Q&A with Ted Randall, Director of MCH Family Outreach in Bryan/College Station
Methodist Children’s Home has opened its third new MCH Family Outreach office this year with its location in Bryan/College Station. Ted Randall was hired as the director in July 2016. Randall has extensive experience in social work with a background that includes case management for a childcare institution and the Texas Youth Commission, leading a program for sex offenders, program administrator for a mental health program, as well as working with juvenile probation.
Since he was hired, Randall has been spreading the word to the community about MCH’s services. He will lead a team of two case managers and one administrative secretary to bring the Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP), Family Solutions program, and parent education to Bryan/College Station.
Q: What made you interested in this job?
A: I liked the idea of coming back to a Christian organization. I like the idea of working for a private organization again that does not have all the government oversight and red tape because a lot of times that can hinder you from being able to implement the amount of change you really feel you could if your hands weren’t so tied. I like the ability we have to get in and really focus on making a difference and allowing the families to become self-sufficient and then moving on to help another family. I appreciate MCH’s focus on using evidenced-based programs and focusing the client’s perceived needs and client buy-in, all of which leaves to positive and sustainable change.
Q: What are your expectations for the Bryan/College Station office?
A: Our initial goal is to get our name out there and get those referral sources going. When you look at a 45-mile radius of Bryan/College Station, it encompasses so many towns and areas. We really hope we can start in Bryan/College Station and slowly expand and grow as an office so that we can assist and help as many families as possible. We also want to make sure everyone understands what we are there for, what our purpose is for being there, and work hard at filling a gap in services currently offered.
Q: What makes Bryan/College Station a unique community?
A: I think it is unique because of Texas A&M University. There’s roughly 50,000 students there and there’s always people coming and going. Turnover is high and it is hard to have consistency. Also Bryan is actually below the poverty line while the income level in College Station is a lot higher, so it has an interesting dynamic. We want to reach the people in the community who are struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck and may not have a good idea of what resources are available to them. Additionally, Bryan/College Station (Brazos County) is listed as the fastest growing area in Texas and there will be constant challenges to keeping up with the community’s growth and changes.
Q: What are some ways you see MCH making an impact in Bryan/College Station?
A: First, we want to fill that niche between some of the current programs offered in the area and Child Protective Services. I think we’re going to fill a void in assisting families and help them understand what options they have in working with their own kids and their own families in order to be successful. We want to meet those struggling family’s needs and show them how to make the goals and decisions on their own to obtain the quality of life and family experiences they really want to have. The key is ensuring we are sensitive to each family’s needs and leaving them in a better place after services with our programs.
Q: What are you most looking forward to/excited about?
A: I think I’m most excited about starting from scratch. I’ve had to go into a lot of places and fix them, but I’ve never had the opportunity to start a new program in a new area, so it’s a new challenge for me. Going into a community that may not know much about us will be a good challenge to let our presence be known and how specifically we are set up to help others. I think it will be exciting to see how much we can grow and see how God utilizes Methodist Children’s Home in that area.
Q: Why do you think our services are important?
A: I think our society is at a place where the need and responsibility of true parenting has been deemphasized. As a result, there’s not as much emphasis on keeping families together. I think that the way that we’re going to be successful as communities, as families and as a nation is to make sure we’re keeping our families together and putting our focus where it matters. These programs are truly grass roots social work and starting with families and communities to enact a ripple effect of positive change.
MCH Family Outreach in Waco partners with Advocacy Center
Before heading back to school, children of MCH Family Outreach families learned about bullying and healthy boundaries thanks to a partnership with The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco. On July 22 and 28, representatives of the Advocacy Center, Sarah Hopping and Aleigh Ascherl, led an educational and interactive presentation at the Waco office.
“As an outreach office collaborations are important to us and we work diligently to create strategic partnerships that benefit the families we serve,” said Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “We previously had the Advocacy Center come to one of our Grandparents As Parents Program support groups to provide psychoeducation to our grandparents. In return, the Advocacy Center asked if we would be interested in a group specifically geared towards our children.”
Sara Beth Stoltzfus, case manager for MCH Family Outreach in Waco, said many of her families had expressed a lot of interest in the topics of boundaries and bullying. During the presentations, the children participated in activities using props such as balloons, hula hoops and colors to learn about safe touch, empathy, using your voice, encouraging diversity and showing respect and teamwork.
“We heard so many of the children sharing reflective comments about bullying or being bullied and how they should treat their friends and peers,” Stoltzfus said. “Our presenters did a great job at creating an environment for all children to participate. Even our shy ones were able to be silly and speak up confidently!”
Open House: Our MCH Family Outreach offices in Killeen and Las Cruces welcomed visitors for an open house in September. Killeen celebrated their open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 7 (shown above) while the Las Cruces event occurred on Sept. 28. Both offices are excited to be up and running and offering services to families in their communities.