Central Texas Bahá’ís to celebrate the births of two Founders of their faith

On October 29th and 30th of this year, in countless settings and places throughout the world, people will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Báb, whose revitalizing message prepared the way for the coming of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

Shrine of the Báb –part of the Bahá’í World Centre– in Haifa, Israel

The Báb’s message was simple but  challenging and provocative to the Islamic clerics, politicians and Persian aristocracy.  Because of this, he was martyred in 1850, at the age of 30.  It’s a dramatic story, and one which was recounted around the world.

Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad was born in 1819 in Shiraz, Persia, and later took the title “the Báb,” which is the Persian term for “the Gate,” as he was the herald who prepared the way for Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith, much as John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming of Jesus.  The Bab, however, was able to continue his writing and preaching, and survived long enough to found his own religion, which as the precursor to the Bahá’í Faith, later founded by Bahá’u’lláh. 

Bahá’u’lláh, which translates as “The Glory of God,” was  born in 1817 as Mirza Husayn-‘Ali in Núr, Persia.  He announced in 1863 that he is God’s messenger for this age.  Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings and sacred writings are the basis of the Bahá’í Faith, an inclusive monotheistic faith that has grown to more than five million believers in nearly every country and territory across the globe.  Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed that God, our loving creator, sends divine messengers or Manifestations of God.  Since God has never abandoned mankind, there have been many such Manifestations –some of them possibly lost to history– but each have brought human civilization to ever higher levels of spiritual and material advancement.  Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the latest in this long line of known Divine Messengers, which has included Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Zoroaster, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and the Báb.

The Bahá’í Faith is the fastest growing religion on earth, with more than five million adherents on every continent.  Bahá’ís can also be found in every state and thousands of communities throughout the United States.  Bahá’ís have been active in Waco since the 1950s, when a group of Dallas Bahá’ís travelled to Waco in order to expand the Faith in central Texas.  The Waco Bahá’í Center at 2500 Bosque Blvd. offers devotional programs, children’s classes, and study circles for spiritual education for people of all backgrounds. For information, check www.wacobahaicenter.org  or call (254) 300-4949.  To learn more about the Bahá’í Faith in America, visit www.bahai.us.

NOTE:  To better understand the Bahá’i Faith in America, check the Religion Newswriters Association’s “Source Guide on the Bahá’í Faith” at http://www.religionlink.com/source-guides/the-bahai-faith-a-source-guide-for-reporters/.

NOTE:  Báb is pronounced “BAHB.”  Bahá’u’lláh is pronounced “Bah–HA-oh-LAH.”

Michael Jones is a native of west central New Mexico.  In 1993, Michael arrived in Waco, Texas to begin a second career as writer and producer of student recruitment and college marketing videos, as well as developing curricula for  interactive and multimedia education programs for Texas State Technical College Waco.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Mentor Waco Coalition Offering Training for Current and Prospective Community Mentors

Press release

Mentor Waco Coalition, a Prosper Waco working group, has worked diligently to pair the young minds of Waco with community leaders who want to see them succeed. The coalition promotes awareness for current mentoring opportunities in Waco and brings leaders together to educate future mentors.

On October 26, 2019 at 9:00 to 11:30 a.m., the Mentor Waco Coalition will continue to advance that goal with a morning of training for any current or potential mentors in the Waco community who would like to learn more about the difficulties Waco students face and how to help them overcome those struggles. The training will be held at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, and there is no cost to attend. Pastries and coffee will be provided.

Brittany Fitz, director of Research and Evaluation at Prosper Waco, has attended multiple training sessions and said she believes in the value of these opportunities. “What’s really great about the Mentor Coalition meetings in general is it brings together people that are doing similar work to really make sure that they are common in the best practices,” Fitz said. “So, the upcoming training they have is to address the need that they saw across all organizations.”

With this upcoming mentor training opportunity, Waco leaders from different organizations will discuss their own efforts and the nuances and lessons from their experiences. Training participants will get to hear from professionals who understand the ins and outs of helping the Waco community and ask questions to further their own understanding of the topics offered. Session one choices include: “Behavior/Redirection” led by GL Wiley Elementary Principal Craig Cox, GL Wiley Middle School Assistant Principal Melody Herring, and founder and executive director of the organization Size of a Man Darryl Thomas; or “Bullying/Self Esteem” led by STARRY Team Supervisor Leah Gorham. Session two choices include: “Social Media Tips/Awareness” led by Dr. Soo Battle, a pediatrician and founder of Camp Careful, and Chelsa Ressetar, the director of advancement at Vanguard and a speaker on digital citizenship; or “Human/Sex Trafficking” led by a representative from Unbound.

“I think one of the biggest draws for these presentations is the fact that we not only have great experts in each of the discussion areas, but we are intentionally keeping a large portion of each session dedicated to Q&A,” said the Mentor Waco Coalition Chair, Travis Cheatham. “Any attendee has the ability to connect with and ask direct questions of the presenters. I think all four of these sessions are areas that anyone, including the heads of mentoring organizations, could gain additional insight and experience from.”

This working group embodies Prosper Waco’s core value of collective impact, and with this training, more connections can be made to create a stronger Waco. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mentor-waco-training-conference-tickets-70686642651. Columbus Avenue Baptist Church is located at 1300 Columbus Avenue, Waco, TX 76701. For further information, please contact Travis Cheatham at travis.cheatham@wacoisd.org.

How is the Waco Employer Resource Network (WERN) different from an EAP?

 By  Kay Schulz  

When I approach Human Resource Managers that are not familiar with our Employer Resource Network, their typical response is that they already have an EAP provider and are not considering any others.  My usual answer is that we don’t replace the EAP provider, we enhance it.  Well, what does that mean?

 I did some fairly in-depth research on EAP’s and what I learned was that they are all very different!  Different in who they serve, what they do and how they do it.  There are Managerial, Organizational, Administrative, Individual and Combination EAP’s.  Many EAP’s are part of large health insurance companies, some are independent and some are owned and operated by the employer as an “Internal EAP.”  Employees often don’t utilize the company EAP because they don’t know just exactly who they are talking with regarding their most private issues, since the interaction is typically by phone or computer.

So how does our Waco Employer Resource Network (WERN) service compare to most EAP’s?  The WERN program is not focused on wellness, mental, or behavioral health, but rather on “life circumstances.”  The WERN Success Coach is not a psychologist or licensed social worker.  WERN does not have a website with generic advice on common problems, nor do we offer a toll-free help line with 24-hour access!

 What WERN does offer is navigation to local social services, public assistance and private agencies delivered by one-on-one, face-to-face, confidential meetings with employees. The Success Coach has the connections and service partners in place to assist workers in finding solutions for the barriers that can interfere with employment.  This includes the basic needs of life: feeding and housing a family, paying utilities, transportation, work clothing and other provisions.  Satisfying the basic needs will serve as a foundation for workers so they can concentrate on their jobs and possibly achieve upward growth. 

Katy Schulz is the WERN Liaison.  She connects employers with Success Coach services that support their workers to succeed at work and in life.  In her spare time she volunteers with TOSA to grow the number of registered organ and tissue donors in the area and to spread the word that the Gift of Life is a true miracle for us all!

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.