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

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:

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

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

Dance Solos:
Rainn – Good Ribbon
Marisa – Good Ribbon

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

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.”