When I launched the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, my goal was to build a library of existing programs, and create more frequent media stories, so more people would be motivated to volunteer time, talent and dollars to help existing programs grow, or help new programs start where more are needed.
The information in the library was intended to help existing programs see what others were doing, so they could borrow ideas to help improve their own program. However, it's also intended to be used by people in business, faith groups, media, politics, high schools, colleges, etc. who should be much more proactive in helping good programs grow in more places.
One way I stay informed about tutoring/mentoring in Chicago and around the country is by looking at what Chicago area tutoring and/or mentoring programs are putting on Twitter and/or Facebook, as well as what they are putting on their web sites.
Connecting with other programs on Facebook. The easiest way to learn what other programs are doing is to look at their Facebook pages. The way I've done this is to look at web sites of programs I maintain on this list. I find their Facebook link, and then visit their page and click on the "like" button. I've created a list of programs on Facebook, so this would be easier for others to do.
Then, on a regular basis, daily or weekly, I just click on the Pages Feed button, on the left side of my home page, and scroll down through the listings to see what's being posted.
I also point to other youth programs around the country. See the list.
One opportunity that most programs miss, is using blogs to share their vision, successes and challenges with each other and with the public. If you browse articles I've posted since 2005, I'm pretty open about what I'm trying to influence. If you look at this AllStars Project blog, you'll see a clear statement of some of the challenges non-school youth development programs face. I would like to be able expand this list of blogs, which I've been building for the past 10 years, where leaders of tutoring and mentoring programs are sharing their own ideas in a similar way. Send me your blog address and I'll add it to the list.