Dear Kid CAT,
My name is Sang “David” Kim. I am 31 years old and serving a 15 to life sentence for second-degree murder. I committed my offense when I was 20 years old. My goal is to help at-risk youth not to make the same mistakes I did. I’ve written several letters to Prison Letters 4 Our Struggling Youth, and I’ve written to a kid who is currently locked up in juvenile hall through a pastor. I’m writing because I wanted to know what I needed to qualify as a mentor/youth counselor (what type of schooling or training do I need)? This is something I’m interested in doing when I get out. Thank you and God bless.
Thank you for writing to us. Your positive change and willingness to help others with your story is inspiring. You have taken the most important step to become a mentor/youth counselor by writing and corresponding with a youth in juvenile hall.
To be honest, it’s not about a particular type of schooling or training that makes a person a mentor. A mentor is willing to help others, be genuine in their work, and to love others as they love themself. If you can be there in times of good or difficulty, you will have fulfilled your role as a mentor.
In order to be a counselor, one must first get educated. You can begin by taking college correspondence courses to get your associate’s degree. If you have already done that, and have the means to continue, you can get a bachelor’s degree and even a master’s degree from within these walls.
Continue to stay positive and strive toward your goals and never give up.