Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Core Value Award for Christian Principles

Waco Campus Administration 
Methodist Children’s Home annually recognizes staff who exemplify our Core Values. Staff are nominated by their peers and are recognized at an all-staff meeting.

The Core Values for MCH are:
Christian Principles
Relationships
Responsibility
Growth
Service
Hope

The recipients of the Core Award for Christian Principles apply the principles of the Christian faith which serve as the foundation for this ministry.

In late August, Hurricane Harvey devastated large areas of Texas and Louisiana. While MCH offices in the area were spared from major damage, children and families and other care giving agencies throughout Southeast Texas were impacted by this historic storm. 


MCH gave special recognition and the Core Value Award for Christian Principles to Corpus Christi MCH Family Outreach, Houston MCH Family Outreach, School and Support Services, Waco Campus Administration and Plant Services for the work that they did, and as some continue to do, amidst the destruction and distress of Hurricane Harvey. 

Corpus Christi MCH Family Outreach

Houston MCH Family Outreach 

School and Support Services 

Plant Services

Friday, January 5, 2018

MCH Family Outreach celebrates the holidays with families


Methodist Children’s Home is blessed each year during the holidays by churches and organizations across Texas and New Mexico who step in to sponsor activities for our MCH Family Outreach offices. This year was no exception as each office hosted holiday celebrations for families served through foster care and family preservation services.

“All locations host holiday events to celebrate the season with families and to provide opportunities for fellowship with and support from other families and staff,” said Kelly Smith, MCH program administrator for the Western region. “These events also provide opportunity for community partners to show support for the families in our programs.”

Below are details of events hosted by each office location this year:

Abilene:  The Abilene Christmas party was held at Beltway Coffee Company who offered the group a discounted price. Board games were on each table and families could also try Christmas crafts. “Getting to know you” bingo was available for the adults so all of the families could mingle. Staff also led a game involving a gigantic plastic wrap ball that was filled with prizes. Everyone had to wear oven mitts and had 30 seconds to unwrap the ball. The children also enjoyed Beltway’s indoor playground.

Albuquerque: The Albuquerque event this year was held at Christ United Methodist Church on Dec. 9. Chick-fil-A (general manager Jeremy Tafoya) generously agreed to provide food for the 50 guests as well as MCH staff and volunteers. MCH hosted a Christmas store event, in which families had the opportunity to shop for presents for one another. First, parents shopped for children and had the opportunity to choose from a plethora of donated gifts from Methodist churches in the community. After lunch, children had the opportunity to do the same for their parents or caregivers. In between shopping, families enjoyed Christmas songs, a Christmas skit and an arts and crafts project.

Bryan/CS: Staff took care in putting together gift baskets for caregivers and presents for children that are currently being served through their programs or were recently discharged. They then personally delivered the gifts to the family’s home or had them available to pick up at the office.

Corpus Christi: The Corpus Christi office partnered with Mission 911, a local shelter, to provide seven families with a Christmas tree, stand and boxed ornaments. Corpus Outreach also hosted a Christmas party on Dec. 15 at Hester’s Café. The venue and gifts were sponsored by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. A total of 69 children and 25 families received Christmas gifts from Santa. Families were able to enjoy Christmas cookies and hot chocolate while the children made reindeer antler crafts. Families were able to take pictures with a Christmas backdrop designed by MCH staff. The local police and fire departments were also on site to allow children and families to tour the emergency vehicles. The police department passed out stuffed teddy bears to all in attendance. Staff said they all greatly enjoyed the event and felt very blessed to be allowed to spend this time in celebration with families.

Dallas: The Dallas Outreach office hired a balloon professional that was a hit with the kids. The Journey Men, a group from First United Methodist Church of Richardson, volunteer each year for the office and feed all of the families and kids attending the party. They supplied and served bacon, sausage, eggs, and biscuits and gravy to feed more than 100 guests. One of the volunteers also dressed up like Santa and most clients got their pictures taken with him. Every single child there was provided one gift from Santa. FUMC of Richardson provided their fellowship hall for the party. Three Christmas trees and a booth display were set up for photos. Most of the Christmas gifts this year were again supplied by First United Methodist Church in Coppell.

El Paso: On Dec. 14, El Paso Outreach celebrated its second annual Christmas celebration at Peter Piper Pizza for Gap and Family Solutions families. This year the attendance almost doubled from 50 to 97 attendees. The mascot for the El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team, Chico the dog, made a special appearance to play with the children and take pictures with families and staff. In addition, the staff entertained the children with arts and crafts projects and a game of reindeer ring toss. Thank you to the Chihuahuas baseball team and Chico for making this Christmas celebration memorable for our families.

