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Dustin's Story

When I arrived at Genesis, I ran into Scott, the executive director, and another board member, Matt Howard, who were giving a facility tour. Some men were installing new basketball goals that were adjustable in height and I saw some of the boys using it later and was impressed with it.  I walked with them as Scott explained our procedures and we visited the school. Mrs. Traci Sowers, the teacher, invited us in and introduced us to the students. The first boy we met was Dustin, and he stood up, introduced himself, and shook each of our hands. I was impressed with his friendliness, willingness to please, and making an extra effort to make us all feel welcome. Little did I know that I would be interviewing him in a short while.

I settled in the library and waited for one of the staff to bring me a boy to interview. Dustin came in with a good attitude and was ready to chat. Dustin is eleven and almost twelve years old and knows he will age out of this program. His birthday falls in May so his days are numbered but he acted confident that everything would work out for him. 

He has lived in Oklahoma City and has an older sister who is 13. He has been here more than five months and enjoys himself most of the time.  He likes to draw and favors the colors black, red, purple, and white in his artwork. He wanted to share a drawing that he had in his room. It was a colorful picture of an Easter basket and he thoroughly enjoyed showing me his work. 

Dustin does not like school and mentioned he had been in 17 facilities. He favored one of his last ones in Tulsa where they provided lots of snacks and desserts. He loves dogs and remembers having some at his home including a Jack Russell, a Rottweiler, a French bulldog, and a spotted pit bull named Maggie, his favorite.  He bragged about being a good swimmer and could dance - especially if he wore Nike or Jordan shoes. He likes music and shared with me several singers he enjoyed including Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, In Sync, and the Back Street Boys.  He concluded the interview by telling me he hoped to become a fireman when he was grown.

After our interview, he came over to Scott and me and offered to bring us some lunch as the boys were eating outside with pizza. It was such a polite gesture, extended from his heart, and genuinely a nice neighborly thing to do. He was not directed to do so by any staff member but it came from his heart, which reflects what the staff instills in each boy. He brought me a piece of pizza that I selected and chatted with us outside and we got to see him shoot a few baskets with the new goals.  

I pray when he leaves Genesis, that he has been given the necessary skills to succeed in his new environment. These boys have been kicked around and when they arrive at Genesis, it is another, new, tough road to hoe. The entire staff diligently gives from their heart and offers their all to help these boys succeed. Dustin has a good heart and seemed to enjoy sharing his views with me. He appeared to have a good footing and I am optimistic that we have given him the necessary tools to flourish. He was a delightful young man that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting and getting to know. 

Later, Scott confided in me that he does hear from former residents who have fond memories of their time at Genesis. It warmed my heart to know that impressions run deep and are a part of these boys' hearts touched by the efforts. It does make a difference. From the time the boy is assigned to our facility, everyone works extremely hard to guide these youngsters. I love getting to know some of the residents and hearing their own, personal stories.