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Volunteering with OYA

Volunteers are an integral part of the Oregon Youth Authority. OYA volunteers support positive youth development in close-custody facilities and in community settings throughout Oregon.

Volunteers are valued by OYA for the significant work they do in supporting youths' pro-social, educational, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Volunteers must consent to a criminal history check and be age 21 or older, with certain exceptions for students in accredited internship programs.
Volunteers can:

Be a Mentor

Mentors offer young men and women positive relationships with adults who are not a part of their history or problems.

Tutor a Youth

Academic progress correlates directly with lowered recidivism rates. Many OYA youth in facilities and in community settings can benefit from one-on-one help in basic academic subjects. 

Lead Religious Activities

Volunteers are OYA’s primary resource for providing a variety of spiritual and religious services and study groups for youth in close-custody facilities.

Coach Life Skills and Job Readiness

Volunteers can provide youth with practical advice and information that enhances their ability to successfully navigate life once they return to the community. 

Provide Post-Incarceration Job Opportunities

Volunteer businesses can provide a step up to OYA youth, offering internships or jobs for the short or long term. Maintaining employment significantly helps OYA youth lead productive, crime-free lives. 

Sponsor a Living Unit

Volunteer groups can sponsor living units of 25 youth by providing holiday celebrations and recognition of youth birthdays and special events such as graduations.

Assist with Work Experience Programs

Volunteers currently support the Project Pooch program at MacLaren YCF and the PAWS program at Rogue Valley YCF – programs that teach youth good work habits and responsibility as they train and care for shelter animals. There are many more work experience program opportunities in all facilities that lack state funding and rely on volunteer support.

Become a Practicum Student or Intern

OYA partners with colleges and universities to offer practicum experiences to undergraduates and internships to graduate students seeking experience in the juvenile justice and juvenile mental health fields.

Practicum and Internship Opportunities brochure 


How Do I Volunteer?

*A limitation of our database does not let you save a partially completed application.  Therefore, before you begin your application, have the following information available: names, email addresses, and phone numbers of three references (not relatives) as well as your emergency contact.


If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in.  - Rachel Carlson

Please consider joining OYA as a volunteer. Together we can make a difference, one young person at a time.