Juvenile center looking for volunteers and mentors - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Juvenile center looking for volunteers and mentors

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

MANITOU, OK (KSWO) - A local rehabilitation center for teenage boys who've committed crimes is looking for volunteer mentors to help them get their lives back on track.

The Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Manitou houses 60 boys aged 14 through 19. All of them are going through the center's rehabilitation program for crimes they have committed, ranging from burglary to murder. The whole purpose of the center is to help them get their lives in order so they can one day be successful and productive adults. One way they do that is through the help of volunteers.

"We have mentors who will come on a weekly basis and they might have game nights with the boys, they might ask them how they're doing in school, talk to them about how they're doing just overall,” said Volunteer Service Specialist for the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center Maggie Dawson. “We also have several groups that lead bible studies that will come either on a weekly basis or a bi-weekly basis."

Dawson said they've also had volunteers come to the center to give guitar lessons and free concerts.

"Some of the young men that are here, their families struggle to be able to visit on a regular basis,” Dawson said. “So, having those volunteers come kind of fills those gaps between visits and they're able to have those positive visits with other adults."

Dawson said their current volunteers are appreciated but more people willing to donate their time are needed.

"We have juveniles who are frequently requesting to have mentors or be a part of bible studies or other groups,” Dawson said.

Dawson said anyone can volunteer as long as you are over 21 and pass a background check and a finger-print screening.  You will then receive training. She said she knows people might be hesitant to get involved, but she urges them to think about all those who have helped them in the past.

"I think it's important to look back on your own experiences and think of people that helped support you and guide you and realize there are young men out here who don't have that and so thinking about being able to pay it forward in a way and offer that to some of the young men and help encourage them,” Dawson said.

If you'd like to help, you can do so here.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly