“Home Begins Here” was a special summer program for seven children living at Genesis Home. Project goals included exploring what it means to “be seen”, exploring a wide range of creative expression, gaining exposure to various artistic disciplines, using critical thinking, and creating works of art. The seven participants accomplished all the goals listed above and more during the week-long project. These young people had never participated in a week-long camp let alone an immersive artistic experience of the type provided during “Home Begins Here”. Agency staff also observed a marked increase in the confidence and self-esteem of the participants and credited this to the programming and mentoring provided by the various facilitators and special guest artists. The project made a huge difference to the seven children who participated and their parents who were able to keep attending jobs and school which would have been disrupted without the positive programming made available to their children. Research shows that children in homeless households are at risk of a variety of negative behaviors including teen pregnancy, gang involvement, and dropping out of school. Positive programming of the type provided by “Home Begins Here” creates positive self-esteem, healthy relationships with adult role models, and a sense of accomplishment in children and these outcomes were observed by both facilitators and staff during and after the project.
Thank you for helping make these special moments available for our children.
Each and every day, the perseverance and tenacity of the families here at Genesis Home is moving - each is dedicated to improving their situation and building a better life for their family. Families like Malinda and her two sons and three daughters. Just one year ago, Malinda was pregnant and seeking to regain custody of her four children. Her greatest desire was to bring her family back together again under one roof when she heard of Genesis Home. Genesis Home provided her with a place to reunite her family and the opportunity to rebuild her life in the Family Matters program.
Today Malinda is a graduate of the "Going Places Network" at Dress for Success and has secured part-time employment where she is in enrolled in a management training program. She has secured permanent housing for her family. She credits Genesis Home's financial literacy and life skills programming for helping her secure permanent housing, and her case manager for helping her set goals and stay focused. "My goal is not to end up back in this situation again; therefore I must make the change," said Malinda upon graduating from the program.
Like Malinda, the majority of Genesis Home families have multiple issues with which they are dealing. Many of these issues stay with them after they leave the shelter. Genesis Home is implementing a program to increase its support to families after they leave the shelther. The Aftercare Program will provide case management services and volunteer support to move families into permanent, stable housing as quickly as possible with continued follow up support for up to one year to ensure housing retention. The role of the Aftercare case manager is to help families transition successfully to self-sufficiency in their own housing and to prevent returns to homelessness. We have been piloting new roles for volunteers as well. We believe the efficiency and effectiveness of the Aftercare model is heavily dependent on deploying our rich pool of talented, trained, and committed volunteers. Volunteers can provide a wide range of supportive services: from mentors who can assist with life skills development such as financial planning to Circles of Support volunteers who can provide practical and logistical support to families exiting the shelter system.
I am the new Director of Development at Genesis Home. During one of my very first days I saw 2 little girls wandering in the hall near my office which is in the same buildling where the families live.
They looked lilke they might be lost so I asked with my big eager smile, "Can I help you find your home?" One of the little girls popped her head up and said emphatically, "This ain't our home, this is just someplace we stay."
I asked her what she called the"place". She just shrugged her shoulders.
I didn't know either. But I never called it a home again.
Genesis Home houses more children than adults at any given period. They can't have a puppy, or friends over, or paint their wall any color they like . . . or even put up a spiderman poster.
But - they laugh and are shy and are precious. They fall down, get up again, and run to their parents.
They go to daycare and school and camp - - and skateboard down the hilly sidewalks - much to my shagrin.
But . . .Genesis Home isn't their home . . . I don't live here (she said). I just stay here.
Your donations, gift cards, love and support will pave the way.
Blessings to you,
Robin, the newbie