Monday, November 23, 2015

"The Bulldog Cafe" Fall Showcase

Theatre students
On November 19, Methodist Children’s Home choir and theater groups performed their fall showcase, titled “The Bulldog Café.” The Fellowship Hall was transformed into a “coffee shop” atmosphere where the audience could partake in hot chocolate and various desserts before the performances. 

The choir sang a lineup of music that incorporated four different languages - English, Spanglish, Latin, and Swahili. The students also did arrangements that included rapping and beat boxing. 

“The students have been working incredibly hard all semester,” said Jill Sims, choir teacher. “It is my great honor to work with such a talented and dedicated group of students and I am tremendously proud of each of them!”

The theater class has been working on playwriting. The students were not given a specific topic but asked to write about what mattered to them. “I was blown away with what emerged from the students,” said Kira Rockwell, recreation coordinator. “They created pieces that were comical, dramatic, fantasy, and stories of loss and forgiveness. Their vivid imaginations were absolutely inspiring.”

The fall showcase was an opportunity for students to have their original plays and pieces read out loud for an audience for the very first time.

“In the almost three years I have been teaching theater at MCH, the writing process and the staged readings of the students’ original work has by far been my favorite project,” Rockwell said.

Choir Students:                          Theater Students:
Skyler                                                    Jayden
Apryl                                                     Chris
Ben                                                        Alfred
Joseph                                                  Trent
Josh                                                       Daxie
Desi                                                       Camray
Patrick                                                  DNayjah
Hawa                                                    Jamia

Choir students

Thursday, November 19, 2015

MCH Core Value Award for Hope - Betty Morrow

Methodist Children’s Home 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

Betty Morrow, school coordinator, received the 2015 Core Award for Hope at the all-staff meeting in October. The recipient of the Core Award for Hope is someone who believes in the possibilities of the future.

According to Morrow’s nomination, “Betty is a dedicated and professional employee with a heart of gold. She embraces the Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) model of care and incorporates this model into her daily interactions with the students. She encourages students to reach their potential and work to achieve their goals by discussing their future plans and making them aware of opportunities to be successful. Betty works closely with the public schools, outside programs and Transition Service staff  to ensure our students are getting their individual needs met. She takes pride in maintaining an open flow of communication and making sure staff and students have the information they need to make good decisions about their future.”

“I was both humbled and appreciative of receiving the MCH Core Value for Hope,” said Morrow. “The scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, that says ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future,’ I really try to live by this every day. Really listening to what our students are saying motivates me to encourage them to get a good education plan for their future. I have never had a student laugh at me for reminding them of the childhood story, ‘The Little Engine That Could.’ It is gratifying to later tell a student ‘I knew you could!’”

Amy Grisham, director of school support and Morrow’s supervisor had this to share, “Betty’s intentional and caring nature offers a hope filled environment to all students she serves. She helps them set reasonable and attainable goals. Thank you Betty for giving our students hope for a bright future.”

Thursday, November 12, 2015

MCH Core Value Award for Relationships - Phil and Marie Vaughn

Methodist Children’s Home 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

Phil and Marie Vaughn, home parents, received the 2015 Core Award for Relationships at the all-staff meeting in October. The recipient for the Core Award for Relationships is someone who builds healthy relationships through communication, respect, trust and love.

According to the Vaughn’s nomination: “The Vaughns have been with MCH for six years. During this time they have been home parents at the Sammy Baugh group home in Jayton, Texas. The Vaughns have touched many children’s lives. They have left a lasting impression and sense of hope with these children while that have been in the care of MCH and after they leave. Phil and Marie work hard to build a trusting and loving relationships with the children they work with. At the end of even the longest days, Marie still takes time to visit with the children who need to talk through their day, or Phil will spend extra time with a child saying prayers and reading stories. The Vaughns take pride in the work they do and truly see this as their ministry to children and families.”

“We feel honored to be awarded the Core Award for Relationships,” said Marie. “Working in the small town of Jayton, we have strived to build good relationships with people in the community and schools. It feels really good to be recognized for a value that we have enjoyed working towards.”

Kelly Smith, outreach administrator, had this to share, “Phil and Marie are tenured home parents who bring compassion and acceptance with them to work each and every day. The Vaughns work tirelessly to create felt safety for each child in their care, and they exceed expectations in order to help each child feel at home and loved while they are with us. We are so thankful for the skills and expertise they bring to our foster care program.” 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tyler Foster Families visit We Hope Ranch

Foster families and staff from MCH Family Outreach in Tyler gathered together on Oct. 17 for an afternoon of games, hay rides, food and fellowship during the third annual We Hope Ranch Fall Festival. Around 150 people were in attendance.

“The Tyler families look forward to this event each year because they say that the ranch is a place where kids from ‘hard places’ can have fun and enjoy themselves without being judged or looked at differently,” said Latasha Hickman, Tyler outreach director. 

