Month: January 2018

Genesis Development Gears Up for 45th Anniversary in 2018

Genesis Development began in 1973 as the Greene County Sheltered Workshop with a rented building at the fairgrounds. Forty five years later and Genesis has 14 locations serving 16 counties across   central Iowa. This past year has seen Genesis serve over 4,200 individuals in a variety of services.

The Development Team met in November to come up with ways for every site to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Genesis Development.  The group came up with the year’s theme “45 years of  Creating Dreams and Opportunities.” The group also decided that this year should be one in which Genesis gives back to the communities that have supported us for the past  forty five years.

Throughout 2017, each Genesis location will be choosing an event to celebrate the  45th anniversary and give back to the greater    community. These events can range from food drives to blood drives and anything in between.

If people would like to participate in the Genesis Gives Back program, information can be found at the nearest Genesis location beginning in February.

To help the feeling of camaraderie, The Development Team also instituted a t-shirt design contest. Any staff or member was invited to submit a design for the 45th anniversary t-shirts. The t-shirts will be given to each staff as a gift to be worn a the community events throughout the year. The winner of the contest would receive $100 and have the design printed and displayed at their home site.

The Development Team narrowed the entries to the top five and all staff and members had an opportunity to vote for their favorite. The winner was entered by the SCL team in Indianola.

Lastly for the year, many sites are working with their area Chamber of Commerce to plan events for local businesses to bring more awareness to the 45th anniversary of Genesis Development.

While the year is shaping up to have many events to commemorate the history of Genesis and remembering the changes that have come about, the future is still in the gaze of the company as change is inevitable and Genesis Development continues to thrive.


Employee of the Year: Kayla Dollens

Kayla Dollens was named Genesis Development’s Employee of the Year for 2017. The award comes from a committee of her peers that recognize her efforts to go out of her way for her teammates and the members.

Dollens works in the Hourly Supported Community Living department in Dallas County. One of her members over the past year has began to show signs of dementia and other memory loss. Dollens realized that the member hadn’t spoken to her daughters in years. She got permission from to reach out to her daughters and invite them to Adel.

One of the daughters came to Adel and Dollens mediated a meeting between the two. She explained what was going on and smoothed over some rough patches in the conversation.

At the end of the meeting, the daughter agreed to be a part of her mother’s life again.

There are many other stories specific to Dollens that show she truly is the Genesis Developmetn  Employee of the Year.

Associate Director of  Services, Josh Tuel, says, “Kayla is truly one of the most selfless, kind, caring and compassionate people I have ever had the pleasure to know.”


Genesis Partners with the HICS Region for a New Drop-In Center in Dallas County

On January 3rd, Genesis Development opened our first Drop-In Center in Adel, IA. This new venture is the result of a partnership between the Heart of Iowa Community Services region and Genesis Development. The Drop-In Center is open to all adults with a mental health    diagnosis (in Audubon, Dallas, Greene and Guthrie counties) who are wanting a place to go to meet with peers and find supports in their community.

The Drop-In Center will host a variety of activities each month for members to participate in as they choose. These activities will include potlucks, crafts, puzzles, video games, and so much more. Members can provide input into the kinds of activities and events that are available. The Drop-In Center also plans to be involved in the community and volunteer where help is needed.

Overall, the Drop-In Center is a place where individuals with a mental illness can come and meet new people, socialize with peers and interact in a safe, open, and inviting atmosphere.

In addition to the scheduled  activities, members will have access to information about resources and providers in the area. This information will include services for general assistance, food and living, counselling and many other services.

The Drop-In Center will be supervised by Megan Hicks of Genesis Development. In addition, members will be hired as part-time staff to help coordinate and run the schedule of activities as well as provide peer support to other members. This group, along with some other members, will make up an advisory board that will plan and coordinate  Drop-In Center functions.

“I’ve been an advocate for mental health services for many years and the biggest issue I have seen is the stigma which prevents individuals from creating the connections and the support that they need. The Drop-In Center is a much needed, stigma-free, open space where someone with a mental illness can go to make friends and to find supports,” said Hicks.

Every member of the Drop-In  Center will have the same goal to build peer and natural supports. Other goals can be addressed and worked on as members choose to with the help of the Drop-In Center supervisor and staff.

“Heart of Iowa Community Services Region is excited to partner with Genesis on the new Drop-in Center. Drop-in Centers with peer support have shown to increase individuals’ social and interpersonal networks, help meet basic needs and assist with much needed resources, and give voices to members wanting to promote change. HICS is excited to see this program grow and hopefully expand in the future,” said HICS region CEO, Darci Alt.

Any person in one of the Heart of Iowa counties with a documented mental health diagnosis (and co-occurring issues) is eligible to use the Drop-In Center. After a meeting with Hicks and approval by the HICS region, an individual can begin coming to the Drop-In Center as they wish.