Mentoring is simple yet powerful. A strong connection between an adult and a young person can encourage the youth to seek and build connections elsewhere, like school, work, and family. Many youth don't have natural mentors in their lives – adults to look out for them, guide them when needed, but mostly just be there to listen and offer encouragement.
Youth mentoring programs look to place caring adults in the lives of young people, particularly those lacking a role model. Often mentoring programs help develop life skills in a youth, like the 40 Development Assets – healthy boundaries, good time management, strong communication, positive peer relationships, etc. However, some programs focus on more specific curriculum like college access, literacy or healthy habits.