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Busted for his acts of kindness, Freeland teen to get award

Maverick Christensen of Freeland has been caught doing unsolicited good, and he’s going to be honored for it.

Maverick, 13, a Langley Middle School seventh-grader, is Island County Children’s Commission’s first “Caught in the Act” award recipient because of the way he treats others in school and in the community.

“I feel very grateful,” Maverick said Thursday. “It’s a very big honor. I can’t believe they picked me to be the first one.”

“He’s a really good citizen, basically,” said his father, Bret Christensen, who with his wife Goldie owns Celtic Viking Jewelry in downtown Langley. “He has a super sense of right and wrong.”

“We’re certainly very proud of him,” he added.

Children’s commission officials will present Maverick with his award at next week’s Langley City Council meeting. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, at city hall on Second Street.

“Caught in the Act” (CITA) is a new program of the volunteer children’s commission, which was established in Island County in 2007 to address the needs of young people in the community and to break down the barriers between youths and adults.

Youths to age 20 can be CITA-nominated by anyone in the community who wants to reward acts of unbidden helpfulness, said Cynthia Shelton of Langley, one of 20 members of the commission scattered throughout the county.

“We’re looking for kids caught doing something good that nobody asked them to do,” Shelton said. “We want adults to say they know some neat kids.”

“We think it’s really important for young people to get recognition for the positive things they do,” agreed Dan Bond, a county health department official who is working with the children’s commission.

“There are a lot of really good kids out there doing positive things,” he said.

Maverick was nominated for the award by two secretaries at the middle school, Mary Eaton and Debbie Daumen.

“He’s willing to step up and take on any project and see it through without constant supervision and guidance,” their nomination reads.

They also praised the way Maverick stops to say hello to special-needs students, “and to students who look sad.” He makes people feel comfortable and welcomes them easily, they added.

“I think everyone should be treated fairly,” Maverick said. “I try to do as much as I can.”

His nominators said Maverick also is continually helping out in the community as president of the school Builders Club, which among other activities works with service organizations to collect donations for local causes.

Shelton said “Caught in the Act” is designed to be part of the children’s commission’s effort to bring the island’s young people and adults together.

She said the commission includes a number of teenage representatives.

“They fully participate in every meeting,” she said.

In the past two years, a number of sessions throughout the county have been conducted with teenagers and adults to determine how each group views the other, and to search for common ground.

“Both have said they feel there’s a negative impact on each other,” Shelton said.

That’s where programs such as CITA come in, she said.

“It’s designed to get adults to see young people doing good things, so they will be less suspicious of them,” she said.

Shelton said the commission’s aim is to bring the county’s teens and adults together.

“Within two years, we hope every Island County adult can have three new teen friends who are not members or their families, and every teen can have three new adult friends,” she said.

“Our goal is to notice good things coming from kids, and vice versa,” she added. “We want to break down the stereotypes.”

Maverick is a good student who likes math and science, and who plays basketball, football and other sports.

He promised to continue to do his part to promote helpfulness throughout the community.

“People usually are happy about it if you solve their problems in the right way,” he said.

Maverick, like his father Bret, is named in honor of the old television western series “Maverick,” which was aired between 1957 and 1962. Bret Maverick was the featured character in the show.

“That’s how I got my name,” Bret Chrstensen said, “and I always said I’d name my first son Maverick.”

As for Maverick, he can’t wait to get his award.

“I’ve been very excited,” he said. “I’ve been counting down the days.”

He said he may wear all or part of a suit he acquired for a recent wedding, and that he’ll be delighted to make a speech if asked.

Maverick is in the middle range of a family of six children, three boys and three girls age two to 20.

“We’re going for sure,” his father said of Monday’s award presentation. “But we don’t know how many of the family to bring. We take up a little bit of space.”

For information about the children’s commission, or to make a CITA nomination, call Dan Bond at 360-678-7884, e-mail danb@co.island.wa.us or visit the Web site www.islandcounty.net/health/Children’s_Commission.

Community Events, April 2014

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