Monday, November 6, 2017

Making it official

Azelle, a Belton resident, raised five children as a single mother. When her youngest daughter had a child at the age of 16, Azelle didn’t hesitate to help and began caring for her granddaughter from the day she was born. Ultimately, Azelle’s daughter decided she wasn’t ready to be a mother and left the house leaving the baby in her care.

That baby, Jasiah, who is now 15, is still in her grandmother’s care and the two have formed a close relationship. But Azelle said raising children this time around has been a bit more challenging.

“I can’t keep up with her,” she said.

She gets support from her oldest daughter and her three younger children in caring for her granddaughter. But Azelle was excited to discover MCH Family Outreach during a local resource fair for seniors. She began working with Killeen outreach staff who helped her manage her fixed income by connecting her to food pantries, and giving her some support in dealing with her challenges in the home.

During the services, Azelle told Violet Read, director of MCH Family Outreach in Killeen, about her desire to adopt Jasiah. Although she had legal custody of her, she wanted to make it official and give them a “sense of belonging.”

Read went to work and started helping her through the process, researching lawyers in the area. After discovering the costs of adoption were beyond Azelle’s budget, Read and Azelle were both becoming discouraged. However, things began to turn around when they found a local lawyer with experience doing adoptions.

“After hearing her story, he ended up quoting half the price that we had been quoted,” Read said. “She was in tears. I was almost in tears and I don’t cry very easily! But it was a pretty special moment.”

“They have been a blessing to us,” Azelle said. “The program is amazing. It opens doors everywhere. Violet was always on top of it.”

Jasiah’s adoption became official on August 23. This fall, the family also decided to transfer Jasiah into homeschool. MCH case manager Sara Elliot has been helping them with the process. The family is entering a new chapter in their life and feels thankful for the support they have received from MCH Family Outreach.

“This program, I have recommended to – and I kid you not – to at least 20-30 people at church and people I know,” Azelle said. “I know a lot of grandparents who could really just use the helping hand. I know some who just don’t know what to do, where to go, or how to deal with things. This has been an amazing journey. And we’re still on it.” 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Methodist Children’s Home sends Commissioners out with purpose

In 1940, Hubert Johnson, president of Methodist Children’s Home from 1933-1966, established a group of clergy and lay members called Commissioners. These individuals would act as volunteer fundraisers and advocates for MCH. Through the past 77 years the activities and responsibilities of Commissioners have changed, but they continue to serve and play an important role in sharing the MCH story.

The primary role of the Commissioner now can be seen through the acronym HOPE:

Help MCH fulfill its mission through gifts of time, talents and treasure.
Organize a special event for MCH at their church or in their community.
Provide insight on ways MCH can partner with them to serve at-risk families in their community.
Enlist others as benefactors and friends to support the mission of MCH.

It has been a long standing tradition for MCH to hold a two-day Commissioners meeting in Waco, Texas. On Oct. 24-25, MCH Commissioners from across Texas and New Mexico, representing six different United Methodist Conferences, gathered for a time of fellowship and learning to be further equipped to advocate for MCH.

During the two-day meeting on the Boys Ranch and Waco residential campus, Commissioners had a full schedule of events on their agenda.

On the first evening, they shared a meal with the 2017 MCH Choir and several Boys Ranch residents. They were treated to a choral performance and a student testimony on how MCH has impacted them. The Commissioners also heard from Tim Brown, president and CEO of MCH, Trey Oakley, vice president for development at MCH, Mark Ward, Commissioner chairperson, and other members of the MCH Benefactor Relations team.

The second day of the meeting provided time for breakout sessions with Residential Care, Transition Services, MCH Family Outreach and Spiritual Development. As part of understanding the vision and direction for MCH, Commissioners were invited to tour the Daniels Home, the newest residential home on the Waco campus, and to receive detailed information about the “Building Hope” capital campaign and the projected growth and projects that are in plan for the ministry.

Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator for MCH who directed the two-day meeting, saw the different sessions as a highlight of the time shared with the Commissioners. Lawson said that each group discussion was opportunity for Commissioners to connect with different parts of MCH to get an in-depth and realistic understanding of what life looks like for those MCH serves every day.

Further, Lawson stated the breakout speaking sessions gave Commissioners a time to interact with one another and to share about their own ideas and experiences regarding how they are able to intentionally spread the news about MCH in their own communities.

