Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Focusing on the Good

... whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

"It was a rainy day when I visited Boys Ranch Town, but there was nothing gloomy about Kevin. He was busy addressing graduation announcements and was looking forward to graduating from Edmond North High School. “I can’t tell you how excited I am about graduation,” he said.

Kevin has changed from the seven-year-old I met in 1996. He was in the first grade then and living at the Baptist Children’s Home at Madill (now the Baptist Home for Girls). Stability was a real need for Kevin then, since he had lived in 16 places before coming to the Children’s Home.

Kevin adjusted well to the Home and got along well with the other children and staff and was known for his curiosity and energy.  Geri Marple, Kevin’s caseworker, said, “Kevin has more curiosity than almost any child I’ve ever known. He’s like the Energizer bunny; he just keeps going and going and going.”

In October of 2000, Kevin moved to Boys Ranch Town in Edmond and has lived there since, accumulating lots of experiences and memories.

Some of his favorite memories are of trips. He recalls trips to Washington, D.C. and Yellowstone National Park; a cottage vacation to the Mexican border; and a mission trip to Tuba City, Arizona. He says, "I liked Yellowstone the best because of the solitude.  And the cabin was great!”

Kevin holding a lambThe Ranch was a great place for Kevin because he loved showing pigs and riding horses. In past years, he has participated in the BRT horse program, the small animal program, and the lawn program. He says, “The lawn work was hard, but definitely enjoyable, and you earn cash.”

For the past three years, Kevin has worked at a horticultural and gardening nursery in Edmond. He works in customer service, annuals, and stocking. “It’s a good job,” he says.

Kevin credits houseparents Rich and Eddith Larsen with having a big influence on his life. He says, “They’re like my second parents. I was immature when I moved into their cottage, and they helped me mature. I learned a lot from them. They helped me be who I am today – more honest and a hard worker with integrity.” He is also grateful to Curtis and Harriet Hull, saying,”They’re also like my parents.”

When Kevin turned 18, a little over a year ago, he moved from his cottage to an apartment on campus.  He enjoyed having the apartment to himself, saying, “I like the solitude it provides me.” His car is a ’79 Cadillac which only gets 14 miles to the gallon, but Kevin says, “It runs good though, so I’ve got to be thankful for that.”

From the time I visited with Kevin in May, he has moved into an apartment in Oklahoma City with another resident from BRT. BRT paid Kevin’s first month’s rent as a graduation present and will keep in touch with him as part of the Transitional Living and After Care program.

He expects to go to college and major in business, hoping to own his own business or be a manager or CEO. He will take off one semester to save up some money and begin at UCO in January of 2009.

Kevin and bearKevin has truly grown and matured in the past 12 years. He is six feet tall now and the teddy bear in his hands has been replaced by a cell phone which he uses to send text messages to friends.

After he had shared so many good memories, I asked him if there were any bad ones. His answer surprised and impressed me. He said, “I really don’t remember bad times. Obviously there must have been some bad days, but I just remember the good ones – the enjoyable times.”

To those who make the ministry of OBHC possible, Kevin says, “Thank you. Because of you, a lot of kids like me have a roof over their heads and people who care about them."


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