Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018

by Ashley Bean Thornton

One of my favorite things to do in the world is edit the Act Locally Waco blog.

December is a wonderful, but hectic, month for most of us so I thought it might be nice to give my beautiful bloggers a month to focus on family, friends and the joys of the holidays rather than on meeting our blog deadlines.  So, for the month of December we will have one or two new posts, but mainly we will be reprising “2018’s greatest hits.”

I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers.

I hope this list inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… but of course they couldn’t all be in the list of the 10 most opened. I would love for you to reply in the comments or on the Facebook page with a note about some of your favorites.

We will be reposting these in the next few weeks between now and the new year — but I know some of you are “list” people who would like to see them all at once.  So, I offer the list below, with thanks to everyone who has written for the blog this year, with pride in what we have created together, and with no small amount of wonder at the beautiful complexity that makes up our beloved community!  Enjoy!

Think of it as a Christmas present from your community to you, and invitation for you to write in 2019! – ABT

  1. I admit it…I did not want to go to the March for our Lives  by Ashley Bean Thornton (676)
  2. Downtown Dwellers: Waco Cha Launch  by Jaja Chen (561)
  3. What is “Co-working space?” and Why does Waco need it?  By Caroline Thornton (415)
  4. Ascension Medical Mission at Home, brought to you by Providence by Paige Reinke (394)
  5. “What Were You Wearing, Waco?” by Berkeley Anderson and Geneece Goertzen (348)
  6. Human Trafficking: 5 Things You Need to Know  by Kim Millington (323)
  7. What’s a Community Health Worker? By Christy Perkins (323)
  8. Jacob deCordova: Founding Father of Waco by Monica Shannon (312)
  9. Faith in Action Initiatives provides medical supplies & equipment for non-profits By Matthew Hoffman (311)
  10. Want to have a great time in Waco? There’s an app for that! By Karen Rios (287)

2018 Greatest Hits # 8: Jacob deCordova – Founding Father of Waco

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT) 

By Monica Shannon

National Hispanic Heritage Month starts September 15 and continues through October 15 and we have several events in Waco to help celebrate the month long recognition of Hispanic and Latino heritage and culture. Friday night, September 14, the Centex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Fine Artists group are hosting a Hispanic Heritage Art show and Celebration.  The event will include performances by El Folklorico las Estrellas de Waco and Mariachi Azteca de Waco among others, and one particularly special guest… Vann deCordova.

If you are familiar with Waco history, you will recognize the name “deCordova.” Vann deCordova is the third great grandson of Jacob de Cordova.  Jacob deCordova was one of the founding fathers of Waco.  He was a man of warmth and he had strong friendships with other founding fathers of the city – men whose names you may also recognize such as Neil McLennan, Jr., George B. Erath, and Captain Shapley P. Ross.

Here is a little of his story.

Jacob deCordova was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, near Kingston.  His parents were British Jews of Spanish descent. He moved to the United States in his late twenties and, among several other endeavors, he became a successful land agent.  Through scrip and direct purchase, deCordova acquired large amounts of land to sell to settlers.  At his peak, he owned and/or controlled over 1,000,000 acres of Texas land. To attract settlers to Texas, he made speeches about Texas in London, England, New York, Philadelphia and other U.S. cities.  His lectures were published on both sides of the Atlantic and were widely read.

In the mid 1840’s, deCordova was engaged to divide and sell the land on the banks of the Brazos that would eventually become Waco.  He hired his friend George Erath to work with him on the project. George B. Erath was a surveyor by trade and did occasional work for deCordova.  They had a mutual respect for each other.  Erath was deCordova’s most respected surveyor, and George often referred to Jacob as “The Big Man.” Upon seeing the land they had been hired to sell, they agreed that it would make a great location for the city.  DeCordova procured the title to the land himself, thend he, Erath, and two other men set about staking out the town on March 1, 1849. Town lots of 1 acre sold for $5 and nearby farmland brought $2-$3 an acre.

When McLennan County was established in 1850, deCordova successfully lobbied for Waco to become the county seat.  He sweetened his case by donating roads and tracts for public use.  He also recruited prominent Texans to move to the town.  One of his most successful recruits was Captain Shapley P. Ross of the Texas Rangers.  DeCordova lured Shapley from Austin with the promise of business concessions (Ross was given a monopoly on running the only ferry across the Brazos) and several free tracts of land.   Jacob deCordova was quoted saying, “Waco was the most beautiful location for a city in all of Texas.”  “Most of all,” he said of the future community, “she will be my daughter, and a beautiful daughter she will be.”

