TV anchor Liepman adjusts to challenges of COVID & keeps a tradition alive

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Callen Vaught 

Lindsay Liepman, a morning news anchor/reporter at 25 News KXXV, has been a journalist for 18 years and worked all over the United States. In 2018, however, she returned to work in her hometown area of Waco. 

Lindsay Liepman of KXXV-TV

Liepman has four kids — three boys and one girl from age 4 to 8. Working and being a mom is a challenge, but Liepman has come up with an efficient way to do both.

“After work, since it is the morning shift, I go home, I take a nap, then I pick my kids up from school. After school is just crazy, but we still find fun things to do,” she said. 

Liepman said she has become even busier because of COVID-19 and how it affects her job at the news station. 

“I never worked from home, I was always the person in the studio,” she said. “So for me it has been maybe even a little bit more work because there are some things that you have to do in the studio that you really can’t do remotely. And so the workload is a little bit more.”

Although the coronavirus has affected Liepman and her work, she said she has been able to adjust well. 

“Really the content of the news cast is what has changed. Before you would never do a Zoom interview unless you absolutely had to, but now we are really relying on being able to do Zoom interviews and phone interviews and things we would have normally traveled to do,” she said. “The content has changed and the look of news has changed. But we are definitely adapting, which has been interesting to be a part of.”

No matter how busy work gets or the coronavirus affects life, Liepman said she still makes time for her family. 

“Friday nights are always our pizza nights. We eat pizza and usually watch movies,” she said. 

Liepman said she has a lot of good memories here in Waco, both from when she was a kid and since she has returned. 

“When I was a kid, I was raised by a single mom, and she would take us to a place called Mazzio’s Pizza in Waco every Friday night, and it was so special to me. You see my family has continued the tradition of eating pizza every Friday night,” she said. “My favorite thing since returning to the area is getting to be able to share the different stories of Waco through my job.”

Liepman said another great way to get involved in Waco is to listen to some of the podcasts produced in Waco. 

“Listening to podcasts is the number one way to be able to connect with what’s going on in Waco,” she said. 

She said she would suggest Rogue Media to people because they produce a lot of Waco’s podcasts. 

“I’m a big proponent of listening to podcasts,” Liepman said. “Waco has a number of amazing podcasts, ones that tell you where to go in Waco or tell you about Waco history. No matter what you are looking for in Waco, you can find it by listening to one of those podcasts.” 

Callen Vaught is a Baylor University sophomore journalism/public relations major from Boerne. 

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Snipes tells stories of Waco health professional heroes

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Campbell Wilford

Megan Snipes, marketing and public relations consultant at Baylor Scott & White Health, serves the Waco community through her dedication to bringing to light the stories of Waco’s health professionals. Especially now during the coronavirus pandemic, Snipes’ job holds great importance as she broadcasts the idea that an appreciation for our healthcare workers is so needed. 

Megan Snipes

Snipes grew up in San Antonio and credits her hard work and character to her father, who served as a pastor. Snipes talks in depth about how it was her Christ-centered family that shaped the woman that she has become today. As one of six children, she says she learned that anything you want in life you have to work hard for. 

 “My dad would wake us up at 6 a.m. every morning for prayer, which I was not happy about as a child, as a teenager, who needs a lot of sleep. But now looking back I totally understand why, and I’m so grateful that I had that influence in my life,” Snipes said. 

Snipes said she did not have a direct career path as she worked as a TV news producer and reporter at KWTX, the CBS affiliate in Waco, and then worked as executive producer of a lifestyle show in Austin. She encourages taking every opportunity whether or not it seems to align with an individual’s goals or not. 

“Everything that happens in life I think leads you to where you’re supposed to be. Random things give you little drops of knowledge that are going to help you, that you may not even know are eventually going to help you, but they help you in the long run,” Snipes said. 

It was when Snipes’ father passed away from Leukemia in January 2016, that she discovered her passion for the role of nurses and healthcare providers. Seeing the care and the compassion that the nurses and doctors had for her dad and for her family was “life changing,” she said.

Snipes says she jumped at the opportunity to return to Waco and work for Baylor Scott & White Health. In this position, she says she loves that she still gets to work with area TV news stations while helping other people to understand the length that the healthcare workers go to in order to take care of us.

 “I want people to understand that it is not hyperbole to call our healthcare workers heroes. What they do every day is amazing, and it’s really special. I think it takes a really special kind of person to be in healthcare, so I have the utmost respect for all of them. There is no price tag on what they do,” Snipes said.

