My name is Adry Mijares, and I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. When I graduated from high school, I enrolled at Venezuela Central University where I obtained Bachelor Degrees in Biology and Education. I used to leave my house to go to university around 4:30 am and I arrived at home around 8:00 at night. Then, I had to study do my homework and get ready for my next day's class. It was very difficult for me and a lot of effort to achieve my goals, but it was worth all of the hard work.
I worked at a lab as a microbiologist for a year, and then I moved on to another job closer to my house with better pay. Meanwhile, I met Pablo Mijares on one of his trips to visit his family. Our friendship became a romantic relationship; years later, he proposed to me, and I immediately said yes. But there was an issue; he lived in the USA, and I lived in Venezuela. At first, I didn't want to come to the USA because I didn’t want to leave my family behind. But then, love was stronger, so I came to the USA and we got married.
Rhode Island was very different, in everything from the language to the weather. I wanted to be productive in this country, but the language barrier was an obstacle. I found Genesis Center, which opened their doors to me, and I enrolled in ESOL classes. My teachers, Bonnie Taylor and Sheryl Buchanan, made me feel very comfortable. Classes were hard, but I learned a lot. I felt more confident because I was fluent in speaking, writing and listening in English, which motivated me to think about getting a job.
I noticed that Genesis Center was offering a Medical Assistant Training Course. When I first applied, I was not accepted because I was not very well prepared for the interview. I continued studying to better myself, and when I applied a second time, I was accepted. My teacher, Gienia Kocur, did a fantastic job teaching us the entire spectrum of skills to be an efficient and productive Medical Assistant. Workforce Coordinator Liz Hanke was also very influential in job preparation, guiding us in how, where and when to look for a job. Gienia, Liz and Cindy Alvarado helped me to get an internship at Roger Williams Medical Associates, a CharterCARE group in East Providence, where I did all of my internship hours in a month.
When I completed the program, I got a job interview at St. Joseph’s Health Center in Providence; days later, they hired me, and I am still working there as a Medical Assistant. The interviewer told me that my internship supervisor had fantastic things to say about my job performance, and that I came highly recommended. I am very grateful for the support of the staff and teachers at Genesis Center. Genesis Center changed my life because once again, I can feel productive and help to better the lives of others.
Posted: Friday, October 7, 2016 12:05 am
Sheryl Buchanan, adult learning facilitator and evening coordinator at Genesis Center, was recently named the 2016 Outstanding Adult Educator of the Year by the Rhode Island Department of Education, based on her commitment to adult education, the teaching profession and her impact on student outcomes.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in education?
Teaching chose me. I have ventured into other fields but always wind up teaching. The classroom is where I feel valuable, and valued.
A wonderful experience with my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Findlay, inspired me to pursue teaching. She was strict but passionate. She found ways to teach me concepts that no other teacher could. I saw and felt that she cared for her students.
What, in your opinion, constitutes a good teacher?
A good teacher has multifaceted skills, is highly motivated and determined, and genuinely wants the best for her students; she is creative and passionate about making a difference in the lives of each student. Beyond having a wide cadre of knowledge, a good teacher knows where to source information; a good teacher listens and communicates; she entertains and has a good sense of humor.
Are there any challenges unique to teaching adults?
Yes. As all of us in adult education know, working in an adult center means being flexible and empathetic to needs and challenges that are different from those faced by educators of children and young adults. For example, losing a student to employment or because of a childbirth is bittersweet. My pet peeve is a change in a student's work schedule that causes the student to have to drop the class – seeing a student's potential, knowing you can harness it and help that student realize it, believing with all your heart and soul that if they continue, they will succeed – and then watching them get cut off from that.
What is most rewarding about your job at Genesis Center?
Being a learning facilitator by day and a coordinator in the evening gives me the unique opportunity to interact with most of the students at Genesis Center. •
Providence, RI - Genesis Center announced today that it has received a $49,000 strategy grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to support programming that prepares low-income Rhode Islanders for success in the workforce.
"This generous grant will expand education and training services that provide a 'bridge' to help unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders overcome the skills gap. Participants in our adult education and job training programs will now have access to a program designed to help them progress toward their goal of finding a better job in a career pathway,” said Shannon Carroll, president and CEO.
"Our Bridge class provides resources and guidance to adults who are working to achieve economic independence. This grant helps us to broaden the services available to learners and allows Genesis Center to be the place ‘where the will to achieve meets the skill to succeed,’" she said.
The 3-part strategy project will expand the center's existing basic education program, which is a hybrid in-person and online system for adults working to improve their education.
Participants will have access to a qualified instructor as well as online learning tools and industry-recognized certificates. It will also expand contextualized basic education opportunities for participants in the center’s job training programs to build critical thinking skills and develop the math and literacy necessary for success in employment and continued education. The initiative includes goals for sharing the center’s learning with other adult education and workforce development service providers.
