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Larry L. Macon Jr. has spent 15 years working with urban at-risk youth and gaining an understanding of their needs.  Now he is using his experience to train future educators to become effective mentors, too.

Macon is the instructor of a course in Teaching, Motivating and Mentoring At-Risk Youth – EDF 330-EDF 530 – for undergraduate and graduate students.  The course explains what mentoring is and what the various forms of mentoring are.  Macon presents national and international models of mentoring and what has been proven to be the best mentoring strategies. The course, which is offered by the Department of Curriculum and Foundations, is great for teachers, parents and leaders of organizations and faith-based institutions that serve youth, Macon said.

Macon describes an at-risk youth as a child who is less likely to transition successfully into adulthood. “Success can include academic success and job readiness, as well as the ability to be financially independent. It also can refer to the ability to become a positive member of society by avoiding a life of crime,” he explains.

He adds that at-risk children tend to have low self-esteem, self-worth, and self-awareness.  “They tend to not ask questions or seek help when they really need it due to these factors,” he says. 

One of the biggest mistakes teachers make in dealing with at-risk youth is to treat them too harshly, Macon says.  This is done because of lack of knowledge of how to handle them. 

“Secondly, they make the mistake of giving up on them too early. Thirdly, they don’t take the proper steps or complete the proper training to learn how to deal with the at-risk youth before they encounter them in the classroom or in their organizational setting,” Macon says. 

Macon gained his knowledge by mentoring at local high schools and through college-readiness programs for at-risk youth.  He also has been a private mentor and confidant to many principals, teachers and organizational leaders. 

In addition to serving as a mentor, Macon also co-pastors Mount Zion of Oakwood Village Church.  He earned a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va.  In addition, he has a law degree from Florida A&M University’s College of Law in Orlando, Fla.

Being a great mentor requires a passion to see the youth succeed and a willingness to go through struggles in the process of mentoring, according to the married father of two.


 “Mentoring is a journey and not just a destination. It can take several months to several years to mentor just one individual. Lastly, it takes a lot of patience and love to aid someone from an unsuccessful and adverse environment to succeed in the long run,” Macon concluded.

Five things about Larry Macon Jr. 

Favorite Movie: The Great Gatsby

Favorite Place to Vacation: The Caribbean

Favorite Pass time: Sports and Reading 

Favorite Book: The Bible

Favorite Historical Figure: President Abraham Lincoln

One thing people don't know about me: “I am also a recording artist” Macon said.  He performs contemporary Christian music.