Team-lead a Teen Book Group at SD Detention Facility


Cause Areas


It's flexible! We'll work with your schedule.


East Mesa Detention Facility446 Alta Rd #5200San Diego, CA 92158


Do you want to make a difference in a teen’s life? Then I invite you to join our Adolescent Book Group Program for a special shared reading experience with students at the East Mesa Detention Facility! This is a unique and fun opportunity to share the joys of reading with a select at-risk population.

The Words Alive Teen Services program supports approximately 250 at-risk youth within the San Diego county Juvenile Court and Community School system each month through our Adolescent Book Group (ABG) program. Many of our students have experienced incredible hardships including homelessness, familial violence, and teen pregnancy but with the help of ABG are now on a path to success.

ABG volunteer teams provide monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly in-class book discussion, writing, and project-based learning sessions as part of the school’s language arts program. Curriculum guides will be provided to support volunteers in preparing for their sessions.

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers interested in engaging students in a classroom setting to team-facilitate discussion/writing sessions at the East Mesa Detention Facility. Volunteers will alternate responsibility for leading sessions with their team members.

Goals and outcomes:

Volunteers provide engaging conversation and focused writing exercises, encourage student participation, cultivate critical thinking and literary analysis, offer opportunities for world exploration, and help students develop healthy self-expression. Volunteers act as positive role models, offering students support and encouragement with educational and career goals.

Ideal volunteers should:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Enjoy reading
  • Be comfortable working with adolescents
  • Be willing to engage in deep conversation covering a wide variety of discussion topics in a classroom setting
  • Be culturally sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of our students
  • Be a positive and consistent role model
  • Have reliable transportation

Hours and location:

Volunteers can expect to spend 10-30 minutes prepping for each session in addition to reading the assigned book on their own. Volunteers work remotely at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility for the academic year (October to May).

*Please note: teachers and a class assistant will always remain present, and all training is provided by Words Alive and the facility. Training offered onsite at the facility and includes a tour.

If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Erin Rexin at


  • Literacy / Reading
  • Reading / Writing
  • Relationship Building
  • People Skills
  • Verbal / Written Communication
  • Critical Thinking

Good Match For

People 55+

Requirements & Commitment

  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • 8-10 hours/month (trainings, book review, session)
  • Volunteer Application, TB test results, 2-hour Program Training

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