Life House Youth Center Parent/Participant Handbook

The Life House Youth Center would like to welcome you and your youth to our facility. To ensure that your youth gets the most out of our programs and activities, we would like for you to take a moment, along with your youth, to briefly read over some of our facility and program rules, regulations and code of conduct. These guidelines are designed to inform parents/guardians and participants of the Life House Youth Center of what are expected of them while they are at the youth center. 

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

The Life House Youth Center offers drop-in and after school programs. All programs are for students, ages 10-17 years old. The facility is open to youth free of charge. The Life House Youth Center hosts a number of daily activities including: tutoring, mentoring, recreational activities, cultural programs, and monthly special programs.  Because this is a free facility we need every child who attends to participate in 4 of our special programs per year. They will be fun and informative for them and helpful for us to provide information to our donors.  These programs may include topics like fun finance, cultural considerations, and substance abuse prevention.  We also have a dining hall where dinner will be provided nightly.

REGISTRATION

All potential Life House Youth Center participants must fill out the youth center registration form signed by their parent or legal guardian. Registration Forms are available at the Life House Youth Center and our website at LHCSullivan.org/Parent-Handbook. Youth and their parent/s or legal guardian/s will be required to provide the following information:

1. Current contact information, address, age, school

2. Medical Information, medications taken, allergies

3. Code of Conduct signed

4. Release of Liability signed

 

All Youth will be required to have their parent or legal guardian sign the Life House Youth Center

Registration Form and review the Parent Handbook and Code of Conduct prior to their participation in the youth center drop in program.

DROP-IN FORMAT

Participation in all Life House Youth Center programs is on a drop-in, voluntary basis. Staff is not responsible for youth when they leave the Life House Youth Center. Please make arrangements with your youth as to when it is appropriate to leave the facility and with whom. 

Late Pick-Ups: Any parent/guardian running late for pick-up must immediately notify the appropriate Site Supervisor. For participants remaining after the program has ended whose parents have not called, the Site Supervisor will call all phone numbers listed on the enrollment form in an attempt to reach the parent.  If a child has not been picked up by 1 hour after closing, the Sullivan Police will be called. If Sullivan Police are called, the Site Supervisor must document the incident in the child’s file and notify the Executive Director. Each program will determine its policy for parent/guardian’s non-compliance with the pick-up policy.

 

HOURS OF OPERATION

The Youth Center’s normal operating hours are:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 2:00 – 8:00 pm. Hours may change due to, early dismissal, and school breaks. The Life House Youth Center observes City and national holidays. Hours and program schedules are subject to change without prior notice.

SIGN-IN/OUT PROCEDURE

There will be a sign-in and out form at the welcome center at the front of the building as you enter. Anytime a participant enters or leaves the Life House Youth Center they are required to sign in and sign out at the welcome center.  Once the student leaves for the day they are not permitted back till the next day.  The Date and Time of when the participant enters and leaves is then recorded.

RESTROOM USE

_ All Restroom Use Rules are posted.

_ Any Participant caught vandalizing or using the restrooms in any manner different from its intended purpose, may lead to suspension, expulsion or removal from the youth center.

KITCHEN USE

_ Kitchen is off limits unless supervised by Life House Youth Center Staff. Food and drink are not allowed in any of the rooms besides the dining hall/multipurpose room.

_ Participants are responsible for cleaning, storing or disposing of their utensils.

_ Participants are responsible for their cleanup after Kitchen use.

COMPUTER USE

The Computers are available for Life House Youth Center participants only.

_ Priority goes to those participants using computer time for homework

_ The downloading of explicit material is NOT ALLOWED

_ Close all programs when finished

_ No food or drink is allowed anywhere except for the kitchen

_ Always ask a staff member for assistance if you come across something you do not know how to do

Failure to abide by these rules may lead to the suspension or removal from the youth center.

 

 

EMERGENCIES

ACCIDENTS AND ILLNESS

Parents or guardians shall be notified immediately of any illness or injury to the participant, especially head injuries. If the parents or persons designated in case of an emergency, serious illness, or injury cannot be reached, Life House Youth Center Staff will contact those individuals designated on the participant's registration form. If those designated individuals cannot be reached or do not arrive to the program site by the time a participant must be transported by ambulance to a hospital, a LHC staff member must accompany the child to the hospital. The LHC staff member witnessing the illness or injury must document the incident on the “Incident Form” and place it in the child’s file. A copy must be sent to the Executive Director.  The Program Director must notify the Executive Director immediately in the event of an emergency.  In the case of head lice, bed bugs or any type of bug, the parent will be informed to pick up their student immediately and student asked to leave the center until he or she is treated.  In order to keep the center safe from bugs and keep our students and families safe we will take the necessary precautions including checking your student’s head in a discreet, loving and respectful manner.  Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES TO ENHANCE THE SAFETY OF YOUTH