Snipes tells the stories of both the healthcare workers and the patients. She says she hopes that telling patients’ stories will help other people who are either going through the same thing or could potentially prevent the same thing from happening to them. Snipes says the team at Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest calls what they do “sacred work.”

“Work hard at whatever you do and treat people with respect and kindness no matter who they are because you never know who is going to end up being your boss. You reap what you sow, so you continually want to be sowing kindness and continually be sowing positivity so that that is what you can reap,” Snipes said. 

Campbell Wilford is a sophomore marketing major with a public relations minor at Baylor University. She is from New Braunfels. 

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Overshown sees Waco through the eyes of Baylor athletics

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Audrey Patterson

The green and gold glow from the top of Pat Neff Hall. The twinkling lights shine from the Magnolia Silos. The red lights illuminate the historic ALICO building. A spotlight is shining on Waco, and its new and old attractions draw tourists and students to Central Texas.

Jovan Overshown

“[Waco] is so eclectic,” Jovan Overshown, Baylor University’s senior associate athletics director for external affairs, said. “People think of Waco as having this small, home-town feel, but it’s so much more than that. You can have that kind of close-knit experience, but you also have the energy, all the development, the building, the art scene and the boom of a big city happening here.”

Overshown joined Baylor Athletics in May 2017. She manages all aspects of the department’s external operations dealing with marketing communications, resource development, BaylorVision, creative services, and fan engagement.

“There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle,” Overshown said. “But they are all elements that have something to do with telling the story of Baylor athletics and our phenomenal 500-plus student-athletes. … We get to promote the amazing things we are doing here, this incredible university, whether that be in written form or by visually showcasing something really impactful.”

Overshown’s work with Baylor helps her interact with the Waco community. With her job, she engages the community and fan base through different projects.

“Baylor Athletics has participated in Bears for Books to help with literacy issues within the community,” Overshown said. “Our football team specifically has done a great job of engaging schools, whether it’s reading to kids or just engaging with them.”

Waco has the beauty of being in Central Texas. Overshown expressed how great it is to be surrounded by family and friends, never too far out of reach.

When asked about her hobbies, Overshown joked that she couldn’t count work as her hobby. Instead, she spoke of her love for her family.

“I’m the type to invite everyone to the backyard,” Overshown said. “Let’s cookout, let’s grill and hang out. I’m very much one of those people that is invigorated by community, but I also love to zone out and go for a run.”

Overshown considered the question of where she’d go if she had a bad day and wanted to be cheered up. Her response: to head into nature.

“Cameron Park was one of the first places my husband and I visited when we first moved here,” Overshown said. “We would run the trails all the time. … It’s great scenery, and it makes you feel like you’re not in Texas.”

Overshown advises to “not prejudge Waco. Get involved in your church or in your school community groups or whatever it is because there’s so much you can do, and there’s still so much growth that can happen here. Be intentional, get on that email list, get on those discussion board forums, and just really tap in.”

Audrey Patterson is a sophomore journalism and environmental studies double major at Baylor University. She is from California. 

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Kelsey Baas encourages Wacoans to get involved in all that Waco offers

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Marquis Cooley

“I really love most the heart of Waco, … the supportive nature of small businesses that I’ve seen and really just how family friendly it is,” said physical therapist Kelsey Baas. 

Kelsey Baas

Baas is a mother and small business owner. Her love for Waco started after a college visit to Baylor University.

“Both my parents went to Baylor. And growing up, I said I’d never go to Baylor because I wanted to be different than them. And they were very smart and knew what they were doing. They scheduled my visit for Baylor during Homecoming weekend, and I fell in love with it,” Baas said.

After graduating from Baylor and receiving her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Baas worked as a clinical specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital. After a few years, Baas and her husband decided to return to Waco, where she opened Compleo, a physical therapy and wellness clinic. 

Baas said an aspect that separates Waco from other cities, especially the big cities, is how it’s run by a lot of small businesses. She said to really appreciate Waco, people should get outside and get moving to see what the city has to offer. 

 “I would argue that there’s a lot more to do than you think, even if it’s not what you’re used to in the big cities,” Baas said. “Maybe we don’t have as many restaurants or as many shops, but I would argue that a lot of our businesses here are even more special because they are almost all family owned and supported.” 

