House Managers

House Managers

Maxwell Shockley

Maxwell Shockley is the house manager at O’Connell House 2, where he leads a gifted and collaborative team. He aspires for all youth in his home to feel heard, enjoyed, and accepted, while serving them with guidance, teaching, and care.

Maxwell earned a Bachelor in Economics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has helped run youth ministries, explored stand-up comedy and puppetry, and completed master’s level coursework in spirituality and comedy. Maxwell has also worked in retail, founding a successful overstock furniture store emphasizing e-commerce and social media marketing.

In joining OCS Maxwell has returned to his focus on counseling and teaching, working to build an atmosphere of stability and joy for the youth of House 2. Outside of work, Maxwell’s time is spent reading, drinking tea, taking care of his house, spending time with loved ones, and pursuing his interests in alternative therapy and positive psychology.

Cheryl “Dawn” Barnes

Dawn Barnes is the house manager of O’Connell House 1. After her own two children reached school age, Dawn began work as a paraprofessional in a high school. She discovered that she had an affinity for working with older kids who needed extra support and guidance. Dawn also began working with the high needs population, including a child with Rett Syndrome, teaching her the importance of patience, love, compassion and kindness. Dawn’s family also fostered and then adopted a 16-year-old high needs autistic boy, transitioning him into an adult group placement at age 21.

Her commitment to the growth and development of struggling youth led to her decision to join O’Connell Children’s Shelter. Dawn focuses each day not only on preparing the youth in House 1 for life outside foster care, but also ensuring that they know without a shadow of a doubt that they are loved and cared about.

Head shot of Dawn

Lex Mapes

Lex Mapes is the house manager at Williams House, where he leads a dedicated team at the forefront of LGBTQ inclusive housing for youth in foster care. The primary goal of Williams House is to provide refuge from the discrimination and harassment that LGBTQ foster youth often face by celebrating, supporting, and centering their voices during their time in care.

While employed with OCS, Lex earned his Bachelor of Social Work at Washburn University. His passion for advocacy grew even stronger during his internship with the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and later as a camp counselor for Kansas’ first ever LGBTQ+ youth leadership summit.

In his free time, he enjoys fostering for the Lawrence Humane Society and spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Head shot of Lex Mapes

Sydney Harper

Sydney Harper is currently the house manager and case coordinator for the Winter Facility at the O’Connell Children’s Shelter. Sydney is a proud member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, which is a federally recognized tribe that lays on the southern basin of the Colorado River in Arizona. In 2014, Sydney came to Lawrence to pursue her education at Haskell Indian Nation’s University. While at Haskell, she was the vice president of the Social Work Club and received numerous academic accolades. She successfully attained her degree in American Indian Studies with an emphasis in Social Work in 2018.

Sydney has dedicated much of her time in serving the youth of Lawrence. While going to school full time, she served two full terms with AmeriCorps as an academic enrichment facilitator with the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Lawrence.  During her time with club, Sydney was awarded by the Lawrence Kiwanis Club for her leadership and dedication to the organization.

Sydney has been with OCS over the last four years and has enjoyed every minute of it. She started as house staff, and then moved to the Food Service Coordinator for Winter and Williams. She then became both the case coordinator and house manager at Winter House. Since accepting these two roles, Sydney has worked on reshaping the Winter House atmosphere. Winter is geared towards helping youth look at the next step in their lives. Whether that be college, job opportunities or something as little as a state ID, youth are provided a safe and nurturing environment.

In her free time, Sydney enjoys visiting with her three nephews, swimming, fishing, and watching/playing basketball. Sydney also enjoys the company of her large family, including over 25 first cousins.

Head shot of Sydney Harper