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PARENT HANDBOOK AND POLICIES

Life House Youth Center - Sullivan

11 N. Clark St PO Box 695

Sullivan, MO 63080

636-649-5542

 

Staff contact:

Sean Monroe - Sullivan Site Supervisor Sean@lhcsullivan.org

Jennifer Massie-Fadler - Executive Director Jen@lhcsullivan.org

Life House Youth Center - Cuba

314 E. Washington St PO Box 586

Cuba, MO 65453

573-677-1667

 

Staff contact:

Victoria Scharfenberg - Cuba Site Staff Victoria@lhcsullivan.org

Kayla Stack - Operations Manager Kayla@lhcsullivan.org

ABOUT US:

The LHYC is a non-profit youth center open to all children ages 10-17 years old FREE of charge. The center opened its doors on September 1st, 2017 in Sullivan, MO to provide our community's young people, especially those at risk, a fun, structured, safe and loving place to spend time after school and in the summer. We opened a second location in Cuba, MO in May 2022. Staff and volunteers strive to provide a support system that fosters good values, life skills and self-confidence in children who attend our centers. At LHYC, children have the opportunity to do homework, have access to computers and can receive help from volunteers for tutoring as needed. They socialize with their peers in the lounge area, game room and outside area. They participate in structured activities, life classes/programs/clubs and perform chores at the center.

LHYC’S #1 GOAL Is to build lasting relationships with the youth in our communities to empower them to maximize their full potential and achieve their highest goals.

CORE VALUES:

HOPE. LOVE. SERVICE. COURAGE. KINDNESS. INCLUSION. COMPASSION. EMPOWERMENT. ACCOUNTABILITY.

MISSION:

Life House Youth Center’s mission is to start a cycle of love by assisting the children and families of Franklin and Crawford Counties to discover their full potential regardless of their social/economic backgrounds. We envision a stronger family unit and children who are prepared to tackle the world ahead of them.

 

 

The Life House Youth Center would like to welcome you and your youth to our facility. To ensure that your student(s) get the most out of our programs and activities, we would like for you to take a moment, along with your child, to read over our facility and program rules, regulations and code of conduct. These guidelines are designed to acquaint LHYC parents/guardians and participants with the expectations while on our premises. We're excited to embark on this journey with your child and trust that these guidelines will ensure a safe, enriching, and enjoyable experience for everyone. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.

 

PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES

LHYC offers drop-in and after-school programs for students, ages 10-17 years old. The facility is open to the students we serve free of charge. The Life House Youth Center hosts a number of daily activities including; tutoring, mentoring program, recreational activities, 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. These programs promise an engaging and informative experience for the youth, while also enabling us to furnish information to our generous donors.

Topics covered may span from practical finance skills and cultural awareness to substance abuse prevention. Additionally, our dining hall provides nightly dinner to all attendees.

 

REGISTRATION PROCEDURE

Every prospective participant at the Life House Youth Center is required to complete the youth center enrollment form, which must be signed by their parent or legal guardian. Enrollment forms can be obtained both at the center and on our website, www.lhcsullivan.org. During registration, both youth and their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) will need to furnish the following information:

  1. Up-to-date contact details, including address, age, and school affiliation

  2. Relevant medical information, including medications and allergies

  3. Signed Code of Conduct

  4. Signed Release of Liability

 

  • For first-time students are permitted to attend prior to parents finishing the enrollment packet as long as we get parents’ phone numbers, emergency contact information, and an allergy list for the student.

  • For second-time attendees, completion of the enrollment packet is mandatory.

 

 

HOURS OF OPERATION

The Youth Center’s normal operating hours are:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 2:00 – 7:00 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. In the event of an unscheduled closing, there will be a sign posted on our door and we will make every effort to make the announcement public on various platforms. This may include social media, school announcements, and mass communications via text and/or email.

 

DROP-IN FORMAT

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

 

To maintain the safety and accountability of our participants, under no circumstances will a student be permitted to return after leaving without prior staff-parent communication, regardless of the reason provided.

 

SIGN-IN/OUT PROCEDURE

There will be a sign-in and out form at the welcome center at the front of the building where you enter. Anytime a participant enters or leaves LHYC 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.

 

LATE PICK-UPS

Any parent/guardian running late for pick-up must immediately notify the appropriate staff. For participants remaining after the center has closed, whose parents have not called, the Site Staff will call all phone numbers listed on the enrollment form in an attempt to reach the contacts provided. If a child remains uncollected for more than 1 hour after closing, local law enforcement will be called. If authorities are called, the Site Staff must document the incident in the child’s file.

If a student isn’t picked up by 7pm, staff may drive the student home IF staff deems it reasonable and follows LHYC transportation regulations.

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

All LHYC Staff/volunteers will not give rides to students to any house other than their own without written consent from their parent or guardian. This rule is for the safety of all students and workers at The Center.