In the 1840s, deCordova resided in Houston and helped create the Houston Chamber of Commerce.  He also served as an alderman on the early Houston City Council. In 1847, deCordova was elected a state representative from Harris County to the Second Texas Legislature.

In 1849, deCordova and Robert Creuzbaur compiled and published one of the first definitive maps of Texas, a map Sam Houston praised on the floor of the US Senate. Today, the map is registered in the US Library of Congress and is highly praised by scholars and sought by collectors. In 1856, de Cordova published the “Texas Immigrant and Traveler’s Guide Book” to provide complete information for potential settlers.  He printed and distributed more than 50,000 copies. Some scholars have credited deCordova with being responsible for bringing more settlers to Texas than Stephen F. Austin.  Yet, sadly he gains almost no attention in contemporary Texas history school books.

We are looking forward to hearing a bit more of Jacob deCordova’s story from Vann deCordova Friday night.  Hope to see you there!


Monica Shannon’s leadership in arts has been instrumental in the developing and emerging presence for the visual arts in Central Texas. Monica has worked with over 100 artists and continues to work in the newly designated Cultural Arts District in downtown Waco. Monica loves travel, but mostly in helping people achieve their goals.

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.

 

2018 Greatest Hits #2: Downtown Dwellers – Waco Cha Launch

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

By Jaja Chen

I often hear people ask (and personally wonder) why downtown Waco does not have its own organic grocery store.

In 2016, I attended a Baylor Continuing Ed course called “Waco 101.”  In that course I learned that these stores invest in locations with higher density of downtown populations than we have right now. Ashley Bean Thornton, one of our instructors who hosted the course, challenged us near the end of class to fully invest in downtown, including through our finances. To care for and support downtown means to choose to spend time, energy, and money downtown.

We left that course with a challenge to see how we could move from just wishing Waco would develop into the place we would like to live in into making the changes we hoped to see.

Since the course, my husband and I have officially moved downtown. Five years ago, we would have never considered living downtown. But here we are – all in – as we move to the next step in caring for our downtown by seeking to launch our business – Waco Cha. Waco Cha has been on our hearts and is an overflow of our desire to build community and hospitality in our city. We are excited to start our tea stand later this month at the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market! Be on the lookout for the newest kids on the block!

 “Cha” is the Chinese word for “tea.” At Waco Cha that you will find authentic Taiwanese-inspired tea drinks such as classic bubble milk tea made from local milk, passion fruit green tea, amongst other fruit tea flavors. Dairy free options will also be available. Eventually we hope to start selling dumplings, Chinese-inspired rice bowls, and other side dishes.

What started out as a few ideas to better our community has grown into an upcoming business launch.

I leave you with the same challenge Ashley left us at the end of Waco 101 – What are ways YOU can spend more time, energy, or money towards advancing the causes of downtown Waco?

Is it through having date nights downtown on a First Friday? Or supporting our local farmers and vendors at the farmer’s market? Or perhaps even moving downtown like we did? And to my fellow entrepreneurs – perhaps taking that step in seeing what comes next in order to launch your creative ideas?

How do we – collectively – make Waco into the city we desire it to be? Join us in being downtown dwellers.


Jaja Chen is a social worker/private practice therapist by day at Enrichment Training & Counseling Solutions. Her hobbies include making kombucha, practicing yoga, and helping to market Waco Cha. Chef Devin Li is an engineering teacher by day and a self-taught chef, entrepreneur, and the creative mind behind Waco Cha. More about Waco Cha can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WacoCha1/ and Waco Cha’s Instagram page here https://www.instagram.com/waco_cha/

2018 Greatest Hits #10: Want to have a great time in Waco? There’s an app for that!

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT) 

By Karen Rios

I became a Wacoan in January. Before that I literally only knew the Fazoli’s off of 35. I excitedly used my phone to explore my new home. However, I quickly got frustrated at all the articles and blogs that popped up on my search. Most revolved around Magnolia Market, and I knew that Waco had more than just the Market.

