Brody HS

Brody Smithwick

After working as a GED instructor and Chaplain for several years within the jail, Brody began seeing radical change in many of the individuals that came through those programs. He founded Lion Life with the goal of seeing more of these students equipped to thrive in life. He holds a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Georgia, as well as a Master’s of Art Degree in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University where he was awarded a Teaching Fellowship. He also serves on the board of directors for Cherokee FOCUS, a non profit organization that exists to improve the lives of the children and families of Cherokee County. When he’s not writing or teaching, he’s probably blowing bubbles with his daughter or daydreaming about his lovely wife.

Amy HS

Amy Smithwick

Amy, co-founder of Lion Life, has worked alongside her husband, Brody, since its inception. Her passion to serve others through teaching, discussing, and making Art comes from her own personal experiences with the power of music. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Music in Vocal Performance from Kennesaw State University, spent time singing with Pacific Opera Company in Sydney, Australia, and is a part of an indie folk band called Rugiet. She also works as the Creative Director for Forgiving Forward, a non-profit organization that teaches people how to forgive and how to help others forgive. When she is not composing, she is most likely watching classic films with her husband, or dancing with her daughter, Keziah.

You can find out more about her Opera Career here.


Stephen Gilcrease

Stephen Gilcrease started his journey with Lion Life as an ESL volunteer and quickly found a passion for teaching in the jail. He started to branch out by teaching more classes offered by Lion Life. Eventually, Stephen was hired to fill the role of Programs Director and he has never had more fun! Working with these students is truly a one of a kind experience, and he says it has changed him for the better. Stephen graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Communication and Psychology. When he is not in the jail, he spends his time at home with his dog, Molly.