The event is hosted by Jeff and Connie Pinkerton, loyal supporters of Methodist Children’s Home. After learning that MCH had an office in Tyler, the couple reached out to staff to invite them to their land for the fall festival. Since 2013, the fun gathering has continued each year on the third Saturday in October.

“Their kindness and generosity toward our foster families and the Tyler staff that attend this annual event is overwhelming,” Hickman said. “They provide the location, the food, the games and prizes, and candy for the kids. All we have to do is show-up. We are honored to have them be a part of Methodist Children’s Home.” 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

MCH Core Value Award for Responsibility - Janice Burris

Methodist Children’s Home recognizes staff annually who exemplify our core values. Staff members are nominated by their peers and recognized at an all-staff meeting.

The Core Values of MCH are:
Christian Principles

Janice Burris, youth care counselor, received the 2015 Core Award for Responsibility at the all-staff meeting in October. The recipient of the Core Award for Responsibility is defined as someone who is accountable for self and others.

According to Burris’s nomination, “Mrs. Burris exemplifies the responsibility of caring for young people. She believes in the youth she serves and it is apparent in the standards she sets for them, and she is respected for this. She offers the example of compassion, accountability and excellence. She does not shy away from conflict or uncomfortable situations, but shows through her own behavior how to build lasting and healthy relationships. I enjoy working with Janice, especially on Sunday mornings during worship. Because of her example, the youth are participatory, respectful and attentive. She has a way of bringing out in them leadership and accountability.”

“I was pleasantly surprised to receive the Core Award,” said Burris. “Working for MCH is something I love being a part of. I have the pleasure to be a part of our youth’s lives and their lives touching me.”

Korey Wright, unit manager, and Burris’s supervisor had this to share: “Janice has dedicated over two decades of her time and energy to MCH. She is a shining reflection of what it means to be a youth care worker. She is willing to do whatever she can to serve and care for our youth. Through her years of service she has remained faithful to her belief that MCH had the potential to be a positive influence for youth. She has interacted with a countless number of youth, yet she continues to see each one as unique and special. Her willingness to connect with youth and enter into their life story reflects the joy she has for the work she does at MCH. We appreciate everything she does.”

Monday, November 2, 2015

MCH theatre students get real-world experience

Several boys from the theatre class at Methodist Children’s Home got hands-on experience working on a professional production after visiting the Waco Civic Theatre in October. Chris, Alfred, Ben, Samuel and Josh along with their instructor Kira Rockwell volunteered to help out with preparations for the theatre’s musical The Addams Family.

“I really wanted the students to see and experience firsthand what it’s like to work on a show in the professional theatre world,” Rockwell said. “I wanted them to see a stage, tech equipment, a scenic shop and most importantly, to see all the people and multiple talents it takes to put on a show.”

The Waco Civic Theatre features a full season of shows for the Waco community. Rockwell reached out to the theatre for learning opportunities for her students. The theatre invited volunteers to come out to help prepare its set and props for the show.

“The boys had a blast working with power tools, spray paint and other tech equipment,” Rockwell said. “Their favorite project was getting to work on a large potion cart, a big prop that will be used in the actual show. They were respectful, kind and true theatre professionals that day, and for that I am so very proud.”

The entire theatre class returned to the Waco Civic Theatre as audience members to see the Addams Family Musical on Oct. 29.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lubbock office participates in Annual Pumpkin Trail

MCH Family Outreach in Lubbock took part in fall festivities for the Oct. 15-18 communitywide 7th Annual Pumpkin Trail hosted by the City of Lubbock Parks and Recreation department. This year, the staff chose the theme “It Takes a Village.”

Lubbock Outreach provided the pumpkins and staff, foster parents, and clients carved 45 pumpkins for the display, including Halloween-themed houses and jack-o-lantern faces. This is the fourth year that Lubbock Outreach has participated in the event and the second year to be a sponsor. In addition to the 45 pumpkins, the theme of “It Takes a Village” was carried out with props of hay bales, toy houses, glow-in-the-dark Halloween creatures, and MCH logo signage.

“We decided this would be a great way to bring our families, foster parents and staff together to publicize our agency and proudly show off their pumpkin carving skills with their contributions to the display,” said Dana Bearden, Lubbock Outreach director.

“With the implementation of the Family Solutions program, we also wanted to become sponsors of the event to help link the MCH Family Outreach name to our community through events such as this one,” Bearden added. “It is always so much fun for our families and staff to brainstorm about theme ideas, carve the pumpkins and then be able to see all of our hard work lit up on the trail.”

Last year, the trail boasted over 1,950 carved pumpkins and attendance for the four-night free community event was more than 18,000. This year, the goal for the number of pumpkins was 2,000. In previous years, Lubbock Outreach participated with the themes of “Fire Up for Families,” “Team Up with MCH” and “Be a Super Hero.” The fall celebration is free to the public and hot chocolate and cookies are offered.