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 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 training, including psychologists, therapist, medical personnel, mental health professionals from Fort Hood as well as clergy, local veterans and civilian service providers. 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.
Old Navy Supports MCH Families During the Holidays
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. Toccara was selected to receive a donation from Old Navy for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals as well as clothing for her family.
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 your 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.
Ag Showmanship Contest 2017
Methodist Children’s Home students involved in agricultural sciences presented their livestock in front of staff and peers during the Ag Showmanship Contest on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The annual contest provides the middle and high school students at the MCH charter school an opportunity to utilize the skills they have learned this semester. Many also present during local junior livestock shows throughout the school year.
The contest took place in the horse pavilion at the MCH Boys Ranch. Ag teacher Steve Kruse began organizing the annual contest four years ago.
“I started the contest to give the students another opportunity to show and allow the home parents, staff and students not in Ag to see what it is all about,” Kruse said. “I want the kids to learn more about how to exhibit their project to its fullest potential because everyone knows practice makes perfect.”
Buckles were awarded to four MCH students for their work with an animal project:
Galen – steer; Jaelyne – lamb; Jackson – goat; and Noah – swine.
Ronald Morgan was the guest judge for the contest. Morgan is a retired ag teacher and owner of Morgan Livestock. He taught ag for 28 years and has been exhibiting livestock for more than 40 years. The ring steward was Keeli Twaney, a former Robinson FFA student who has experience showing every species of livestock. Twaney’s mother, Buffy Nehring, a supporter of the MCH FFA program, also assisted with the event.
Methodist Children’s Home Demonstrates Commitment to Excellence through Reaccreditation Process
Methodist Children’s Home aims to serve children, youth and families at the highest level. Because of this dedication MCH has been diligently reviewing, analyzing and improving all areas of the organization in preparation for reaccreditation in 2018.
MCH seeks reaccreditation through the Council on Accreditation, a respected international organization that accredits more than 2,000 private and public organizations worldwide. MCH was initially accredited by COA in 1986 and has successfully been reaccredited every four years since.
Accreditation is a detailed review and analysis of service delivery practices that are measured against national standards of best practices. More than 850 standards from all areas of operations are evaluated, including governance, ethics, policies and procedures, financial practices, fundraising, childcare programs and services, risk management, and human resources. The last cycle took place in 2014 when MCH received notice of reaccreditation in record time.
“MCH has a long-standing history of leadership in the field of child and family services and has always had the goal of exceeding expectations and standards rather than merely meeting them,” said Tim Brown, president/CEO of MCH.
Brown said external reviews by outside entities such as Charity Navigator, Guidestar and the Council on Accreditation speaks to the efforts of MCH for transparency and vigilant pursuit of excellence.
“The fact that our organization voluntarily submits to these reviews on an ongoing basis also provides a constant challenge to grow and improve,” he said. “We owe it to our children and families who place their trust in us to truly help them through the difficulties and hard places in life. We do this by alleviating suffering and equipping and empowering them with information and support so they and their future families can truly experience hope and enjoy a fruitful and productive life that God has intended for them.”
MCH began the reaccreditation process in May 2017 when staff members formed workgroups to go through the standards, collect evidence and analyze the ministry’s ability to meet those standards. Staff identified areas to strengthen and then updated or developed policies and procedures and guidelines in those areas. MCH submitted its self-study in January which will be followed by an onsite visit in March by a peer review team.
During the three-day onsite visit, the peer review team will interview employees as well as some youth and families served at MCH to gather additional evidence. They will then compile their findings and have up to 45 days for official feedback on the accreditation score.
Bryan Mize, vice president for quality improvement, coordinated reaccreditation processes for this cycle in 2018.
“The fact that we have been successfully accredited since 1986 is a testimony to our employees, foster families, board members and others who contributed to the high quality of services provided to children and families,” Mize said.
“We appreciate the work of our employees who go through this process as part of the self-study,” he added. “The evidence we are collecting demonstrates the outstanding work employees and foster families do on a daily basis. It is very evident that everyone is working together to serve children and families to the best of our ability and this in turn allows us to have success in accreditation.”