The top 3 skills every youth advocate must possess to excel in this field are:
1. Have great listening skills. Really listen to what the children are saying and not ridicule them for it. Beneath what they are saying lies the answer to much of thier behavior.
2. Meet them where they are. One of the worst things an advocate can do is talk down to a child. They are already down and look to you to empower them. Take their strengths and find ways to build upon them by doing things that interest them. Then pat them on the back and say "Good job!" It may be the only time they hear it.
3. When talking to them ask open-ended questions. Most kids that don't want to be with you will be happy to answer yes or no to your questions. So to engage them make sure the questions you ask involve a specific answer and not yes or no.