Youth Mentoring Program

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***PLEASE NOTE The Washington County Juvenile Department requires that all volunteers, mentors, and interns be fully vaccinated for Covid-19. 

Milt Ewing, Manager (503) 846-3579

Jennifer Yonker, Volunteer Program Coordinator (503) 846-8775

Sara Dockter, Mentoring Program Coordinator (503) 747-9019

Supervision, Training, and Employment Programs

Supervision, Training and Employment Programs (STEP) have been developed to serve and enrich the lives of at-risk youth while providing opportunities for volunteer service and career exploration for community members.

The Washington County Juvenile Department provides youth with the opportunity to partner with a mentor who is either a college level intern or a volunteer from the community. Youth must have an open referral with the Washington County Juvenile Department to qualify. Matches are made based on similar personalities, mutual interests, and cultural or language needs, as well as geographic proximity. The benefits of mentoring are well known and include increased high school graduation rates, lower high school dropout rates, healthier relationships and lifestyle choices, better attitudes about school, higher college enrollment rates and higher educational aspirations, enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence, improved behavior, both at home and at school, stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers, improved interpersonal skills, and decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use.  (MENTOR, 2009; Cavell, DuBois, Karcher, Keller, & Rhodes, 2009)

As a volunteer or intern mentors will gain hands-on experience working with an at –risk youth while having the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a young person. The STEP Mentoring Program utilizes a trauma informed lens. Mentors will be trained in the impact of trauma on the lives of young people and how they, simply by being a supportive adult in a youth's life, are helping to mitigate the negative impacts of trauma. Mentors will also learn how their own past trauma may be impacted by their relationship with their mentee and will strategize ways to cope with this through the use of support and self-care.

Adult Experiential Learning

In addition to acting as a mentor to at-risk youth, volunteers and interns will have the opportunity to learn other aspects of the Juvenile Department depending on interest. These include: learn the role of a juvenile counselor/probation officer, observe court and learn how the juvenile justice system works, observe an intake and assessment, work shifts at Harkins House, learn about the house arrest/electronic monitoring program, assist with a transport, attend a work crew, and learn about victim services and other specialized areas such as gang involved youth, substance abuse, and youth who sexually offend. A partnership with the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office allows volunteers to explore other areas of the public safety system as well. There are also opportunities for interns to spend their internship working at Harkins House. Please indicate in your application if this is your preference. Apply to be a Mentor/Volunteer/Intern

Mentor Eligibility Requirements

  • Be at least 20 years of age
  • Be willing to adhere to all Mentoring Program policies and procedures
  • Agree to a six month commitment to the program.
  • Commit to spending a minimum of eight hours a month with the mentee
  • Be willing to communicate with the mentee weekly
  • Complete and pass the screening procedure to include background check and fingerprinting
  • Agree to attend mentor training's as required
  • Be willing to communicate regularly with the program coordinator and submit monthly meeting and activity information
  • Have access to a vehicle or reliable transportation
  • Have a current driver's license, auto insurance, and good driving record
    • Unacceptable Driving History:
    • 1. Conviction of 1 or more major traffic offenses during the past 5 years:
      • Driving While Under the Influence
      • Hit and Run
      • Reckless Driving
      • Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer
      • Vehicular Manslaughter or Vehicular Assault
      • Driving While Canceled, Suspended, or Revoked (if the conviction is due to failure to complete DMV paperwork this will be counted as one traffic violation).
    • 2. Any combination of 4 or more at-fault accidents and/or convictions for traffic violations in the past 2 years.
    • 3. Any combination of 3 or more at-fault accidents or convictions for traffic violations in the past year.
    • 4. A driving record that shows a pattern of offenses. 
  • No misdemeanor convictions in the last 5 years
  • Have never been accused, arrested, charged, or convicted of child abuse, molestation, or domestic violence.
  • No felony convictions or misdemeanor violence convictions in the last 10 years with demonstrated good behavior and an appropriate and corrective attitude regarding past behaviors
  • Not be a user of illicit drugs
  • Not use alcohol or controlled substances in an excessive or inappropriate manner
  • Not be currently in treatment for substance abuse. If a substance abuse problem has occurred in the past the applicant must have completed a non-addictive period of at least five years
  • Not currently be under treatment for a mental disorder or have been hospitalized for a mental disorder in the past three years
  • Not have falsified information during the course of the screening process

Criteria for a Match

An ideal match is based on several criteria including:

  • Preferences of the mentor, mentee, and/or parent/guardian
  • Similar gender/ethnicity
  • Common interests
  • Geographic proximity
  • Similar personalities

Vision Statement

The Washington County Juvenile Department Mentoring Program supports the success of at-risk youth by providing them with positive one on one relationships with a caring adult.

How do I get a mentor?

If you are interested in being partnered with a mentor, talk to your Juvenile Counselor and request an application. The application process is simple, but parental/guardian approval is required. Parents need to sign the waiver form and return it to the Juvenile Counselor. Once the program receives the waiver form you will be contacted by the program coordinator for an interview to get to know you and assist in finding a perfect match. Once a match is located a meeting will occur where the youth and parent can meet the proposed mentor.

Parent/Youth Waiver Form English

Parent/Youth Waiver Form Spanish

Parent/Youth Waiver Form Somali

What to Expect

A mentor is a person assigned specifically to a youth to assist them in reaching personal goals, such as academic success, obtaining employment, and developing social skills. They will participate in fun, pro-social activities with youth as well as volunteer work in the community. Activities will be based on youth interest.  Mentors will meet with youth for a minimum of 8 hours per month for a minimum of six months. Both parents and youth will attend a short orientation session on program requirements once a formal match is made.

Youth/Parent Role

Parents can help build the mentoring relationship by being friendly with the mentor, reminding your child of behavioral expectations when they are with their mentor, reminding them of appointments, calling the mentor when appointments need to be canceled or rescheduled, sharing your family values with the mentor, and tracking their activities.

Youth can assist by being patient and allowing the mentoring relationship to develop over time, being available to your mentor, and regularly communicating with your mentor, especially regarding appointment times and cancellations.

Mentee eligibility Requirements

  • Be 12–17 years old
  • Have an open referral with the Juvenile Department
  • Demonstrate a desire to participate in the program and be willing to abide by all Mentoring Program policies and procedures
  • Be able to obtain parental/guardian permission and ongoing support for participation in the program
  • Agree to a variable time commitment to the program
  • Commit to spending a minimum of eight hours a month with the mentor
  • Be willing to communicate with the mentor weekly
  • Complete screening procedure
  • Agree to attend mentee training's as required
  • Be willing to communicate regularly with the program coordinator and discuss monthly meeting and activity information


Apply to be a Mentor

Mentor Interest Survey

Mentor/Volunteer Waiver Form  

Mandatory Background Check Form