There are people who believe there is nothing to do in Waco, but Baas said she thinks it’s because they aren’t aware of what’s available. She gave some ideas as to how people can get involved and enjoy Waco.

“A lot of people just don’t even realize what’s here. I think so many people haven’t been to all the different parks, … enjoying the outdoors and enjoying the parks and then really supporting the businesses downtown,” Baas said. 

The area Baas said she believes needs more support and attention from people in Waco is downtown.

“I think a lot of people we know don’t go downtown because they just think of it as a place for tourists. And really there are so many from Cultivate 7Twelve to Waco Cha doing a lot of really cool stuff, to boutiques,” Baas said. “There’s just a lot of different things going on in downtown that I wish more of our local Wacoans would get out and support and enjoy.”

When comparing Waco to the bigger cities in Texas like Dallas and Houston, it may not have as much to offer. However, quantity isn’t always better than quality according to Baas.

“Sometimes having a little bit less to do means you form better relationships because you can actually spend quality time with people and you’re not always distracted bouncing to all these different things,” Baas said. 

Marquis Cooley is a journalism major at Baylor University. His love of sports and writing lead him to pursue a career in sports reporting. He hopes to one day report for ESPN. He is from Virginia. 

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Banker Haferkamp loves the family environment of Waco

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Nikita Delfin

Americans move on average once every five years, according to demographers, and “home” is now considered a temporary stopping place rather than a permanent habitation. 

Carolyn Haferkamp

With more than 250,000 people choosing to live in Waco and McLennan County, one might wonder what there is to love about the place.

Carolyn Haferkamp, president – chief lending officer of Central National Bank, Baylor alumna, and Waco native, says it just so happens to be the people. 

“It’s the family environment,” she said. “I think that so many people that we know, beyond their own families, have this great friend group and support system. Everyone just takes care of everyone, and that’s what I appreciate the most about it.”

It is this same family-friendly and supportive atmosphere that leads Haferkamp and other Wacoans to improve the welfare of the community. And this civic engagement and participation is vital.

“I think that as a community we take for granted some of the services, activities, and opportunities we have,” she said. “All of those things are usually volunteer-driven and without volunteers who are serving on the boards, showing up every day, sorting through donations and helping an event take place, those things wouldn’t happen.”

Regardless of age, background or the stage of life someone might be in, Haferkamp said anyone and everyone can truly benefit from participating in community engagement programs.

With Waco being a bustling college town, she encourages college and university students to reach out to the city’s bigger organizations. 

“For a Baylor student, I would not necessarily recommend Junior League of Waco because it is a long-term commitment but reach out to some of the bigger organizations who touch many different agencies like Act Locally or United Way,” she said. “Ask them where the opportunities are and say that you would like to serve.”

For young professionals who are more sure about staying and residing in Waco, she recommends the Junior League. Haferkamp, herself, has contributed 10 years of active service with the Junior League and is currently a sustainer.

The Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism and strengthening the community through creative solutions to current and future challenges.

“It allows you to see every little facet of Waco and where the different needs are,” she said. “We have this very robust secondary education system with Baylor, TSTC, and MCC, but the level of poverty and preschool education availability are areas where we could improve.”

Aside from directly benefiting those in the community, Haferkamp said volunteering and participation are excellent opportunities to bond with your fellow citizens. More importantly, it is something that is fulfilling and rewarding. 

“It plugs you in, not only with the community, but also to a social circle,” she said. “It connects you to people who are like you, but also, it’s good for your own self-fulfillment. Being involved in the community is taking ownership, and I think when you take ownership, you enjoy it more.”

Nikita Delfin is a junior English major from Brenham who hopes to one day teach literature to people of all ages.

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Pediatrician works to prevent child sexual abuse

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Brittany Tankersley

What began as a small puppet show at the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children in 2008 quickly became a way for Waco families to safely educate their children.

Dr. Soo Battle

By 2010, this puppet show became what is now called Camp Careful, a program dedicated to educating Waco families about abuse prevention. According to the Camp Careful website its mission is to “reduce and prevent child sexual abuse through child empowerment, family education, and community awareness.”

Covering topics such as “good touch, bad touch, body autonomy, and consent,” Dr. Soo Battle focuses on age-appropriate sexual advocacy education.

