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General FAQ

How do I know that the services at Community Youth Services are high quality?
All CYS staff members have earned their college degrees in social work, psychology or in another related field of study. Most supervisory staff have earned advanced degrees in social work or psychology. The agency maintains low staff-to-client ratios to ensure quality services.

In addition, CYS is a United Way agency and has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc. The COA is an internationally recognized accreditor of mental health and social service organizations in the United States and Canada. Their web site address is www.coanet.org

Who can receive services at CYS?
CYS primarily serves at-risk teens and young adults through a variety of counseling and residential programs. Many of the services, such as job training, require that a youth be low income or have substantial barriers to employment. Please refer to our programs in the web page for a complete description.

Who is responsible for Community Youth Services?
A 15-member board of directors governs CYS. All board members are volunteers. The Chief Executive Officer is Scott Hanauer. Mr. Hanauer has been with CYS over 10 years, first as Clinical Director, then moving into the CEO position in August 2015.

AmeriCorps: Youth In Service FAQ

What is the term of service for the YIS AmeriCorps Program?
The program begins August 17th and ends June 30th.

How many positions are available with the Community Youth Services YIS AmeriCorps Program?
There are 20 member positions throughout Thurston County.

What sort of work do YIS members do?
Members perform the following activities:

  • Support and Mentoring for youth and families at-risk
  • Capacity Building for local non-profit organizations (volunteer recruitment, donation gathering and community partnership building)
  • Coordinate and participate in local community service projects with your team

What is the age requirement for the program?
YIS members are 18-25 years of age.

What are the eligibility requirements to be a YIS AmeriCorps Member?
Members must be 18-25 year olds and be eligible to work in the US (citizen or registered alien). Members must have a high school diploma or GED and should be passionate about helping youth and families. A National Service Criminal History check will be required for those selected.

Will I be serving with a team or individually?
The CYS YIS Program is a team-based program with both large group and small group elements. Members will be expected to participate in both groups fully. Members participate in team based training and planning days several times per month.

What else do YIS AmeriCorps members do?
Members participate in trainings with large and small groups. These trainings are largely hands-on, experiential and focused on applying what is learned to their service. This federally funded program requires members to collect and report data on how their services are affecting the community they are serving. Training on these procedures is provided.
Service Projects are an integral part of the program’s emphasis on community involvement; members are expected to participate in community service projects for all National Service Days.

What sort of environment will I be working in?
Members serve in local non-profit agencies and schools. Each site has a different workplace culture and professional expectations. Please refer to individual position descriptions for more information. Adaptability to different workplace environments is very helpful.

Where are the YIS sites?
Non-profit organizations and elementary schools located in Olympia and throughout Thurston County, Washington. This area is the southern most reach of the Puget Sound, includes the state Capital and is characterized by both urban/suburban and rural populations.

What time of day do I serve?  Or, what are the hours?
Member serve 8 hour days with primarily day time service hours. Occasionally sites will require evening and weekend hours. Please refer to individual position descriptions for more information.

Do School Sites get School holidays?
No, members serving in school will serve during any school breaks except for federal holidays.

Are there any part-time positions available?
No, all positions are full time, 40 hours per week.

How much are members paid?
Members are paid a monthly living stipend of $1,195. Federal Income Tax, Social Security Tax and Workers Compensation are withheld from the monthly living allowance.

Does the AmeriCorps program provide housing?
No, AmeriCorps Members are expected to provide their own housing.

Are childcare benefits provided?
Yes , based on family income. All income in each household, including the AmeriCorps living stipend, counts in your income qualification. Childcare benefits are available for participating full-time AmeriCorps members if they are income qualified by Washington State guidelines, need childcare to participate and the children are 12 years old or younger.

Is health care provided?
Yes, there is a medical plan available that applies to the AmeriCorps member only. Spouses and children are not covered by the health plan.

Is dental and vision insurance provided?
No, dental and vision benefits are not available.

Can I have another job while serving?
Members are allowed to hold a part-time job while serving. Additional employment must not interfere with service.

Are there any education benefits associated with the YIS AmeriCorps Program?
YES! YIS AmeriCorps members earn an education award of $5,730 after successfully completing a minimum of 1,700 hours of service and 10½ months in the program. Awards earned are valid for 7 years and can be used at any accredited college, technical school or to pay back accredited education loans. Education awards are counted as taxable income.

What if I have current student loans to pay? Is there assistance with that?
Yes, members that have current accredited college loans that are not in arrears are eligible to place them into forbearance during their AmeriCorps service.

Will I receive any training to help me with my service?
Yes, members participate in trainings throughout their year of service, free of charge, in a team setting. Members are required to attend pre-service training in Olympia at the start of the service year.

  • Training is facilitated by AmeriCorps staff, other expert trainers, and returning AmeriCorps Members.
  • Training topics may include but are not limited to the following: Volunteer Recruitment, Family Involvement, Multiple Learning Styles, Diversity, Effective Communication, Team Building, Leadership Skills, How to do a Press Release & PSA, Service Project Planning and Life After AmeriCorps.

Can I go to school while serving?
Members are allowed to attend school during their term of service. Courses must not interfere with the member’s service.

Does the living stipend interfere with current social service assistance and/or health insurance?
The living stipend does not count as income for purpose of eligibility for TANF grants, food stamps or section 8 housing. It may count as income for SSI or other state funded programs.

