Month: June 2017

Grants Allow Us to Create Opportunities, Choices and Supports for Our Members

At Genesis Development, we are very fortunate to have support from individuals, businesses and organizations in the communities that we serve. Some of this support comes from our great donors and their passion for what we do. Other support comes from grants and organizations that exist to better the lives of everyone they surround. Here are the grants that we have received in the last fiscal year. Thank you to the great organizations that provided these.

Benton County Community Foundation

Belle Plaine Supported Community Living Program was awarded $2,900 to provide “The Power of Safety in an Uncertain World.” This funding allowed our members to purchase Basic Emergency Preparedness Kits; Portable Weather Alert Radios; & First Aid Kits for all of their homes. The staff then had professionals come in and train the members on the use of all the items. It was an       awesome grant for our members and very well received information for all!

Benton County Community Foundation

Belle Plaine Supported Community Living Program was awarded $2,900 to “Build Relationships Through Community Inclusion.” Funding will be used for specific community activities for the members. A few of those will be a trip to Isle Casino & hotel for an overnight; a day trip to Lost Island Water Park in Waterloo; A Rough Riders Hockey Game; and bowling outings to the Belle Plaine Bowling Alley. Thank you Benton County!

Bock Family Grant

Perry Mental Health Services was awarded $5,000 to  provide School Based Therapy in the Perry Community Schools.

Boone County DCAT Minigrant

Boone Explorer’s Camp was awarded $700 to cover rent of the Boone Historical Center where the campers meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Boone County Endowment

Boone Explorer’s Camp was awarded $5,000 to cover fees associated with activities and outings for the campers throughout the summer. A few examples of outings are:    I-Cubs games; Fort Frenzy; Bowling at the Tiger Bowl in Madrid; Blank Park Zoo & arts and crafts items. These activities would not be possible without these generous funds from the Boone County Endowment!

Boone Early Bird Kiwanis

Boone Explorer’s Camp was awarded $250 to pay for a summer pool pass at the Boone Municipal Pool and pool snack punch cards for the campers. Thank you so much Boone Early Bird Kiwanis!

Buena Vista County Employment Services

Storm Lake was awarded funding for our members who have paid employment in the community. This is crucial to the success of our members in finding and keeping jobs!

Leonard A. Good Trust

Boone Explorer’s Camp was awarded $12,500 to allow the program to provide scholarships to youth who can’t afford the camp or don’t have allowable funding to participate. We are so grateful to the Leonard Good Trustees for this funding!!!

Poweshiek Community Foundation

Grinnell Supported Community Living Services was   awarded $3,884 to provide “The Power of Safety in an Uncertain World.” This funding will allow our members to purchase Basic Emergency Preparedness Kits; Portable Weather Alert Radios; & First Aid Kits for all of their homes. The staff will then have professionals come in and train the members on the use of all the items. It’s an  awesome grant for our members, thank you Poweshiek Community Foundation!

St. Martin’s Grant

Hope Wellness Center in Woodward was awarded $975 for the purchase of science based curriculum for the   program as well as items to build a resource library at the center. Thank you to the board at St. Martin’s for this funding!

The Second Mile

Grinnell was awarded $1,000 to apply to programs and services! Thank you board of The Second Mile. It’s through grants like this that we’re able to do what we do!

United Way of Boone County

Boone Vocational Services was awarded $6,000 to provide transportation to, and from, work for our members who are employed in the community. This ensures they are able to keep their full-time jobs. Transportation costs are an issue at all of our sites and a huge THANK YOU to   United Way of Boone for your assistance at our Boone site.

Winterset Kiwanis Club

Winterset Discovery Program was awarded $300 to be used for outings and activities of the sites Discovery    Program. Thank you Winterset Kiwanis Club!

Three State Grants

Vocational Services were awarded funding for our members to get and find employment in our communities. Almost all of our sites get these funds:
1) Employment Services Grant (ES) funding
2) Iowa Vocational Rehabilitative Services (IVRS) funding
3) Making the Grade Grant

Explorer’s Day Camp in Full Swing

The Explorer’s Summer Day Camp in Boone is underway for the 2017 season.

Starting in 2009, the Explorer’s Program was created to provide an organized program that would     provide a safe, structured environment for children with disabilities during the months when they are not in school-based programs. Participants are referred through case managers, social workers and school teachers. Any child with disabilities under the age of 18 in Boone County is eligible to apply for the camp.

The camp staff work on goals that are specifically created for each child so that they can keep up and continue progress in social, academic and interpersonal areas.

This year’s Explorer’s program is as full of life as any other year. Campers are participating in a number of events such as: visits to the police and fire stations, swimming at the Boone Community Pool, picnics, games at Fort Frenzy, crafts, movies and so many other activities. Explorer’s meet every Mon., Wed. and Fri. through the summer.