I really want people to know about an app that helped me learn about my new town. It’s called Waco & The Heart of Texas, and it’s free for Apple and Android. The Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau put together it together mostly for tourists, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

Savor

I love food! So, the first area I explored was the “savor” category. The app lists 141 food options. Through this, I discovered World Cup Cafe & Fair Trade Market, a locally owned business where you can eat with a purpose. I love their club sandwich. It’s a double decker with ham, turkey, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and your choice of condiments. Did I mention it comes with fries?

Next, the app’s food list led me to Butter My Biscuit. If you see day old biscuits still available, just go ahead and buy them. They sell out fast! The two main biscuits to choose from are Buttermilk and Texas, which has jalapeño and cheddar cheese. They also offer the biscuit “of the day”, which was Rosemary when I went. Every day is something different. You can’t go wrong with these biscuits!

Finally, I enjoyed Moroso’s options for Neapolitan wood-fired pizza and other Italian dishes. A good margarita pizza is hard to come by, but Moroso’s hits the mark. The crust is crunchy and light. They put the right amount of sauce and cheese, and the basil tastes like they just picked it from the garden. It’s a good size pizza, most people share, but I think it’s a perfect personal size. I normally go during lunch to take advantage of their margarita pizza special. My mouth is watering just thinking about all this food.

Waco offers a variety of food options with Wacoan pride. As a local you may already know of the restaurants listed, but it’s always good to have something to reference in case you forget or need to share with friends or family from out of town. The app provides all the information you need. The hard part– deciding where to eat.

Other categories to explore

Perhaps you want something other than food. The app offers 15 different categories to help you show off Waco.

In the “See” category I discovered Cameron Park Zoo. My niece and I watched the lioness chase her cub around trying to bathe her. It looked like the scene from “Lion King” when Simba was trying to get out of his “bath time.”

One of their unique exhibits includes The Brazos River Country.  The exhibit shows you the journey of the early Spanish explorers who searched for gold along the Brazos. Throughout the exhibit you see different species that they could have encountered along the River. My niece enjoyed it because the river runs through Waco and we even walked around to see if she spotted anything.

Another of my go to categories is “Events.” You can see what events happen around Waco. For instance, on May 4th I saw First Friday Waco. That is an event on the first Friday of every month, where business in downtown offer discounts, live music and extended hours. I even learned the Dr. Pepper Museum has free admission on First Friday.

There are at least 300 listings, you just pick a category and go through the options. The app provides a brief description of the place, their website, other media outlet platforms, a contact number, and the address. If you come across an event you like you can add that event to your Google Calendar or iCal. The app is easy to navigate.  They did all the work for us, so all we Wacoans have to do is plan out the day.

Specials

I love being able to save money anytime I can, but I absolutely hate having to give my email address in exchange for coupons! I liked that Waco & The Heart of Texas didn’t make me input my email address to get their Specials. On their app they provide at least 54 different coupons that Wacoans can use. (Side note:  If you prefer paper coupons, you can find them at the Visitors Center at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum, or at the Convention Center.

When my niece and I went to Cameron Park Zoo we used the coupon at least twice. The coupon gives you a free child admission with a purchase of an adult admission. I saved $7 dollars. You can keep using the coupons until December 31, 2018. Sure, it’s meant for tourists, but Wacoans can save money too.

Why should tourists have all the fun?

Wacoans can all benefit from this media platform. It provides a lot of options that you may know but not necessarily remember. You can plan a family outing and even save money. You can go on new bike trails. You can discover Waco history. You can provide more options to your friends and family. You can explore Waco in a different way. You can take advantage of the bus routes. You can try going to a winery. With over 300 listings, you are bound to find at least one new activity. Waco & The Heart of Texas might have been created for tourists, but Wacoans will know how to use it better!  (Free for Apple OR Android )


Karen Rios is a new Wacoan. She is currently attending MCC studying Digital Media. Although she is new to Waco, she is not new to the “small town” living. She loves exploring new towns and cities. She’s a sucker for hole-in-the-wall eateries. “Every day I discover something new about Waco, I realize how much beauty is here,” she says. “I like to brag about the scenery to all my city friends and family. I’m loving every minute of being a Wacoan.”

2018 Greatest Hits #5: “What Were You Wearing, Waco?”

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

by Berkeley Anderson and Geneece Goertzen

When someone gets mugged, we don’t say, “That suit you were wearing was a bad idea. It just screams ‘I’ve got money, rob me.’ We don’t ask victims, ‘What did you expect to happen when you had a wallet full of money? You were just asking to be robbed.’”  

