Marvin Claude Coble was lucky. His grandmother was able to care for him and his older brother when his mother died. “She did a really great job,” Claude admits. But just the way things go sometimes, he started having trouble in school and eventually came to live at Kurn Hattin as a 6th-grader in 1966. “The nice people, especially the Rogers and the Watsons, helped me immeasurably in adjusting to my new environment.” Sports were important to Claude and with the changes of the seasons, he played football, basketball and baseball. For music study, the trombone and the drums kept him busy. “The social skills classes and discipline I received and having a positive attitude helped me become very independent and a survivor in any situation. I learned acceptance and tolerance. I really credit that to Kurn Hattin. Kurn Hattin gave me independence.” Claude continued to advance his skills and career. However, the many challenges of raising a child in today’s society posed some issues. One of which was that his and his wife Paula’s daughter, Brianna, a bright and talented young girl, wasn’t reaching her full potential in the school she attended. So they contacted the home and school that put Claude on the track to his success—Kurn Hattin.
Brianna is in her second year at the Homes and is on the Honor Roll. She’s a drummer, in the Select Choir and Jazz Band, and is a great basketball player. “When I pick her up to take her home for a school break, she asks if there is anything she can do to help. I was shocked at first. Is this my same girl?” Claude laughs. “She’s confident and polite. With her head held high, Brianna adds, “It was amazing to be able to follow in my father’s footsteps. I came here for a better education and surroundings. Before I came, I didn’t have as many friends as I have now. School is definitely better.” Claude says he’s indebted to Kurn Hattin. “This place transformed my life. I would not have had the life I have, had I not come here. And now, in a time of need, it’s also helping my wife and me with our daughter. She’ll do just fine now too.” Paula agrees, “I feel that Claude is a whole person, because he is able to think on his feet. He is very versatile and communicates well and confidently with everyone. I believe the education and strong foundation he received as a child at this home for children gave him that foundation. I am happy that Brianna is also able to learn the important things in life, much of which I am not able to show her. I believe that she will grow to be a strong and independent woman and for this reason I am delighted and feel blessed that she is here.”
Claude and I took a walk across the road on campus to a big shady tree. “Look, I planted this tree in 1967. It’s grown big and strong.” Claude smiles proudly. “I learned to embrace life. Take the good with the bad and keep moving. Keep smiling. Brianna is learning these important things too.”
Senior Development Officer