A program like this could not be done without support from our community partners and monetary support from grants and our great donors.

To find out more about the Explorer’s Summer Day Camp and how you can get involved, please contact Cathy Miller at the Genesis Development Boone office.


Many Changes on the Board for 2017-2018

With a new fiscal year, comes changes to the Board. This means a change in the officers and can also mean some board members leave while new ones are added. A term is three years and no board member may serve more than two consecutive terms.

We said goodbye to five board members and we can’t thank them enough. Jim Barnett, Jane Heun, Brian Phillips, Jerry Roberts and Gretchen Rowedder, have attended their last meeting with Genesis.

New faces were added to the Board. Kathy Bravard, Sue Richardson, Dan Emmert, Karen Carman and Bill Steussy joined our board for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Genesis Development is governed by a volunteer board of directors. This board makes executive decisions and casts a vision for the organization. It is one of their duties to make sure that we are following our mission and caring for our folks.

Our 2017-2018 Board is helmed by Board President, Donna Sutton, Vice-President, Timothy Heisterkamp, Secretary, Bill Steussy and Treasurer, Pam Nystrom.

Storm Lake’s 4th Annual Golf Tournament Brings Community Together for a Good Cause

Genesis Development in Storm Lake had a beautiful day for their 4th annual charity golf tournament at Sunrise Pointe Golf Course. Twenty-five teams of golfers enjoyed the great weather and networking opportunities all while supporting a very good cause.

The day’s activities included golfing, a meal, a silent auction and a raffle. All of the proceeds from the tournament go to support Genesis Development of Storm Lake. This year, the tournament raised over $10,000.

Tournament organizer, Sarah Bartling said, “Most of the money goes towards our Discovery program. We use it to go to places like sports games, the zoo and other places. Our folks have the   biggest say in how we use the money to benefit them.”

The whole community of Storm Lake gets into the fundraiser through golfing in the tournament, sponsoring a hole, donating items for the silent auction, selling raffle tickets and putting up flyers for the event.

In addition to the communities involvement in the golf tournament, there are many volunteers that are needed to make an event like this like this happen. From prepping, setting up, serving food, cleaning up, to many other things, there is always something for a volunteer to do. Many of our members also come out to help with grilling, serving food and making sure everyone has a great time.

“This is a great fundraiser and community event and we look forward to continuing it for many, many years. Thank you to everyone that helps make this possible.” said Bartling.

For more information about this event, or to get involved next year, contact the Storm Lake office.

Genesis Development Hosts Winterset’s Fourth of July Festival

To celebrate Independence Day, Genesis Development is holding a community celebration called Genesis Development’s Fourth of July Festival from 10:30am till 9:45pm on July 4th at Riverside Raceway.

During this event, everyone is welcomed to come out for a day of fun. There will be activities for the whole family to enjoy. Live music, food trucks, obstacle course, tug of war contest corn hole contest, car show, BINGO and much more. The day will conclude with a fireworks show beginning at 9:45pm.  Tickets for the event are $5 per person ($1 for students and city workers). All of the money raised will be put toward the clients of Genesis and their activities in the community.

Genesis Development Programmer, Mary Richards said, “Our small town is growing, and many of the members in the community want to stay local for the holiday. The town is very supportive of local businesses and organizations, so what better way to showcase this support by holding an event that everyone of all ages can attend. Without the support of the community members and local businesses and organizations, this event would not be able to happen. Many businesses in the community have contributed to this festival and we could not have done it without them.” Those contributors include: Casey’s General Store, Lanny’s Automotive, Creative Play Space, Agrivsion, Central Iowa Auto Club, Hy-Vee, Sports Page, Kiwanis Club and Lions.

Genesis Development is committed to providing opportunities, choices and support to individuals with disabilities in Winterset and central Iowa. For more information about Genesis Development or how you can give or serve, please contact Kyle Bloom at (515) 462-9083.

Genesis University is Getting a New Class

Genesis Development’s Leadership Class, called Genesis University, is gearing up for its 2017 class of leaders to learn all that goes into the things that are done at Genesis.

The class series runs over the course of six months. During this time, participants learn more about the; 1) Strategic Planning, 2) Fundamentals of Finance, 3) Leadership, 4) Public Relations, 5) Human Resources and, 6) Legislative Impact that are a part of Genesis’ corporate structure. The course is designed to give staff a better view into what Genesis is and what it takes to do the things that Genesis does.

“Genesis University gives good insight to the way that we do things company-wide,” said programmer Korryn Johnson. “My favorite part was being able to meet co-workers from other areas and visiting the sites.”

