McLennan Community College: A Beacon of Excellence in Workplace Promise

By Julia Kim, MCC Public Relations Intern
Being one of only 20 community colleges nominated across the country, McLennan Community College has been recognized, for the fifth time, as a shining example of inclusivity and excellence in education. Categorized as one of the 2023 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), MCC stands as a beacon of the Waco community.

This nomination reaffirms MCC’s dedication to providing an inclusive learning and working environment. The college’s commitment to diversity is reflected in its student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning environments, meaningful community service and engagement opportunities. These practices ensure that students and faculty not only feel welcomed but valued.

“At MCC, teachers not only have a passion for our craft or field of study, but we work with a common denominator of the success of our students,” Mandy Morrison, Associate Professor of Music, said. “That commonality is the driving factor in all of our decisions.” 

MCC’s impact extends far beyond the campus walls. It plays a vital role in the Waco community, offering education and opportunities that transform lives. MCC extends a helping hand to the community through its outreach efforts like the Highlanders for Community program. This program allows opportunities for students to volunteer and become more involved in the Waco area. The college also offers work-study opportunities for students so they can learn about different job environments.

“I have always experienced a friendly community at MCC as a student and employee,” second-year student, Alex Flores said. “Working at the college as a student has helped prepare me for the jobs I would like to have in the future.”

With this latest accolade, McLennan Community College reaffirms its status as an example of inclusivity, diversity and excellence, leaving a mark on the hearts and minds of students, staff and the Waco community.

McLennan Community College Hosts Annual Trunk or Treat Event

As the temperature cools and autumn leaves paint the campus, McLennan Community College is gearing up for an event that promises fun, laughter. and a sense of community. From 5-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, McLennan Athletics will host their “Trunk or Treat” event, bringing together students, faculty, and the Waco community for a safe and enjoyable Halloween celebration.

The event will be held in Parking Lot outside The Highlands gym, on the MCC campus. It will feature trunks decorated by MCC students, faculty and staff members, and numerous student groups. Local food trucks will also be on hand for those with an appetite for something other than candy.

“We are thrilled to host our annual Trunk or Treat,” Sports Information Specialist Candice Kelm said. “This event is a fantastic opportunity to embrace the Halloween spirit and foster a sense of togetherness among our diverse community.”

Attendees are encouraged to continue the fun at McLennan Madness beginning at 7 p.m. inside the gym. The pep-rally style event will include player introductions, special performances, fan costume contests, giveaways and more for attendees as MCC prepares for the start of basketball season Nov. 1.

Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend both events. For more information, email [email protected]

LGBTQIA+ Online Resources: Online communities, resources help keep LGBTQ+ youth connected.

Written by: Robin Layton

As Americans regroup after two years of a pandemic lifestyle, studies are revealing that youth who are in the sexual and gender minority are experiencing depression and anxiety at a faster rate than other groups.

In fact, The Trevor Project 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that “45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year,” with 60% of the youth who wanted mental health care in the past year unable to access it. The survey also found that 73% of LGBTQ youth reported having symptoms of anxiety.

Being an LGBTQ young person, unfortunately, means that during their critical adolescent years, they can often feel isolated and misunderstood, lacking the resources they need to maintain their mental health. 

With pandemic-related measures in place across the country, youth are at an even greater risk of social isolation and depression. But online resources, including supportive and educational materials, can help them maintain mental and emotional health. 

In a Catch-22, the internet can make this necessary information accessible, but only if you have access to the internet. 

In this guide, Allconnect researchers take a look at available online resources, as well as address the digital divide and homeless issues within the LGBTQ youth community.

LGBTQ youth can face some unique challenges, such as higher rates of depression and suicide than their peers. A behavioral health report on youth.gov noted that suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth and young adults, and up to 33% of LGBTQ youth report having attempted suicide. LGBTQ high school students are also two to seven times more likely to commit suicide than their peers.

Along with all the pressures of growing into their own identities, they have increased risks of alcohol and drug use, bullying, peer pressure, depression, suicide attempts and high-risk sexual activities. LGBTQ youth and young adults may be kicked out of their homes, and often face homelessness.

Identifying as LGBTQ doesn’t cause depression or mental health issues. The cause is rooted within outside factors: Discrimination, family rejection, negative biases and bullying and hostile microaggressions that can lead to suicidal ideation, according to the report. When LGBTQ youth aren’t accepted for who they are, they have higher rates of stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm behaviors and other disturbances to mental health.

In addition, many LGBTQ youth are confronted with online bullying. Pre-pandemic, 32% of teens aged 14-17 spent about four hours in front of screens. As of June 2020, that number leaped to 62%, according to a Statista report.

Cyberbullying has made the internet a dangerous place for LGBTQ youth, and approximately 48.7% of LGBTQ students are victims of cyberbullying each year. This can be through private text messages or public posts on social media. Cyberbullying leads to high rates of psychological and emotional distress for LGBTQ+ youth, as well as low self-esteem, social isolation, depression and thoughts of suicide.

