At the heart of an at-risk youth is their value system. In order to help them you will need to understand that value system. Does this mean you will agree with their system of values? No. In the past 28-years have heard it all. I have been told, by a young lady, why it was okay to take a beating from her boyfriend, I have been told why it is okay to sell drugs, why hitting back (retaliation attack) is important, why laws don’t apply in their hood, etc, etc, etc.
If you do not take the time to learn what your mentee’s value system is do not deceive yourself into thinking you will be able to influence them. In order to understand someone’s value system you must invest time and sincerity into your relationship with them. If you fail to do this you will be branded a fake. You will lose respect and with that you will never earn the right to be heard.