Extra - Online Newsletter June 2018

Alumnus helping to heal drug-addicted teens in Dallas

Something Eva Moreno heard often while working with incarcerated adult addicts stuck with her: They wish someone had set them straight early on before they ended up in a far worse place. Today, as a drug intervention specialist with the Dallas County Juvenile Department, she gets to be that person for young people caught in addiction on a daily basis.

A 1991 graduate of the Plainview campus, Eva came to her Eva Moreno, drug counselorcurrent position three years ago after a winding journey through the criminal justice system at various levels. But she's convinced that working with young people is her calling.

"Some people don't want to learn or are too engrained in the criminal lifestyle, even before age 17. I've had 14-year-olds hooked on ice, heroine and meth," she says. "What I can show them is they don't have to stay in that lifestyle."

A day in the life

Eva's primarily role for the county is at a residential drug treatment center for teens age 13-17 who are there under court order until they complete the 4- to 6-month program. Her standard case load is 10 clients, each of whom she sees once a week for counseling one-on-one and then once a month with their families. She also holds small group sessions for her caseload, family group sessions and larger group sessions with all the teens in the residential center (usually around 40). Because she is bilingual, Eva also helps translate for other caseworkers and helps with the Spanish family group meetings.

"Some kids come in knowing they have a substance abuse problem and want to work on it. I am under the belief that I'm not always there to harvest but to plant the seed," she said. "Some of them come back, and it just depends on their effort when they leave. This is an intensive inpatient program, then they go into an intensive outpatient program before they try to get back into society."

In order to try and keep the clients on track with their education, the residential center holds school in the mornings with Dallas County providing teachers to work with the students. Then in the afternoons, treatment fills their schedule.

Rewards for hard work

It's tough work to be sure. But Eva says the rewards outweigh the challenges and her desire to make a difference in the lives of young people.

"The most rewarding part is the connections that are made. When the kids are clean and sober, they are able to make connections and their brains are healing. They are able to learn and focus better, and we are teaching them skills on how to succeed in life," she said. "We don't just work on drug education but family issues, adult preparation skills, emotional regulation, and even parenting skills for those that are parents. We are teaching them how to interact in the world when they go home."

Eva knows a bit about challenges herself. She found herself enrolling as a Wayland freshman at age 21, a newly divorced mother of two with no idea what to do next.

"As I was walking out of the courthouse, my dad said, 'You have no education, no job and no skills. You are going to Wayland.' I was struck with terror but he insisted," recalls Eva. Her parents kept her two preschool children in Pampa for the first semester while she waited for student housing to open up outside the dorms. She lived in Owen Hall, enjoying at least a small taste of traditional student life and making great, lifelong friends.

In the spring, she had a space in married student housing and her girls moved in. She went to school full-time, pledged Theta Alpha Psi, marched in the Pioneer Band and worked part-time in the campus security office. Eventually she got a job with the Plainview Police as a dispatcher, knowing already she was headed for a career in social services of some kind. Her senior practicum turned into a first job at the Lubbock County Juvenile Detention Center.

Long and winding road

Over the next few decades, she would return to Pampa to work with truant youth in the school system, then she went to work for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the chemical dependency counseling arena, first at a unit in Amarillo then in Plainview. From there she returned to Lubbock to work with adult males in a correctional facility, then to Brownwood with the then-Texas Youth Commission. After a stint in Borger and then back to Pampa, she took some time off to care for her mother who had cancer. Then in 2015 she decided to go back into the chemical dependency counseling field and moved to her current job in Dallas. She just completed her required hours for the license.

All along the way, Eva has remained in the social services field where she feels at home.

"I love being able to plant a seed in each one that they have the ability to stay clean and sober. I plant in them a seed about believing in a higher power that can help them," she says. "And I like letting them know they are not alone. Some are pretty hopeless but we try to turn that around."

Eva enjoys time with family - her brother carpools to Dallas with her daily and lives nearby as does her sister - and playing grandmother to three. Her oldest daughter, Erika, works for the Lubbock schools, and daughter Stephanie works at Texas Tech in the College of Agriculture.

Devotional: Suffering and the Goodness of God

In 1997, my husband and I lost a child at the end of the first trimester of my third pregnancy. I thought I would never recover from that experience. It was as if my heart had been torn from my body. The pain of loss was just so great. At that time I had experienced the loss of my aunt on my dad's side, and then the loss of my grandfather on my mother's side. It seemed that there was only loss and no promise of life in the future. It was a terrible time for me. I thought it would be easier to just die.

