Youth are our future. They will one day become the pillars of society. Some need some mentoring to improve along the way. The first step to becoming a mentor for youth is to pass a background check. If you have no specific agency in mind to mentor through you can contact the state patrol or FBI and apply for a background check. The price for this varies according to where you live and how invasive of a background check you apply for. You will need picture ID and a Social Security number to accomplish this as well as a permanent address.
The background check will usually take about 2 weeks to process. When it comes back get a written copy. Some agencies will accept this while others will prefer to do it through their agency via a contract they have. So if you are going to work through an agency ask them how they want this done.
There are several different ways to go about mentoring. You can contact a local church and offer up your services to mentor youth. Local Youth Centers are always looking for volunteers and mentors. Don’t forget family support services, Counseling centers and such. Often they need mentors to help families as they are counseling them.
Be willing to listen to youth. Youth want to be listened to. They want to be able to talk to adults and be treated like adults. Listen and don’t judge. Mentoring can be very rewarding. Perhaps you share a common interest in a specific sport or craft. Consider sharing this passion with the youth.
Keep your word or be prepared to have a very very good reason why you were unable to keep your word. Youth really need to be able to depend on a mentor. Often their own peers, family and friends have let them down so many times that they are deeply wounded if the mentor lets them down too.
Go the extra mile and give them a card for a birthday or holiday. Remind yourself what it was like to be a teen and perhaps not feel important.
If you feel yourself growing impatient, take a short break.
If you are in charge of such an organization that utilizes mentors always make sure that your volunteers have passed a background check. Sexual predators love to try to get into this type of work. When I worked at our local youth center we had several potential volunteers that did not pass the background check and at least one was arrested for even considering applying.
Make a difference today in the adults of tomorrow. Volunteer your time and be a youth mentor.