Mentoring at-risk youth requires much self-education. A good place to begin is to learn what the job is and isn’t. To start with, the mentor should never be primarily a tutor. To do so is a mistake. When a mentor approaches his job as a tutor it tells me he doesn’t understand his mentee or the job.
The first and foremost, the job of the mentor in this setting is to begin the task of learning the primary issues in the life of his mentee. This is a difficult job because most mentors arrive with good intentions, dramatic stories, and a mission to “help” their mentee change. Reality says listen twice as much as you speak and when you do speak ask questions 90% of the time.