July 12, 2017

Chapter Organization Steps

Initial Organization

The most successful way to initially organize a Chapter is to contact a school in your district area as soon as possible, call a meeting, discuss the idea, and set up a temporary Chapter Organization Committee. The more community members that can be brought into the initial phase of Chapter organization, the better the prospects for an active Chapter with substantive programs.

Chapter Boundaries

Delineate a geographic area to be served. It is more desirable to organize a Chapter that represents a specific geographic area, such as a single city, metropolitan area, or county, rather than embracing a substantially larger area. Although chapters may be organized statewide, we recommend starting in one area and SKIP, Inc. will help to expand and grow your service area gradually to support state-wide efforts.

The main purpose of organizing a Chapter is to provide an opportunity for chapter members to attend meetings and engage in committee activities. A limited geographic area makes it more feasible for Chapter members to meet without difficulty. Once the organization of a Chapter is approved, and its formal charter executed, its jurisdictional area shall be fixed by SKIP, Inc. no authority shall be given to any other group to organize a Chapter within that area while the original Chapter is in existence.

Drafting the Bylaws

The Chapter Organization Committee must draft a proposed set of Chapter bylaws for submission to the SKIP, Inc. Advisory Board for approval.  See step-by-step instruction and samples of bylaws here.

Requires Provisions of Chapter Bylaws

A proposed draft of the Chapter bylaws shall include provisions for the following:

  1. The official name of the Chapter shall be in the following form: (SKIP “Name of jurisdictional area”).  Example:  SKIP Michigan;
  2. Delineation of the chapter’s proposed jurisdictional area;
  3. Statement that the purpose of the Chapter is to provide resources and services to children of incarcerated parents and their families, for the advancement of SKIP, Inc. objectives in the jurisdictional area of the Chapter;
  4. Provisions for selecting Chapter officers, including a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and a definition of responsibilities assigned to each;
  5. Provisions for identifying the governing body of the Chapter to be  SKIP, Inc. Advisory Board, and a statement defining its authority and duties;
  6. Method for the annual nomination and election of officers and for voting on official matters, as required;
  7. The method for calling regular and special meetings of the Chapter and attendance or representation at quarterly SKIP, Inc. Advisory Board meetings;
  8. Methods of the receipt and disbursement of Chapter funds, keeping account records, and the auditing thereof;
  9. Method for amending the Bylaws which allows SKIP, Inc. to review proposed Bylaw changes before they are voted on by Chapter members;
  10. Statement that SKIP, Inc. is not responsible for any liability which the Chapter may incur; and
  11. A provision that at least four regular meetings shall be held annually, including an annual meeting of the Chapter.

Permissive Provisions in Chapter Bylaws

In addition, Chapter Bylaws may contain provisions for other matters deemed necessary and appropriate, which are consistent with the Bylaws or policies of SKIP, Inc.

Letter of Application

The Chapter Organization Committee has to address a formal letter of application to the SKIP, Inc. Advisory Board requesting a charter as an official SKIP, Inc. chapter. The application fee is a non-refundable $500.  Only serious applicants should apply.

Formal Recognition

A Chapter shall not be considered as being organized or its Bylaws effective until both the application and proposed Bylaws have been approved by the SKIP, Inc. Advisory Board.  Such approval shall be in the form of a charter to the Chapter issued by SKIP, Inc.

Contracts and Debts

No Chapter has the authority to enter into any contract that imposes any liability on SKIP, Inc., nor shall a Chapter incur any debt that cannot be met out of the available funds of the Chapter.

Chapter Liabilities

SKIP, Inc. is not responsible for any liabilities that the Chapter may incur.

Additional Information

Upon Petition approval and Charter issue, SKIP, Inc. requires the following:

  • Each Chapter must apply for a DUNS number with a sub-identifier as a SKIP, Inc. Chapter.  Details will be provided within the application process.
  • Each Chapter will be responsible for conducting background checks on every individual that will be in direct contact with children.  This process will be explained in detail and facilitated during the Chapter set-up process.
  • SKIP, Inc. will provide training to Chapter representatives for an additional fee.  Please see our calendar for a complete guide to available courses.

SKIP, Inc. will be glad to furnish additional information or assistance upon request. For more information, please call us at (334) 549-9674 or (334) 281-3721.  We are ready, willing and able to help you better serve children of incarcerated parents. 

How to Implement Chapter Programs

The true success story of SKIP, Inc. occurs at the program level. SKIP, Inc. programs are designed to meet the needs within communities specifically – which include the needs of children, their families and their schools. The scope of work of these programs is diverse, ranging from a simple fun activity to administer complex performance metrics and research.

Only those technologies that are determined to be the most appropriate solution for a community’s identified problem are implemented. Our model is a proven technology with a long-term record of success. With the children as the heart and soul of our organization, every chapter takes a holistic approach to development by incorporating a variety of disciplines into their programs. Chapters often capitalize on the expertise of educators, statisticians, sociologists, health professionals, and scientists to address both educational and technical aspects of the program. Instead of trying to find a community where a certain technology can be implemented, SKIP, Inc. programs start with a community that has identified their needs and has requested support from SKIP, Inc.

SKIP, Inc. chapters develop a partnership with a community that lasts at least five years. Both the chapter and community provide equal input in development efforts and each partner contributes to the success of the program. The chapter must work with the community to implement programs within a program that can be sustained by the community over time. The community must have the financial, administrative, technical, labor and material resources available to operate and maintain implemented programs.

