The Foundations for Successful Youth Mentoring

Have you considered becoming a youth mentor, but wonder what makes a youth mentor successful? Perhaps you are a youth mentor in some way and may not realize the importance of the role you are already playing and the example that you are setting for the younger generation.

The foundation of youth mentoring is inter-personal relationships plus knowledge. In terms of inter-personal relationships, consider the following:


Successful youth mentoring has a firm and reliable foundation in the integrity of the mentor, without which the mentor-mentee relationship will not come to fruition. Mentees quickly drop away from mentors who are suspect in terms of integrity.       


The honesty of a youth mentor is an important aspect of the foundation for successful youth mentoring because the youth mentee learns that what he or she is taught by his or her mentor is reliable, timely, relevant and appropriate. Dishonesty on the part of a youth mentor quickly destroys a mentor-mentee relationship quickly, as it causes confusion and disillusionment.   


A youth mentee must be able to trust his or her youth mentor. Many times, a youth mentee comes to a youth mentor with an attitude of non-trust and it is up to the youth mentor to lay the trust foundation. If a trust relationship has been broken previously, it may be difficult for a youth mentor to restore it or to establish a new mentor-mentee relationship. Successful mentoring relationships have the foundation of trust which becomes mutual trust over time.


Knowledge is a basic essential in a mentoring relationship as it is knowledge that the youth mentee seeks from the youth mentor. A mentor cannot impose his or her knowledge upon a mentee, but when a mentee turns to a youth mentor seriously seeking knowledge, the mentor-mentee relationship has a firm foundation. The youth mentor needs to have the knowledge or learn how to access the knowledge the mentee is seeking. This is often possible when the two work together in a successful mentoring relationship.

Not all youth mentors work on a one-to-one basis as there are more and more structured youth mentoring programs coming into existence.  

What is a mentoring program?

“A formal or structured mentoring program strives to match older volunteers with younger participants for the specific purpose of building a relationship of trust and respect.”

If you are a person who relates well to the younger generation and would like to become a youth mentor, you might consider joining a youth mentoring program.

“It’s good to remember that the main goal of a formal mentoring program is the development of the relationship.” 

Building a youth mentor-youth mentee relationship is not always planned or possible until an appropriate relationship and knowledge foundation is established. This often takes time, but it is possible when there is perseverance on the part of the youth mentor in conjunction with the cooperation of the youth mentee.