Happenings at Greater Waco YMCA

It’s summer time! Below is information regarding kids’ summer classes at the YMCA! For any questions, please reach out to Crystal Hernandez at [email protected]

Kids Art Classes for ages 3-6 will be held on June 13th from 5:30-6:30 at the Greater Waco YMCA. Cost is $15 and registration ends on June 6th. 
Kids Art Classes for ages 6-12 will be held on June 6th from 5:30-6:30pm at the Greater Waco YMCA. Cost is $15 and registration ends on May 31.
Kids Cooking Classes for ages 3-6 will be held on June 15th from 5:30-6:30pm. Registration ends June 8th. Cost is $20 per child.
Kids Cooking Classes for ages 6-12 will be held on June 8th from 5:30-6:30pm. Registration ends on June 1st. Cost is $20 per child.

It’s Not Just a Rocking Chair

by Lucas Land

“When I first visited the home, Naomi* couldn’t sit still. She was always moving and very agitated,” said Kimberly Witt, Advocate Supervisor for CASA of McLennan County.

Naomi was removed from her home due to abuse and neglect when she was two and a half years old. For the next year and a half, she went through several different foster families and was kicked out of her school and dacare because of her problems with aggressive and violent behavior. At two and a half years old Naomi had only recently learned to walk and talk. She had barely begun her life but was already experiencing so much difficulty just getting along and making it through each day. What was going wrong? What could be done to help her?

In these early years developing healthy attachment and emotional bonds with parents or caregivers is crucial for normal social and emotional development. Having adults that respond to an infant or child’s needs allows them to develop a sense of security and safety. This creates a base for the child to explore their world and continue to grow and learn. When children experience abuse and neglect, especially at such young ages and early stages of development, they can have difficulty forming attachments and emotional bonds with their caregivers. Naomi isn’t a bad kid. She just didn’t have the tools to cope with what the world had thrown at her. 

We don’t always know the reason or how to help, but every child’s behavior is an attempt to meet a need that they have. In Naomi’s case she might be needing to feel safety and security. Perhaps her acting out was a way to test whether the adults in her life would stay or leave. We can also imagine that there are a lot of feelings going on for a child who has experienced abuse and neglect, and not had a stable home environment so early on in their life. Without healthy attachment and bonding with caregivers, Naomi also didn’t have the tools to deal with and process these feelings.

Thankfully, Naomi’s grandmother, Rose*, was able to bring her into her home at four years old. “It’s been very challenging having them at home. It’s going to take a while. She had tantrums that lasted an hour and a half to two hours, and she would lose her voice. This happened two or three times a day,” Rose explained about the difficulties she has faced providing a home for Naomi.

Rose found that the only thing that would calm Naomi was for her to hold her and rock her. There is research that rocking and swinging stimulates the body’s vestibular system which helps alleviate stress and anxiety and helps with sleep and cognitive functions. Because of her age, Rose found it difficult to rock Naomi for longer periods of time. She explained this to her CASA volunteer and asked if there was any way that CASA could help provide a rocking chair since she was unable to afford one herself. 

CASA trains ordinary people to advocate for children in the foster care system and help keep them from falling through the cracks. Part of CASA’s advocacy work is to notice needs of the families they serve and advocate for ways that those needs can be met. In this case, CASA used funds earmarked for direct needs to purchase a rocking chair for Rose.

“Since that rocking chair came and when I started rocking her, we haven’t had any tantrums in two weeks. I never knew it could make such a difference. She’s healing now and I can talk to her and work with her now,” Rose shared getting emotional about the difference this piece of furniture made for her. “It’s not just a rocking chair. It’s the stuff they never got from their parents. That rocker is huge and opened the door to let her love me.”

If you are interested in learning more about CASA and how you can become a volunteer advocate, please visit casaforeverychild.org.

*All names have been changed to protect privacy

May Classes at YMCA

Check out the below classes being offered to kids for the month of May through the YMCA!

May 2: art for kids ages 6-12 from 5:30-6:30 pm. Cost is $15 per child and registration ends on April 28th. The theme is ‘summer’ and we’ll be making seashell turtles, lava lamps and more!

May 9: art class for kids ages 3-6 from 5:30-6:30pm. Cost is $15 per child and registration ends on May 2nd. The theme is ‘summer’ and we’ll be making several projects including wind socks.

May 10: Kids in the Kitchen for ages 3-6 from 5:30-6:30 pm. Cost is $20 per child and registration ends May 3rd

May 16: Kids in the Kitchen for ages 6-12 from 5:30-6:30pm. Cost is $20 per child and registration ends May 9th.

For more information, please reach out to Crystal at cherna[email protected] or 254-776-6612

Pre-K Registration Roundup Fun Fest

You child may be eligible for free prekindergarten! Want to learn more? Check out the above flyers and attend the WISD Pre-K Registration Roundup Fun Fest on April, 23!

McLennan County Master Gardeners PRESENTS


Wednesday, April 20, 2022, noon to 2 p.m.
at MCC’s Emergency Services Education Center, 7601 Steinbeck Bend Dr, Room 105.
The Lake Waco Wetlands and its partnership with the Heart of Texas Master Naturalist Chapter
Presenters: Nora Schell & Rebecca Simanek

Nora Schell, who is thelong-time Program Coordinator of the Lake Waco Wetlands and is President of the Heart of Texas Master Naturalists, will explore the projects local Master Naturalists are involved in at the Lake Waco Wetlands, 180-acre is working, living lab, full of educational opportunities for all school aged children and adults.