To conclude the meeting, MCH conducted its first commissioning service in the Chapel. There, 28 veteran Commissioners and 21 new Commissioners received and accepted the call to action to commit themselves to the MCH Commissioner statement of HOPE.

“Ending on this note felt very special,” said Lawson. “We have the opportunity to bear witness to God’s work in the world through this ministry in one small way. The Commissioners came, they learned, they were inspired, and now they are sent forth into their communities to do essential work. It is sacred work.”

Echoing Lawson’s message, Oakley stated, “Commissioners are a piece of our legacy and will remain important advocates for our ministry. We are grateful for the support and awareness they raise throughout Texas and New Mexico.”







Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Waco family overcomes challenges with help from MCH Family Outreach

Last year, Tina began to experience medical issues that caused her to be in and out of work. With her income becoming inconsistent, the mother of 11-year-old Jaleigh began to worry as she fell behind on bills. With rent coming up, she turned to a local church for help and was referred to MCH Family Outreach.

Tina and Jaleigh were connected with Waco case manager Ana Chatham in December 2016 to participate in the Family Solutions program. Through the program, families meet weekly with a case manager for three months to assess their needs, determine goals and develop a plan to meet those goals. Tina and Chatham talked about her financial and family needs and came up with strategies to get her back on her feet.

“Getting to talk to somebody about my issues that wasn’t biased, just having somebody to listen helped,” Tina said. “She offered encouragement and gave us tips on what to do.”

Chatham helped Tina get connected to local nonprofits in the area to help her with food and save some money. She also met with a financial coach who helped Tina develop a budget. Tina was working with a local agency to become a home owner when her ailing aunt passed away and left her home to Tina and Jaleigh. She took over the mortgage payments and the pair was able to move into their new home.

Their case was closed about a month earlier than usual due to Tina’s success. Tina’s health is improving and she was able to return to work in September.

“I had to learn because I’m a very prideful person that if you can just let your pride down a little bit and be open to the program, it is very resourceful,” Tina said. “If you need help, it’s available. As long as you are using it to help you progress and not just get there and get comfortable.”
   
Chatham said that she enjoyed working with Tina and Jaleigh and said the mother and daughter have a great relationship.

“They are as sweet as can be,” Chatham said. “They were a joy to get to know and they are full of life. Ms. Tina is hard-working and health issues is just not something you can control. We were happy to step in and help and provide assistance for that that time period so she could get back on her feet. And she was able to do that.”

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo 2017

Methodist Children’s Home had a large group of students representing the Ag program this year during the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo in Waco, Texas. Thirty-four students from the charter school, operated in partnership with University of Texas-University Charter School system, prepared and showed animals during the junior livestock show.

These students began working with their animals at the start of the school year in August. Many of the students were showing animals for the first time.

“I tell the kids that it is hard to show at the Heart O’ Texas first because it is such a big show,” said Steve Kruse, ag teacher. “The animals are just as scared as the students thus it is a learning experience for everyone. Go out there, watch the judge, listen to what the judge says about your project, but most of all, have fun and you’re a winner for being there.”

Results are listed below:

Steers: Limousin – Galen (3rd place); Shorthorn – Chris (4th); AOB – Iona (6th); Maine – Marisa (7th)

Swine: BOPB – Julio (4th), Samaya (5th); Duroc – Roger (2nd), Kiayani (3rd), Danny (5th), Blake (8th); Yorkshire – Bryce (7th), Adam (8th), Ladarius (8th), Landon (11th); Cross – Phillip (7th), Sam (9th); Hampshire – Noah (8th)

Goats:  Dustin – 6th, Jackson – 8th, Lucas – 11th, Triston – 12th, Camray – 14th

Sheep:  Hair sheep – Layla (10th), Faith (11th), Duane (14th); Medium wool – Jaelyne (12th); Southdown – Niki (8th), Christina (9th), Juliana (10th), Adrianna (12th), Brittney, Dathan, Sai; FWX – D’nayja

Creative Arts projects: Gabe – 1st; Keyon – 1st; Tristen – 1st; Mikey – 4th; Jose – 5th

The Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo took place from Oct. 4-13 at Extraco Events Center in Waco. Several other local schools also competed in the junior livestock show. Congratulations to all our kids who participated in this show!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

MCH Golf Classic 2017

Twenty-two teams competed in the 2017 MCH Golf Classic on Oct. 13 to support the ministry of Methodist Children’s Home (MCH). The annual fundraiser was held at Twin Rivers Golf Club in Waco.

