BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has volunteer openings in its program for children of an incarcerated parent.
Project coordinator Bob Moore tells KBND News there are a variety of ways mentors connect with kids in ‘Central Oregon Partnerships for Youth’, or COPY.
“One of my gals that was talking about stop motion film her and that youth have been connected doing that as a project. I just had another volunteer that got back from a petting zoo that's in Prineville,” Moore says in the program’s almost 20 years ago, the Sheriff’s office has established partnerships with local businesses, like rock climbing gyms, and trampoline parks. He says these activities offer order at a chaotic time, “These aren't juvenile offenders; these aren't kids that have been in trouble. These are kids that just don't have the same opportunity that other kids have out there to do kind of regular kids, sort of stuff. And so, we want to be providing those kids with equal opportunities to succeed.”
COPY is designed for children to spend time with a role model, or at least somebody to hang out with. “A lot of times we have volunteers that come with specific skill sets. And other times we've got folks that just want to spend some time out in the community with youth. And so, it really can be that broad,” Moore says volunteers spending just a few quality hours a week makes an impact, “A lot of our kids have a lack of stability in their lives. Just a lot of stuff that's going on and to have one stable adult that they can count on is a big piece.”
On Saturday, September 23, COPY will offer a volunteer training. This 3½ hour class covers program policies, Q&A from a current volunteer, how to establish a mentor relationship, the impact incarceration has on families, communication skills, and the stages of a mentoring relationship. There is no cost to attend, but advanced registration is required. Light snacks and refreshments provided. For additional details please call 541-388-6651 or email COPY@deschutes.org. Additional program information is available at the Sheriff’s Office web site at www.sheriff.deschutes.org/copy.