Skip to main content

Our Blog (Good, Informational Stuff)

News & Events

Culture Nights Gain Awareness and Build Bridges at The Genesis Project

"We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race” - Kofi Annan, former secretary of the United Nations.

Pick any month and you will experience the world in an exciting way at The Genesis Project. One month you may see the brightly colored flag of Jamaica hanging in our dining room. Another month, you may dine on fresh kabobs like medieval knights ate. The diversity of the planet gets special attention as we discover, create, taste, and learn about other people and places during a designated Friday called culture night.

"I love culture night because it’s a way for the boys to gain exposure to different cultures around the world,” said Kalia Briggs, The Genesis Project’s recreational coordinator. “It helps expose the boys to different people so that, even if other people are not a part of their family, like if they have a coach from the Chinese culture, they’ll have some knowledge about it that they remember learning in culture night.”

Briggs pulls out all the stops to ensure the boys have a wide perspective before the night is over. They play the games different people play, learn about their clothing styles, and taste authentic cuisine. For example, when learning about Chinese culture, the boys even had the option of trying chocolate-covered insects purchased at an Asian market.

“Five of the boys actually ate it!” Briggs said.

Briggs says she tries to honor each culture and that takes more than one night. The celebration begins several days before as the boys and staff work together to make crafts and poster boards highlighting the aspects of each culture. For Egypt culture night, they created cardboard pyramids. During medieval night, castles and dragons transformed the dining room as imaginations flourished and tastebuds enjoyed cabbage, turkey legs and other typical food of the day.

The hands-on event helps the boys better understand why some cultures think and act certain ways based on traditions, history, circumstances, and beliefs – that diversity is good.

They learn about each other, too. The boys do not choose their family at Genesis, they are all in state custody and placed into a diverse community where boys of different races, religions, regions and other viewpoints are naturally introduced. The cultural fabric here is comprised of 38% African American, 35% Native American, and 28% percent Caucasian boys. They come to Genesis from all parts of Oklahoma.

A goal of culture nights is to help our boys see they are part of something bigger than themselves and learn our world is enriched when better understanding bridges the differences.

“I know it’s working because they ask me about the next culture night all the time. They give me feedback and throw out ideas to me. I learn from them,” Briggs said.

The night is even getting more creative. Briggs and boys are now planning a culture night in outer space. From learning the planets to constructing popsicle spaceships, imaginations are building a new culture where no boy has gone before. We anxiously await to see what they take to the new world and what they choose to leave behind. One thing is for sure, kids and staff from different backgrounds and beliefs will do it together. And that’s why we do culture night. 

See a photo gallery of recent culture nights at the bottom of our blog.