Houston: The Houston foster care Christmas party was again held at Deer Park United Methodist Church. MCH foster children as well as biological children of the foster parents provided the entertainment, which included singing, reading Bible stories, praise dancing, and a magic trick. Thank you to Deer Park UMC for providing everything needed to make this occasion special for our families.

There were 15 adults and 26 children from the Gap and Family Solutions programs in attendance for the Christmas party on Dec. 16 at St. Luke's Methodist Church. They sang Christmas songs, played games, took pictures with Santa, ate, and decorated Christmas cookies. The families enjoyed themselves and the Christmas party was a success!

Killeen: Killeen welcomed families to their Christmas party on Dec. 16 at First United Methodist Church of Killeen. Volunteers from Trinity Baptist and Harker Heights UMC helped run the event by manning games, registration and restocking food. Chick-fil-A donated a portion of the food for families. Guests enjoyed decorating cookies, playing bingo, making crafts, and playing games.

Las Cruces: The Las Cruces staff hosted several family festivities this year in celebration of the holidays. First, they converted their conference room into a photo studio for families to take pictures and talk about what makes their family special. Las Cruces also partnered with the Fraternal Order of Police for “Shop with a Cop” where 11 families received vouchers for items along with help from a police officer who served as their shopping assistant. More than 70 people gathered for the Las Cruces Outreach office’s Winterfest on Dec. 15. The group enjoyed activities and food specially prepared by staff and members of the Gap Planning Committee. United Healthcare also provided Play-Doh for crafts, information and gifts for guests. Guests could also take home wreaths, ornaments, snowmen, jewelry, and other gifts they made during the festivities. The evening was topped off by a visit from Santa who took pictures with the children.

Lubbock: The Lubbock office had their annual Christmas party for Family Solutions and Gap clients on Dec. 6. The party was hosted again by the ladies at Lakeridge United Methodist Church. They provided the families with breakfast, donated by Chick-fil-A, and stockings stuffed with lots of goodies for each child in attendance. MCH Family Outreach staff provided each family with a basket full of household necessities and games for the children. The children sang Christmas carols and welcomed Santa and Mrs. Claus to the party while singing “Here Comes Santa Claus.” This year there were a total of 20 families with 60 children at the party and all enjoyed a time of fun and fellowship together.

San Antonio: On Dec. 2 the San Antonio office hosted “A Charlie Brown Christmas” party for foster families. Families and staff came together to celebrate the holidays and enjoy fellowship with one another at the University United Methodist Church. Children had several activity stations to choose from and completed several Charlie Brown arts and crafts projects. Children also received a special visit from Santa Claus and were surprised with Christmas presents. The Charlie Brown Christmas Party created a warm, inviting environment that allowed everyone to come together and celebrate the Christmas holiday.

Tyler: The Tyler Outreach office hosted two Christmas parties. On Dec. 8 the Mentoring Alliance/Boys and Girls Club of Tyler donated the use of their building space for the preservation family party. Jon Lasse of the Boys and Girls Club-Tyler donated his time and energy during the event. Guests were treated to pizza and cupcakes, crafts, a bounce house, and presents to take home.

For the foster family Christmas party, MCH Family Outreach in Tyler partnered with Marvin United Methodist Church again this year. Members of the church faithfully volunteer for this event each year and purchase gifts for the children. During the party children were given the opportunity to participate in activities ranging from engaging holiday crafts, to face-painting and a bounce house. Then, just down the hallway from these happenings, kids of all ages were able to visit with Santa Claus and share with him their detailed Christmas wishes. After this, all of the children in attendance opened presents that were provided for them from either Marvin United Methodist members or MCH Family Outreach. Chick-fil-A donated more than 100 sandwiches and nuggets for the lunch. After lunch the group enjoyed a cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.

Waco: Together with staff in Waco Outreach, Baylor intern Phoebe Stanford planned a spectacular party for Family Solutions and Gap families. Central United Methodist Church and Senior Ministries provided about 85 personally selected gifts for the children. Nan Holmes from Central United Methodist Church attended the celebration and helped serve food and engaged with the children. Benefactor Betty Bender donated handmade hats for the children and Central UMC provided handmade blankets. During the party, staff provided a kid-friendly menu of pizza, a veggie tray, tea and cupcakes. Guests played bingo, decorated cookies and had a raffle drawing. Santa also stopped by to visit. Other generous donations included: Central UMC provided a financial offering to support the purchase of food and miscellaneous items; Tea-to-Go provided several gallons of tea, cups and ice; Magnolia Bakery provided 100 cupcakes and assorted cookies; Collin Street Bakery provided us with a generous discount on cookies for decorating; Shorty’s Pizza provided six free pizzas; and Papa Johns provided three free pizzas.