Genesis University began in 2007 with  department heads selecting individuals to be a part of the program. In 2015, the class changed to have participants  nominated by their peers. To date, there are approximately 90 individuals that have gone through Genesis University that remain employed here.

Every year in October, an Alumni Class is held. This is a day-long meeting for alumni of Genesis University to discuss a particular topic. It is an on-going training and part of the Genesis University experience. Lisa Anderson, a Genesis University alumnus said, “It is a fun way to invest into our staff and recognize the leadership potentials in them.”

This year’s Genesis University class is set to begin in April and continue through the next six months. Congratulations to this years participants: Liz Giesselman (Adel), Jodi Warford (Adel), Kristine McKnight (Adel), Maureen McClain (Boone), Tiffany Kelly (Boone), Tasha Warford (Boone), BreAnna Dozel (Grinnell), Jenny Heishman (Grinnell), Misty Boucher (Indianola), Michele Butler (Indianola), Jen Mastin (Indianola), Liz Spencer (Indianola), Jason Adams (Guthrie Center), Kacey Beckendorf (Jefferson), Jenni Paulsen (Jefferson), Kerry Moore (Jefferson), Melonie Persoon (Storm Lake), Jennifer Sliefert (Storm Lake), Jean Williamson (Storm Lake), Kendra Kajer (Toledo), Kim Shipley (Toledo), Marcella Castillo (Toledo), Amber Aller (Winterset), Heather Hope (Winterset), Bobbi Peterson (Waukee), and Olivia Regenwether (Woodward).

BVU Partners with Faith, Hope and Charity, Genesis Development and Elijah’s Project to Present “Choose Blue for Autism” Event

Buena Vista University has partnered with Faith, Hope and Charity, Genesis Development and Elijah’s Project to present the sixth annual “Choose Blue for Autism: Take Steps to Make a Difference” a weekend of events designed to educate and raise awareness of the complications that arise from an autism diagnosis. The weekend kicked off with a dinner and silent auction on April 21 and finished with a full day of activities on April 23 that included a 5K race, a panel of experts and a youth fair.

Choose Blue for Autism was expanded this year to include further opportunities to raise funds and awareness in honor of BVU President Fred Moore, and his wife, Susan’s longstanding commitment. The couple’s adult son, Stephen, has  autism, and when their family moved to Storm Lake in 1995,  Stephen was one of the first students in the local school district with autism.

“We are thrilled that BVU can be a major sponsor and help Choose Blue expand their fundraising this year as a thank you to Fred and Susan Moore for their 22-year commitment to the community,” said Marie Sennett, 2017 Choose Blue coordinator.

Funds raised from the events will go to Faith, Hope and Charity, promoting independence and individuality of children and young adults, and to Genesis Development, helping adults live independently in their communities as their abilities allow.

“There are too many gaps in services,” said Sennett. “Our youth and adults should be  given all the advantages in school and job training to overcome any limits a diagnosis of autism brings. Genesis Development and Faith, Hope and Charity need our help to continue to fill those service gaps and bring our loved ones independence.”

Sara Morton, development director at Genesis Development, said, “Genesis Development works hard to provide our most vulnerable population with assistance and accommodations but most importantly, a voice. Donations allow us to give a voice to individuals that have never had one before and give them the ability to go out and do things that they have always dreamed of doing. When people generously care, give and support, we can change lives.”

“This is such an important event,” added Carol Williams, development director at Faith, Hope and Charity. “While we work with children with a variety of diagnoses, 46 percent of the children we serve have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. These disorders don’t discriminate, affecting children from all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Events like Choose Blue for Autism increase awareness and assist organizations to enhance programs and services to better serve families and children in our area.”

For additional information, please contact Sennett at 410-916-6200 or

Indianola Student Work Program Leaves School Happy

This is the first year for a new partnership between Genesis Development and Indianola Public Schools with the Genesis Vocational Program and things are going well for both groups. This program is based on Genesis’ Experienced Based  Career Exploration (EBCE) program.

The EBCE program started 10 years ago and was developed as a partnership between Genesis and Boone Community Schools. The program has steadily grown to include 7 high schools across central Iowa (Boone, Indianola, Jefferson, Norwalk, Perry, Storm Lake and Winterset). The program focuses on helping students with disabilities to gain professional skills and real work experience while they are still in school. The program consists of unpaid internships in the community and in-school professional development training.

The Indianola School district submitted an article to the Des Moines Register explaining the program, the goals and the  benefits.

The article pointed out that one student has gained employment from the EBCE program and many others are in the interview process.

An EBCE student interviewed in the article said, “I’ve learned many skills with the Genesis program like the interviewing process and creating a resume. It really helped me learn about my strengths and weaknesses. Also, that the skill of how to act appropriately at the workplace is vital.”

Genesis Development is always looking to partner with schools in the communities we serve.