Are there other AmeriCorps programs?
Yes. There are 100’s of AmeriCorps programs across the nation. Please visit www.americorps.gov to find out more.

Will I be provided with a uniform (like City Year)?
No. However, members are provided with an AmeriCorps T-shirt, sweatshirt and insignia to wear and are expected to follow the site’s dress code.

Do I get to choose the location I want to serve in?
After successfully completing a program interview, members have a choice of interview sites.

Do I need transportation?
Some service sites require their member to have a vehicle and/or valid car insurance. Please refer to individual site descriptions for more information.

Are there opportunities for me to develop leadership and facilitation skills?
Yes, members are encouraged and provided opportunities to facilitate trainings and take on leadership roles.

Will I be required to travel out of town?
No. YIS members are not required to travel outside of Thurston County, except for an AmeriCorps event that takes place in the fall and transportation will be provided for that.

Is vacation and sick leave available?
Yes, members are given 80 hours of leave per year to be used when needed.

What holidays would I have off?
Members receive 9 National Holidays off throughout the service year. They are Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day & the day after, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

Juvenile Diversion FAQ

What is Diversion?
Diversion is a community-based corrections program, which is offered as an alternative to the formal Juvenile Court system for youth who have admitted responsibility for an offense. You and your parents will be required to appear before a Community Accountability Board (CAB) made up of trained community volunteers. The purpose of the CAB is to represent the community and to determine your consequences for the offense you are charged with. You may be required to perform community restitution hours, attend educational classes, pay restitution to victims and/or pay a fine as a way to repair the harm to the victim and to the community.

Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to participate in the Diversion program. However, you may choose to have a lawyer if you wish.

Is there a fee for participating in the Diversion Program?
Yes, there is a $150 fee to help pay for the program. Your parents/guardians will be expected to pay the fee at the time of the CAB meeting. A check, credit card, money order or cash may be used to pay the fee.

What happens if I get into trouble with the law again?
If you get into trouble again, your case may go to court.

I thougth the shoplifting charge would be dropped if I paid the Civil Penalty.
The money assigned by the store for shoplifting is a civil action. Diversion is a part of the Criminal Justice System. Therefore, even though you may have paid the money to the store, you still have the criminal charge of theft to resolve.

Is my file available to the public?
The only people that can see your file are the police; the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, the court, Diversion, yourself, your parents, and the victim, if there is one. In addition, depending on the charge against you, your school principal and/or Department of Licensing will also be notified.

If I go through Diversion, have I been convicted?
No. You can only be convicted in court.

Do I have to state that I went through Diversion on a job application?
On most job applications it asks the question "have you been convicted of a crime?" You have not been convicted through Diversion.

How do I get my criminal history sealed/destroyed?
Refer to eligibility requirements on Advice Form.

CareerTREK FAQ

How old do I have to be to qualify for the job training program?
You must be between the ages of 16 and 21.

What do I have to do to apply?
You must come to the CYS office and complete an application form. The office is located at 711 State Ave. NE, 3rd floor, Olympia, WA. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Can CYS get me a job?
We are a training program, not a placement program. We train you to develop the skills you need to search for, acquire, and maintain a job. We support you in your career pursuit through workshops, support services, educational opportunities and counseling.

Is there a fee for services?
No.

Can you help me get my GED?
Yes. Youth who would like to get assistance with the cost of getting their GED can apply to the CareerTREK program where they will be assigned a case manager. CYS also partners with GRAVITY High School, an ESD113 GED program that serves youth ages 16-21. You can contact GRAVITY at (360) 464-6851. It may also be possible to get case management assistance through Rosie’s Place for GED help if you are not eligible for CareerTREK or GRAVITY.

Haven House FAQ

What is Haven House?
Haven House is a co-educational, crisis residential center that serves youth, ages 12-17, who have run away from home or are in conflict with their families and need their basic needs met in a safe, temporary shelter.

What services are provided there?
After assessing each youth for individual needs, we develop a service plan to address their short- and long-term needs. In addition to a safe place to stay, we provide three nutritious meals a day, plus two snacks. Our services also include counseling, recreational activities, transportation, and referrals to community providers such as medical, dental, mental health, chemical dependency, and educational and vocational services.

What kinds of rules are there for youth who stay at Haven House?
Haven House is structured with daily programming and specific rules aimed at providing a safe environment for all participants. Youth are expected to comply with all house rules and show respect to others at all times. Program participants are supervised by staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Will I continue going to school if I stay at Haven House?
Yes. Whenever possible, we will provide transportation to all local school districts. For youth from outside of Thurston County, tutoring services or school re-enrollment will be explored.

What do I need to bring?
For a short stay, we recommend you bring enough clothing to last five days. However, for youth who do not have clothing, we have a clothing closet you can access. We recommend that you do not bring important or expensive personal items to Haven House.

How does a youth access shelter at the Haven House program?
Call Haven House (360-754-1151) and talk to a residential counselor who will listen and assess your situation and help you enroll in services. While some youth come to Haven House on their own, most are referred by the Department of Child and Family Services or Law Enforcement.

How long can a youth stay at Haven House?
The average length of stay varies. Youth can stay from one night to as many as thirty days, depending on their individual needs and family situation.

What happens when it’s time for me to leave?
While you are at Haven House, we will try to help you make the transition to a safe, long-term placement. That may be with your family, or, when that is not a good option, it may be with a foster family or Community Youth Services’ transitional housing program.

Is there a cost for services at Haven House?
There are no fees for program participants.

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