I was listening to the radio one day, to a short "devotional" Girl hugging knees in sadnesstype program. It was just a short one-minute program, but in that minute I heard something that changed the course of my grief and really my life. The commentator made this statement: "One of the most important things you can do when you are in a time of trial or suffering is to look around you and see the suffering of others. Reach out to someone else."

I did that. It didn't change the fact of my suffering. It did take the focus off myself and help me see that others around me were suffering. I began to heal from the pain of loss. God was working to bring me hope and peace. Life for me was not over, but often in times of suffering, it feels like life is over.

At the loss of a child I am reminded of David when he lost a child (2 Samuel 12:15-23). He prayed and fasted for days. When the child died, David got up from his grief and continued with life. I had to do that. I had two other children and a husband to take care of. I had responsibilities at work that needed to be attended to. God was not through with me yet.

God's love and grace held me up. His arm of righteousness was my strength. In Him, I found life. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies." (John 11:25) So even though I never held that baby in my arms or heard him cry, I know he lives with the heavenly father, because God is the giver of life. One day I will be able to hold that child as I did my other three.

Judy Williams is a 1980 graduate and former registrar at Wayland. She is a partner with JM Estate Liquidators and is active at First Baptist Church in Plainview. She and husband Ken have been married 29 years and have three grown children: Jared, a graphic designer; Sarah, BA'15, who has done missions in Brazil; and Katie, a junior at UMHB.

From the History Files

Wartime has traditionally changed demographics at American colleges and the workforce. But when the U.S. became fully involved in World War I in 1917, the folks at Wayland had no way of knowing what benefits would come of the war.

As a result of the demand for stenographers and typists in the government, Military hat on flagWayland decided to hold summer classes within its business school. This wasn't the normal practice for schools at that time. In addition, Wayland offered music and literary courses during the summer "to help students toward graduation in high school or junior college." Wayland even opened its dorm to parents who wished to stay with their children during the summer term.

Summer business classes were just the beginning of Wayland's involvement in the war effort. In March 1918, Wayland was holding classes six days a week so that students would complete the term sooner and be free to help in farming initiatives. By June 1918, the school had opened its doors to the military and was providing instruction and training in military science, or drill instruction. The grounds and facilities were offered as a military camp of sorts if Plainview managed to secure a squadron of the Panhandle Regiment of Cavalry. By September 1918, Wayland had been designated an A1 college in military training service.

The local paper reported that Wayland expected 500 students in the fall of 1918 because of the Student Army Training Corps, and the government agreed to pay tuition and fees for all who entered college for military training. As a result, young men continued to enroll through October, and school founder Dr. Wayland performed all the military physicals for the men.

The military involvement was a saving grace for the school which was struggling mightily at the time. In May 1918, only 60 students remained at Wayland and the school did not have the funds to pay teachers' salaries in full. The school continued to enroll students, however, and the addition of the military students allowed Wayland to not only keep its doors open, but also to continue to make improvements. By May 1919 enrollment was reported at 309.

Meet your Alumni Board

It's pretty easy to see that Yolanda Vera loves education. Not only did she attend Wayland as a traditional student from Plainview, graduating in 1983, but she also spent 34 years in public education in Plainview schools.

Yolanda retired in 2012 and has subbed in the district since Yolanda vera and childrenthat time. She started as an assistant at Edgemere Elementary while a Wayland student, dropping her course load to part-time so she could work part-time as a newlywed and later as a mother. She quit working her senior year to finish classes and do student teaching. Those education professors provided some of her favorite memories.

"One of my professors, Dr. Musgrave, made things fun for us, allowing us to work together and learn from each other," she said. "We were a close-knit group."

Yolanda has been on the board for several years and has enjoyed learning how things come together for the various events on campus.

"I've learned to appreciate those that work behind the scenes to make WBU fun," said Yolanda. "I encourage alums from all Wayland campuses to get your information to Teresa so you can get involved with what is happening at Wayland!"

Flying Queens: Your story needed!

Many of you have read and enjoyed the series of testimonials from former Flying Queens basketball players done in conjunction with the Foundation's campaign for induction to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Even though the Hall chose not to induct the team, the Queens Foundation wants to continue to promote the rich heritage of the program and share stories in anticipation of another push for the Hall of Fame.

Click here for a format of testimonials and consider sharing your story with fans of the Queens. There are some great stories! If you want to read them, visit the FQ Foundation Page here.

Update Your Information