Battle is a board-certified, licensed pediatrician who works part-time in a pediatric practice in Waco

“I’m really teaching it in the context of how do you keep your kids safe?” Battle said. “I go over general safety rules at the beginning of the classes, so the kids understand, ‘Oh, yeah, my parents have rules to keep me safe all the time.’ So I teach it in that way. It’s not about sex. I don’t ever really talk about sexual acts. It’s more about protecting their body and what private parts are and what private means.”

Many parents are uncomfortable discussing these topics with their children. However, educating children on not only the dangers of predators but also the many questions they have can be more valuable than foregoing the awkwardness. 

“If they are asking then it is upon us as parents to teach them and give them the answers in an age appropriate manner,” Battle said. “Answer as little as you need to, to fulfill their curiosity, but don’t lie to them. And don’t make up something in a fantasy answer. Because if they think that that doesn’t make sense, or if they hear it from somebody else, then they’re in conflict with what you have told them.”

Camp Careful offers Waco families an easier way to tackle these necessary but difficult conversations via six programs varying by age groups and topics, and there are even private sessions with Battle. 

According to the Camp Careful website, over 9,000 parents and children have attended its abuse prevention sessions through public classes or private speaking engagements since 2008-2021. But why Waco? 

“We love raising our families here,” Battle said. “It’s close to things if you want the big city thing. You can go to Dallas or Austin quickly, but the small town atmosphere is here. And you get a sense of community and not all the headaches of being in a big city.”

Raised in Austin, Battle graduated from Westlake High School and then the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts honors program. She earned her medical doctorate from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 2000.

Waco’s family-oriented yet still exciting lifestyle makes the city the perfect place for Camp Careful to call its home, she said. 

“There’s a million things to do,” Battle said. “From little kids with Cameron Park Zoo to the Mayborn Museum. There’s lots of organizations to volunteer in. There’s lots of churches to join, if that is your thing. There’s great schools all over. We love Waco.”

Camp Careful is one of the many organizations that call Waco its home, however, it is one of the few that deeply protect and advocate for the education and protection of its youth. 

Brittany Tankersley is a junior at Baylor University studying journalism. She is from Tennessee. 

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Entrepreneur applauds & helps Waco business development

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Lakesyn Melia

Veronicka Thompson-Smith came from a small town in Oklahoma to Waco in fall of 2002 as a freshman undergraduate student at Baylor University. The city has made quite the impression on her, as the longest she’s been away since her arrival was a six-month internship. 

Veronicka Thompson-Smith

After graduating, she spent 10 years working in the admissions office for the university. In January this year, she accepted a role as an executive assistant at Magnolia. She is also a board member of the Waco Downtown Farmers Market and the Amberley Collaborative, a local nonprofit that works to strengthen support systems for individuals who face challenges, such as disabilities, in the community.

Thompson-Smith also leads the Waco chapter of TuesdaysTogether, an organization created for creative entrepreneurs to connect and to foster community over competition.

“One of the reasons why I love Waco is just the opportunities,” she said. “When I came here in 2002, Waco definitely wasn’t what it is now. You just didn’t have the growth you have now.” 

As an entrepreneur, Thompson-Smith said she has seen Waco become a hub for people wanting to start their own businesses. She said she believes the timing was just right for the city and Wacoans. The emergence of the Magnolia business has helped, but what the local residents had to offer was the biggest contributor. 

“I’ve seen it go from no food trucks at all to now: Union Hall, Food Truck Park, and all these different generations of Waco and even Baylor,” she said. 

The city of Waco has seen a multitude of locally-owned businesses emerge in the past few years, and Thompson-Smith has been a major part of two of them. She started her own business, Flower and Ink Designs, in 2017 and took the position as community director of WacoWork in 2019. 

After graduating from Baylor with a degree in apparel design, she did not pursue her creative skills until she created Flower and Ink Designs. She has seen support through the Waco community throughout her 18 years living here. 

One of the aspects of Waco that Thompson-Smith appreciates is the size. She said that being able to see people you know wherever you go is comforting, and the community is special. She spent the past few months helping as treasurer for Councilwoman Kelly Palmer’s campaign, an opportunity only a city like Waco would make so accessible. 

Through her involvement in the community, Thompson-Smith has seen Waco in a completely different light. The business opportunities have helped her build relationships with people around her and participate in the continuing growth of the city. Her contributions are just one example of how someone got involved and enjoyed every part of it. 

Lakesyn Melia is a sophomore political science and public relations student at Baylor University, originally from Franklin, Tenn.

