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."