SKIP, Inc. Principles of Development

  1. SOCIAL-ACADEMIC INTEGRATION – All SKIP, Inc. programs are fully integrate to encourage social and academic learning. Our focus as a child development organization is on providing programs and expertise to address community-identified service needs. We value the importance of a holistic approach to community and relationship development. However, additional disciplines may be implement to accompany a SKIP, Inc. program in so far as they relate to and support the core program elements being designed. Our organization and its chapters will not adopt programs that lack the  social and academic design elements. For example, programs that are strictly academic, or strictly therapeutic, or strictly social are outside of our program scope.
  2. COMMUNITY DRIVEN – All SKIP, Inc. programs are community-based. This principle reflects the bottom up approach to development that is used by SKIP, Inc. Each SKIP, Inc. program is developed to be specific to the needs, resources and constraints of a community with which the chapter is partnering. SKIP, Inc. programs do not start with a program and then try to find a community where it can be implemented. Each program has a well-defined community that has requested assistance from SKIP, Inc.
  3. COMMITMENT – SKIP, Inc. Chapters develop a partnership with a community that lasts at least five years. The SKIP, Inc. chapter and the community with which they partner provide equal input in the development efforts with each party contributing to the success of the program. The expected contribution from all parties involved with the program is generally described in detail in a written agreement that is developed cooperatively and signed by all parties. SKIP, Inc. chapters maintain a long-term commitment to the community to provide continued guidance with operation and maintenance of the programs, provide continued education and training as required and carry out monitoring of the program.
  4. QUALITY – SKIP, Inc. Chapters are required to comply with the established program process. SKIP, Inc. has a well-established program process. This is the basis of its quality control program. This consists of
    1. Regular program reporting (pre-assessment, post-assessment, alternatives analysis, preliminary design, pre-implementation, post-implementation, pre-monitoring, post-monitoring and program closeout);
    2. Review of each report by the SKIP, Inc. Advisory Board followed by discussion with the chapter; and
    3. Advisory Board review of all planned implementation activities prior to implementation.
  5. SAFETY – SKIP, Inc. Chapters shall hold paramount the health, safety, and welfare of children in all aspects of their participation. This principle is based upon SKIP, Inc. certifications and specific federal law: DHS Child Protection Law, Safe Sanctuary Certification, Child Online Protection Act, Child Support Enforcement Law, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) national requirements and all local state requirements.
    1. Rule #1: Background checks must be conducted for all persons who come into direct contact with children in SKIP, Inc. programs, with the exception of other than caregivers and family members).
    2. Rule #2 – Two adults must be present with children at all times (Safe Sanctuary).  No child is left with any one person or without supervision at any time. SKIP, Inc. Chapters comply with this principle by following the program process and completing and adhering to health and safety plans for every activity.
  6. EXPERTISE – SKIP, Inc. chapters shall conduct programs only in their areas of expertise. This principle is based upon SKIP, Inc.’s own ethics and values code and is implemented through SKIP, Inc. requirements for program mentors. Chapter Directors must have a leader or mentor that meets the established SKIP, Inc. mentor requirements. New chapters must have at least one (and preferably more than one) professional mentor to guide Directors through all stages of the program – assessment, analysis, design, implementation, and monitoring. These mentors must meet the established professional mentor requirements or are certified SKIP, Inc. Program Mentors. Chapter Directors and the professional mentor meet together on a regular basis throughout all phases of the program.
  7. APPROPRIATENESS – SKIP, Inc. chapters partner with communities to implement proven strategies that are appropriate for the community at hand. SKIP, Inc. programs are determined to be the most appropriate solution for a community’s identified problem. Our programs and solutions are proven technologies with a long track record of success. SKIP, Inc. will not develop new programs unless there is a gap in services provided in the local community. We encourage all communities to partner locally with readily available programs that will adequately address the needs of the local community. In such a case, the program developed must be appropriate for that community. However, it is not assumed that a newly developed program can be scaled up to meet requirements without conducting a community needs assessment.
  8. SUSTAINABILITY – SKIP, Inc. Chapters partner with communities to implement high-performance programs that are sustainable by the community. The chapter must work with the community to implement programs that can be sustained by the community over time. The community must have the financial, administrative, technical, labor and material resources available to operate and maintain the implemented program on a long term basis. The long-term operation and maintenance of the implemented program is an essential part of the design of the program and should be fully developed prior to the start of any implementation activities. Program sustainability also includes environmental and social sustainability of programs.
  9. PARTNERS – SKIP, Inc. Chapters will have a local partner organization or business that assists with the financial aspect of the program. SKIP, Inc. chapters recognize that their expertise lies in the program aspects of this development relationship. Chapters rely on partners to provide the cultural competency that is required for each program to survive and sustain over time. The partners are usually locally based organizations. However, other locally-based organizations or governments may also serve in this capacity. The partnering organization often provides other services such as service management, marketing, fundraising, program venues and other logistics and educational training to complement the technical training associated with program implementation. Chapters should not use non-local NGOs or Peace Corps Volunteers as their only partner.
  10. EDUCATION – Education is an important part of the SKIP, Inc. approach to development work. SKIP, Inc. maintains that education of the partnering community and education of our members is key to the success of our dynamic programs. While the education of Chapter members is an important part of the SKIP, Inc. approach to development work, it can only be realized if the service to the community is of paramount importance in all aspects. Without providing the community training in our model and how to maintain it, the program will fail. Additionally, the SKIP, Inc. model is structured such that by following the program process from introduction through completion of setup, program participants will gain invaluable, practical experience that may be applied to other aspects of their personal and professional lives.

These principles of development are vital to program success and are fully integrated into each SKIP program. Guidelines will be provided during training for program implementation. For more information, please call our main office at (334) 549-9674 or (334) 281-3721