The following provides a framework and set of values for ethical and safe practice when working within the Life House Youth Center. The primary consideration of the employees and volunteers is the youth with whom they engage. The relationship between an employee/volunteer and a child can be an important source of personal support for the child. However, the relationship is a professional one and is intentionally limited to protect both the child and the employee. Staff and volunteers will maintain the integrity of these limits, recognizing the tensions between developing supportive and caring relationships with the youth and the need to preserve the boundaries of the professional relationship. All practices throughout the Life House Youth Center will be created and maintained in order to ensure a safe and caring environment that includes:

  • In order to protect the staff, volunteers, mentors and program participants, at no time will a staff member, volunteer or mentor be alone with a single child where they cannot be observed by others.

  • Volunteers will never be left alone with a child. Mentors may have a short time alone with their mentee under the guided supervision of the Volunteer/Mentor Coordinator. 

  • Room doors should remain open unless there is a window in the door or a side window beside it, doors should never be locked while persons are inside the room. All storage, maintenance and utility area doors will be secured when not in use.

  • Staff and volunteers shall not abuse children. The following may be examples of abuse:

    • Physical abuse – striking, spanking, shaking, slapping

    • Verbal abuse – humiliating, degrading, threatening, yelling

    • Sexual abuse – inappropriate touching or verbal exchanges

    • Mental abuse – shaming, cruelty

    • Neglect – withholding food, water or basic care

    • Physical restraint may be allowed if deemed necessary by the staff

  • Smoking, using tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs in the presence of children or parents during work hours is prohibited. Using alcohol or illegal drugs prior to working with youth is also prohibited.

  • Profanity, inappropriate jokes, and any kind of harassment are prohibited.

LIFE HOUSE YOUTH CENTER CODE OF CONDUCT

Participant Responsibilities

_ Participants shall be courteous and respectful of adults and fellow participants at all times.

_ Participants shall obey general rules of the facility.

_ Participants shall show respect for Life House Youth Center property and the personal property of others.

_ Parents are fully responsible for losses of and damage to Life House Youth Center by their students.

_ There is good cause to suspend participants who exhibit continued and willful disobedience.

_ Discipline at the Youth Center will be administered with firmness, fairness and consistency.

If a participant becomes aware of any potentially dangerous and/or illegal situations

regarding weapons, drugs alcohol, fights, property damage, theft, etc. or has information regarding such, he/she is requested to report it to a staff member.

 

 

PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR STANDARD

The following is a list of rules to guide participant behavior at the Life House Youth Center. The list is not to be all-inclusive. Parents should promote cooperation and agreement between the home and Life House Youth Center in an attempt to develop citizenship and high standards of behavior in our youth.

Assault and Battery

It is illegal to commit assault or battery upon others while at the Life House Youth Center. The Sullivan Police Department will be notified and all applicable state and federal laws will be enforced.

Assault, Sexual/Battery

It is illegal to commit sexual assault or battery upon others while at the Life House Youth Center. The

Sullivan Police Department will be notified and all applicable state and federal laws will be enforced.

Bicycles

Participants may ride bicycles to the Life House Youth Center providing that all traffic laws are obeyed. Participant is responsible for their bike. The Life House Youth Center assumes no responsibility for thefts or vandalism.

Interpersonal Relationships

Appropriate personal relationships are encouraged. The Youth Center policy is one of “hands-off.” Sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Participants are expected to follow the instruction of Life House Youth Center staff. If a participant disobeys any Life House Center Employee either by action or word, he/she will be considered defiant. Any form of defiance could result in permanent suspension.

Dress

Participants at the Youth Center have the responsibility to dress and appear in a manner that promotes a safe, neat, clean and wholesome environment. Participants are expected to dress appropriately. The final authority for what is appropriate, safe, clean, and non-disruptive shall rest with the Life House Youth Center staff. When necessary, the Sullivan School District dress code will be implemented to ensure adherence to the rules and regulations mentioned here of.

Gangs

Wearing, carrying or physically displaying gang paraphernalia or making gestures that symbolize gang membership is prohibited and will be confiscated. Engaging in an activity that is gang related is prohibited and will result in permanent suspension.

