One-year program helps women get back on their feet
By Robyn Wheeler
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Genesis Center in Kaufman Pastor Nancy Schoenle and Genesis Center resident Amanda spoke to Rotary Club members at the Cedar Creek Country Club July 18.
“The Genesis Center is a faith based, shelter for women and children,” Schoenle said.
“We have room for up to 44 residents. Currently, we have 33 women and 13 children,” she added.
The Genesis Center residents seek help and shelter to recover from domestic violence and chemical dependency.
During recovery, women must commit to a structured one-year program which includes regular counseling, working at the Genesis Center thrift store, Twice Around, and assisting with community activities such as painting nails, helping with Bingo at nursing homes and at the chamber of commerce.
“The Genesis Center does not receive any government funding or grants,” Schoenle said.
“Our thrift store provides 50 percent of our funding, and churches, individuals and our fundraisers provide the other half,” she added.
“We are about making them a success and being able to go farther,” Schoenle said.
The Genesis Center offers their services at no cost to the residents; however, residents must obey all the rules and take their recovery seriously.
“We are up at 6 a.m. and when we are not in classes, we are working at thrift store,” Amanda said.
“I am going to college and want to help others do something with their life,” she said.
Residents may work toward earning their GED and attend classes at TVCC during their stay.
On weekends, the residents have free time for movie night, games and relaxing.
“Some residents have never played games with their family before,” Schoenle said.
“When residents leave, many of them continue to have a family night,” she added.
“Years ago it felt like we were putting a Band-Aid on the problem. Now we have a high success rate and other shelters are asking us to help them implement our program,” Schoenle said.
“If our program is not making a substantial change, it is a waste of time,” she added.
Genesis Center classes are designed around the residents needs and provide essential skills in anger management, life skills, parenting and creating resumes.
The center provides a peaceful and safe environment with 24 hour supervision and camera monitoring in most areas of the facility.
The Genesis Center has added three new offices for their counselors, a new gym, daycare, prayer room and multipurpose room.
With the purchase of the property next door, the center moved their thrift store from the housing facility to make room for more residents.
“The Genesis Center taught me how to live and the support from the classes showed me what I needed to change in my life,” Amanda said.
“They go above and beyond to meet our needs physically, mentally and spiritually. They put us back on our feet,” she added.
Twice Around thrift store is open Monday-Saturday and sells appliances, clothing, books, at discount prices.
The Genesis Center also installed a new septic system which allowed for more bedrooms to be built. Within the next year or two, the center hopes to be able to take in more residents.
“We take in women from all different faiths. Nothing is forced upon anybody. The spiritual aspect helps with building self-esteem but it is not a condition to be there,” Schoenle said.
After graduating, residents may come back to the center to attend year-after-care programs, sit in on classes, and visit with counselors.