So why do Sexual Assault victims face a barrage of questions that imply they are to blame for their own attack?  “Were you drinking? Why did you go out alone? Why did you let your attacker into your room?”

And, of course, “Well, what were you wearing?”

The impact of these questions is difficult to quantify, but it shows up in survivors blaming themselves for their own assault. It shows up in rapists getting away with what should be easily prosecuted cases. It shows up in negative mental health outcomes for victims.   It shows up in victims fearing to report the assault to police.

When assessing sexual violence, the only question that matters is consent. But rape culture–the normalization of sexual violence– causes some people to assert that clothing matters, shifting the focus off the obvious reason for the assault: that the attacker was a rapist.

April is recognized as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month which raises awareness about sexual violence, educates communities and individuals on how to prevent it, supports and empowers survivors, and strengthens the culture of consent.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, consent is an enthusiastic, ongoing, clearly communicated affirmative agreement to engage in various sexual or non-sexual activities. Past consent does not equal current consent. The absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes.” A person who is impaired cannot give consent. A child cannot consent. When sex is consensual, it means that the involved parties have granted permission. Non-consensual sex is rape.

Sexual Assault affects people across all demographics. Although rape and sexual assault are often thought of as being committed by strangers in a dark alley, that is seldom the case. Most victims of sexual assault know their attacker. This is especially true for children.  Neither is rape limited to young adult females.  Women, men, and children of both genders experience rape and sexual assault.  It happens in heterosexual relationships, and it happens among the LGBTQ community.  It happens to the young and the old. It happens to the rich and poor. It happens within all religions and ethnic origins. It happens to singles, and it even happens within marriage. Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

A powerful art exhibit, “What were you wearing Waco” on display through April, aims to debunk the myth that clothing caused the assault, by featuring representations of what victims were wearing at the time of their attack. The exhibit seeks to open doors in an attempt to combat victim-blaming, promote awareness, and destroy stereotypes about rape and sexual assault.

“What Were  You Wearing, Waco? kicks off with an opening night event in conjunction with First Friday Waco at The Warehouse, 727 Austin Avenue. It will then move to different locations in Waco.

  • Opening Night, April 6th at 6pm
  • Austin’s on the Ave, April 5-14th, 3pm to 12am
  • Outside Baylor Sub, April 16-26th, from 8am to 5pm
  • At local churches & organizations throughout the month of April
  • Closing Night, April 27 at 5pm at Jesus Said Love

There is also a traveling portion of the exhibit. If you would like a piece of the exhibit to advertise “What Were You Wearing” at your church, school, or business, please email Caroline_Grace@Baylor.edu.

The original “What Were You Wearing” project was created in 2013 by Jen Brockman, director of KU’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, and Dr. Mary A. Wyandt-Heibert, who oversees the University of Arkansas’ rape education center. Born out of an advocacy ideal, the installation asks participants to understand that it is never about the clothing, and ending sexual violence is not as easy as changing our clothes.


List of Resources:

If you or someone you know has been Sexually Assaulted, you can call the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children at (254) 752-9330.   Their crisis hotline is available 24/7 at (888) 867-7233.

If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence, you can call the Family Abuse Center at (254) 772-8999. Or you can contact the 24-hour hotline at (800) 283-8401.

Baylor’s Title IX department:  254-710-8454 or visit, https://www.baylor.edu/titleIX/


Geneece Goertzen is on the Board of Directors for the Family Abuse Center, and has a passion for victim advocacy. She has worked as costume designer for many of the recent shows at Waco Civic Theatre, as well as having created many historical costumes over the last decade.

Berkeley Anderson has a Master’s degree in public service and degrees in physics and history.  She loves slam poetry, hot sauce, and any dog she meets. She is the Teen Dating Violence Project Manager at the Family Abuse Center.

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.

2018 Greatest Hits #1: I admit it…I did not want to go to the March for our Lives

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

By Ashley Bean Thornton

I went to the “March for our Lives” rally Saturday, but I did not really want to go.

I do not like political rallies and protest marches.

Sure, I can appreciate a clever sign and an inspiring speech as much as anyone, but once the initial emotional high has worn off, I feel bad.

