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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.

New Services at Hope Wellness Center Complete Their First Quarter

The Hope Wellness Center has been in operation for almost two years. They continue to serve people with both crisis management and transitional living needs. However, they are continuously adding services to serve the people in partnership with the Heart of Iowa Community Services Region. These services are the Mobile Crisis Response Team and the Crisis Hotline.

The Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) is a Genesis Development program which provides       emergency crisis assessment and intervention services to residents of Audubon, Dallas, Greene, and Guthrie counties in conjunction with law enforcement. The Mobile Crisis Response Team can be contacted though 911 or local law enforcement dispatch offices.

The MCRT program is designed to assist police officers in the Heart of Iowa region when responding to a call that includes individuals undergoing a potential mental health crisis. These calls can include: suicidal thoughts/attempts, strange or bizarre behaviors and uncontrolled panic or anxiety.

The Mobile Crisis Response Team is dispatched by the police department to the scene where the police officers and individuals are located. Each MCRT member is a mental health professional and trained in crisis assessment and intervention to provide these services (when  dispatched by police) regardless of the individual’s insurance status. The Mobile Crisis Response Team is on-call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

April marks the end of the first quarter for the new Mobile Crisis Response Team. The MCRT has been dispatched and responded to 20 calls in the Heart of Iowa Region assisting police officers dealing with individuals having a mental health crisis.

The Heart of Iowa Region Crisis Hotline is a Genesis Development program which provides counseling, crisis service coordination, information, referral, and linkage to services and crisis screening via telephone to residents of Audubon, Dallas, Greene, and Guthrie.

Each call at this 24 hour hotline is answered by a trained mental health professional with knowledge of local resources and aid. In addition, every  caller will receive a follow-up call within 24 hours after the initial call.

A crisis occurs when you need help to cope with what is happening in your life. Hope Wellness Center is here to help.