Thank you to all our friends who supported MCH Family Outreach offices this year!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Core Value Award for Responsibility - Nicole Hall

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

Nicole Hall, administrative secretary in the Killeen MCH Family Outreach office, received the 2017 Core Award for Responsibility at the all-staff meeting this fall. The recipient of the Core Award for Responsibility is someone who is accountable for self and others.
According to her nomination, Hall models the Core Value of Responsibility through her commitment to the mission of MCH and through the numerous ways she goes above and beyond her daily responsibilities to see that families are connected to resources and that the local community is familiar with our presence.

Hall has been an anchor for the Killeen Outreach team since July 2016 when she spent her first few months building furniture, decorating the office, organizing materials and collecting local community response information when the office was just opening.

According to her supervisor and director of the Killeen office, Violet Read, Nicole frequently provides the Killeen team information about resources she has identified online or through social media groups. When families call looking for resources beyond MCH services, she researches and follows up with families. Earlier this year, Hall spent several hours corresponding with local shelters to help a family secure a place to stay. That family stopped by the Outreach office to thank Hall for her kindness and willingness to help when no one else would.

“Nicole’s humble demeanor never demands the spotlight,” Read said. “However, the responsibility she assumes in the workplace for both her and the entire team’s success is worthy of recognition. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to work alongside her every day!”

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Old Navy supports Methodist Children’s Home families during the holidays

Kelly Deramee of Old Navy (left) presented four sacks of clothing
to Toccara who is served through MCH Family Outreach in Waco. 
The holiday season can be a particularly stressful time for families who are dealing with challenging circumstances in their lives, whether financial or emotional. Toccara, a mother of five children ranging in age from 5 to 18, was worried about providing for her children during this time of year.

Recently divorced and experiencing financial difficulties, she reached out to MCH Family Outreach in Waco. Waco case manager Maegan Bennight began working with Toccara in early November 2017 to identify her goals and develop strategies to reach those goals.

During a staff meeting, Bennight learned that Old Navy wished to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals as well as clothing for a family served through MCH Family Outreach. Toccara was identified as a prime candidate for this donation.

Kelly Deramee, general manager of the Old Navy store in Waco, learned about MCH from one of her leaders at the company when she joined in 2016. Old Navy also donated baby and toddler clothing for several children of MCH graduates who are currently served through Transition Services.

“Old Navy and Gap, Inc., strive to give back to the communities we live and work in,” Deramee said. “We've partnered with MCH on a few other occasions since I've joined the brand and have discovered that our missions align. Old Navy and Gap, Inc., stores across the country adopt families every year to provide Christmas gifts. We are so glad we reached out to MCH for our family this year.”

When Toccara learned she was chosen for the donation, she was extremely grateful for the opportunity for her family.  She received several shopping bags full of clothing specially picked out for her children on Dec. 21, just in time for Christmas.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “There are other places that will help you (with clothes) but no one asks you what you child is interested in or needs. I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed. I’m at a loss for words.”

Toccara said she is working to make a “fresh start” for her family and is thankful for the support she is receiving through MCH Family Outreach.

“It has been a struggle but I am grateful for this program,” Toccara said. “There’s still more progress to make, but I see that I’m not where I used to be. I’m grateful, I really am. It’s been hard but it won’t be like this forever.”

Bennight will continue working with Toccara and said she has enjoyed getting to know her.

“She has been an absolute pleasure to work with,” Bennight said. “She has some great skills, an unrelenting drive and a contagious optimism that are all working together in her favor. I have no doubt that good things are coming for her and her family.”

Old Navy also donated clothing to some of the young children
of previous MCH graduates served through Transition Services. 


Friday, December 22, 2017

Core Value Award for Growth- Morgan Lyons

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
Service
Hope
Growth


Morgan Lyons, unit manager, received the 2017 Core Award for Growth at the all-staff meeting this fall. The recipient for the Core Award for Growth is someone who provides opportunities for spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual development.

