Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What kind of volunteer opportunities are available?
Regardless background or training, volunteers perform a wide variety of tasks. For example, a volunteer may tutor one of our incarcerated participants, become a group facilitator, help with administrative work, and so much more. There is a wide variety opportunities to work with participants reentering the community. Take a look at our Volunteer Opportunities for more ideas.

What kind of client groups can I get involved with?
Life skills groups include topics such as anger management, stress management, health awareness, parenting, money management, and conflict resolution, among others.

At which detention centers does OAR coordinate volunteers?
Volunteers work in the Arlington County Detention Facility (ACDF).

Where is OAR located?
The main office is located at 1400 N. Uhle Street, Suite 704, Arlington, VA 22201.

Do I need any special skills to be a volunteer?
Each volunteer is invited to decide the role with which he or she feels most comfortable. OAR also offers special training in many different areas.

How many hours per week must I contribute?
Time commitment varies depending on the role selected. For example, a group facilitator meets with participants weekly at a specified date and time. On average we estimate volunteers contribute three hours a week.

I work full time. Will I still be able to volunteer?
Yes. Most volunteers work full time and are still able to fulfill their volunteer roles. We have some opportunities at the OAR office in the evenings and the detention center allows volunteers to enter for programming in the evening as well. Most volunteers find it easy to schedule their volunteer activities around their jobs and personal life.

Do I need to be familiar with the legal system in order to volunteer?
No. Volunteers do not need any special knowledge of the legal system or courts. Volunteers do not provide participants with legal advice or assist with any legal issues. We discourage any involvement with a client’s case or legal issues.

Will I be prepared to work with your population when I complete training?
Yes. Training addresses most of the issues and questions that can arise, including manipulation, contraband, appropriate behavior, and safety. Be assured that under no circumstances would OAR permit an unprepared volunteer to work with clients.

What topics are covered in volunteer training? Why must I attend training sessions at both OAR and the detention center?
The OAR volunteer training and the detention center training cover different topics and volunteers must attend one of each before they can start volunteering if the volunteer is interested in facilitating in the jail. Training is designed to provide volunteers with an understanding of the OAR movement, the resources needed to be a successful volunteer, and volunteer options. The detention center’s training is designed to explain security procedure and protocol, provide a tour of the facility, and discuss working with the inmate population. If you are interested in volunteering at the OAR office you do not need to go through the jail orientation.

How long until I can actually begin facilitating a course in the jail?
Volunteers may begin work in the jail after they have first completed and OAR Tour and orientation.  Only then they will be asked to submit a volunteer application, undergo a background check, undergo training and review of curriculum, and observations. On average that process can be three to six months.