What is Youth Development?


We work with local school districts, youth-serving organizations and agencies to create partnerships that integrate and connect youth to available community supports to help them in achieving their goals. 


Connect youth with caring support.

Youth are our future! 

About Youth Development

Douglas ESD is committed to developing partnerships and resources that provide youth the supports they need to develop an individualized plan for success in life.  Our goal is to engage youth up to 21 years old with learning and life and to provide a holistic system of supports.

In the 2020 Opportunity Index database (www.opportunityindex.org), it was reported that 22.5% of youth in Douglas County, between 16-24 years old are either not in school or working, nearly twice what it is in the state (11.9%).

Our services include:

Youth Development Mentors – Youth succeed in life if they have at least one meaningful relationship with a caring adult. We discover what youth need, not only in education but in life. Our mentors guide youth to plan meaningful futures and access the tools and supports they need to get there. Refer a youth to get individualized support from a mentor. Submit a referral and the youth will be contacted by one of our caring mentors. 

Youth Advisory CrewDouglas ESD works with organizations throughout the community to focus on the voices of youth, ages 14-21. Learn more here.

Youth Transitions Program (YTP) – Prepares youth with disabilities for employment and/or career-related postsecondary education or training. This program is currently available through Douglas ESD at Sutherlin, Riddle and South Umpqua High Schools.

Transition Network – Douglas ESD partners with the Oregon Department of Education  to improve post-educational outcomes for youth with disabilities by providing employment opportunities that benefit individuals, communities and the economy. Transition Network staff works to train and support educators and students throughout Douglas, Coos, and Curry counties.

School-to-Career/Career-Connected Learning – Community leaders, educators and families are realizing now more than ever that there is no one-size-fits-all option for students graduating from high school. We’re learning that what matters is that youth find a field that interests them enough to pursue their passions and find their purpose.

Within our schools, youth  benefit from project-based, authentic learning experiences that create the designers and doers of our future through minds-on, hands-on learning. While in high school, they may experience career-connected learning through Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes such as automotive, agriculture, education, woodworking, welding, construction, cooking and more. This training prepares youth to enter the workforce either now or in the near future after additional training.

Throughout our community, Douglas County youth are fortunate to benefit from  education, business, industry and philanthropic leaders  working diligently together to coordinate programs and offer opportunities.. Key community partners include Recruit HIPPO, Umpqua Community College, Douglas County Partners for Student Success Bright Works program, Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub, and the Southern Oregon Workforce Investment Board.

Investments in all youth to provide meaningful career opportunities will ensure a bright future.




Youth Development Team

Reach out to us! 

Jeneen Hartley

Director of Education Services


Melody Rogers

Career Connected Learning Facilitator


Les Rogers

Transition Network Facilitator


Josh Sullivan

Lead Youth Mentor


Marcia Webber

Youth Mentor