I want to believe people can work together to understand each other’s points of view and to find a way forward together when it comes to difficult issues.  Once the PA system and the signs come out, however, I feel like we aren’t trying to understand each other and work together any more…we are trying to make sure our side wins.

I have a democrat sticker on my car and I have heard people say that means I hate guns.  I don’t hate guns. I would characterize my feeling toward guns as neutral.

I don’t personally own a gun. They are not interesting to me, so I spend my money on other things.   Also, I am pretty much blind in one eye…the one you need for shooting it turns out.  So, there’s that.

But, I don’t hate guns. Many of my friends have guns for all kinds of different reasons… hunting, protection, fun.  I don’t have any problem with that.  I don’t have any problem with you carrying your gun in your purse or your pocket or your holster or your pick-up truck.  If you are not using your guns to shoot innocent people, and you are keeping your guns away from little kids, then I don’t have any problem with your guns.

I do not hate guns.  Most of the time I don’t even care about or think about guns.

One reason I have the luxury of not caring about guns is that most of the people who do own guns are very responsible with their guns.  Most gun owners are responsible. I get that.

I also get that responsible people don’t like having their rights and privileges abridged because of the behavior of irresponsible people.  I don’t want my car taken away because someone else drinks and drives.   I don’t want my cell phone taken away because someone else texts and drives.  You don’t want your guns taken away or your gun ownership made inconvenient because some other guy was irresponsible.  I get that.

Also, I believe that some (maybe most) gun owners “get” some of things that are important to me.   For example, I am fine with a whole lot of people having guns, but there are some exceptions.  I am not fine with unsupervised teenagers having guns that can kill people. I am not fine with certain kinds of criminals having guns.  I am not fine with mentally unstable people having guns.

I bet most gun lovers can understand why I believe some people ought not to have guns.   I believe we could have a fruitful conversation about where to draw those lines and how to enforce them. I believe we could make some headway that would keep us all safer.

When it comes to “assault guns” or “AR-15’s” or whatever the right word is for guns that fire many, many bullets incredibly quickly…I don’t like them, but I can understand why some people might not want to have them banned completely.  I bet most gun lovers can understand why I think the standards and rules for owning such a dangerous weapon should be very, very strict.  I bet if we got in a room together with the goal of coming up with rules we could both live with on this matter, we could come up with something that would move us down the road.

There have always been and always will be trade-offs between freedom and safety. We can’t protect ourselves or our children from every harmful person, but we can work together to get better at it than we are doing now. I believe that’s what we should do.   Or more to the point, I believe that is what our elected representatives should be doing in our names.

I don’t really like rallies and marches because I feel like, if we are not careful, they become opportunities for vilifying each other, reinforcing our worst opinions about each other and making it harder than ever to work together.

So why did I go to the “March for our Lives?”  Honestly, I succumbed to peer pressure.  My friends were going, so I did.  And, despite my misgivings, I’m glad I did.

The young people who spoke were magnificent! Smart and poised and well-reasoned, they gave me hope for the future of our country.

Also, bluntly, the way I wish we would work together doesn’t seem to be working.

As I stood in the sun listening to the speeches, I thought about how long we have been trying to figure out how to protect our children and ourselves, and it seemed to me we have made no progress.

As I looked around at the crowd of hundreds in Waco (and the pictures that showed crowds of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands in other cities) I thought, “I guess this is what it takes to make progress. It takes bodies getting out into the street. It takes showing the sheer physical mass of people who care about an issue. This is what it takes to get an issue on the table.”   I understand this is what it takes, and I am so very grateful to those hardworking souls who are making it happen, but I still wonder why … why can’t we just talk? I wish we could.


This Act Locally Waco blog post is by Ashley Bean Thornton, she has lived in Waco almost 20 years now. Far longer than she ever lived anywhere else. She likes to walk. If you see her out walking, honk and wave and say “hi!”

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.

 

2018 Greatest Hits #7: What’s a Community Health Worker?

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

By Christy Perkins

The Community Health Worker Initiative is an innovative program designed to bridge the gap between the community and available resources. The program methodically targets 4 zip codes in Waco that could benefit from these resources: 76704, 76705,76706, and 76707. As Community Health Workers (CHW) we are trained to respond to cultural diversity with understanding and acceptance to help clients overcome barriers to using the available health resources.  Our role is to connect clients to resources and help them navigate the healthcare system. By doing so, we help individuals reach a state of self-sufficiency to create a healthy and thriving community. We aim to build trusting relationships with our clients, to increase basic and critical health education that will develop confidence in those facing adversity, and to decrease unnecessary emergency (E.R) visits.

