Q & A with Mary Bilheimer, Waco campus home unit manager

Photo of Mary, Methodist Children's HomeMary Bilheimer is a legend at the Methodist Children’s Home. She has been employed with MCH for 38 years and is described as dedicated, caring, and compassionate. Mary began her journey of service at the Home in 1972. She has served under four presidents of MCH and worked in home units before they had central air and heat.

We sat down to visit with Mary, relishing the chance to listen to her experiences over the past three decades. Here is a little of what she had to share.

Q: What are some significant changes you have seen since being at MCH?

A: I have been around long enough to see the Boys Ranch established, the fellowship hall built, and the guidance center built, which is now the University of Texas Charter school on the Waco campus. Another change that took place was going from strictly a homeparent model of care to include the shift-work model. This has enabled MCH to serve more youth who have needed our services.

Another significant change is transportation. At one time staff had to use our own vehicles to transport youth. Now each home unit has its own vans and buses. This has allowed youth to be more involved in community activities.

I believe that MCH has always strived to be the best childcare agency in the country, and we are willing to explore the current trends. This is reflected in our mission and philosophy of care over the years.

Q: What has kept you at MCH?

A: It is interesting. I am able to stay involved in a mission I believe in and it keeps me moving and shaking. The relationships I have built over the years with other MCH staff and the youth are another reason. I still stay in contact with a young man who is now 40 years old. I also send birthday cards to former youth.

I have dealt with a variety of challenges during my career, but seeing the results in the lives of these youth that go through the program keeps me going. To see a child’s life changed or saved makes the hard work worth it.

Charlsie Whitney, a Waco campus administrator and Mary’s supervisor, nominated Mary for a CORE award in 2008 for Residential Supervisor of the Year. Mary won the award for her awesome work with youth. Charlsie shared a little more with us about who Mary is as a person and an employee.

When a staff member needs to know what to do in a situation, they ask Mary. She has a wealth of knowledge. Mary’s tenure inspires those who work alongside her. She frequently goes the extra mile in caring for our youth. She hosts birthday celebrations for her youth, which include full decorations and their favorite cake. She volunteers to be Santa’s Helper each Christmas, helping wrap gifts and deliver them. She helps with the Spirit club which promotes all the spirit activities for our athletics. She has been in charge of the driver’s education program, and she sponsors a student-led Christmas card company.

Thank you for your dedication and hard work Mary! You have made an immeasurable difference in the lives of countless youth.

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