“The Genesis Home is not for [homeless] people. It’s for people that need to [find] a home.”
-Josh, age 7
Josh is right. Genesis Home isn’t just about providing shelter for homeless families.
It’s about empowering families to achieve housing stability.
When we found Josh’s letter in our archives, it reminded us just how powerful our youth enrichment efforts within the Family Matters program can be.
The goal of Family Matters is to help families identify and overcome the root causes of their homelessness, while taking a holistic approach to teaching life skills essential to obtaining and retaining permanent housing. That holistic approach includes providing youth enrichment programs for our Genesis Home children.
From summer camp at the YMCA to after-school tutoring and reading programs, we work to give our kids the tools they need to focus on academics, build confidence and learn skills that will help them both inside and outside the classroom. However, we would not be able to achieve these goals without our Genesis Home supporters who donate both their time and money. In fact, thanks to the efforts of fundraisers, volunteers and corporate sponsors, we raised nearly $25,000 for our youth enrichment programs and direct client assistance through the 2013 Great Human Race.
Former Genesis Home Board member and our 2013 Great Human Race Honorary Chair Barbara Smith said working with children during their stay at Genesis Home is paramount. “There’s a great amount of work done for the children at Genesis Home,” Barbara said. “They need a lot of help and support, and there are so many different programs at Genesis Home that achieve this with leadership and guidance from our family services coordinators and volunteers.”
Recent Genesis Home graduate Hafiza Marshall echoed that sentiment. She attributes her son Devon’s academic growth to our youth enrichment efforts, specifically the after-school tutoring program. “He’s made the honor roll,” said Hafiza. “Genesis Home gives you that little tap for you to go forward, but you end up pushing yourself forward.”
Thanks to your support, we are able to continue providing youth programs that empower our Genesis Home children to push themselves toward a bright future.
Your donations help us make a shelter a home, and we thank you for providing the support we need to run programs like our points system incentive program.
With a mission-driven process of fostering independence and offering positive reinforcement, the program staff at Genesis Home are utilizing donated goods to incentivize and generate excitement around goal achievement. While we will continue to use donated items to furnish our family suites and help our graduates in their new homes, we are offering basic necessities to our current families in a “points system” incentive program.
Here is how it works:
We sort donations as they arrive and set aside the items we need for incoming families. The needs of a new family are the top priority. When a family moves in, our case managers advise our staff of the family size, and the room is completely set up for them with items such as towels, bedding, toiletries and cleaning supplies. We call this our “Welcome Wagon.”
Items that are not needed immediately for new families are set up in a “store” and a point value is assigned to each item. Toothpaste may be 10 points while a set of single sheets could be 300 points.
When Genesis Home families move in, they work with their case manager to set long term goals that are broken down into weekly goals. We believe in rewarding hard work and recently our staff built a point system to recognize accomplishment. Points can be acquired in categories such as Finance and Asset Building, Parenting, Personal, and Community. The points within each category are directly linked to overarching goals we have for our families. Even the children can be involved. Every school-age child must take part in our after school tutoring program. Points will be awarded to the children for their academic accomplishments and they will be able to spend their bonus points on donated books, toys or games. Once points are acquired, our clients can go shopping in our “store” to spend their points on family necessities.
Nearly three years ago I had the privilege of meeting Danielle, a single mother who had a young daughter and was pregnant with her second child. When she arrived at Genesis Home, Danielle didn’t have much. She had no job, no car, no support system and no idea how she would support her children. What she did have was a strong determination to make a better life for her family.
With support from her Genesis Home Family Services Coordinator and the Durham Circles of Support program, Danielle was empowered to harness that determination and achieve her goals. Today, she has a full-time permanent job with benefits, reliable transportation and stable housing.
Your support is what has helped Genesis Home empower families like Danielle’s. Thanks to you, we are able to provide a warm, caring and safe environment to every family who walks through our doors. I have seen first-hand the impact you make on our families through the money and time you have given. Our parents receive the guidance they need to make better financial and health decisions; our children receive the tutoring they need to make better grades.
From furnishing family suites to buying bus passes for job interviews, every dollar you donate makes an immediate impact. I urge you to continue supporting our efforts by making another donation this year or by volunteering your time. We are grateful to have you as a partner in our efforts to help end homelessness, one family at a time.