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Mentors Needed For Children Of Incarcerated Adults

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is looking for volunteers for Central Oregon Partnerships For Youth (COPY), to mentor young people who have a parent in custody. COPY's Bob Moore says the program works with kids trying to process a lot of family upheaval, "If you’re a kid who has a parent dealing with drug offenses or a registered sex offender, those are really big, challenging issues and you’re probably not having a lot of safe places for you to process some of the feelings and concerns that you’re dealing with." He tells KBND News, "Our volunteers are one of those people that are often having those conversations with kids because they know that’s a safe environment."

After training and background checks, a COPY mentor is paired with a child. "What we ask of our volunteers is to spend a couple hours per week with that youth for a year," says Moore, "And what that time looks like kind of depends a little bit on interest and activities and all sorts of different things."

To keep costs down, COPY partners with local organizations to provide options, "Whether it’s the rock climbing gym or the trampoline parks or High Desert Museum or the park and rec districts. So, a lot of opportunities for the volunteers to be plugged in with their youth, doing things out in the community that don’t cost a lot of money through those partnerships." Moore says, "Mt. Bachelor just ended up setting up a partnership with us to do some projects around getting kids into the outdoor environment with some of the programs that they offer. We’ve got some partnerships around cooking, in particular, which I think are amazing." Moore adds, "Having the opportunity for our kids to go out and just have some positive connections in the community, but also having that stable adult that’s willing to be with them through that process and be that consistent person in their life."

COPY is grant funded. The next training for volunteer mentors is Saturday, April 13. The 3.5-hour class covers policies, how to establish a mentor relationship, the impact incarceration has on families and communication. A current volunteer will also take questions. It's free but advanced registration is required. To sign up, call 541-388-6651 or email. Click HERE for more information. 


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