Other resource and advocacy groups

  • The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs – The program offers direct services to survivors of all forms of violence and their circle of family and friends. They also work on policy and advocacy, and provide “free, holistic legal services to LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors in all five boroughs of New York City in Family Court, Housing Court, Civil Court and with immigration matters.” 
  • GLAAD LGBTQ Resource List – GLAAD shares stories from the LGBTQ community and this list includes resources in politics, military, aging, legal and other sectors.
  • The TrevorLifeline – Provides a national crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ youth.
  • Homelessness Help – Provides resources for homeless LGBTQ individuals in crisis, as well as provides a reporting platform for housing discrimination or violations.
  • National Runaway Safeline – A hotline for youth who need someone to hear them, as well as for concerned adults.
  • The LGBT National Youth Talkline – Free and confidential peer support for LGBTQ youth 25 and under.
  • Trans Lifeline – Run by trans people, this lifeline provides peer support.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Free and confidential support for anyone in distress, suicide prevention and resources.
  • TheRecoveryVillage.com – A free web resource that provides information about addiction, eating disorders and mental health issues.

‘Behavior Basics for Teachers’ course set for MCC Continuing Education

By Corsi Crews

I am so grateful to introduce myself and announce upcoming opportunities for us to learn and grow together.

I am affectionately known as Dr. Behavior. I come by my nickname honestly, as I have been working as a behavior interventionist for more than 20 years, primarily working with the most significant behavior concerns in agencies like the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Methodist Children’s Home, and Waco ISD. The tougher, the better … and more fulfilling!

Corsi Crews speaks at a Region 12 Gifted Education Conference.

I am a proud Tarleton Texan, as I have graduated thrice from Tarleton State University with degrees in education, criminal justice, and psychology. I also taught criminal justice for my alma mater at the University Center at McLennan Community College for nearly seven years.

The real reason you should know who I am is because I’m pretty good at connections — real, meaningful connections. The ones that make you feel the warm fuzzies in your belly when someone is near. The ones that let you know your words are heard and your feelings are respected and that even in disagreement, a resolution can be found. You know, the connections life is all about.  

Those are my jam and more importantly, my purpose.

In June, as my final school year with Waco ISD came to an end, I had a great opportunity to present my workshop, “Brave Battles with the Brain: Behavior Intervention That Works,” to the fantastic educators in our region at Region 12’s Gifted Education Conference. 

We discussed the brain and its components, especially the amygdala (our brain’s threat detector), which can perceive threats when there seemingly aren’t any and can make us feel pretty silly in the process. You see, our amygdala sounds alarms any time it feels a possible threat is near and then CHOOSES FOR US if we should fight the threat, freeze, or run away in order to stay safe. 

When it works, we stay alive. “Thank you, Amygdala!”

But sometimes, because of previous traumas and negative experiences, that alarm system can malfunction and develop a “hair trigger” that can misfire when it shouldn’t. 

That’s where I come in as Dr. Behavior. I help my students and clients understand how to identify these tricky fight, flight, or freeze responses and to practice supportive ways to RESPOND rather than REACT. You see, many of the overreactions we experience each day are related to the brain and its need to feel safe, not because somebody “made us mad.”

I mentioned a previous relationship with MCC earlier in my career, but it was actually a former Rapoport Academy colleague who connected me back to the college. After hearing about the success at the Region 12 conference, Kristi Pereira and I got to work to develop offerings for the Waco community through MCC’s Continuing Education Department. 

My first course, “Behavior Basics for Teachers,” is open for registration and will be held 8 a.m.-noon Thursday, Nov. 11, on the MCC campus. CEUs will be offered. This course is intended for teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, and administrators and is a great classroom management course, especially for dealing with difficult students. Any educational professional would benefit from this course.

I will also be offering “Behavior Basics of the Brain for Parents and Caregivers” as a parenting support for anyone who cares for children and “Behavior Basics for Leaders” in Spring 2022. 

Join me!

I am genuinely looking forward to making new connections in the Waco community and finding ways Dr. Behavior can help in and around the community. While my courses include examples relevant for that group, the classes are not exclusionary. 

If you’ve got a classroom that’s giving you the blues or a child who struggles behaviorally or if you’re a leader who wants to be more successfuI, come join me. Everyone is welcome and can improve in connecting with others.

Course Registration Link

Keep those battles with behavior brave!

Corsi Crews, Ed.D., is a trained behavior interventionist, certified educator, and behavior coach endorsed with Texas Education Agency. With more than 20 years of experience, Crews has dedicated her career to helping children, families, educators, and leaders to improve behavior by establishing and maintaining meaningful connections and relationships. For private speaking and district training inquiries, contact me directly at 254-366-3829 or [email protected]

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 [email protected].