Skip to main content

Our Blog (Good, Informational Stuff)

News & Events

Maverick the Lion Hunter

Scott Coppenbarger, the executive director, escorted me into the building and brought me a young man to interview. He explained that I served on the board and liked to meet different boys when I visited the facility. I had arrived early (before the board meeting) and this young man was the most inquisitive I had met. His name was Maverick (which fit him perfectly).

I brought in a notebook and right off the bat, he noticed me looking for a blank page to start taking notes. He observed that I had a lot of cursive writing on several pages and wanted to know what I had written. I am a true notetaker and keep a notebook handy. He wanted me to go through it page by page and I selected a few and explained the contents and he was satisfied with my response.

Maverick is ten years old and from Sterling, Oklahoma. He has four sisters and is the only male in the family. He was the second youngest and will be celebrating his birthday in June. He said if he could pick out a special meal for his birthday he would select pizza, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets with birthday cookie flavored cake with the choice of vanilla or strawberry ice cream. He would throw in some chips, and everyone would drink root beer floats. It sounded like a great meal and if it materialized, I hoped he would invite me.

Maverick is in fifth grade but has a broken right arm so he cannot write. He had on a soft cast but was going to the doctor where they would apply a hard cast. He must put a plastic bag over it when he showers. The staff assist him when he needs to write something down and he enjoys his math class best. He likes music class, and his favorite song is “Stay” sung by The Kid Laroi (and Justin Bieber), but he only mentioned The Kid Laroi.

Someday he would like to live with his older sister and her fiancé. This is his second time at Genesis; he was here two years ago. Someday he would like to own a Beagle and would name it Swifty or Spot. He had never had a pet before. He knew he would age out and be moved to another facility.

Then, more questions followed. I carry a blue plastic bottle with flavored water and he wanted to know what I was drinking by asking, “Is there wine in your bottle?” He amused me and immediately asked me about my oldest daughter in the next breath. I appreciated his curiosity to figure out how the world truly operates. He plans to become a hunter of wild animals like lions as he has seen mounted heads on walls; that appeals to him. We did discuss where wild lions live and that he would have to travel by plane to Africa, but he is leery of heights. His favorite activity at Genesis is swimming even though all he can do is dog paddle. He would rather swim in a pool than a lake (he has been to Lake Arcadia) and does not want to be in any water where sharks reside and he was not the least bit interested in scuba diving because of that very reason.

He likes the Genesis staff and his favorites included Miss Karen who was his case manager, Kalia, the recreation coordinator and Miss Mickey, a direct care worker. When we finished, he pleasantly told me goodbye, and I attended the board meeting.

As I was heading to my car, I saw the boys outside taking turns pushing a lawn mower and enjoying themselves. They were learning a valuable skill, took pride in their abilities, and beamed with their new accomplishment. Seeing the boys in action, you get a new perspective on their willingness to learn and see self-satisfaction in their actions to gain ground. It reminds me why so many people engage in the Genesis Project and are committed to making a difference in these young boys’ lives. They prosper through your effort to assist through your prayers, time, and giving freely from your heart.