 

WEATHER

The Life House Youth Center will follow the direction of the local School District. If, for any weather-related reasons, the local School District cancels either school or sporting events the LHYC will follow the same schedule. We will make every effort to relay the closing through all relevant communication platforms at the time.

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENTS AND ILLNESS

Parents or guardians shall be notified immediately of any serious illness or injury to the participant. 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 at The Center by the time the student must be transported by ambulance to a hospital, a LHYC staff member will do their best to accompany the child to the hospital. The LHYC staff member witnessing the illness or injury must document the incident on the “Incident Form” and place it in the child’s file. The Site Staff 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 the 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.

 

All other non-serious accidents and illnesses will be assessed and treated at the discretion of the staff as needed.

 

BORROWING/DONATING ITEMS

No item that belongs to the LHyC will be “borrowed” by ANY person that is not on staff. Items may be donated to a person or an organization upon the decision of the LHYC staff.

 

 

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

  • Participants must ask permission to be in the kitchen. 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.

 

COOKING FOOD

No food can be brought into the LHYC to serve to kids unless the food is from an establishment that has cooked the food in a commercial kitchen and the food must be brought immediately to the LHYC.

 

CLEANING

General cleaning including vacuuming, trash removal, and wiping down tables is the responsibility of the Site Staff or to the appropriate delegation to another volunteer, student volunteer, or student volunteer. Students will be responsible for vacuuming certain areas of the LHYC as well as assisting the clean up in the dining hall after meals.

 

COMPUTER USE

  • The downloading of explicit material is NOT ALLOWED and strictly enforced.

  • Close all programs when finished.

  • No food or drink is allowed in the vicinity of the computers.

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

  • Horseplay or any type of physical exertion is not allowed by the computers.

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

 

 

STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN THE CENTER

All students MUST attend four separate classes/programs/clubs per year, equating to one program per quarter as the students “payment” for continued enrollment in the LHYC. If a student enrolls after the first quarter he/she will be expected to fulfill the remainder of the relevant time in which they enrolled that’s available to him/her.

 

STUDENT VOLUNTEER

All student volunteers are under the authority and direction of the Site Staff, any action that a student volunteer does that is out of context to their role the Site Staff is held responsible.

Therefore, student volunteers are accepted, denied, continued, and dismissed per the Site Staff decision. Student Volunteers’ added privileges include drinking coffee, taking drinks outside of the kitchen, one free soda on Fridays, $5 center cash per day of volunteering, and the ability to leave the LHYC to run errands for staff.

 

FRAMEWORK AND ETHICAL VALUES FOR SAFE PRACTICES

This document establishes a framework and a set of core values that underpin ethical and secure practices within the Life House Youth Center. Our foremost commitment is to the well-being of the youth we engage with. The relationships between our employees, volunteers, and the youth are significant sources of personal support for the young individuals. While these relationships are nurturing, they are also firmly professional in nature, intentionally circumscribed to safeguard both the youth and those serving them. Our staff and volunteers uphold these boundaries with the utmost integrity, recognizing the delicate balance between fostering caring connections and maintaining professional limits.

 

Our commitment to creating a safe and nurturing environment is central to all our endeavors at the Life House Youth Center. To ensure this, we have established the following practices:

 

  • 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 and mentors will need to pass an extensive background check.

  • 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.

  • Student information is considered to be private and only accessed on a need-to-know basis or with parental consent. LHYC complies with all HIPPA and Privacy laws.

  • LHYC provides equal opportunities to all applicants, without regard to unlawful considerations of or discrimination against race, religion, creed, color, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition or characteristics, marital status, or any other classification prohibited by applicable local, state, or federal laws.

  • LHYC operates in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines, including those related to child protection, privacy, non-discrimination, USA Patriot Act and other counterterrorism laws.

  • 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.

  • Every student must be within sight and earshot of an adult while in the center.

 

Adult Volunteers at the LHYC

  • We accept volunteers at the LHYC to help the staff run the youth center as well as help within our mentorship program. The adult leader is required to fill out a volunteer packet as well as submit a federal background check that the LHYC staff offers. If an adult leader has had alcohol or drug addictions in the past they MUST be clean for a period of at least 12 months.

  • Volunteers are required to watch all training videos and meet with the Site Staff to seek further training and clarification of the mission, vision, and policies of the LHYC.

 

Abuse or Neglect Reporting

Any action that puts a student or others in imminent danger must be reported to a staff member and that staff member must report such cases to the respective authorities as deemed necessary by law. Situations that involve a report made to the authorities must be documented by Site Staff. As mandated reporters, this policy is mandatory for all volunteers and staff to understand. In the case that a volunteer may not understand a certain situation, that volunteer is obligated to report to LHYC staff for clarification.

