Friday, March 28, 2014

Mentoring Youth: Ground Zero

This week I had two incredible opportunities to make an impact and I want to share them with you. One was with a young teen, tenth grader who had spent last year reforming his ways. This week, he came rushing to me to share his good news: all A's and one B. For a sophomore in high school, that is good news! This was a student who had a low C average last year due to not applying himself. The awesome thing about this was that through Ground Zero Mentoring, mentoring from where young people are, not where you want them to be, he was now looking forward to showing off his grades and taking pride in his intellect that he had spent the last year hiding by under performing and earning a juvenile record. We are still working to remove the overcharge from his record. But the good thing is, he has turned it around.

Also this week, I had an opportunity to turn my 'down time' into time to comfort a teen girl who was down. Something dreadful had occurred: the end of a long-standing relationship. I co-teamed with another mentor as she simply said, " I feel horrible and I need someone to talk to. My friends are OK, but I need someone to talk to." What she didn't have the words to communicate at that moment was she needed mentors rather than peer advice. She needed someone not on the same level of experience, but more experienced.

Here are some things we did in thirty minutes:

* We affirmed her worth- because it is not found in a boy
* We encouraged her to strengthen her female relationships
* We encouraged her to focus on her interests and enjoy them
* We humored her with our transparency and what we had learned around her age about putting our hope
    in dating at a young age
* We challenged her to be okay with the relationship ending and begin to value herself as worth finding
* We did not sugar-coat that breaking up is hard to do, especially after a long time, and depending on the        level of soul and body ties involved (which we did not ask)
*We let her know we would be praying for her and that our door was open if she had any questions

After this, she shared that she would definitely like to keep talking to us.

What happened in both these instances?
We valued the young person
We valued their thoughts
We valued their emotions
We valued the fact that they chose us
We chose our words and actions carefully
We stopped what we were engaged in and listened

It begins there. People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
That's why I started this blog.
For young teens in person and all over the world.

Have a question? Don't hesitate to email me. I am all ears. And I will take it to God who has the answers.