In June, The Cove – Heart of Texas, Inc., will move its operations to the first floor of the MCH Family Outreach Center at 524 W. Waco Drive.
Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) acquired the building and moved its Waco MCH Family Outreach team to the second floor of the facility in January 2019 while considering options for the more than 5,000-square-foot first level.
With a common focus to equip and empower youth, sharing a building with The Cove, “whose commitment aligns so closely with that of MCH was a natural decision,” said Trey Oakley, MCH president/CEO. “This collaboration of two strong and focused organizations will strengthen both of our nonprofits and the Waco community at large.”
For The Cove, a teen-nurturing center in its fourth year of operation, leasing this space means growing in a variety of ways. With nearly double the square footage of The Cove’s current facility on Washington Avenue, the new location will give the organization the capacity to serve more youth experiencing homelessness, prepare meals in a commercial kitchen, and further develop community partnerships, according to The Cove’s executive director Kelly Atkinson.
“This beautiful facility is a dream come true for us – not only because it offers the extra room needed to grow, but also because of the growing collaboration it represents,” Atkinson said. “We are thrilled to share space with such a leader in our community’s work to serve vulnerable youth. Methodist Children’s Home has been an anchor in our community for 130 years, and without their generosity and leadership, this new chapter for The Cove would not be possible.”
Collaborating with The Cove fulfills a strategic goal for MCH.
“When we opened the MCH Family Outreach Center in Waco in 2019, a goal in our previous strategic plan was to build a facility to support and broaden our programs and open new opportunities for collaboration,” Oakley said. “This space has allowed MCH Family Outreach to increase its impact on families through trainings, meetings, community events and other gatherings in a unique and transformative way.
“At the same time, the additional space available on the first floor of the building allowed us to dream and look for strategic opportunities for how MCH could better serve the Waco community and surrounding areas,” he said.
MCH and The Cove have worked together in the past when former Cove students were able to participate in MCH’s independent living program.
The Cove opened in October 2016 with a focus on Waco Independent School District high school students who were identified as lacking Fixed, Adequate and Regular housing. The Cove prepares young people for self-sustainability guided by four principles: Care, Opportunity, Value, and Empowerment. Students can visit The Cove to gain access to basic needs, case management, mentors, and academic support. Faced with the reality that only 1 in 4 Texas youth without a stable place to call home will graduate from high school, The Cove places a key focus on scholastic support for students. Such support requires space for technology – something that has been a challenge for The Cove in its previous setup.
“The potential for an extensive technology hub is one of the things I’m most excited about for Cove Scholars in this new location,” Atkinson said. “Students will have access to the equipment they need to catch up on classes, complete homework, receive tutoring, and fill out college and job applications. Now more than ever, we must create alternative learning environments for high-school-aged youth who need to become career-ready and self-sufficient.”
Her hope is that The Cove’s new home will provide just such an environment.
ABOUT THE COVE – HEART OF TEXAS, INC.:
Founded in 2016, The Cove – Heart of Texas, Inc. aims to increase self-sustainability among high school-aged youth who lack Fixed, Adequate, and Regular (FAR) housing. Through early identification, homelessness prevention, and nurturing social supports, The Cove serves as a low-barrier entry point to care where young people can access the resources they need to thrive in the areas of housing, employment, physical wellness, education, and relationships.
ABOUT METHODIST CHILDREN’S HOME:
Established in 1890 in Waco, Texas, Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) is a nationally accredited nonprofit childcare ministry serving more than 5,000 individuals annually through residential programs for children ages 11-18 on the Waco campus and MCH Boys Ranch, transition living programs for alumni ages 18-26, and foster care and in-home services through 13 MCH Family Outreach offices in Texas and New Mexico. MCH programs are evidence-based, trauma-informed and mission-focused. MCH offers opportunities to develop healthy relationships, grow spiritually and experience educational success up to and after graduation with a generous tuition assistance program for MCH alumni.