Kismet's Home Atmosphere
To understand how the Kismet House is run, simply imagine a healthy family environment with two parents and eight children. Everyone in the house participates in meal preparation and cleanup. Everyone sits down to dinner together, share house responsibilities, and participates in activities. We consistently engage in honest and open communication and meet each evening to discuss happy, sad, positive, and negative events and feelings that have developed during the day.
At the start of each week, students design and sign a formal contract (see photo above) regarding the behavior that they would like to see (and not see) during their time at Kismet. This is referred to as a Core Value Contract and is amended each evening. This process of communication has proven to create deep bonds between all members of the house.
Because the majority of our students come from unstable or chaotic home environments the family-like atmosphere of the Kismet House has proven to be essentially important to the success of our program. Activities are available to students and staff in the evenings: games, swimming, hikes, campfires, and visits to the park. Weekly a local family hosts a cookout for our students and staff.
The Kismet House staff consists of two overnight staff members (usually one male and one female) a third staff member is in the house from 4 pm to 10 pm because evenings are busy. In addition, we hire graduates of the Kismet program to live in the house as interns. All of our staff members are carefully interviewed to guarantee that they understand that their job is to function as surrogate parents, to offer love, keep students safe, support high standards of behavior, maintain guidelines, to see and respect the individuality of each student, and to respond with patience and wisdom. All staff is vetted through background checks.
The Program Director commonly participates in evening activities and dinners. The Director and Program Director are available throughout the program.