 

Addressing Parents w/Situations

The Site Staff is required to contact parents of students that have been kicked out so parents are aware of the situation. No LHYC staff or volunteer is required to contact parents for situations that involve police, DFS, or any other child care worker. This is for the protection of the LHYC staff, volunteers, and students.

 

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 the 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.

  • LHYC reserves the right 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 home and LHYC 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 local 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 local 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. Participants are responsible for their bike. The LHYC 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 instructions of Life House Youth Center staff. If a participant disobeys staff or volunteer either by action or word, he/she will be considered defiant. Any form of defiance could result in suspension.

Public Display of Affection specifics

  • Hand-holding and brief (2sec) hugs are permitted.

  • Lap sitting, long frontal hugs, kissing, cuddling and any such action that a staff member or volunteer sees as disruptive or inappropriate are not permitted and the students involved will be asked to refrain, if they refuse this will be seen as insubordination and the student will be asked to leave.

  • An incident report is filled out after a failed appeal for the students to stop.

Dress and Personal Appearance

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 local School District dress code will be implemented to ensure adherence to the rules and regulations mentioned here.

 

Intimidation / Harassment / Bullying

Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts that irritates or torments persistently and/or annoys by name-calling, pestering, tormenting, threatening, using racial slurs or intimidating another person or targeting a specific group or individual. As well as engaging in a course of conduct that repeatedly irritates or torments and/or annoys by name-calling, pestering, tormenting, threatening, using racial slurs, or intimidating another person that serves no legitimate purpose will not be tolerated in any capacity.

Fighting / Personal Physical Confrontation

This includes just physical contact or physical harm. Pushing, shoving, tripping, and/or kicking will result in automatic suspension.

 

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 suspension.

Harassment, Sexual/Hate Crimes

It is illegal to harass others while at the Life House Youth Center. The local Police Department will be notified and all applicable state and federal laws will be enforced, in addition to permanent removal from The Center.

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, Alcohol, or Look Alike Substances

Use of or possession of any illegal substance at the Youth Center, or at any LHYC 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 local Police Department will be notified and all applicable state and federal laws will be enforced.

If a student gets into a physical confrontation with another student or adult, any volunteer or staff member at the Life House Youth Center is required to protect themselves and other students from an aggressor, regardless of the aggressor's age.

Substances

Permanent felt pens; aerosol spray cans of any type, shall not be brought to the Life House Youth Center without approval from staff.

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 in 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, cigarettes, e-cigarette, cigarette lighter, or matches, this is grounds for suspension. Participants who are with other participants who are smoking should make the responsible decision to remove themselves from this area and notify staff. Otherwise, they, too, may be suspended. The local Police Department will be notified when participants are in possession of tobacco products. Materials in the possession of minors must be picked up by a legal guardian within seven business days or it will be discarded. More serious action may be taken per the substance and at the discretion of the Site Staff. This may include reporting to law enforcement.

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

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

Disruption / Disrespect

Confronting staff argumentatively, throwing objects, refusing to follow directions or blatant disrespect will be handled at the discretion and severity of the Site Staff.

Vandalism

Damaging LHYC 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. Parents may be liable to pay for damages.

Weapons

A participant will be expelled and law enforcement called for possession of any firearm, knife, explosive or other dangerous object at the Life House Youth Center. This can be any other object that a staff member deems as dangerous for the student or others. These items include, but are NOT limited to, knives, lighters, bats, poles, tasers, pepper spray, and aerosol cans.

Staff may request that any item they deem less severe or threatening be handed over until they leave, if the student refuses this will be seen as insubordination and the student will be asked to leave. An incident report MUST be filed in this situation.

 

 

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 listed below WILL NOT be tolerated

  • Disrespect of Staff

  • Profanity

  • Fighting

  • Harassment of any kind; verbal, physically, or sexual

  • No Drugs, Tobacco products or paraphernalia

If a participant becomes aware of any potentially dangerous and/or illegal situation regarding weapons, drugs, alcohol, fights, property damage, theft, etc. or has information regarding such, he/she is required to report it to Site Staff.

Any situation that may include, but not limited to fighting, possession, theft, excessive bullying, vandalism or any act that requires immediate intervention of staff and action taken against the offender greater than the generic “time out” MUST be documented and recorded. All documents must be signed by the student offender and the offended as well as staff and other pertinent adults involved in the situation.

 

 

Action of Staff for Misbehavior

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. The student will be suspended the rest of the day.

3rd Occurrence - Parents will be contacted and asked to pick up their student. The 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.

 

If a student is removed permanently they may return to the Life House Youth Center per the Executive Directors decision. The student will have to meet with the 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 at the discretion of the Executive Director.

 

These policies stated above are a general guiding principle and are in no way an absolute rule. Any and all policies are subject to change with little or no notice given.

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