In 2016, I began purposefully researching and embedding myself into organizations and projects that are geared toward advocacy and health. I became passionate about client advocacy after personal life experiences left me in the dark about such services. When my oldest son fell ill as an infant, I didn’t know that patient advocates were available to help me manage this uncertain and scary time in my life. No one stepped in to advocate on our behalf by making me aware of available services that could support my son. That is when I became prayerful and intentional in regard to advocacy and awareness. I grew interested in holistic methods of health during that time and now find myself on the path to become more educated in this area.  I saw this opportunity with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District as a foot in the door to professionally connect to, advocate for, and educate individuals who have been left in the dark like I once was. I aspire to be a voice for those who feel their voice has been silenced.

In preparing to become a CHW, my coworkers and I underwent 160-hours of training over the course of 4 months to become certified by the Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS). The training covered 8 core competencies: communication, interpersonal, service coordination, capacity building, advocacy, teaching, organizational, and knowledge base skills. During training, we began attending coalition meetings, community meetings that were open to the public, toured facilities of community organizations, and had several guest speakers who assist the community explain their services. Additionally, I’m an active participant in Leadership Plenty, Round 7, which builds skills in community leadership, managing conflict, diversity, and taking action. The CHW training together with the leadership training are important tools when working with clients and partners.

Now that my fellow CHW’s and I have completed our training, we are preparing our first project!  We will be hosting launch parties in the 4 zip codes that are the focus of this program. This will be an opportunity for the community to become familiar with the CHW’s assigned to their neighborhoods as well as enjoy the festivities that we and our community partners will have available to the families. Check out our new Facebook page —  McLennan County Community Health Worker Initiative — for updates on these events!

I am truly looking forward to helping my CHW team in piloting this program. I feel the beauty of this program is that we are able to meet our clients where they are in their current life situation and create an action plan that is attainable within our capacity. My hope is to assist them with self-reliance when developing goals they desire to achieve and that will be beneficial to their well-being. In turn, creating a partnership with those clients to assure them I am dedicated to their personal successes. I will strive to access integrative resources on their behalf while preparing them to confidently do so independently. My personal goal is to specialize in nutrition and help guide others in holistic lifestyle choices to improve their quality of life.

I look forward to continuing to build relationships with community partners to tackle the problems of our community by collecting information at the grassroots level that will support and develop this program. We will be working closely with the healthcare system in Waco to assure that this program is effectively aiding the community.

I’m looking forward to working with my fellow CHW’s in beginning walking groups within the communities we are serving.  This is an example of the kinds of efforts that will help us connect with fellow residents and encourage healthy lifestyle routines. This is an exciting time for us as we embark on a mission that will shape a program that has been conjured up through discussion, data development, and planning for years. What an honor it is to be entrusted as the charter group to thrust this project into a flourishing program!


Christy Perkins is a certified Community Health Worker for zip code 76707. She currently serving on the Garden Committee at Brook Avenue Elementary. She is looking forward to becoming a graduate of the prestigious leadership training with the Leadership Plenty Institute in March of 2018 and serving on the YMCA, Young Junior Professionals Board. When she isn’t involved in community work, she is a Mother of 3 handsome boys. They keep her life busy and entertaining. She has a passion for writing, reading, and fellowship. She is originally from Amarillo, Tx but has grown to love Waco, Tx and is looking forward to building a future here. You can reach her at cperkins.chw@gmail.com or on Facebook at McLennan County Community Health Worker.

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.

 

2018 Greatest Hits #3: What is “Co-working space?” and Why does Waco need it?

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

By Caroline Thornton

After graduating from Baylor in 2016, I decided to make Waco my home.  I sensed an entrepreneurial movement growing in Waco. I began to see many of my friends –  young professionals – were choosing to stay in town. They were staying not just for grad school, but because they saw what this town offered and they saw opportunities to give to the city through their personal and professional lives. This excited every fiber within me! I had always seen what Waco has to offer when you dive head first into involvement in the city.

I decided to join the movement by starting my own business. I started a company called “Second Me.” We offered services to help people do their “to do” lists. I hired college students to work for me and began managing lots of schedules! As it grew I saw the potential it had to become something big. The bigger it got the more I was confident I did not want to be the one to drive it to become a national business. After two years of my company, I felt at peace to find the next thing in my career.

