Methodist Children’s Home strives for excellence, which includes finding new and better ways to meet the needs of children, youth and families. Recently, MCH announced the implementation of new life skills that will be utilized agency-wide. Life skills are positive abilities and behaviors that allow people to effectively deal with relationships and the demands and challenges of everyday life.
The new MCH Life Skills are: Be Safe; Be Respectful; Be Responsible; Be Helpful; and Be Trustworthy.
“These life skills are supported by our mission statement and core values so they can be part of a ‘shared language’ at MCH for all staff regardless of where someone serves or their job title,” said Trey Oakley, president and CEO of MCH. “I like that our coworkers, supporters and community partners can see that the life skills we emphasize with our children, youth and families are also the standards we seek in all our relationships at MCH.”
The efforts to update the life skills were led by the TBRI Fidelity Committee, a group of staff members from the residential and Family Outreach programs. The committee evaluates, supports and provides resources to MCH staff to ensure the effective use of a trauma-informed practice called Trust-based Relational Intervention (TBRI). TBRI was implemented through a partnership in 2010 with Texas Christian University’s Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. The new life skills will replace the “MCH Rules” and former life skills that were developed following the implementation of TBRI.
“As a part of our Continuous Quality Improvement process, it is important that we periodically gather feedback and evaluate all initiatives to ensure their fidelity and effectiveness within our programs,” said Rebekah Powell, program specialist and member of the TBRI Fidelity Committee. “We decided to reevaluate the life skills and rules to ensure they were being used properly and that they were still effective with our youth, given the changes and growth in services we have experienced over the last several years.”
Powell said the committee determined through focus groups with staff and youth that the life skills are an important part of MCH, but needed to be simplified. The new life skills were discussed with leadership from MCH and TCU and launched agency-wide on Aug. 19.
As part of the launch, MCH is hosting several friendly competitions in-house to generate excitement and support for the new life skills. Residential youth created illustrations depicting the life skills as part of a poster competition. Lauren, a sophomore at the MCH charter school, submitted the winning illustration, which will be displayed in all MCH locations. Lauren collaborated with Sarah Wright, graphic designer on the MCH public relations team, to digitize her artwork and prepare it for printing.
Residents of campus homes were also challenged to work as a team to create home videos that represent the life skills. Several prizes will be given out for different categories such as most creative and funniest video. The winners will be announced during a pep rally on Sept. 27.
Staff are also getting involved, competing in groups or individually to create team-building activities or nurture group ideas that support the life skills. Winners will be announced at the Oct. 9 staff meeting and prizes will be awarded. Staff in all areas of MCH are also encouraged to nominate colleagues they see demonstrating the life skills in their role. Selected nominees will receive gift cards.
“We recognize it is our role as staff to set an example as we help our children and families learn to use the life skills,” Powell said. “In order to set that example, we wanted to make a cultural shift within our agency to use a common language across the entire organization. We hope this will be a way to increase cohesion and teamwork across all departments, so we can serve our children and families to the best of our ability.”