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Strategies for Success  “You must have a plan for everything and be able to put your plan into action!” Create and encourage opportunities for positive self-expression in your mentee through art, music, dance, etc. Make them feel good about themselves. Focus on the good. If you feel good about yourself you will more than likely feel good about others. Encourage your mentees to help themselves. Limit the amount of help that you provide. “I’ll help you so much, but then you have to help yourself.” Be accepting of what the mentee gives, but always guide them into giving more. Challenge your mentee to learn and instill higher expectations (stretching). Develop strategies for tapping more of their potential through self-esteem building. Sell them on their individual talents and potentials. Enter the mentees’ world and create projects that relate to them. If your mentee is into rapping for instance, have him or her create raps with positive messages or the teaching of some subject. “A good rapper can rap on anything!” For example, have them create a rap on some event in history or any academic subject or poetry. I have allowed my mentees to hold and perform “Rap Contests” in front of school audiences to teach CPR with great success. Find ways to turn every “happening” (trend) into positive learning experiences. Allow and encourage mentee involvement in the decision making process. Learning is greater and more accepted when the mentees have some “say” in the process. Assess your skills and abilities so that you can do the things that you do best with the mentee. Your enthusiasm for a hobby or project is attracting. When you are with a mentee, give your full-undivided attention to the mentee. You should be looking for ways to trigger their “hot buttons” to tap into potential. Be ready to support positive problem solving skills. Talk through strategies with your mentees for recognizing, handling and overcoming barriers. Turn negative experiences into positive productive learning situations. Winning should be associated with their future career connections.

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Training Adult Mentors

Evidence and research has shown that adults tend to have a need to integrate new ideas with what they already know. Adults learn best from the sharing of common experiences with other fellow adults. Barriers that often deter adults from mentoring or developing nurturing roles can be overcome in situations where mutual experiences, interests and knowledge are shared with colleagues, thus, a way of connecting with new people. Solutions to common problems dealing with troubled youth which adult mentors face in the adult-mentee relationships can be mutually dealt with. Training derived primarily from the brainstorming of experiences will help adult mentors to boost their confidence levels and abilities in building self-esteem in troubled youths. The goal is to create sharing relationships that are based on trust and role modeling of positive values.

Breaking down adults into small groups for interaction to elicit more sincere responses to concepts dealing with troubled youth will provide "experienced focused training" for adults from all walks of life. Practical guidelines to stimulate and provoke thought in the areas of self-esteem building, problem solving and goal setting can be discussed and evaluated. Adult mentors will be able to recognize, maximize and enhance the strengths of troubled teens through the development of proper mental attitudes and systematic procedures for dealing with troubled youth who are going through the struggles of adolescence.

Training adult mentors to recognize and maximize the strengths of troubled teens through an organization wide unifying system of communication for developing rapport, creating attainable goals and motivating at-risk youth should be the goal of any mentoring organization.

Mentor training should provide a proven system for generating troubled teens with self-esteem building skills, concepts, ideas, strategies and problem solving skills. While training adults to recognize and help troubled youths to overcome limitations in the adult-troubled teen mentor relationships.

Though mentor training is comprehensive in nature, the training should not be presented as an exhaustive review of mentoring. The message is clearly stated regarding the need for the development of important relationships for these youths with adults who can help them energize their inner resources to meet the challenges of life today. Within the training suggestions, thoughts and experience to help facilitate the forging of such relationships should be created.

Mentor training should also be an interactive process to stimulate, provoke thought and guide anyone in improving or developing mentoring skills and work well in training individuals individually or best in group workshop situations.

How often do you hear someone asking "I wish I knew how to motivate my troubled son or daughter." Here's a proven system to develop mentoring skills for dealing with troubled youth for those who never thought they could.