Consider supporting youth through some of these ongoing volunteer opportunities.
If you believe everyone deserves a second chance and young people can change with the right support, consider volunteering for Choose 180, a diversion program for youth that helps them identify what’s wrong, the behaviors that keep them stuck, and the path toward positive change. Choose 180 is regularly looking for speakers, small group facilitators and greeters to support their workshops.
Community Passageways supports youth in reclaiming their purpose by shattering the school to prison pipeline and empowering community to heal community. We specialize in felony diversion by giving youth and young adults ages 13-28 opportunities to be successful via education, apprenticeships, internships, peace making circles, and community and civic engagement. We need more community ambassadors to help with court support, tutoring in schools, facilitating circles, and supporting operations.
Federal Way Youth Action Team
The Federal Way Youth Action Team (FWYAT) is a collaboration between King County Juvenile Court and several Federal Way community programs. FWYAT is growing its capacity for connecting youth to opportunities to grow into healthy, happy adults, and is searching for mentors.
Juvenile Court Community Programs
King County Juvenile Court Community Programs collaborate with schools, non-profits, and businesses to connect youth with education and employment opportunities. Volunteers may offer opportunities for job shadowing, career exploration, and community service. For more info, please contact Community Programs Supervisor Diane Korf at 206-205-9490 or Diane.Korf@kingcounty.gov.
The 4C Coalition is a collaborative effort to increase the number of African-American mentors dedicated to disproportionate number of African-Americans and other youth of color involved in King County’s juvenile legal system. The 4C Coalition is looking for mentors to uplift at-risk youth, help ensure they graduate from high school and avoid gangs, violence, addictions, and incarceration.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound provides children facing adversity with strong, professionally supported one-to-one relationships. They are always looking for adults eager to positively impact a child’s life and improve their community at the same time. By spending a few hours a month bonding with a child, “Bigs” dramatically increase the chances that their “Littles” will achieve higher aspirations, avoidance of risky behaviors, and obtain educational success. Big Brothers are in especially high demand.
Community Accountability Board
Youth eligible for diversion meet with a Community Accountability Board (CAB) made up of volunteers from the community. CAB interviews offending youth and their parents and then determines a constructive accountability plan. To learn more about becoming a King County CAB volunteer, contact the Partnership for Youth Justice at 206-296-1133 or Program Manager Shirley Noble, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Chaplaincy Coalition
The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition is a non-King County affiliated group of like-minded individuals and churches who seek to provide services in a faith-based context to youth in detention. The group also trains youth advocates to be chaplains, mentors, and counselors for youth who need re-entry help once they have left detention. To learn more about becoming a youth advocate, contact Rev. Terri Stewart at email@example.com or 425-531-1756.
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained volunteer who represents the best interests of children as they go through the legal process. These trained volunteers investigate the case and inform the court, help identify resources to address a child’s special needs and recommend temporary and permanent plans for the child.
Become a Foster Parent
Many — if not most — of the youth involved in the juvenile legal system have experienced a period of inconsistent housing and caregiving. State social workers often struggle to find appropriate homes for foster youth because there is a shortage of foster parents available for adolescents. The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families are looking for those interested in becoming foster parents.
Cover image: Making Choices, by Nhon Truong (Enamel paint on aluminum, 2003)