By Avant8


To continue the discussion on the LifeLine Core Values, in this article I will address the Value of SPIRITUALITY.  Taken form the official LifeLine Statement of Core Values on Spirituality:

Humility and Gratitude.  We believe healing and recovery comes through spiritual growth.  A strong belief in a Higher Power to guide our moral compass leads to humility and gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of the LifeLine for Youth mission.  It is our commitment to maintain an environment where spirituality is fostered through role modeling and the youth are encouraged to explore spirituality within the context of their own family’s beliefs and values.”

The beneficial role that faith and spirituality play in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and psychological problems has long been acknowledged.  Recent evidence demonstrates that there is a positive association between positive spirituality and mental health and well being (Larimore, Parker, & Crowther, 2002). Researchers recommend that therapists learn to assess their clients’ spiritual health and to provide desired spiritual intervention (Richards & Bergin, 2000). LifeLine is committed to supporting spirituality and to providing opportunities for their youth to experience spiritual enrichment.

Spirituality is a key part of everyday conversations here at LifeLine.  As presented by the 12 step model of recovery, the journey of recovery is a “spiritual and emotional awakening” that takes place as youth contemplate their choices against the values and beliefs they were raised with and anchored by in their childhood.  Rediscovering a relationship with God is a very personal and individual process that is supported and encouraged by the environment at LifeLine.

We provide opportunities for parents of the youth here at LifeLine to invite Spiritual Leaders and individuals working with youth in a spiritual setting (Pastors, Priests, Bishops, Rabbis, Young Men and Young Women leaders, etc.) to attend workshops at our Spiritual Leader Dinners held 6 times a year.  We provide training to the leaders on warning signs, and how to support youth and families participating in LifeLine.  These are amazing events that I always look forward to because it can make all the difference in the lives of these youth to see that people care about them and are willing to give of their time to support them.  It is often that youth tell me, “I can’t believe they came here just to see me!”  This creates the important connectedness that I discussed in the SERVICE article (click here) and helps the youth overcome the restiveness that they have felt with religion and spirituality.

It is our commitment that we will provide an environment that encourages and fosters spiritual growth and supports the values of the individual and their families.

By Avant8

Core Value: SERVICE

To continue the discussion on the LifeLine Core Values, in this article I will address the Value of SERVICE.  Taken form the official LifeLine Statement of Core Values on Service:

Selflessness and Sacrifice.   LifeLine is built on service.  We will serve our customers with the highest quality of care we can provide.  Through service and sacrifice we teach others self worth and self love – proving to them that they are worth being loved.  This spirit of service will show through in all our interactions with co-workers, the youth, and their families.”

If you have ever attended one of my community education workshops, you have likely heard me talk about the research around community connectedness with adolescents (Robert Blum, Heather Libbey, 2004 “Connectedness – Strengthening Health and Educational Outcomes for Teens”).  The researchers defined connectedness as the youth’s perception that adults in their world (other than their parents) genuinely care about them and their success beyond just doing their job.  High connectedness strongly correlates with high self worth, better school performance, more goal oriented, better social skills, more engaged in school and so forth.  Low connectedness correlates strongly with more emotional distress, higher rates of violence, drug use, early age sexual activity, depression, and suicide.  With such strong evidence, how do we create connectedness?  In a word – SERVICE.

The spirit of true Service is proving to the youth that this is more that just a job to us.  Going beyond the basic expectations, and getting to a personal level of interaction that is meaningful and significant.  Consistent care and support regardless of how the youth initially respond is an important part of our culture at LifeLine.  For me, it is a privilege to work with such an amazing team of people that show up to work each day because they want to be part of something great – something bigger than them that truly makes a difference in the lives of young people and their families.  We hire people because of their heart and passion to serve others.

This service is contagious.  It is a part of the culture at LifeLine and through role modeling, the youth learn the importance of service in their own lives.  As the youth progress in their program, we provide opportunities for them to be youth mentors and give service to their peers.  They participate in regular service projects in the community that helps develop connections and self worth.  Most importantly, the youth are taught that service should begin in their own home, with their own family, showing gratitude for the service and sacrifice that their family has given to them.

By Avant8

Core Value: SAFETY

After first writing about TRUST, I decided to continue the discussion on the LifeLine Core Values by addressing the Value of SAFETY.  Taken form the official LifeLine for Youth Statement of Core Values on Safety:

PhysicalEmotional, and Mental Safety.   Real trust is anchored by a sense of safety. We are committed to creating a safe environment for healing and recovery.   We strive to make the LifeLine for Youth program safe from violence and all forms of abuse – verbal, mental, or emotional.  It will not only be a safe environment for the youth in recovery, but a safe and enjoyable place to work.”

