There are thousands of children everywhere, in every city and county in this country that is classified as "at-risk" youth. These are kids who may be in trouble with the law very soon if they continue on as they do, or have already had brushes with the law. They may also be kids who come from abusive or neglectful homes. All of these kids need some help and support in some way, but too often they do not get that help or support until they become juvenile offenders. If you would like to help the kids nearest you, start at your juvenile courthouse. There are many volunteer opportunities that can help.
Juvenile Court Public Affair Volunteers
These juvenile court public affair volunteers are "hired" to help kids in need, either through mentoring programs or through emotional support programs. If you volunteer for this type of charitable position, you will be paired with a troubled kid who needs your help. This kid can call and talk to you or visit you at any time, or you can arrange one-on-one time during the week when you know the child will most need it. For obvious reasons, you will need to go through a very stringent screening process.
Community Clubs for Kids
Community clubs for kids are safe places for kids to go after school, get homework help, a snack or a meal, and hang out with peers with similar interests. It is not a babysitting program, since most of the kids' clubs are for middle schoolers and above, but it keeps preteens and teens off the street. Some community clubs are entirely free and supported by grants and charitable contributions, while others may request an annual fee for dues. Staff may or may not be paid, depending on how the club operates.
Abuse Prevention Shelters
Many kids who have been victims of abuse or neglect until the social workers found them and the police picked them up are at risk of being abused or neglected again. These kids are also at risk for becoming runaways and targets of sex traffickers. For that reason, there are abuse prevention shelters for kids and teens. The shelters are always open so that the kids and teens can come there anytime they want or need to. The shelters always need volunteers to monitor the comings and goings of kids, and help them feel safe and secure in a place that is designed to protect, warm, and feed them.