can say ‘I don’t know but let’s trust God to heal, comfort and seek answers together.’ That’s an amazing thing we get to do for all those we serve throughout Texas and New Mexico.”

MCH has hosted spiritually-focused weekends for almost 20 years, formerly called ReCreation Weekend and RARE event. These weekends continue to be a time for MCH youth to dialog about and grow in their faith.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Houston case manager speaks on serving grandparents during local conference

Nicole Washington, case manager at MCH Family Outreach in Houston, shared her experience in working with grandparents at a recent convention in Stafford, Texas. The Children’s Case Management Coalition (CCMC) hosted its 8th annual conference on February 24 at the Stafford Centre.

Washington was invited to speak at the conference after meeting several coalition members during an interagency meeting. The CCMC is “a collaborative group of case management providers in Houston and surrounding counties, who are invested in the special needs and issues of children and their families.” Every year the coalition hosts a conference for the community where social workers, nurses, nutritionists, parents and other professionals learn more about issues and services available for families and children.

Washington presented to the group to provide insight on what grandparents feel, think and struggle with when they are called to care for their grandchildren.

“Over the past seven years I have worked with grandparents in the Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) and one thing remains consistent – they give all they have while caring for their grandchildren,” Washington said. “They know it comes with a price, themselves, and they have no problem giving their all. However, the entire family suffers when the price depletes the one who holds it all together. I constantly remind my clients, ‘if you don’t take care of yourself then you are not taking care of the kids. You are your best advocate, so care and advocate for yourself.’”

Around 150 people attended the event to hear about topics related to the conference theme “Trauma-Informed Care: Recognizing and Responding to the Effects of Trauma in the Family.” Washington said the experience of presenting to her peers was enlightening, and she enjoyed speaking up for grandparents. 

“I love my GAPP grandparents,” Washington said. “They truly inspire me. I am so honored to work with them.”


Friday, March 3, 2017

MCH students surprised during field trip to McLane Stadium

MCH students surprised during field trip to McLane Stadium
Some special visitors joined a group of Methodist Children’s Home charter school students during a tour of McLane Stadium, home to the Baylor Bears football team. On March 1, five Baylor players surprised the middle schoolers and helped to give them a field trip they will not soon forget.

The group of students were from Mr. Zachary Byrd’s Core class. Byrd, the middle school social studies teacher at the charter school, said one of his objectives in his class is to teach the children leadership and positive peer interaction.

“A lot of my kids in the class are big sports fans,” Byrd said. “I wanted them to have the opportunity to interact with some of their heroes and see the stadium. I emphasize to the kids that there are a lot of jobs involved with sports and you don’t have to be a great athlete to have a career in sports or athletics. I think them seeing the stadium showed them some of the career opportunities involving athletics.”

Byrd coordinated with Baylor athletics to surprise the students. At the beginning of the tour five players, Wyatt Schrepfer (running back), Josh Malin (tight end), Will Jones (defensive tackle), Clint Kelly (long snapper), and Chris Lutzel (long snapper) along with Associate Director of Football Operations Ryan Kelly filed into the stadium.

During the tour, the group was taken through the press box, president’s suite, recruit lounge, post-game interview room, locker room and football field. The players spent their time talking with the students, signed autographs, and even tossed around the football and kicked field goals with the students on the field. 

“Seeing the kids interact with the players absolutely made my day,” Byrd said. “Their positive interaction with them was amazing. The kids’ smiles and comments afterward were awesome."




  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MCH joins other childcare agencies at State Capitol


Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) joined representatives from other childcare agencies across Texas at the State Capitol in Austin on Feb. 1 for the awareness event “Never Alone Star State – Advocating for Children in Foster Care” sponsored by the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services (TACFS).

“The alliance put together the event as an opportunity to unite together to advocate for children in foster care in Texas and encourage legislators to make these children a priority this legislative session,” said Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator for MCH who helped coordinate the event on behalf of MCH.
According to its website, the mission of TACFS is to strengthen services to children and families through quality care and advocacy. The alliance is made up of agencies that focus primarily on working with children and families who are at-risk, children who have experienced abuse and neglect and families dealing with low income, loss of jobs, domestic violence, and other issues.

Tim Brown, President/CEO of Methodist Children’s Home, also serves on the Board of Directors for TACFS. He said MCH felt it was important to participate in the awareness event due to the potential for wholesale changes to the Child Welfare Regulatory and Services system in Texas.

“Many of the changes being proposed are positive, but there are others that may impact agencies in unanticipated ways, agencies such as MCH who also serve children placed privately by their own families and caregivers,” Brown explained. “We felt like we could add balance to the proposed solutions by bringing a wider view to the discussions.”

Brown, along with several other agency leaders, was recognized at the Texas Senate during the session by Senator Charles “Carlos” Uresti of Senate District 19. Uresti serves as vice chair for the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Uresti sponsored the conference portion of the event which also included breakfast, presentations and speakers throughout the day, including remarks from Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott. Agencies participating also spent the afternoon making legislative visits. 

MCH is accredited through COA, accepts placements and referrals from TDFPS and is licensed and regulated by the department. Brown pointed out that MCH holds an excellent record of compliance and safety for those in our care.

