Qualities of Exceptional Youth Mentors
By following these guidelines, Mentors are more likely to positively influence the lives of young people.
1. Endless Encouragement
Providing endless encouragement is the most important role of a mentor. Young people always need someone to be there for them, to cheer them on. Overcoming obstacles and solving life issues can be challenging for these youth. Mentors are beside them every step of the way, providing encouragement and support, reminding them of their innate value.
2. Always Actively Listening
It is important that Mentors always actively listen and then speak last. A great mentor is one who is always actively listening, even in times when it is unnecessary to do so. Youth often feel misunderstood and seldom listened to by adults. They feel unimportant and portray their brilliant ideas as mediocre. Mentors provide those extra set of ears and guide and uplift these youngsters. They make them feel important by simply listening.
3. Go Beyond their Comfort Zone
Young people appreciate when mentors push them beyond their comfort zone. They are ecstatic at what they are able to accomplish with that extra push. Pushing them beyond their comfort zone and having them succeed not only boosts confidence, but it sets young people up with a “nothing is impossible” kind of attitude for the future.
4. Have Genuine Interest in the Youth as an Individual
Mentors are friends that come into your life to guide you. Having genuine interest in getting to know the youth as an individual is crucial. Mentors should have an understanding of what is happening in their lives and be aware of their particular interests. Engaging with them, accepting their ideas, as well as their rollercoaster of emotions and feelings can provide a more in depth understanding of the individual, which directly leads to guided success.
5. Promote Self Decision-Making
Exceptional mentors never place judgments on youth and always leave their own feelings and beliefs at the door. This helps young people significantly in their decision making process. If they know they are not being judged, they can use their critical thinking skills to make thorough decisions. These skills carry over and help shape them as an adult.
6. Provide Perspective
Providing perspective for young people can significantly help them through challenges and obstacles in their lives. Perspective offers youth an opportunity to see both sides of a situation. Since mentors have more life experience, they are able to provide insight on the significance of overwhelming challenges. Providing perspective teaches youth the skills to “pick and choose their battles.”
- Mentors motivate students in school.
- Students who meet regularly with mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip school.
- Mentors help with homework and can improve academic skills.
- Mentors help improve a young person’s self-esteem.
- Youth who meet regularly with mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to be pressured into bad behavior.
- Mentors provide youth with a valuable place to spend free time.
- Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills.
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