When I decided to put my business to rest, little did I know I would get to be an integral part of making co-working space in Waco a reality.

A little over a year ago I heard a podcast from the founders of a national co-working space company called, WeWork. I immediately felt this concept could be a part of taking the entrepreneur movement in Waco to the next level.

Since graduating I had noticed groups of creative, entrepreneurial people who were enthusiastic about all things Waco. I started immersing myself in several of them. I also noticed that these groups of people didn’t really have a place to call “home” for work. Many are freelancers, have start-up businesses, or work remotely. Being a business owner myself, I noticed how we were all working all over town at different places, but no place existed that allowed us to truly root ourselves and our work.

After making my decision to leave Second Me,  I took on a babysitting job and discovered that  the dad of the kids I was watching and his business partners were developers in the city. I began talking about our need for a co-working space. I shared articles, podcasts, books, and statistics of what co-working is and why we need it.  They agreed.  We needed that kind of space in Waco. Coincidentally they, Duelge Holdings, had just purchased their second building downtown on Columbus and 6th street (the first being Mary Avenue Market).  They asked me if I would help develop the idea and educate the community on the concept of “co-working,” and then help run the space once it was open.

I eagerly said, “YES!” And, with that, started the most fun part, so far, of my professional journey.

What exactly is “co-working?”

By 2020, 40% of the workforce will be freelancers, independent contractors, and solopreneurs. Collaboration and sharing are growing all around us, partly due to the possibilities created by new technologies and partly due to changes in the current work and corporate structures. Companies are getting smaller, but at the same time more productive and competitive. People are making their work places more collaborative within their companies, and are also breaking the borders by joining other companies.  All this is an effort not only to reduce expenses, but to create a more dynamic, creative, and happy workplaces. This is the heart of co-working – to share expenses, but also to be a part of a community that networks and collaborates so everyone benefits from it.

Is this a trend? Will it pass? I don’t think so.  Co-working responds to a deep need. The structures of work in our society are changing and with them the needs of workers, namely freelancers and entrepreneurs. Co-working responds to these fundamental changes and will keep growing in cities around the globe – and here in Waco.

Our team has been dreaming together about how to make our space, WACOWORK,  the best possible space for helping the entrepreneurial spirit take root in Waco. To us at WACOWORK, it’s creating a collaborative work environment for startups, freelancers, small companies, and remote employees to share resources and ideas as one working community. Our vision for WACOWORK is to see connections, relationships, and opportunities form through our space. We aim for the community within WACOWORK to be dynamic and innovative, exemplifying the power that happens when professionals with all different kinds of businesses work alongside one another. The aesthetics of the WACOWORK space reflects the connectivity, creativity, and productivity we hope to stimulate — its a bit quirky to help make every day at the office a memorable one.

WACOWORK is going to be a place for taking big risks and doing things that are a little off-kilter. We aim to house members that are bold, innovative, and welcoming.  Waco is a city ripe with opportunity, and I cannot wait to unearth all of the exciting things to come through Waco’s first coworking space, WACOWORK.

If this sounds like something you think would work well for your entrepreneurial venture, feel free to contact me at 254.304.9368.  Hit me up, let’s get coffee, I want to meet you!


After graduation from Baylor in 2012, Caroline Thornton decided to stay in Waco.  Seeing the opportunity for some creative endeavors, she first opened “Second Me” a company that aimed to do peoples’ to do lists – from running errands to tasks around the house.  Here next venture it to help manage the “WacoWork” coworking space at 600 Columbus Avenue Suite 106. She encourages everyone she meets to take a chance – be a creator in Waco, not just a consumer!

 

2018 Greatest Hits #4: Ascension Medical Mission at Home, brought to you by Providence

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

Answering a call to provide compassionate care to those in need

by Paige Reinke

When I think about what led me to a career in healthcare, I can’t help but think of the time I spent in a pharmacy growing up. My mom worked in a pharmacy, and I always enjoyed science and health classes in school, so becoming a pharmacist seemed like a natural fit. It wasn’t long before I realized that my desire to help others made becoming a pharmacist more than just a career path, it was a calling.

