AP NEWS

Genesis House unveils new Open Arms program

January 24, 2019 GMT

A new program in David City aims to provide education opportunities for women in the community.

The Genesis Personal Development Center, also known as the Genesis House, is a learning center for survivors of domestic violence that’s been serving the area for the past 18 years. Each year, the nonprofit’s services are utilized by about 100 people from Polk and Butler counties.

The organization’s newly launched Open Arms Program is an initiative to expand the resources of its facility at 474 N. 12th St. in David City and offer educational workshops for women. Nicole Gasper of David City was hired on four months ago to serve as the organization’s new Open Arms Program Manager.

“Genesis House itself is a support center for survivors of domestic abuse, and this program is going to extend beyond that,” Gasper said. “Just as our open arms title suggests, we’re going to welcome women of all ages, all walks of live with open arms to provide them with education opportunities.”

Gasper said the nonprofit is going to partner with local businesses and organizations to host events to teach basic life skills, gardening, finance, health and computer education. In addition, the Genesis House is looking into expanding its center’s services, such as establishing a computer lab in its center for patrons to benefit from.

Executive Director Pat Lostroh said the organization has never had a program like this before. She said the nonprofit is looking into applying for grants and hosting fundraisers to support and expand the reach of the new initiative.

“We just want to offer education programs to woman to help them improve their lives,” Lostroh said. “We just think if we go in a new direction that we might be able to reach new people.”

The Genesis House is partnering with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office for its first workshop. Deputy Marla Schnell will be a special guest speaker at event from 5-6 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the Hruska Memorial Public Library, 399 N. Fifth St. The event will highlight safety strategies for avoiding internet predators, stalkers, domestic violence and child abuse.

“We believe when women are empowered, when their voices are heard, when they’re educated, it makes all the difference. That’s what makes strong communities, strong families, so we can grow and thrive,” Gasper said about the workshops. “We just want to make it comfortable, be there for that support, that fellowship, just be that helping hand.”

The event is free, but prior registration is due by Jan. 25. Registration forms are available online at www.genesishousebutterflies.wordpress.com and at the center. For more information on future events or how to partner with the Open Arms Program, contact Gasper at 402-367-3585 or at nicole.genesisbutterflies@gmail.com.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.