The Texas Juvenile Justice Department believes that volunteers enhance the lives of youth by providing meaningful activities and resources that promote pro-social, educational, emotional and spiritual growth, and healthy family relationships. These activities and resources expanded upon the work of TJJD staff and help build stronger connections for the youth.
The mission of the TJJD Volunteer Services Program is to maximize community resources and utilize volunteers to provide opportunities that enable youth to become responsible and productive citizens. Each volunteer services program is administered by a qualified Community Relations Coordinator.
TJJD mentors make a significant impact on the rehabilitation of our youth. The goal of mentoring is to develop a trusting, supportive relationship between a mature adult and a carefully matched youth in which the youth is encouraged to reach his/her potential, discover his/her strengths and develop self-confidence. Our research confirms mentoring really does make a difference in reducing recidivism and increasing educational accomplishments. These improvements are heightened when mentoring matches are sustained for at least six months, and faith-based mentoring has been found to be the most successful type of mentoring.
Mentors are carefully screened and selected, and are expected to make a six-month minimum commitment and spend at least 4 hours each month visiting with their mentee. Mentoring visits take place usually during the evening and on the weekend. Matches are carefully made and based upon gender, age, language requirements, availability, needs and strengths, shared interests, life experiences, and preferences of mentor and mentee.
Tutors provided additional assistance to TJJD youth who are working on earning their high school diplomas and/or GEDs. Generally, our youth are several years behind their peers academically, and need extra help to catch up to their grade level in reading and math. Tutors work with individual youth in our secure facility classrooms and halfway houses. No prior special training or experience is required, and tutors are provided with materials and guidance as they work with youth.
TJJD facilities often rely upon the involvement of community volunteers to provide religious training, spiritual development, and pastoral counseling services to youth. Hundreds of faithful volunteers visit our secure facilities and halfway houses each week to lead religious activities and worship services, as requested by our youth. Volunteers receive guidance and training from the facility Chaplains.
If you or your religious organization is interested in providing such activities for TJJD youth, please refer to the Volunteer Contact List.
In addition to these primary roles, volunteers may be involved in unique programs developed by the local TJJD facility. These volunteer roles include college interns, recreation assistants, music/art teachers, guest speakers, gardening instructors, and clerical workers to name a few.
The Community Relations Coordinator at each TJJD facility is responsible for screening prospective volunteers and carefully matching selected individuals to a suitable assignment. A volunteer assignment is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of :