Nora will be joined by Rebecca Simanek, who prior to moving to Texas, worked as a gardener at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville for two years. She is both a Master Naturalist and a Master Gardener, who will talk about flowering plants like those in the wetlands garden, host plants and general garden practices that are good for pollinators and birds.

Be sure to bring your lunch to this free session. Everyone is welcome,

For more information: visit https://txmg.org/mclennan/ or call the Texas AgriLife extension office,

City of Waco Offices Closed Friday, April 15

The City of Waco offices will be closed on Friday, April 15.  Details follow concerning some specific services and departments:

The Solid Waste offices and the Cobbs Recycling Center will be closed on Friday, April 15.  The landfill will only be open for Franchise Haulers on Friday.  Trash scheduled for Friday will be picked up on Wednesday, April 13.

The Waco-McLennan County Library system will close all branches on Friday, April 15 and Sunday, April 17, but will be open regular hours on Saturday, April 16.    

The following will operate regular hours:  Waco Transit, Cameron Park Zoo, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Cottonwood Creek Golf Course and the Waco Mammoth National Monument. 

STARRY Counseling Groups for Parents

STARRY will be hosting for parents who are in recovery from PTSD and/or Substance Abuse. As you know, STARRY is a non-profit organization that serves children and families. We are trying to move upstream in our services and work more with parents who need supports. The provider who will be facilitating this group is Amber Chesser who is a Licensed Professional Counselor. This group is open to individuals in Waco and all STARRY’s service areas, which encompasses 31 counties. Please see the above flyers, QR codes, and website for referrals https://www.starry.org/groups/

MCC Annual Career Fair

            Nearly 80 Waco-area employers will be looking to hire at the ninth annual Career Fair sponsored by McLennan Community College’s Career Services and the University Center at MCC. The fair will be Wednesday, April 13, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. outside the Michaelis Academic Center on the MCC campus.

The fair is free and open to the public. Employers will be offering internships as well as long-term employment. Job seekers are encouraged to dress to impress and have copies of their resume.

For more information, contact the University Center at 254-299-8882. 


Today, on April 8, 2024, the Sun will be completely eclipsed by the Moon in a celestial event that won’t be visible again from the continental United States until 2045. The path of this total solar
eclipse will run directly through Waco, Texas, making it an ideal location for viewing this rare celestial display. Four storied organizations: Lowell Observatory, the City of Waco, Baylor
University, and Discovery are partnering to create an on-site public event that will be broadcast around the world: Eclipse Over Texas 2024: Live from Waco.

On April 8, 2022 two years to the day before the eclipse happens partner members of Eclipse Over Texas 2024: Live from Waco will hold a press conference to announce plans for the 2024 event.

What: Press Conference to announce plans for April 8, 2024, Eclipse Over Texas 2024: Live from Waco.

When: April 8, 2022, 1:30-1:50 p.m. CDT

Who: Representatives from Lowell Observatory, the City of Waco, Baylor University, and media partner Discovery will discuss Eclipse Over Texas 2024: Live from Waco and answer questions.

Where: Media may attend the press conference either virtually or in-person.

●   Virtual: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLUBekXUXy8
*Viewers will have the opportunity to ask questions via the YouTube chat feature.

●   In-person: McLane Stadium, Baylor University
1001 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Waco, TX 76704

I-35 South from DFW Area Take Exit 335C (MLK Blvd).
At the stoplight, turn left and continue straight on MLK Blvd. Turn right into Lot 1 of McLane
Stadium. The media entrance is to the right of Gate B.

I-35 North from Austin
Take Exit 334B (8th Street-4th/5th Streets-Downtown-University Parks Drive-MLK Blvd).
Continue on the frontage road over the Brazos River. Turn right on MLK Blvd and turn right into Lot 1 of McLane Stadium. The media entrance is to the right of Gate B.

Hwy 6 from Houston
From State Hwy 6, take the exit for Orchard Lane. Turn left at the stop sign and continue straight on Orchard Lane to MLK Blvd. Cross MLK and enter Lot 1 of McLane Stadium.
The media entrance is to the right of Gate B.

Helpful Travel Resources:
Real-time traffic information through Waco is available at: www.waco4bmap.org. McLane Stadium Lot 1
Waze Map: https://www.waze.com/live-map/directions?navigate=yes&to=ll.31.55996812%2C-97.11 491168.

About the 2024 Eclipse
A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth and completely obscures the Sun. The April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse, dubbed the Great American Eclipse, will be the
only total solar eclipse in the 21st century in which totality will be visible from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Based on past weather patterns for this time of year, as well as
accessibility, Texas is an ideal location for an eclipse event. This will be the first total solar eclipse to pass over Waco since July 29, 1878, and the last one of this millennium.

Upcoming Vaccine Clinic Event

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District has teamed up with Waco ISD and Transformation Waco to create a community outreach vaccine clinic event at Estella Maxey and Kate Ross Apartment Complexes on 9. 

The group worked together to brainstorm innovative ways to administer vaccines in the community and assist students currently enrolled at Waco ISD and are delinquent on their state mandated immunizations.  Events will be hosted on site on the weekends to minimize any barriers to accessing care for at-risk community members. 

During the vaccine clinic events, hot dogs will be served, and the Waco Housing Authority will be giving out $40 gift cards to individuals who reside in the 76704 and 76706 zip codes that receive their 1st or 2nd dose of the COVID vaccines.  

Vaccine clinic event schedule:

Saturday, April 9

Estella Maxey Community Center

1809 J.J. Flewellen, Waco, TX 76704

Noon – 3 p.m.

For more information, please contact Chris Shelley at [email protected] or 254-855-7277.