The winning team of Chris Goss, Chase Chapman, Stormy Reeves and Cliff Thorman took home trophies and Titleist golf bags as their prize. Other prizes included Titleist Pro V1 golf balls and an assortment of prize drawings including tickets to Baylor athletic events donated by Baylor IMG, a gift bag donated by Baylor golf, and several restaurant gift cards. The MCH Boys Ranch also donated several student-made items such as a cedar chest, light stand, wind chimes and fire pit. Sykora Family Ford also sponsored the hole-in-one contest on the course.

MCH is thankful for all our sponsors who supported us this year: Gold sponsors – Insurors of Texas, Magnolia Foundation, John W. Erwin General Contractor; Silver sponsor – State Farm Insurance, Mike McKenzie; Bronze sponsors – Naman, Smith, Howell and Lee, Dubois Furniture, Mark Olinger, First Baptist Woodway, and Honey’s Roofing; and several hole and other sponsors.

Integ provided signage, banners and player gifts for the tournament. Drinks on the course were provided by Coca-Cola. Players were treated to dinner after their round provided by Rudy’s BBQ with drinks and dessert by McAlister’s Deli.

“We are grateful for the support of each corporate sponsor and individual that made the MCH Golf Classic a success,” said Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator at MCH. “Not only did we have fun out on the golf course, more importantly, the MCH Golf Classic was an opportunity to support the incredibly important and life-changing work of Methodist Children’s Home. It was a special honor to have three students from MCH participate in the tournament this year.”


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Methodist Children’s Home receives Gold Seal from Guidestar

Methodist Children’s Home recently received the Gold Seal of Transparency designation from Guidestar, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.

More than 8 million visitors visit Guidestar.org each year to find information on nonprofit organizations for the purpose of research, community collaboration and charitable giving. Less than 1 percent of nonprofits listed on Guidestar have achieved the Gold level, noted Tim Brown, president and CEO of Methodist Children’s Home.

“Receiving the gold level designation from Guidestar speaks to the commitment we carry to conduct our work with the utmost integrity and transparency,” Brown said. “It reflects the commitment to excellence found in our staff, executive leadership and board of directors. Most importantly, it shines a light on the difference we are making in the lives of thousands of children, youth and families across Texas and New Mexico.”

Earlier this year, Methodist Children’s Home received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the highest rating available from the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator.

“It is important for our community members and potential donors to find in-depth information about our goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress,” Brown said. “Carrying a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Gold Seal of Transparency from Guidestar gives the public the assurance of our commitment to integrity and best practices.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

MCH Family Outreach in Tyler teams up with other agencies for annual conference

Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco
gave two presentations during the Tyler conference.
Five staff members from MCH Family Outreach shared their expertise during presentations at the annual East Texas Network for Children training conference on Sept. 11-12. Around 300 people attended the conference held at Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Tyler, including social workers, mental health professionals, CPS personnel, probation officers, foster parents, and other direct care staff in the industry who serve children and families.

Aaron Williams, director of MCH Family Outreach in Tyler, spoke on “The Enduring Race: Dealing with Oppositional Children and Teens in Foster Care.” Three Tyler case managers, Kristy George, Niya Brown and Suzy King, presented as a group on “Foster Care Normalcy Training.” Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco, gave two presentations, “The Caregiver Triad: It Takes All Three” and “Trauma Wise Care: Realizing, Recognizing and Responding to the Effects of Trauma.” Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) also served as a sponsor for the conference.

“It’s important for us as an agency to connect and network with other agencies doing similar things,” said Williams. “These conferences are a good way to connect and network and with our presentations, it is good to see that MCH is leading through instructing and bringing legitimate material to the table.”

Williams has been involved in the ETNC conferences for several years and this year was his second in a row to present. The theme of this year’s conference, organized by ETNC board members, was “Racing Toward a Better Future.” ETNC was established 30 years ago when representatives of East Texas public and private agencies got together to discuss strategies for improving client services and communication. The network now provides annual, low cost training to professionals each year in the region and surrounding areas.

Aaron Williams, director of MCH Family Outreach
in Tyler, spoke about oppositional children.