The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $41.5 million in grants to organizations addressing the state's most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities.
"Every grant we make underscores our commitment to moving Rhode Island forward. We work closely with our donors and grantees to ensure there are the resources and the resourcefulness to achieve great impact," said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation's president and CEO.
Genesis Center, founded 34 years ago in Providence's West End, is a multi-service organization offering high-quality adult education, job training, support services and early learning for low-income Rhode Islanders who want to make a better life for themselves and their families. Today, it serves more than 800 adults and children every year from more than 35 countries. For more information, visit www.gencenter.org.
Sheryl Buchanan, one of our outstanding learning facilitators, has received this exciting honor from the Rhode Island Department of Education.
Grants to Genesis Center are part of United Way’s $3.1 million investment in programs that focus on housing stability, lifelong learning for children and adults, and helping families meet their basic needs
Providence, R.I. (May 4, 2016): Genesis Center has been awarded two grants by United Way of Rhode Island in the amount of $149,780 to support Adult Education and Early Childhood Education and its work to provide high-quality educational and support services that lead to employment for low-income community residents.
The grant is awarded by United Way for the first year of its new 2016-2019 competitive grant cycle, with a focus on funding efforts that help kids fall in love with learning, help adults reach new career goals, and help families meet their basic needs and achieve economic independence. In total, United Way has awarded $3.1 million in grants among the $12 million it has committed through 2019 to help change the lives of 250,000 Rhode Islanders by 2020, the overarching goal of its new strategic plan, LIVE UNITED 2020.
Through its Integrated Program Platform for adult learners, Genesis Center will be able to expand its adult basic education services that combine financial literacy, job readiness, and computer skills with targeted English and/or literacy instruction to give students the skills to compete in today’s job market. To accomplish this, Genesis will offer classes at partner organizations and augment its online learning capacity.
In its Early Learning Center, Genesis will be implementing several strategies to improve its learning opportunities for low-income, mainly immigrant children, including holistic supports with a strong focus on helping families address barriers to success. Program enhancements will also promote the two-generation learning model, so both parents and children understand that education is a key driver to goal attainment.
“We are excited that UWRI chose to fund both our adult education and early childhood education programs. Genesis Center has a unique arrangement that allows us to engage families around a common goal that emphasizes education as a vehicle for family success and promotes a two-generation learning model,” says Shannon Carroll, president and chief executive officer of Genesis Center.
Genesis Center submitted its funding applications in response to United Way’s request for proposals last fall. The submission was one of 224 proposals received by United Way. Funding proposals were put through a vigorous review process by a diverse group of 75 United Way community volunteers, who spent nearly six months reviewing proposals before delivering their funding recommendations to the United Way Community Investment Advisory Committee for approval. Volunteers received more than ten hours of training to become reviewers, and were tasked with taking a total of $16.5 million in funding requests to allocate the $3.1 million made available by United Way.
“While our goal of changing 250,000 lives by 2020 is ambitious, the innovative ideas of the funding proposals we received really captured the forward thinking we need to make the vision a reality,” said Anthony Maione, President and CEO of United Way of Rhode Island. “We know that when families have access to stable housing, children receive the opportunities they need to succeed in the classroom, and adults get the support they need to advance in the workforce, there’s no limit to how strong our communities can become—and that helps everyone.”
About Genesis Center
Genesis Center, founded thirty-three years ago in Providence’s West End, is a multi-service organization offering high-quality adult education, job training, and childcare services for low-income community members, immigrants, and refugees who want to make a better life for themselves and their families. Today, it serves more than 800 adults and children every year from over 35 countries. The mission of Genesis 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.
About United Way of Rhode Island
United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) has been working to improve the quality of life in Rhode Island for nearly 90 years. Together with its partners, UWRI is changing lives and strengthening our communities by investing in proven programs that work over the short-term, and are scalable over the long-term. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDri.org.
A grant of $7,500 was awarded to Genesis Center to support the Bridges to Career Opportunities program, a comprehensive educational and support services program that helps prepare learners for careers in health care or culinary arts while also building basic skills, financial literacy, and computer proficiency.
PROVIDENCE – Citizens Bank and NBC 10 today announced Genesis Center as a 2016 Champion in Action® in the category of strengthening communities through workforce development. Genesis Center will receive $35,000 in unrestricted funding, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its outstanding work.
The Genesis Center seeks to provide the highest quality education, job training and support services to people of diverse cultures with an emphasis on economic independence. Their services include job training, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), a national external diploma program and centers for both financial literary and early education. Through their education and training programs, Genesis served more than 700 adults last year in Rhode Island.
“Genesis Center connects people to critical training and resources which lead to meaningful employment,” said Barbara Cottam, Rhode Island market executive, Citizens Bank. “By naming Genesis Center a Champion in Action, we are providing resources to enable them to increase their job training services and quality education programs for local families and individuals seeking economic independence. Genesis Center is the embodiment of the type of organization we support through our Champions in Action program.”
Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities. It provides support for small nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout Rhode Island.
“Alongside Citizens Bank, NBC 10 is pleased to recognize Genesis Center, one of Rhode Island’s top education providers,” said Vic Vetters, vice president and general manager of NBC 10. “Supporting effective work readiness training is central to Champions in Action’s commitment to the Rhode Island workforce, and we look forward to working with Genesis.”
“Genesis Center is committed to providing high-quality adult education and workforce development programs that empower individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty by increasing their employability and improving their financial stability,” said Shannon Carroll, president and chief executive officer, Genesis Center. “Thanks to the generosity of programs like Champions in Action, Genesis is creating a community that works.”
As a Champion in Action, Genesis Center will receive:
- A $35,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from Citizens Bank;
- Media coverage from NBC 10, including public service announcements and television profiles over the course of six months;
- Volunteer support from Citizens’ and NBC 10’s colleagues;
- The opportunity for the organization’s executive director to participate in a “Executive-to-Executive” mentorship with Citizens Bank’s RI Market Executive, Barbara Cottam;
- Extensive public relations support;
- Promotional support highlighting the Champion in Action on all Citizens Bank branch DCN screens and on its ATMs;
- Exposure on both Citizens Bank and NBC 10 websites.
For more information about the Citizens Bank and NBC 10 Champions in Action program, visitwww.citizensbank.com/community/champions.
About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $135.4 billion in assets as of September 30, 2015. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle‐market companies, large corporations and institutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens helps its retail customers “bank better” with mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 Citizens Bank branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid‐Atlantic and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending and commercial banking services in select markets nationwide. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not‐for‐profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest hedging, leasing and asset finance, specialty finance and trade finance. Citizens operates through its subsidiaries Citizens Bank, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. Additional information about Citizens and its full line of products and services can be found at www.citizensbank.com.
Shannon Carroll is president and CEO of the Providence-based Genesis Center.
Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015 4:51 am
Shannon Carroll is president and CEO of the Providence-based Genesis Center, a post she has held for a little more than a year after serving as vice president of programs and then senior vice president of operations. The nonprofit provides education, job training and support services to immigrants, refugees and low-income families to help them achieve economic independence. Here, Carroll discusses how the nonprofit fulfills its mission.
PBN: Of the educational, job training and support services the center offers, which generate the most demand and how are you meeting it?
CARROLL: Our primary programs are ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), job training in the fields of health care and culinary arts, early childhood education, citizenship preparation, high school credentialing and wrap-around support services, including case management, job counseling and financial coaching.
We have waiting lists for almost all of our programs, but ESOL, with over 200 individuals at any given time, sees the most demand. To address this, we have expanded our evening program, implemented a distance-learning platform, and have been reaching out to local schools to offer onsite ESOL classes to parents of their students.
An important aspect of our program design is our interconnectivity, which also helps us address the multiple needs of our learners and meet demand in an efficient manner. For example, job readiness, computer instruction and financial literacy are embedded in all of our ESOL classes, from “absolute beginner” to transitions to college and careers. Learners can acquire the critical skills to succeed in today’s economy while building English proficiency. They can also transition from ESOL to one of our job training programs once their English improves. In addition, we have onsite childcare so parents and children can learn together in one building.
PBN: The Rhode Island Foundation just awarded the center a $47,265 grant that will help expand employment counseling services and establish a hybrid e-learning resource for unemployed and underemployed adult learners. Tells us about this e-learning resource.
CARROLL: We needed to expand our job counseling services to reach our highly motivated evening ESOL learners, who usually are attending classes after work so they can improve their English to get better jobs. With more intensive job counseling services, these learners can fine-tune their goals and get the necessary support to start on a career pathway.
The hybrid e-learning platform we are developing offers individualized curriculum options to augment classroom learning. Participants take an assessment that identifies competencies that need to be developed, and an online learning plan is developed to meet their specific learning needs. A classroom facilitator is assigned to guide each student and offer assistance, but much of the work can be completed at home to intensify and accelerate learning gains.
As the program takes off, we are confident that we will be able to serve more students in a more efficient way and, as a result, amplify our impact on the community by creating a more educated community that is prepared to meet the demands of today’s workforce. We are so appreciative of the support that the Rhode Island Foundation has provided us over the years.
PBN: What percentage of your clients are immigrants and what unique services do they require?
CARROLL: Approximately 75 percent to 80 percent of our clients are immigrants; the others are individuals who were born and raised in the U.S. and want to develop employment skills or get their high school diploma.
Last year, we convened a series of focus groups, and the overwhelming feedback was that the Genesis Center creates a welcoming environment for its learners. So, whether someone is an immigrant or not, we want everyone to feel that they are in a comfortable and safe environment that will promote learning and build confidence to attain their goals.
