Helping Troubled Teens: How Mentors Make a Difference

Ministering to Youth Who are Most Vulnerable

Photo of mentor teaching a young girl how to fish.
Photo by Siggy Nowak
He who walks with wise men will be wise,

But the companion of fools will suffer harm. – Proverbs 13:20, NAS
When you consider that 9,000,000 kids in America say they don’t have an involved adult in their lives, you get an idea of the massive need for mentors. reports that 1 in 3 youth don’t have a mentor, leaving them without guidance and support through life.

Maybe you’d like to help solve this problem?

That’s great!

But first, we’ll address what a mentor is, what they do, who needs one, and the benefits of mentoring.

What is a mentor?

Iron sharpens iron,

So one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17, NAS
A mentor advises and offers guidance and support throughout a child’s hardships in life.

They’re available to answer questions and just be a friend.

They’re role models and someone to confide in. A mentor helps a child with emotional growth, self-confidence, and problem-solving. They’re good at networking and finding resources.

They know how to listen.

They’re someone to laugh and have a good time with.

They share their knowledge of everyday skills like cooking a meal or cutting a board.

By giving their time and attention, a mentor has a huge impact on the success of their mentees.

What a difference a mentor can make in a kid’s life!

Why is mentoring important and how does it help youth?

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton
Without an involved adult, stressful situations at home or passing into adulthood can be overwhelming.

To a kid without the advantage of a caring, concerned adult in his life, a mentor is a lifeline.

Particularly vulnerable teens are those at risk of dropping out of school or getting involved with drugs.

Teens who might especially benefit from the help of a mentor include those who

  • Come from low-income households or underprivileged populations
  • Lack support systems
  • Struggle with depression, trauma, isolation
  • Struggle academically or have limited educational resources
  • Live within the foster care system
  • Have an interest in entrepreneurship

According to, kids with mentors tend to earn more, are healthier for longer, impact their neighborhoods, and 90% of those mentored grow up with a desire to mentor others.

Kids with mentors are

  • 78% more likely to volunteer
  • 130% more likely to lead others
  • 81% more likely to participate in sports
  • 55% more likely to attend college
  • 76% more likely to stay off drugs

Having a mentor puts a kid at a decided advantage.

It can impact their personal, academic, and social development by offering role modeling and a different way to look at things. It provides kids with connections to new people and opportunities and may open up a whole new way of life.

Mentorship can be transformative and empowering for the mentee, but the mentor will experience satisfaction knowing they’ve helped a young person find his way in life.

What makes a good youth mentor?

“The people closest to me determine my level of success or failure. The better they are, the better I am. And if I want to go to the highest level, I can do it only with the help of other people. We have to take each other higher.” – John C. Maxwell
You may be wondering if you have what it takes to be a mentor.

If you’re someone who is

  • Willing and available
  • Open and honest
  • Encouraging
  • Supportive
  • A good role model and listener
  • Looking for purpose in life
  • Fun

Being a mentor may be just the thing for you!

You might be the lost link in a troubled youth’s chain of hope. They may be hoping for someone just like you in their lives.

Just a quick mention about the fun element of mentorship. It’s good to have common interests with the youth you’re mentoring. Since part of the mentor/mentee relationship is having fun, this is an important aspect to consider.

Now’s your time to shine

Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser,

Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. – Proverbs 9:9, NAS
If anything you’ve learned has sparked a desire to get involved with youth needing your guidance and friendship, we have several opportunities for you right here in your community!

No More Dirty’s programs The Greatness Project, CampSMART, and Least of These are geared from youth to adulthood.

We’d love to show you the many ways you can make an impact in someone’s life today!

For more information, reach out to us at, visit our website at, or give us a call at 256-701-4403.

We hope to hear from you soon!