Our Mission calls us to serve all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable, to provide care that sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities and to be advocates for a compassionate and just society—and that is what Ascension Medical Mission at Home is all about.

Multiple barriers prevent many in our community from getting the care they need, especially dental and vision services.  Ascension Medical Mission at Home offers free health, social and support services to those who might not otherwise have access. It’s also more than just a day of free healthcare. This event helps establish patients with follow-up care and connects them to various resources available in our community.

For our first Ascension Medical Mission at Home in 2016, I served on the steering committee.  I knew it would be a lot of work, but that it would be worth it. I also knew this special day of care would make a difference in the lives of many, but the impact extended far beyond what I had imagined.

A well-orchestrated team of over 600 associates and community partners worked in harmony to bring this day of free care to our community.  We provided medical, dental and vision services to nearly 1,000 people.

I was humbled by the stories of gratitude that quickly began flowing in: a woman who had been struggling with pain from an infected tooth for three years, got it pulled; a dad who had been saving for months to buy his son glasses got them for free; women who received mammograms for the first time; many who got prescriptions they needed to improve health, enhancing their quality of life.

When asked to serve on the steering committee again for this year’s event, I jumped at the chance.  No doubt, this experience will forever be imprinted on my heart, as my life was enriched just as much as it enriched the lives of those we served. I feel so fortunate to be a part of something so big and look forward to serving our community again on January 27. (Here’s a link to the flyer in English and Spanish.)

The Waco Convention Center will be turned into a medical arena, outfitted with medical bays, a pharmacy, and areas for spiritual care, and vision and dental services. Patients will be served on a first come, first served basis. Registration will go from 8:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. The following services will be provided for free, no insurance necessary: 

  • Medical care for the entire family
  • Dental for adults only
  • Vision for the entire family – Child prescriptions will be filled on-site while adult prescriptions will be mailed or delivered to a pre-designated location.
  • Spiritual Care – Prayer partners will roam the facility to pray with the patients but will also have a more private area for more serious discussions
  • Foot washing – In the spirit of representing Jesus, we will provide a foot washing, toe nail trimming and foot massage to all who wish to participate.
  • Diabetes screenings for adults only
  • Breast Health Exams
  • Lab Services – Full lab services provided
  • Pharmacy – Prescriptions filled at the event
  • Shoes and Socks – during triage, patients will be assessed for the need for new shoes
  • Flu Vaccines – adults only
  • Food – volunteers will be passing out water, fruit or granola bars to patients.  Caritas will also be on-hand to distribute food and provide resources for the future.
  • Community Services – Community resources will be on-hand to assist patients with personal or family needs.

Other Ascension sites across the nation have held medical mission events in their communities. This is the fifth Ascension Medical Mission at Home event in Texas. Ascension’s Seton Healthcare Family in Austin has hosted three. To see the impact of our first Ascension Medical Mission at Home event in Waco, watch this video. For more information go here.


Paige Reinke, Pharm.D., is the Clinical Coordinator in the pharmacy department at Providence. Providence is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. Her main responsibilities are managing the pharmacy clinical programs at the hospital and antibiotic stewardship. She earned a doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the University of Texas. She met her husband, David, in pharmacy school and he is also a pharmacist at Providence.  They have two children who attend school in China Spring.

2018 Greatest Hits # 6: Human Trafficking – 5 Things You Need to Know

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT)

(This post was first published on January 3, 2018 in the Waco Mom’s Blog, which is a terrific Waco resource. — ALW )

by Kim Millington

I want to offer a huge thanks to Natalie and her team at UnBound, Waco – the organizational headquarters. She provided excellent resources and provided insight as I wrote my personal human trafficking story.

Writing this post has been much harder than I imagined. I have shared my personal story countless times and never hesitated but this time it is different. This time I am sharing it in light of what it actually entails – human trafficking…

<Click here to read the rest of this post on the Waco Mom’s Blog…>

 


Kim “Millie” Millington is a wife, mom and entrepreneur. She is a certified life coach and operates Coach Millie’s Family Life Coaching in Waco, Texas. Her husband, James, is an instructor at TSTC. Her son is heading to the Air Force and her daughter is a senior at Rapoport Academy. She moved to Waco in 2008 to attend Truett Seminary at Baylor. She is also a graduate of Dallas Baptist University. Kim is a contributing writer for Waco Mom’s Blog and loves spending her time helping families get organized and holistically healthy.