Youth mentoring includes programs that teach children to become healthy adults. They do this by providing services, opportunities, and supports that help youth develop characteristics that help youth transition successfully to adulthood. These characteristics come from Erickson’s Developmental Stages.
For children to develop successfully, they need to trust others, have confidence, feel competent, take initiative, be productive, develop honesty, and experience how to love and be loved. These principles are part of the five “C’s” program used in all youth mentoring programs. Many youths do not have access to these attributes. Consequently, youth mentoring seeks to nurture development rather than reduce certain risks or prevent specific problems. Its ultimate aim is to help youth become responsible, contributing, and healthy adults.
Young people are best able to grow up when individuals, family, schools, youth agencies, faith organizations, community governance, business, and more support them. Successful programs use community institutions and others to meet the needs of the youths in the program. Families, friends, and other informal support networks work together to prove opportunities that youth can access. Community life is an essential part of their work.
Youth mentors learn to make wise decisions, develop leadership skills, try new things, and experience success. They also become involved and participate in community activities and events, Through these activities, they share common goals with safe adults. The youth develop relationships with adults they can trust and depend on for help and fun.
Through the programs, youth learn to overcome mistakes. Youths work in a physically and emotionally safe, environment for youth. Program members help teens feel connected, and that, they belong to the program. Youths learn that they need to follow rules and have a positive behavior while in the program. Adults encourage and support youths in developing new skills. Programs provide ways for teens to make a difference in their communities and help them learn how to make safe youth-adult relationships. Successful programs try to include family, school, and community to partner with young people in the above endeavors.
Popular youth mentoring programs include the Big Brother, Big Sister, the Salvation Army, Teen Challenge, and Boys and Girls Club of America. These programs help children transition into adults. Many of the young people come from unsupportive homes and need extra support to develop successfully. Some youths have had problems with the law. Youth mentoring has its risks but for those engaged in it; it also has its rewards.