 “We wanted the opportunity to participate in the dialogue and support positive and necessary change without further encumbering providers with additional changes or regulations unnecessarily,” he said.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

McLennan County Junior Livestock Show 2017

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) FFA students had a record year at the 2017 McLennan County Junior Livestock Show with five animals making it into the sale. The Ag Mechanics team consisting of 17 students also won second place in sweepstakes.

The FFA chapter is part of the charter school at MCH operated in partnership with the University of Texas–University Charter School system. Every year, students in the agriculture classes learn to care for livestock and show them at local events. This year MCH had 23 students compete in the McLennan County show.

Here are the results:

Steers: Nick – 4th (sale), Galen – 5th (sale), Josh – 6th, Kel – 8th; also participated – Jacob

Swine: Julio – 5th (sale), Noah – 6th (sale); also participated – Chris, Lester, Danny, Yacci, Alex

Goats: Selena – 2nd (sale); also participated – Edwina, Ladarius, Tameka

Sheep: Marisa – 3rd, Iona – 4th, Jaylen – 2nd; also participated – KK, Rainn, Akia, Gail

Ag Mechanics Show: Gates (Lester and Jacob) – 3rd, Wooden salt feeder (KK, Akia, Selena) – 2nd, Headache rack (Alex) – 1st, Towable barbeque (Nick, Galen, Josh) – 2nd, Cedar coffee table (Danny) – 2nd, Cedar chest (Marisa) – 1st, Cedar table (Ag classes) – 2nd, Quail house (Rainn, Jaylen, Tameka) – 2nd, also entered – BBQ (Galen) and Fire pit (Noah, Kel); Shop light (Galen) – 1st and Reserve Division Champion, Turtle trap (Nick, Galen, Kel) – 2nd and Reserve Division Champion, Indoor lamp (KK, Akia, Selena) – 1st and Division Champion; Team received Second in Sweepstakes

Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

Congratulations to all our students on their hard work!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Youth learn life skills through campus internships

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) creates opportunities for youth to work as interns in different departments on the Waco campus. The internships help youth learn job skills and life skills and builds relationships with MCH staff.

Ben lives in the Prothro home and has been interning for several months alongside Candyce Haddock, home service specialist for the Prothro home. Home service specialists are responsible for cooking and grocery shopping for the home which allows them to also build relationships with youth and attend to their special dietary needs and requests. Haddock said she appreciates her role in the house and having the opportunity to work with Ben.

“I enjoy the boys in the home and getting feedback on the meals we serve,” said Haddock. “Ben is a quick learner and very helpful. He has a great imagination and I love to hear his stories about his day at school. Ben has even planned a few of our evening meals.”

Ben is responsible for getting snacks ready for the rest of the boys after school. He helps with food preparation for the evening dinner and gives input on the weekly meal planning.

“I have learned so much about food and how it is prepared,” said Ben. “I used to have food issues which kept me from eating and trying new things. Working in the kitchen has helped me feel more comfortable with what I am eating and now enjoying it.”

According to Nick Molnar, unit manager for the Prothro home, “Ben was a picky eater. Since working with Candyce, he takes pride in his work in the kitchen and enjoys the extra spending money. Also, because he is eating more consistently, his mood has increased, he has more energy and his body is just healthier in general.”

Ben has also learned a new life skill that will become valuable to him in his everyday life that will help him now and in the future.

“I like knowing I can go on a home visit and cook for my siblings,” he said. “My very favorite meal now is steak and potatoes.” 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Las Cruces staff give back to their community

The staff of the MCH Family Outreach office in Las Cruces, N.M., are dedicated to helping others. Along with their everyday duties on the job, the group also devotes time to volunteer at other local nonprofits. Kimberly York, director of the Las Cruces office, said her team has committed to a “Day of Service” at least once every quarter and feels it is an important aspect of their work in this new outreach location.

“It has been great for us to learn about what each person (on our team) is passionate about,” York said. “Deciding our next assignment sparks some great discussion about how people would like to give back to our community while learning more about the great work other agencies are doing. It is heartwarming to see that our team shares a genuine passion for giving back.”

So far the Las Cruces team has volunteered to serve hot meals at the El Caldito Soup Kitchen and put up walls in Habitat for Humanity homes of some of their very own Circle of Security class graduates. They next plan to volunteer at the Gospel Rescue Mission’s Clothing Center where they refer several of their Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) clients for free clothing. Beatrice Jimenez, administrative assistant for the office, participated in both ‘days of service’ events.

“Being new myself to social services and as the administrative assistant, I feel we can all contribute however we can to understand the needs of the community,” Jimenez said. “Volunteering is a great way to hear and see the effect that it has on people and learn what challenges face our area in particular.”

York said the Las Cruces community has welcomed MCH and they have received an “outpouring of support” from the school board to the mayor’s office since the office opened last summer. They currently serve 19 grandparents through GAPP and are leading four parenting classes in the community. York said they also have plans to connect with several more organizations in the area to strengthen the support net for the families they serve.

York is proud of her team and their efforts to connect with others in the community through volunteer service. 

“I truly believe that what comes from the heart reaches the heart and that people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day,” York said. “When I first moved to New Mexico a year ago, I did so with a mission to get a bird’s eye view and understanding of the unique Southwestern culture. When you are in the trenches with people, you get to know so much about their journey and what’s meaningful to them. It’s an opportunity to see the world through someone else’s eyes and to grow as a result of the rich exchange.”