While we have nearly 40 countries represented in our student body and we embrace that diversity, the fact that someone is an “immigrant” is tangential to the services they receive that are always client-centered, outcomes-focused and mission-driven. Before I moved into administration, I was an ESOL teacher for adult learners, and I found that when students are engaged and relaxed, they learn better. That is the culture I still try to foster as I lead the center.
Having said this, there are pragmatic concerns when serving a large foreign-born population that covers a broad spectrum from new immigrants and refugees to immigrants who have been in the U.S. for many years. Wrap-around support services help students manage a myriad of issues, such as childcare, transportation, access to medical care, etc., that could hinder their progress.
Furthermore, our teachers need to be flexible, as a one-size-fits-all curriculum will not work. Many times an ESOL class may have a college graduate sitting next to a person who didn’t complete elementary school in his or her own country. That requires some savvy lesson planning, and our teachers are trained to adapt their materials and instruction to meet this range of learning abilities.
Our staff recognizes that our clients, while they may lack English proficiency, are highly motivated individuals who are seeking the skills to create better lives for themselves and their families. The research we did last year confirmed this and led us to create our new tagline, “Genesis Center: where the will to achieve meets the skill to succeed.” We aim to provide the tools to our learners and families to realize their goals.
PBN: The center serves more than 650 people a year in adult education and workforce development. Is this number growing and, if so, what other funding sources are you developing to help provide services?
CARROLL: It is growing, but we are limited by the space available in our facility and adult education funding, which has decreased in recent years. We hope that our partnerships with local schools, employers and our distance learning program will allow us to continue serving more participants.
We were very happy to receive a Governor’s Workforce Board Innovation grant this year that, in partnership with CharterCARE Health Partners and the city of Providence, has allowed us to develop a series of workforce trainings specifically tailored to CharterCARE. This type of partnership is what we and other education providers in the state need to be doing – providing contextualized training that builds basic literacy skills while simultaneously putting people on a career pathway.
It’s not simply about getting jobs anymore; people need opportunities to build careers that will promote family economic stability. We are confident that as more funders see the great results we’re getting, they’ll be more likely to invest in our programs. In fact, we saw the center’s highest job placement rate ever, 163 jobs in the 2014-15 program year.
PBN: As the leader of the center, what is your long-term vision for growth?
CARROLL: If we want to secure the resources to grow, we must promote awareness of our programs and our results.
A visitor to the center recently called us a “hidden gem,” and I think it’s time we no longer fly under the radar. I hope to get more exposure so we can attract more investment in our programs, which is really an investment in all of Rhode Island. The majority of our students come to Genesis to get a job, get a better job or build a career. To do that to the best of our ability, one of the critical pieces is to get employers on board.
I want employers to recognize the hugely valuable resource available to them through adult education providers, and to get to a place where we can work directly with employers to develop and implement programs that meet their hiring needs. We have eager future employees ready to train – and we can provide tailor-made, contextualized, high-quality trainings at a low cost. It’s a win for our learners and the employers.
We are also working to develop closer ties with higher education to provide seamless transitions to college credit-bearing classes so our students can acquire the necessary credentials to continue on their career pathways. I believe that a consolidated effort among community-based training providers, employers and higher education institutions can create a more workable world for all Rhode Islanders.
Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorneys, The Bottaro Law Firm
We are extremely excited and proud to kick off our charity partnership program this month with theGenesis Center, a wonderful organization that serves over 600 individuals in adult education, workforce development, and over 100 children in its childcare program each year. For every NEW page like the Bottaro Law Firm receives this month, we will donate this non-profit $1, so be sure to share this with friends and family to help raise awareness and donations! Thank you.
Genesis is now participating in Amazon Smile. When you shop at Amazon, just go to smile.amazon.com and designate Genesis Center as your favorite charity. With each purchase, Genesis will get a small donation. That simple. So SMILE.
Two Local Chefs.... One Mystery Fish
Come see Chef Anthony of Table and Chef Joshua of Genesis Center duke it out at the grand opening of the Armory Farmers Market in the third annual Seafood Throwdown! On Thursday, May 28 at 4 pm at Armory Park, the two chefs will face off by preparing a delicious dish using only a "surprise" seafood ingredient and a few items purchased at the market.
The event is co-sponsored between Farm Fresh RI and Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. Event hosts are Robin Dionne of the arcade providence and John Taraborelli of... just about everything. Culinary Creations will be judged by Peter Gobin of Mijos Tacos, two time Seafood Throwdown champion, Jim Nellis of RI FOOD FIGHTS, Julius Kolawole of African Alliance of Rhode Island and Jen McCann of Rhode Island Sea Grant. Come on out and learn about local seafood, buy some delicious veggies, and find out who this year's champion will be!