On March 28th, a team comprised of volunteers from the community, staff and board members walked the 2015 Great Human Race at Northgate Mall in Durham. It was a beautiful day with music, games and fellowship in addition to the 5K race/walk. The Genesis Home team raised $3614 to pay for summer camp and needed supplies for the children of our shelter guests. Summer is typically a time of great joy for young people as they escape the confines of the classroom until school resumes in August. The summer can be a challenge for low-income and homeless families though as camps are expensive and arrangements must be made in order for parents, usually single parents, to maintain needed employment. Jobs are crucial for anyone hoping to secure and sustain permanent housing and Genesis Home works to ensure that all of the families residing in our shelter have the opportunity to attend summer camp. Arrangements have been made with the YMCA of Durham for summer camp spots and in a matter of a few weeks, agency staff will purchase swim suits, running shoes and other necessities for the summer camp experience. Our kids are fired up and ready to go! We appreciate the support of our summer camp donors and thank each of you for making this experience possible for our young people living at Genesis Home. The Great Human Race will be run again in March of 2016 and we hope that you'll again make a gift to support this very real need for our families and children.
For over twenty-five years we have provided shelter and services to hundreds of families and on average have 30-35 children (with 20 school age children) living in our transitional shelter in downtown Durham. We have operated at capacity for the last five years to meet the unprecedented need resulting from the “Great Recession”. We currently house up to fifteen families at a time.
Genesis Home supports two core programs that serve homeless families with children. We provide quality transitional shelter and support for families through our original program, Family Matters. Family Matters works to increase household income, improve financial literacy, promote family health and wellness, address disabling conditions, and move families into permanent housing as quickly as possible.
Equally important is our commitment to provide enrichment for the children who live in our shelter. All school age children meet with a tutor four times a week to help keep them at or above grade level and to work on their academic strengths and weaknesses. Twice a week volunteer groups meet with our kids to provide enrichment ranging from physical activity to arts and creative pursuits.
The support of our friends in the community not only keeps Genesis Home’s doors open to families in need, but provides them with a stepping stone to a better life. Funding from the community allows our kids to experience quality cultural enrichment programs reaching all ages (0-17) and to attend a summer camp when school is not in session. These types of programs provide our kids a safe, enriched experience that helps them prepare for a brighter future.
Through the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), program, Durham (NC) Links awarded scholarships for elementary, middle and high school students to participate in STEM-related summer camps. These students have participated in STEM outreach activities of the Durham Science and Everyday Experiences (SEE) program. The scholarship will support the goals of encouraging more students to pursue STEM-related disciplines in higher education and provide financial assistance opportunities for students to engage in STEM-related summer programs. Two high school students, Kamare Hardee and Menefese Kuduma-Cavell will be attending the Intro to iphone App development by Shoder Educational Foundation. During this interactive one-week camp, the students will learn the basics of mobile app development in the context of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. Michkia Brooks will be attending another Shoder Camp on Forensic science for grades 6-8. This Forensic science experience emphasizes the methods of observing, gathering and analyzing physical evidence to solve mysteries and it’s a significant part of solving crimes and maintaining justice. Another recipient, Makayla Faye Grice will attend the NC Museum of Life and Sciences Engineering Lego Summer Camp experience for grades 3-5, where she will enjoy a week of building, programming, problem-solving fun, LEGO® style! This camp uses award-winning LEGO® WeDo and Mindstorms NXT kits to create an array of robots, a variety of sensors and their creative minds to design , build and program their robots to complete a challenge chosen by the group.
Each summer and during specific school breaks (such as fall and spring break), our families are faced with a stressful dilemma. As parents prepare for independence by working or going back to school to improve their job prospects, the summer break and holidays require them to find child care that is safe and affordable. Almost 90% of the families living at Genesis Home are single female heads of household. Given their limited resources and lack of support, many of our parents wonder how they can keep their jobs or attend school when their children are out of school.
Your support to send our kids to camp and provide culturally enriching programs year round will aid in the development of a well rounded young person. Help support Genesis Home's efforst to send all of our young people to camp!
MAKE A DONATION
Send Our School-aged Children to Summer Camp and Beyond. Here's how your dollars make a difference:
$15 - Lunch box, water and food containers
$30 - One week at day camp for one child
$120 - Four weeks of day camp for one child
$240 - Eight weeks of day camp for one child
Thanks to the efforts of individuals and local businesses, Genesis Home will be able to send all of our school-aged children to summer camp this year! The Eye Center was a Gold Level sponsor for the second year in a row and played a significant role in helping us send kids to camp. Learn more about this great business through a Q&A with Manager Caitlin Casale.
Why did The Eye Center want to support Genesis Home? The Eye Center doctors and staff feel a very strong sense of pride in our community. We appreciate the fact that Genesis Home keeps families together and provides education and opportunities that families need.