Harassment, Sexual/Hate Crimes

It is illegal to harass others while at the Life House Youth Center. The Sullivan Police Department will be notified and all applicable state and federal laws will be enforced.

Hazing

It is against the law for a participant to engage in any hazing activity or threatens to engage in any activity that causes or is likely to cause harm or personal degradation to another participant. Threats or other forms of hazing should be immediately reported to the Life House Youth Center Staff.

Illegal Substance, Drug and Alcohol

Use of or possession of any illegal substance at the Youth Center, or at any City-sponsored activity is grounds for Police notification and permanent suspension.

Loitering

Participants are not to loiter in front of the Life House Youth Center or the parking lot after hours.

Serious Injury, Attempting to Cause

If a participant attempts to cause serious injury to another person, it will be required that they be expelled from the Life House Youth Center. The Sullivan Police Department will be notified and all applicable state and federal laws will be enforced.

Substances

Permanent felt pens; aerosol spray cans of any type, shall not be brought to the Life House Youth Center.

Swearing, Profanity

Participants are not to use profanity or vulgar language. Swearing will not be tolerated. Participants will be counseled to be aware of their language. The circumstances will determine if more severe consequences are needed.

 

Theft

Participants have the responsibility for taking care of their own possessions. Theft is a serious violation of the law and will be dealt with a legal manner. Participants are discouraged from bringing large amounts of money or valuable items to the Life House Youth Center. The Life House Youth Center is not responsible for any lost or stolen items brought by a participant in the facility.

Threats

Threats of personal injury upon other participants are strictly prohibited and will be dealt with in a swift and severe manner.

Tobacco, Possession of Tobacco and Smoking

If a participant of the Youth Center has in his/her possession, tobacco or cigarettes, e-cigarette, cigarette lighter, or matches, this is ground for permanent suspension. Participants who are with other participants who are smoking should make a responsible decision to remove themselves from this area. Otherwise, they, too, may be permanently suspended. The Sullivan Police Department will be notified when participants are in possession of tobacco products.

Use/display of pagers and cell phones at the Life House Youth Center

The staff may advise participants, to turn off cell phones and pagers during certain activities held in the youth center.

Vandalism

Damaging city property or the property of others will not be tolerated. A police report will be made and any information on the suspect will be given to them. In any matter regarding such situations however, incidents will be written at all times by the Life House Youth Center Staff to keep a record of such behavior. Parents may be liable to pay for damages.

Weapons Brought

A participant may be expelled for possession of any firearm, knife, explosive or other dangerous object at the Life House Youth Center.  If you use a knife in a threatening manner you will be asked to leave the center and depending on the situation may be expelled. 

Behaviors described above will be addressed by following these procedures:

Depending on the nature and severity of the behavioral offense, staff reserves the right to enforce immediate suspension or appropriate measure(s). Should this approach be unsuccessful, the police may be called to protect the safety and welfare of others.

NO TOLERANCE POLICY

Any behavior WILL NOT be tolerated, this includes, but not limited to

Disrespect of Staff

Profanity

Fighting

Harassment of any kind

  • Verbal

  • Physically

  • Sexual

 

WILL NOT BE TOLERATED

No Drugs, Tobacco products or paraphernalia

No gambling activity or paraphernalia in possession

 

Action of Staff for Misbehavior

The general guidelines for how staff will proceed when our code of conduct is broken are as follows:

 

 

1st Occurrence

 

The student will be removed from the situation, the behavior will be identified, and its inappropriateness will be addressed. The student will be informed of the consequences if this behavior continues.

 

 

 

2nd Occurrence

 

Parents will be contacted and asked to pick up their student/student will be suspended the rest of the day.

 

 

 

3rd Occurrence

 

Parents will be contacted and asked to pick up their student/student will be suspended that day and the next.

 

 

4th Occurrence

 

Parents will be asked to pick up their student. One week suspension will be implemented.

 

 

 

5th Occurrence

 

Parents will be contacted and asked to pick up their student. The student will be removed from the center permanently.

 

 

Certain behaviors will be punishable by skipping to steps 3, 4, or 5 depending on staff members decision.

If a student is removed from the program permanently, they may return to the Life House Youth Center per the Program Director’s decision. The student will have to meet with the Program Director and one other staff member, present why they feel they should be let back into the center, and present a formal apology. These actions, in no way make a definite readmission within the Life House Center, that decision is solely on staffs’ decision.

Thank you for taking time to go over the Life House Youth Center's policies. If you have any questions, please contact Sean Monroe (Site Supervisor) at sean@lhcsullivan.org or by calling/texting at 636-232-7264.