Dremon and Sam are two of the many valued students of the Day Student program at Methodist Children’s Home. Though their journeys have not always been easy, they have grown and achieved educational success.
Dremon, known as “Dre” to friends and family, found himself struggling in public school as he finished eighth grade. He and his mother, Outrie, believed he needed additional support to succeed in school.
“A big public school setting was not for my son,” Outrie said. “Dre could not focus in that environment, and we were in a horrible spot.”
Dre, now a senior, enrolled in the Day Student program at MCH his freshman year and believes he has grown tremendously since then.
“Ninth grade was a rough year for me going into this program, but it would have been more rough somewhere else,” Dre said. “I started in my worst years and have progressed very much. I am not the same person anymore.”
Outrie said that entering the Day Student program was a hopeful move for her family.
“I am so glad I took a chance on this program for our family,” Outrie said. “Dre received the one-on-one support he needed but never had before. He has transformed.”
In elementary school, Sam, now a sophomore, watched his oldest sisters overcome struggles in public school by attending the Day Student program at MCH. His mother, Tiffany, also recognized their growth and decided it would be in Sam’s best interest to enroll in the program.
“I really didn’t know what to expect coming into this program, but the staff and students of MCH have helped me grow,” Sam said. “I cannot see myself anywhere else and do not want to go anywhere else. I am proud of who I am, and I am thankful for MCH.”
Tiffany believes the MCH environment is the best one for Sam.
“This program has given Sam the additional encouragement and support he needed,” she said. “He came in reserved and shy. Now, he is open at school with his teachers and friends.”
Providing opportunities for children to receive a quality education is an important part of the program of care at MCH. The education MCH provides students has evolved during the organization’s 129-year history. Notably, in 2003 MCH partnered with the University of Texas-University Charter School system to create an on-campus school for its residents. In 2012, MCH launched the Day Student program at the school. This program gives youth in the Waco community, grades 6-12, an alternative for their education and a way to benefit from resources provided by the school.
The Day Student program continues to grow and has served a total of 39 students so far. Fourteen students are currently enrolled with 20 total spots available each year. Since its start, the program has had a 100 percent graduation rate.
Students attend prom and homecoming and they are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities such as theater, choir, basketball, cheer, volleyball, track, six-man football, and drumline. Students can earn letter jackets and receive senior rings.
“The Day Student program is a reflection of this organization’s overall continuum of care,” said Jeff Creel, program administrator for school and transition services. “This is a way for us to meet the needs of children, youth and families in our communities, helping them stay together and accommodating their educational and behavioral needs.”
Creel believes the charter school’s small class size and intentionality to consistently communicate and work with families aids in student and family success.
“We are here to walk alongside families, communicating with them weekly and making progress reviews every six weeks to help identify and address additional needs in their child’s life,” Creel said. “This place can be transformative for youth and families alike.”
Amy Grisham, director of school support at MCH, believes the ability to work with students and their families makes the Day Student program exceptional and distinctive.
“We want to provide more than just educational support,” Grisham said. “We teach the importance of empowerment and connected relationships. MCH offers an opportunity for growth and success to youth who have been unsuccessful in the traditional school setting, along with offering a sense of hope to families by giving increased support in the school as well as the home.”
Clarence DeGrate, coordinator of the Day Student program, said the program makes a positive impact on the Waco community.
“We support and give youth another option for academic success,” DeGrate said. “This program helps decrease the number of dropouts and gives youth and families courage and confidence for their future.”
Sam and Dre are grateful for the encouragement they found at MCH.
“MCH has shown up for me and my family when we needed it,” Sam said. “MCH is the place to call because they will answer.”
“I’ve found role models and support at MCH,” Dre said. “I’ve grown in my attitude, behavior and academics, and I’ve been able to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do somewhere else. I know this program is here for me.”
For more information about enrollment in the Day Student program at MCH, call Amy Grisham, director of school support, at (254) 750-2606.