A Message From Sam Gabriel
I came from the Ivory Coast as a refugee and soccer was my motivation when coming to the US. I played for Iowa United for a year but my parents were limited in not only their written and spoken English but also the hidden rules of middle class Iowa. The expenses & transportation involved with formalized soccer were a burden that the coaches and other parents had to take care of because my family could not. When the next year came around, I was not selected to play on the team even though my talent was above average. I kept hearing the word burden and the feeling of not being included in the very thing that gave me hope when coming to the US caused many complications while growing up.
On top of soccer was my academic story. I came with a fifth grade education level from the refugee camps and was immediately placed in the 7th grade which I was unprepared for. I struggled with my school work and have spent years trying to educate myself. I am proud to say that in 2018 I became a college graduate after obtaining my bachelor's in Health Administration at Mercy College. Understanding the struggles of my youth and knowing I needed a better support system from my community and my own parents brought me to the point I am today. This is why I created Genesis.
What We Do
We provide the services our children need to level the playing field while empowering them and their immigrant families through athletic play, education, dance and song.
We embrace the many languages of our community while building solid grounds where their play will become the work that changes the world.
Executive Director & Co-founder
Director of Arts Programming & Co-founder
Our shared experiences drive us to support and inspire children whose obstacles often prevent them from success. We seek to remove those barriers and drive opportunity for children every day, through athletic play, education, dance and song.
How We Do It
ENGAGING: We make learning, growing, and playing the building blocks for our children’s success.
NOURISHING: We reward curiosity, and light paths of discovery that level their playing fields.
CARING: In a safe, nurturing, family environment, we educate and collaborate with volunteers, mentors, and community partners to foster awareness of the lived experiences of vulnerable children.
RESPONDING: We radiate joy, share optimism, and delight in the everyday successes of the children we serve.