Safe and Welcoming Environment
The mission of the Tolson Center for Community Excellence is to empower lives through inclusive learning, recreation and cultural exchange, opening doors to bright futures. Tolson’s vision is to be a centerpiece for an enlivened south-central Elkhart, a premier destination for neighbors near and far, and a pathway to equity and opportunity for all.
Because of these commitments the Tolson Center promotes an atmosphere that respects the dignity and worth of all individuals, and builds trust among employees, volunteers and participants. We also take swift and careful action against harassment, discrimination, and bullying of any kind. Safety is a top priority and we continuously work to enhance our safety policies and actions to ensure all members, employees and volunteers are safe within our facility. No weapons of any kind are allowed at the facility.
Safety Commitments and Practices
The following policies and practices come from the Tolson Center’s Safe and Welcoming Workplace Environment Policy, Child Safety and Well-being Guidelines and Operations Manual. Complete copies of the policy are accessible on site at the front desk and in the executive director’s office.
Children and Youth
As an organization entrusted with the care and well-being of youth, the Tolson Center for Community Excellence condemns child abuse and sexual abuse. The Tolson Center for Community Excellence strongly advocates the prevention of child abuse and neglect and ensures a safe Tolson environment and child safety programs.
- Supervision: Each area of Tolson is supervised by a staff member or qualified volunteer. A staff member or volunteer must be present in any area that is used by children. When an area of Tolson is not in use, children are prohibited from that area and doors to that are to be locked if possible. Doors to Tolson rooms which are in use will remain unlocked at all times.
- Mandatory Reporting: Tolson Staff report immediately any suspected abuse or victimization to the appropriate authorities. There is an expectation of staff and volunteers to monitor and report inappropriate behavior.
- Discipline: Inappropriate touching or contact with youth by staff or volunteers is prohibited. At no time will any staff member or volunteer be allowed to use any form of corporal punishment with a Tolson member.
- Bathrooms: Only one person at a time is allowed in the restroom if it has a lockable door. If a child requires assistance in the bathroom from a staff member (e.g. child has a bloody nose), the staff member must keep the bathroom door open so that they are readily observable or have another staff member or volunteer assist.
Staff and Volunteers
In providing a productive working environment, Tolson Center believes that its employees should be able to enjoy a workplace free from all forms of discrimination and harassment. Discrimination and harassment includes verbal or physical conduct that degrades or shows favoritism or hostility toward an individual because of his or her racial identity, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, skin color, age, physical or mental disability, religion, national origin, military or veteran status, ancestry, familial status, citizenship status, genetic information, marital status, or any other characteristics protected by law.
- Background Checks: All potential employees and volunteers of the Tolson who have direct contact with children will be required to authorize a criminal history check with the appropriate law enforcement agency(s) prior to employment commitment or volunteer activities and periodically thereafter.
- Continuous Enhancement: All staff members are trained in child abuse prevention. There are ongoing updates to Tolson’s sexual abuse, workplace safety, and harassment prevention policies and practices. Training for staff and volunteers is required annually.
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