An example might be marijuana use. I would not likely tell a teenager to “stop smoking pot,” for such a declaration would be completely ignored. Rather, I would ask them without judgment why they choose to do so — what need does it fill, and why do they find it desirable to get high? By taking the time to really listen and to really hear what they have to say, it’s possible to unpack the motivation behind the behavior rather than focusing on just the behavior itself. The same could be true of sex, alcohol consumption, or other “high-risk” behaviors.
Mentoring is about being present with young people more than anything else. Mentoring relationships come in all shapes and sizes, but the ultimate goal is to model who the young person is and what they are trying to achieve.
Typical services take advantage of whatever the young person finds interesting in life. That could mean shooting basketball, climbing outdoors, taking hikes, or spending time in the library, a favorite bookstore, or a local coffee shop. What is important is what happens during these outings: talking about the events in the young person’s life, gaining trust and understanding and mutual respect, and creating a safe and nurturing environment where some of the young person’s greatest challenges can be explored and overcome.
Types of Teens I Work With
Goals of Mentoring
I strive to uncover the underlying motivation for a teenager’s overt behavior, be it intense shyness and worry about popularity, high-risk behaviors, or simply a sense of being in a world that has suddenly become a little too big, too overwhelming, and too indifferent.
Length of Mentoring Program
"The distance is nothing; it's only the first step that is difficult. " by Marquise du Deffand
"The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. " by Arthur C. Clarke