Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) has entered into a collaborative partnership with One Heart Project (OHP) to provide holistic, evidence-based mentoring for youth in the MCH residential and aftercare programs in Waco.
The One Heart Project, a national organization headquartered in Southlake, Texas, is a division of Heart of a Champion, a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 1997. The organization has a history of producing positive change in youth in schools, afterschool settings, juvenile facilities, and children’s homes through mentoring, life and gap-skill training, social and emotional intelligence, and job training. The nonprofit has impacted nearly 700,000 youth in 26 states, leading the organization to be recognized by the White House and invited to testify before the United States Congress on multiple occasions.
MCH president and CEO Trey Oakley said One Heart Project “does an outstanding job working with and mentoring young people who are getting ready to take that next step in life moving toward independence. They have a well-established method of drawing mentors from the business community, professional sports and others and are committed to coming alongside the programs we already have in place to strengthen and enhance how we work.”
As part of the collaboration, One Heart Project has hired facilitators whose jobs are to solely focus on building the mentor program at Methodist Children’s Home, explained Traci Wagner, MCH vice president for programs.
“This partnership will only enhance our organizational structure and culture at MCH, but more importantly this is yet another way to support and wrap around not only the young people but their families, as well,” Wagner said. “One Heart Project will help us expand the support system and network for young people when they leave our program after they graduate.”
Oakley noted the partnership with One Heart Project “aligns so well with initiatives outlined in our strategic plan to find like-minded organizations with which we can work and benefit from. Additionally, we have an action step in our strategic plan that addresses our mentoring program. One Heart Project is a wonderful response to those needs.”
After becoming acquainted with the team from One Heart Project and learning their vision, plans began for the two organizations to collaborate, Wagner said.
“Since that first day, God just opened the path wide for this to fall into place,” Wagner said. “For the past year we have had intentional meetings as a leadership team, collaborative meetings with the team from OHP and most recently intentional, detailed work about how we would introduce this program to our youth and staff.”
Sonya Martinez, director of operations for One Heart Project, said the programs are ultimately successful because they are collaborative in nature.
“Our work is collaborative and doesn’t happen without the contributions of other partners like Methodist Children’s Home,” she said. “It is our intention to support and mentor the young people at MCH but also that the caregivers – those who are active in service to others – will feel cared for, supported and encouraged.”
Wagner said One Heart Project “doesn’t replace anything we are already doing at MCH in the way we are investing in the lives of young people and their families, but rather it adds to and contributes to our mission and is a clear path to what we know gives young people the best opportunity for success at the next level of life.”
“I don’t think we can surround our young people with too many caring, loving adults,” Oakley said. “Certainly our young people have those relationships with the caring staff at MCH, but this partnership with One Heart Project and the caliber of their expertise and connections helps us expand that commitment.”
To get involved or become a mentor with One Heart Project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.