According to her nomination, Lyons has displayed notable growth in her ability to work in the shift work model with young men from challenging circumstances. She has established connections with diverse families, probation officers and CPS caseworkers. She has developed a keen ability to meet families where they are, while also honing her professional skills. Morgan’s growth has recently been evident as she has provided extended coverage of other home units with special needs youth as well as in the basic care model.

Lyons is also sought out for committees because she brings such a valued perspective gained from her time at MCH. Her desire to learn and grow never ceases as she frequently seeks to better understand and support youth in her care and staff under her supervision. She is also working toward her Childcare Administrator’s License – a big commitment of discipline and growth in and of itself.

According to Erica Reyes-Rosas, associate administrator for the Waco campus, “Morgan has a desire to see her peers grow as well and she often takes a mentoring role with new unit managers. She is valued and appreciated for her commitment to growth and her commitment to the agency.”



Thursday, December 21, 2017

MCH Family Outreach in Killeen hosts military culture training

Since July 2017, one in four families served by MCH Family Outreach in Killeen have been families with members who are active duty or veterans with many others having some connection to the military. Fort Hood, one of the largest military bases in the United States, is located in Killeen which translates into a high active-duty and veteran population in the city and surrounding communities.

Violet Read, director of MCH Family Outreach in Killeen, said for these reasons, they felt it was important to form a partnership with the Texas Veterans Commission and offer to host a military culture training in their community. The training was held at First United Methodist Church of Killeen on Dec. 8.

“MCH Family Outreach is one of several civilian entities that work with military families,” Read said. “We wanted to extend this opportunity to other providers who might also benefit from knowledge about military culture and increase their sensitivity toward the unique challenges this population experiences. Additionally, we hope to improve collaboration between military and civilian service providers to better meet families’ needs.”
  
Aubrie Wade, provider coordinator for the Veterans’ Mental Health Program with Texas Veterans Commission, facilitated the training. Read and Wade connected after a State of the Veteran Family Symposium at the University of Texas in June 2017.

Around 50 individuals attended the recent training including psychologists, therapist, medical personnel, mental health professionals from Fort Hood as well as clergy, local veterans and civilian service providers. 

“Military trainings and symposiums are a great platform for individuals to ask questions about frequently used terminology and systems,” Read said. “These professional platforms have been the vessel through which I have learned that service men and women are simply individuals who have endured trauma and whose careers deeply impact their families. These are the families Methodist Children’s Home serves every day. It was great to see military and civilian service providers coming together to discuss how both sides can provide support to military families.”

Shelia Brown of Goodwill Learning Center attended the training to learn more about military families. 

“I work with veterans one-on-one so I want to get as much training as I can to gather information,” Brown said. “I’m also a spouse of a veteran so I can connect in some ways but there are some ways I can’t. Any training helps, even if it is just learning about resources available and being able to connect them with the right resources.”

The training provided information about the composition of the military, historical information about veterans groups, forms of trauma those in the service may endure and resources available to veterans and their families.

“We understand that most men and women serving in the military experience trauma during their service, often in addition to traumas endured prior to beginning their military career,” Read said. “In addition to trauma, military families experience ruptures in family roles and relationships and their communities which creates a unique set of challenges for families. As a provider who desires to provide quality services to these families, we hope to stay abreast of knowledge that will enhance our work in this community.”

MCH Family Outreach in Killeen staff members Sara Elliott, case manager,
and Violet Read, director, welcomed participants to the military culture training.

Aubrie Wade of the Texas Veterans Commission was the presenter for the training.

MCH Family Outreach in Killeen provided information on our services available in the community.

Participants were encouraged to ask questions and share their own knowledge during the training.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Core Value Award for Relationships- Joshua DeLeon

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

Joshua DeLeon, youth care counselor, received the 2017 Core Award for Relationships at the fall all-staff meeting. The recipient of the Core Award for Relationships is someone who builds healthy relationships through communication, respect, trust, and love.

 According to his nomination, DeLeon embodies the Core Value of Relationships by the way he goes above and beyond when it comes to the challenging work of building trusting relationships with our youth. DeLeon has a natural way of creating a relational foundation of love, respect, patience, and trust. He also shows a high level of love and compassion in his work.

Those who work with DeLeon say that he seems to have an innate understanding of the potential for healing and transformation in these relationships. He naturally prioritizes his connections with students and is able to establish things like felt safety and trust where others may not be able to. DeLeon is known as someone who is always willing to do more, even coming in on days off if it means helping out a student in need.

Austin Brown, clinical therapist, said, “It is easy to see the depth of genuine love Josh has for our kids and his commitment to being an agent of change and healing in their lives.”