In the beginning...
Genesis Center was founded in 1982 to assist refugees from Southeast Asia – Laotian, Hmong, Cambodian and Vietnamese families – who were settling in Providence’s West End. Realizing their need for assistance, Sister Angela Daniels and Father Daniel Trainor opened The Genesis School for Indochinese as part of the Indochinese Advocacy Project. The former Assumption School on Potters Avenue was made available by Assumption Church, with financial assistance from the Genesis Foundation. In September 1982, Genesis opened to offer classes in life skills and English as a Second Language.
By 1985, Genesis Center was playing a major role in providing assistance to RI refugees and immigrants. The establishment of an on-site childcare center in 1985 was of paramount importance, enabling women to leave their homes and spend a major part of the day in classes. For the next two years, Genesis provided invaluable service to those in the greatest need in Providence’s West End.
In 1987, Genesis changed its name to The Genesis School for Self-Sufficiency as it prepared to expand its services to include a growing Hispanic population, as well as to address the increasing pressures for refugees and immigrants to obtain stable employment. With the assistance of Public Works Associates, The School began long-term planning, appointed a decision-making Board of Directors and established itself as a non-profit organization with its own 501 (c) 3 status. The School’s mission statement was changed to include outreach to any refugee or immigrant needing instruction in English-as-a-Second-Language, as well as other services provided by Genesis. The Genesis Child Care Center was renovated, complete with all physical and programmatic changes necessary for licensing by the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.
Genesis Center is a multi-service organization offering a full range of services to immigrants, refugees and low-income families. The mission of the Center is “to provide the highest quality education, job training and support services to people of diverse cultures so that they may achieve economic independence and participate fully in society.”
The Center raises funds from private, state and foundation sources. Less than 20% of agency funds are used for project administration (fundraising, administrative staff, accounting and auditing services).
Genesis Center has now served over 800 students from over 40 countries. Genesis offers day and evening adult education classes at its facility and offsite at local businesses. Classes are designed to fit the changing needs of motivated adult learners.