Building The Six C’s Of Positive Youth Development
July 23, 2018


Positive bonds with people, including peers, family, school, and community, that provide a sense of structure, safety, and belonging

  • Spend time learning each other’s likes and interests and connect over shared interests or experiences.  
  • Follow the child’s lead as they set boundaries about what they want to share and when.
  • Find out what your mentee thinks about topics that come up and view them as a resource.  
  • Be a consistent, non-judgmental presence.


The internal sense of overall positive self-worth, identity, and belief in the future

  • Encourage dreaming about the future by asking “what if” questions, and support them in setting short- and long-term goals to make a plan for the dream.
  • Use talking about goals for each session as a springboard for moving to longer-term goals.
  • Praise effort and improvement.  Practice. Make note of achievements.
  • Be consistent about meeting weekly, and if you are ever unable to visit, let your mentee know what to expect and why.


A sense of sympathy and empathy for others, tolerance and acceptance

  • Remain calm when your mentee shares a difficult story.  Acknowledge that you understand that they are experiencing something difficult.
  • Ask open-ended questions to allow the continued expression of feelings.  Allow the mentee to name the feeling.
  • Thank your mentee for trusting you.
  • Talk about movie or book characters and ask your mentee to put himself in the character’s shoes.
  • Find out what your mentee cares about and use as a jumping off point to talk about larger issues.  For example, if they like dogs, engage in a conversation about animal rights.


Positive view of one’s skills and abilities, including social, academic, cognitive, personal, and vocational and how to use them effectively

  • Help your mentee get used to praise and recognizing accomplishments.  Take turns identifying and talking about a strength you possess. Then do the same about each other’s strengths. (This exercise doesn’t have to be a serious conversation.)
  • Invite your mentee to teach you a game or a skill or about some pop-culture element.
  • Let your mentee take the lead in problem-solving.
  • Encourage setting personal goals for improvement.
  • Engage them in learning of all kinds.


Recognition of societal and cultural rules, a sense of responsibility and accountability for one’s actions, personal values and principles, spirituality, and integrity

  • Learn about your mentee and the family’s culture, traditions, and values, in order to respect them.  Share yours in turn.
  • Build trust in order to make it safe for your mentee to talk about difficult topics, including moral or ethical issues.  
  • Talk about fulfilling responsibilities in your life.  
  • Read books or articles together about people who have lived lives of integrity.
  • Role model positive behavior.


Active participation in family, school and community activities and issues.  Develop and use leadership skills

  • When your mentee demonstrates interest in groups, clubs, or teams, encourage them participation.
  • Ask questions about participation that help and encourage the development of leadership skills:  “Did that work well?” or “How would you change that?”
  • Encourage your mentee to help make their world a better place.

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