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Creative Waco founder talks art projects, involvement in community

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Clay Thompson 

After living in several different countries, Creative Waco founder Fiona Bond ended up in Waco, a move that might have surprised her friends overseas, but as she put it, both she and her family fell in love with the town and its potential. 

Fiona Bond of Creative Waco

“We followed our curiosity, and the rest is history,” Bond said. “When I saw Waco, I saw the green shoots of opportunity and creativity here.” 

What Bond said she loves most about Waco, aside from its cultural awakening, is the people. 

“Every place is made by its people,” she said. 

Bond saw Waco as a place that had not yet woken up to its full potential. She described it as being like a slightly gawky teenager who doesn’t yet recognize the extent of their true beauty and talent. 

“The thing I find most compelling is that it has truly world-class talent that has not yet been discovered by the wider World,” Bond said. “And we get to be the generation that cultivates Waco’s cultural identity for years to come.”

Bond recently earned a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Baylor University, which, along with running Creative Waco full time and juggling family life with husband Bruce Longenecker (a religion professor at Baylor) and two active teen sons, did not leave spare time for much else. With the pandemic restricting arts programming and no more MBA study, she now has a little more time to discover Waco’s other assets.  

“I go kayaking on the lake or rivers every opportunity I get,” Bond said. She also loves hiking Waco’s abundance of trails and cycling between downtown meetings. She and Bruce are active members of DaySpring Baptist Church, and she admires the work of her fellow nonprofit leaders. 

“I like to work with the nonprofits in the community. That happens mostly through Creative Waco. We love to get involved with things where we are not necessarily the lead organization, and we’re coming alongside to support and add value to amazing work that other people are doing.” 

Bond considers herself lucky to be involved in the “awakening” of Waco, as she describes it. By working at Creative Waco, she has led multiple cultural and artistic projects that are shaping the city. 

One of the early transformative projects was Waco 52, which showcased Waco as a newly designated State of Texas Cultural District. Fifty-two visual artists from Waco were selected by two international judges and had their work exhibited in the rotunda of the state capitol in 2017. 

The exhibition was accompanied by a publication with preface by former President George W. Bush, and Chip and Joanna Gaines. Bond laughingly points out that this may be “the only publication in which they have appeared together – but they are all local artists, after all.” 

The exhibition was turned into a deck of playing cards which is still sold to support arts programs in Waco. A second exhibition of the work back in Waco became the catalyst for the gallery that became Cultivate 7Twelve on Austin Avenue where Creative Waco’s office is now based.

“That project just gave and gave,” Bond said. “Everybody involved benefitted hugely, and so did our community. For the first time, a large cohort of outstanding artists were proud to link their professional reputation to Waco.” 

Bond founded Creative Waco, a nonprofit that serves as the “Local Arts Agency” (arts council or arts commission) and whose mission is “to grow and support a thriving cultural and creative community in Waco and McLennan County.” Bond said its goal is to bring together the elements necessary to grow a cultural hub where artists and creative professionals can be successful. 

Bond originally discovered Waco because her husband was offered a chair at Baylor. “It was definitely not on our top 10 list of places we thought we might want to live, but when we visited for the first time, we fell in love with Waco and that relationship has deepened over time.”

When her family moved here, she was surprised there was not an organization like Creative Waco that existed to develop strategy and resources for the arts. She eventually found a coalition of leaders who shared her vision that growth for the arts would mean growth and benefit for everyone.

“Everyone naturally wants to have their piece of the pie,” she said. “Growing the arts is not about cutting that pie into smaller pieces to make it go further. It’s about sowing the seeds for a bigger harvest – so you can cook a bigger pie – and then make more of them.”

Clay Thompson is a freshman journalism major at Baylor. 

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Jill McCall helps homeless in Waco find compassion

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Arden Huston

There are people in Waco who need a little more love, understanding, and compassion. It’s time we not only feel their pain but also be moved to help relieve it. We need to give the homeless a little more compassion.

Jill McCall of Compassion Waco

Compassion Waco is working to do that. Compassion is a transitional housing facility for homeless families with children where families can stay up to six months or a year until they learn effective ways to live on their own.

“I don’t know that I had a passion for Compassion when I came, because my image of the homeless was the guy on the street corner who needs a bath and a shave. But I now understand who we serve here is not necessarily that demographic,” Jill McCall, executive director of Compassion Waco, said.

Compassion Waco focuses on serving a specific demographic, which includes families and children. McCall mentioned how it’s important to consider the average age of the homeless in the United States today is 11 and 57% of the homeless are women and children.