Trust in any relationship really begins with feeling safe.  If you think about who in your life you really trust, it is likely the people you believe would never hurt or take advantage of you in any way physically or emotionally.  You know you are safe with them.

At the LifeLine for Youth program, the safety of the youth and their families is our number one priority.  We earn the trust of the youth by proving to them that they will be safe here – that they are safe from physical threats from our staff and we will protect them from intimidation, bullying, and violence from the other youth.  Physical safety is only the beginning when creating an environment where healing and recovery can take place.  It is critical that the youth feel safe emotionally and trust that whatever they talk about, whatever secrets they disclose, will be respected and treated with empathy and understanding.   It is critical we create an environment of support where the youth know they will not be teased or made fun of for just being who they are.  The freedom to let their guard down, and let their peers get to know the real kid inside them is where the building blocks of good self esteem can begin.

One of the most critical needs that we all have in life is a sense of connectedness to the world around us.  At LifeLine, creating this sense of connectedness is a primary treatment goal for all youth.  According to research conducted by Dr. Brene Brown at the University of Houston, connectedness can only be achieved if we are willing and able to be vulnerable with others.  Vulnerability is only possible when we feel safe to let our guard down and let others into our lives.

Several years ago, LifeLine conducted a research study to understand the process parents go through when searching for help for a struggling teenager.  We found that the number one factor that prompted parents to seek help was fear for their child’s safety.  In evaluating treatment options, parents reported that keeping their child safe was the number one criteria in choosing a program or provider for their family.  LifeLine for Youth has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s highest standards for health care quality and safety in behavioral health care (read more).   For the past few years, we have conducted discharge surveys to parents after their teen completes the LifeLine program and have asked them to rate how well we are living up to the core values we have committed to.  When asked if they felt their teen what physically and emotionally safe at LifeLine, we have had an average score of 7.6 out of 8 with more than 98% of parents choosing a 7 or 8 as “strongly agree” that their child was safe in our care.  This is a measure that I am quite proud of and I know that our employees are committed to creating a safe, loving environment that youth and parents can trust.

By Avant8

Core Value: TRUST

I have decided to devote the next several articles to discussing each of the LifeLine Core Values, beginning first with TRUST.

Trust is essential to our success at LifeLine. It takes a great deal of trust for a parent to place their child in LifeLine. For the youth at LifeLine to gain hope and begin to heal, they must begin to trust the staff and trust the process. It takes trust to refer a friend to LifeLine and hope that they will be served well and get the help that they so desperately need. To make a financial contribution to the mission of LifeLine, you must trust that the funds will not be wasted, but used prudently and appropriately to fulfill the mission of the organization and give hope to families in need.

Trust in any organization is dependent on the level of trust and confidence you have for the leadership of that organization. With that in mind, let me introduce myself to those who don’t know me. I have a beautiful wife, Andrea, and we have 4 beautiful children. I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Brigham Young University and a Psychology Degree from the University of Utah. I have been a part of the management team at LifeLine since the first day we opened for business in 1990. I have had about every job available along the way, spending my first 10 years at LifeLine as a counselor, running groups, and doing activities with the youth. I then got more involved in the business management, doing marketing, public relations, and information systems as the Director of Administration until becoming the Executive Director in 2009.

We recently celebrated 20 years of giving hope to families at LifeLine. As we all do when we hit major milestones in our lives, I reflect back on my years at LifeLine with a great deal of gratitude for the opportunity to be part of something great for more than 20 years. As is the case with all of our employees, this has always been more than just a job to me. LifeLine began as a spiritual program, based on values and principles, not just rules and policies.

LifeLine is often seen and remembered by the extensive list of rules. There are rules for everything from ‘honesty’ and ‘confidentiality’ to ‘no talking behind backs’ and ‘pay attention to the person who is talking.’ It is easy to get caught up in all the rules and forget why we created the rules in the first place. It is important that we teach (through word and example) that the rules and policies reflect principles and values. Honesty is really about Integrity. ‘No talking behind backs’ is about Respect and Safety. ‘Confidentiality’ creates Trust. After youth leave LifeLine, they often leave the ‘rules’ behind but values and principles, when properly taught and internalized, will stay with them and become a part of who they are.

As a leadership team, we have developed the LifeLine Core Values or “Principles of Trust” that we and our employees live by and teach to the youth through word and example; Safety, Service, Spirituality, Respect, Integrity and Trust. As the Executive Director, my commitment is to earn the trust of the families we serve, our alumni, and the community by applying these Core Values in all that we do, to stay true to our non-profit mission of giving hope to families, and continue to provide the best treatment experience for families