Is this the first time you’ve done an event with Genesis Home? As a group we have enjoyed sponsoring Genesis Home and walking in the Great Human Race for the past two years. We also provide eye exams for the families staying in Genesis Home.
Can you tell us more about your business? The Eye Center is a local business owned by Dr. Naheed Kassam. The [original] Eye Center is located in Durham. We now have a total of five convenient locations in Durham, Fayetteville, Burlington, Wilmington, and Raleigh. We strive to give the most thorough and technologically advanced eye exams possible.
What makes The Eye Center unique? We are among the few providers in the country with AccuExam Technology, providing super accurate prescriptions for glasses and contacts as well as comprehensive ocular health exams.
What do you like best about Durham? Durham is a wonderfully diverse area with an awesome feel. There are many wonderful outdoor parks and restaurants that are really fun. There are also some great music venues, walking trails, and kids’ museums. It is an overall great area with great people.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? We are really glad to be able to take our specialty and help such a wonderful organization!
Did you know...
Children who experience homelessness are sick twice as many times as other children, have four times the rate of asthma and suffer twice as many ear infections.
To help homeless children beat the odds, Genesis Home created the “5K to $40K Challenge: On Your Mark. Get Set. Achieve!” as part of its participation in the 19th annual Great Human Race. The first $10,000 we raise will send all school-age Genesis Home children to summer camp. Any additional dollars we generate over $10,000 will go toward supporting other youth and family enrichment programs:
“Homelessness shouldn’t be a handicap for our young people,” said Genesis Home’s Executive Director Ryan J. Fehrman. “Supporting Genesis Home in the Great Human Race gives us the resources to ensure that all of our young people have the support and services that they need to be successful.”
Genesis Home is in its 25th year of working to end homelessness for families with children by providing housing and supportive services to foster independence. In 2013, the agency served an all-time high of 110 children through its three programs: Family Matters, Turning Point and Durham Circles of Support.
For just $120, we can send one homeless child to summer camp for eight weeks. Please make a donation today and help homeless kids beat the odds.
 Ellen L. Bassuk, MD, and Steven M. Friedman, Ph.D., Facts on Trauma and Homeless Children, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, http://www.nctsnet.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/promising_practices/Facts_on_Trauma_and_Homeless_Children.pdf (2005).
Twenty-one strangers convene in an unfamiliar place. No cell phones, no TVs, no laptops. They are dropped in the woods late at night with only a map and a mission.
Although it sounds like the promo for a new reality television show, it was the reality for 21 incoming freshmen at Duke University. The nighttime challenge was only the start to an exhausting and exhilarating pre-orientation program in which a team of seven students would spend their week volunteering for Genesis Home.
Project Change, co-sponsored by the Duke Women’s Center and the Kenan Institute for Ethics, is an immersive leadership experience in which new students live, learn, and work in Durham.
Through the program, students compete with a team of peers and select a nonprofit to work with for one week to find ways to solve critical problems.
“Genesis Home stood out because they change people’s lives rather than just giving them something,” said freshman Henry. “They help people change their perception of opportunity.”
On August 13, seven students commenced their work with Genesis Home. Their task: to educate downtown Durham businesses about Genesis Home and entice them to support the organization. Although many of the students had community service experience, corporate outreach was a new challenge.
“We learned that doing the educational part before the fundraising helped them be more receptive,” said freshman David . “The Play House toy store on 9th Street even helped get us an application to get diapers from the Diaper Bank of North Carolina.”
Freshman Jessica agreed. “I personally did not experience a single time a manager or owner refused to at least take one of our fliers. I think that shows how much people in Durham care about improving the community.”
By the end, the group connected with 38 downtown businesses and local organizations. In fact, one business owner turned out to be a former Genesis Home resident who shared her great appreciation for the students’ valuable work.
Project Change earned support from 21 percent of business owners and organizations – through Barrels of Joy, Houses of Hope or in-kind donations. Additionally, Genesis Home also has secured five more donations from local businesses thanks to leads from the students.
All 21 Project Change participants had the opportunity to share a meal with the families and spend the night at Genesis Home in a communal living space without any personal items or toiletries. They experienced, for a moment, what it might be like for new residents.
“Living in a communal living space, you can’t get away,” said David. “Families, even in times of stress, have to pull together.”
And that’s also what the students now see the community must do to end homelessness in Durham.
“A community cannot function well unless all its members are properly cared for,” said Jessica. “The misfortune of some affects us all. Genesis Home helps families get back on their feet.”
One way you can help our families get back on their feet is by supporting the children in our programs. The opportunity to go to summer camp each year gives our youth a fun and productive way to spend their days while allowing their parents/guardians the time they need to work toward independence and housing stability. Please consider making a donation today.
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Director of Development