“There certainly are those guys on the end of the street corner, but they’re not the majority of the homeless, and they’re not the homeless we serve here in Waco” at Compassion, McCall said.

McCall also shared that her father died when she was 4 and her mother had three kids to take care of. At the time, her mother was lucky enough to have the support of an extended family that was able to assist her emotionally and financially.

Then one day it hit her. “I could have been a child of Compassion, had my mother not had those things and had there been a Compassion, because there wasn’t one then,” McCall said.

When you put things into perspective in this way it’s easier to sympathize with the homeless. The reason many people become homeless is because of a lack of support and financial understanding.

“I think we all can agree most of us get out of high school or college and most of the time we haven’t been very accountable with our money. I mean we’ve never been made to be,” McCall said.

This is a common reason for homelessness. People that come to Compassion often haven’t had anyone to teach them how to budget their money, and they come to learn just that.

“People have to want the help; they have to be at that point in their lives where they’re ready to accept that help. Sometimes people are too proud to accept it,” McCall said.

Compassion has a variety of volunteer opportunities for people who want to help, especially those who like working with kids. They are always in need of people to provide after school care and monitor the children in the computer room.

McCall mentioned a challenge of the job is not being able to see the people while they’re on the other side of things, when they’ve gotten their lives together and aren’t in need of help anymore.

She cites a popular proverb of uncertain origin. “We are planting trees knowing full well, we will never see the shade,” McCall said. “That, on the other hand, says the shade will come. We may not see it, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that they find the shade.”

Arden Huston is a sophomore at Baylor University from Houston double majoring in psychology and professional writing.

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.

Dr. Macik connects with patients & Waco

Editor: In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring interviews with local women leaders. These pieces were written by Baylor University students from the Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media.

By Samuel Lamkin

Dr. Felicia Macik is the owner of Uncommon Healthcare and has practiced medicine for more than 20 years. She says the best part about her job is the “technical challenge” and the relationships she creates with patients. 

Dr. Felicia Macik

Macik has seen the medical field change for women in recent years. She recalled serving as first assistant in a bilateral knee biopsy when she was in her residency. She was one of only a few women in the operating room. For the 6½ hours of the procedure, she said the lead doctor talked about how women should not be in the medical field because they would eventually have children and choose to stay home with them. 

“Women have come a long way,” said Macik. And she does now have children — two sons, one in college and one in high school.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tarleton State University before attending medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, according to the Uncommon Healthcare website. She completed family medicine training at UTMB Family Medicine Residency at Conroe. 

Macik and her husband, James, then relocated to Memphis after she was selected for fellowship training at the University of Tennessee at Memphis. Upon completing her fellowship in 1999, the Maciks “hurried home to Texas to ensure that their firstborn would receive a proper birth certificate,” the website says. 

In 2003, they moved to Clifton, northwest of Waco, and she now commutes to Waco. 

“I love Waco so much. Ever since we moved here in 2003 there is so much pride and enthusiasm about the community, and there are people that want to make it better,” said Macik.

“Back when we moved here, downtown Waco was not a good place to be. Now I feel safe walking around at night,” Macik said.

One thing Macik appreciates is the community. She said it is “not homogenous.” Not everything is the same; there is a good variety of people in the community. As a family medicine specialist, this diversity is reflected in her practice. She sees people from all backgrounds. 

Macik also appreciates that Waco has multiple educational campuses. With Baylor University, McLennan Community College, and Texas State Technical College nearby she thinks it makes Waco more likely to have a population increase.

“You have a lot of young families, second generations, and people that have lived here a really long time that use these educational resources and in turn help the community,” said Macik. 

Being a business owner and juggling patients, Macik said she has less time to be actively involved in Waco than she would like. With the little bit of time she does have, she is involved in the nonprofit, 40 Days for Life, which is a pro-life organization.

“If I had enough time to be more involved in my community, I can see myself participating in pro-life events or doing something creative,” said Macik.

In the time Macik has lived in Waco she has noticed a flourish in the city and the surrounding areas, saying Waco has “blossomed” with Magnolia and Fixer Upper. 

“I like the size of Waco right now, but we are very close to overgrowing,” Macik said. “I like that I can recognize people around downtown, but it is happening less and less.”

Samuel Lamkin is a Baylor University freshman journalism student.

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 Ferrell Foster at ferrell@prosperwaco.org.