Core Value: Hope

This story was first published in the Winter 2011 issue of the Sunshine magazine.

 Core Value: Hope

At age 16, Malcolm had been living without parents for two years in a house without electricity or gas. He and his three sisters put forth their best effort to keep the utilities on by paying bills with the money they received from Social Security after their father’s death. They tried to maintain some sense of normalcy by continuing to attend school and doing chores around their house as best they could.

LaSonia King, a unit manager at the MCH Boys Ranch, first met Malcolm and his sisters through Waco ISD. King tried to stay by his side whenever he needed a helping hand.

“My church, St. John’s Missionary Baptist, took meals over to their house,” King said. “Malcolm and his sisters were making their best effort to survive and stay in the house their father had purchased for them.”

Against all their efforts, Malcolm and his sisters were suspended from school, due to not having a legal guardian, and their house was claimed by the city. They were left homeless.

“Everything was a challenge,” Malcolm said. “I missed 10th grade because I was just trying to survive.”

After being removed from school, a friend of Malcolm’s sister told her about Methodist Children’s Home. Malcolm and his younger sister interviewed with the admissions staff.

“I didn’t want to come to the Home,” Malcolm said, “but my sister convinced me that it was the best place for us.”

Malcolm and his sister came to MCH in 2009. Though he was no longer on the streets, Malcolm faced a whole new set of challenges.

“They had rules I had to follow, and I was used to doing what I wanted to do,” he said. “But I knew it was better for me to be at MCH than anywhere else, so I conformed to my new life.”

Malcolm was not without help through the tough times. He gives credit to King and his home unit’s youth care counselor, Bridgette Johnson, for always being there when he needed them.

During his 15-month-stay on the Waco campus, Malcolm managed to catch up on all the coursework he missed during his sophomore year of high school, and he graduated a semester earlier than planned. He attended the University of Texas University Charter School on the MCH campus.

With things looking up for Malcolm, the question was not if he was planning to attend college, but where he would attend. Kenneth Alexander, a transition services coordinator assigned to Malcolm during his senior year, helped Malcolm search for the right college.

“Malcolm is self-motivated,” Alexander said. “He has been on-board with the college process since the beginning. I would follow up with him, only to find out he was one step ahead of me.”

Alexander stayed close to Malcolm throughout the process, helping him along the way.

“I’m proud of Malcolm,” Alexander said. “He knows what he wants – a better life for him and his family – and he’s on the path to getting it.”

Malcolm started his first semester of college in January. He attends Hill College and has chosen a theology major.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the Home,” Malcolm said. “I would probably still be on the streets, having never graduated from high school.”

See other Features