Sunday, October 14, 2018

Visit Tutor/Mentor Video Library

I'm not a professional video producer but with help of volunteers and interns and emerging technologies I've created a library of videos that share ideas from my 35 years of leading a single tutor/mentor program in Chicago, and helping similar programs grow in all high poverty areas of the city. Here's one.



I created this Tutor/Mentor Videos page several years ago to show the full collection of videos that I and interns have created since early 2000s.

As you look at my videos and the layout of the collection I'm sure many will say "I can do that better".  

Yes you can!  

I invite others to create their own versions, just as interns working with me have done. I invite people to offer their time and talent to rebuild the video theater page. And I invite people to send dollars to my FUNDME page to help me keep doing this work.

If you'd like to have your name/logo put on my web sites, pdf presentations and videos, become a sponsor/partner. Let's talk.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Building non-school support systems for kids in poverty

Click photos to enlarge
I'm going to share some graphics in this article. At the end, if you believe in what I do, I hope you'll help me.

The kids shown at the left, and the adult, were part of the Cabrini Connections program I started in 1993 and led until mid 2011. The kids were in 7th and 8th grade at the time this picture was taken in 1994 or 1995. The adult is Claucia Crilly Bellucci, who started as a volunteer in the 1980s and became one of the first paid staff members of Cabrini Connections in the fall of 1993. 

At the right I'm shown with one of the kids in the photo on the left, when she came back in the late 2000s, after college, to speak at our year-end dinner. I'm connected to her, Claudia and many of these kids on Facebook.  I'm still connected to the boy I was first matched with in 1973! He's on Facebook, too.

Long-term relationships and support systems. That's the goal.

My experiences leading a single tutor/mentor program, starting in 1975, led me to a belief that these programs are a form of social capital, connecting inner city kids with people, experiences and opportunities beyond what is modeled in their neighborhoods. Such programs need to be in many places, led by highly motivated people, and consistently funded, if they are to build and sustain long-term involvement of youth and volunteers.

The school day has three time frames. Kids need support in each of these time frames. The third time frame, in the early evening hours, right after work, is when workplace volunteers are more consistently available and able to make long-term commitments.

That leads me to this next graphic.

click to enlarge
I've posted a number of sports-themed articles showing that it takes a team of fans, investors, coaches, players, trainers, sports companies, etc. to build and sustain great football, baseball, basketball and/or soccer teams.  It takes the same range of support to  help each tutor/mentor program in the city become great at what they do.

The graphic at the right illustrates the football team. The graphic at the right illustrates the need for teams of support helping great tutor/mentor programs reach kids in every high poverty neighborhood, with support that starts early and continues through high school, college or vocational school, or the military, and into jobs and careers.

Mentoring Kids to Careers
Below these two graphics is a first grade to first job timeline, showing some of the age appropriate supports kids need at each age level as they grow up.     The concept map at the right shows these supports in a different format.

Actually the support that kids and families need is far greater than what I show on this map. Open this concept map and see many other issues that need to be addressed in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities.

Look beneath the surface


Are you still with me?  

Now look at this "iceberg" graphic. I wrote about it here.  The part above the water is what you see when you look at a photo of a youth and volunteer connecting at a tutor/mentor program, or in an enrichment outing.

What you don't see is what's below the water line. This is the program infrastructure that helps great programs become great. It's the same infrastructure that helps great sports teams become great, or that helps great businesses grow.

I used the word "great" five times in that paragraph. That's because I keep emphasizing the need for well-organized, well-funded, long-term, mentor-rich programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago, it's suburbs, and other cities around the country....and in rural areas and on reservations, too!  They all need to be great, or at least trying to be great!

Read - Logic Model
So here's the logic model that I'm talking about.

If you believe that connecting kids with extra adults and expanded learning opportunities is a good thing, then you need to accept that well-organized youth tutor, mentor and learning programs are going to be needed to help those connections begin, and last, for many years.

If you accept this as truth, and look at a map of Chicago, and the number of high poverty youth in the city alone (over 200,000), then you need to accept that many great programs are needed, and they are needed in every high poverty community area.

Dig into strategy map
Many leaders need to share this commitment.

If you are willing to work to help build the infrastructure needed to make great tutor/mentor programs available throughout the city, spend time looking through this concept map. Then create a version, putting your photo and/or company logo, in the blue box, and put it on your web site or blog, signalling your commitment to the goals and the strategy.

I've been sharing this message, along with a library or resources, and list of existing programs operating in Chicago, since 1994.  Yet, I find almost no leaders using a collection of graphics similar to those I've put into this article, to share their own commitment to this same goal.

Ideas bursting in air!
I launch my ideas on blog articles every week, then spread them, like fireworks via social media. As you and others pass them on in your own feeds, we reach more people, and maybe convince some to take on leadership roles in this effort.  Such leaders can be from any city in the USA, or from other parts of the world!

Learn more.

I encourage you to read more of my past blog articles. Or browse sections of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site to build a deeper understanding, and commitment to what I'm writing about.

Subscribe to monthly e-mail newsletter - see exampleClick here to sign up.

Thank you for reading this entire article.
For me to continue to do this I need your financial support. Visit my FUNDME page and send a small, or large, contribution.


Monday, October 08, 2018

Celebrate. Reflect. Indigenous Peoples Day

In many places school is out and people are celebrating the Columbus Day Holiday. However, in a growing number of other places, the name of this holiday has been changed to Indigenous Peoples Day, to recognize that America was already full of people with a rich civilization before settlers from Europe invaded the continent and took their land.

Here's one of many Tweets with links to articles that I invite others to read and reflect on:



Here's a Tweet with a map showing cities that are changing from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day



Here are some hashtags you can use to find more Tweets and links.  #indigenouspeoplesday#IndigenousPeoplesDay2018  You can do a Google search and find many articles and resources. Here's a site with many links embedded.

resource links
I've been working with inner-city youth in Chicago since 1975. Since most of those in the programs I've led were African American and Latino youth my web library has tended to include many more articles that show how actions taken from the 1600's through today have created the racial barriers and cultural divide we're struggling with in this country. 

The cMap at the left points to one sub-section of the Tutor/Mentor web library. This section includes articles about race, poverty, inequality, social justice, prevention, etc. that are available to anyone who wants to build a deeper understanding of these issues. 

If someone is building a similar library, focusing on other US cities or the rest of the world, or focusing on Indigenous Peoples or Latino, Asian and other minority groups who have been discriminated against by the majority in America, send me links and I'll add them to my own library.

Note: I depend on contributions to help fund my work. Please visit my FundMe page and help if you can.


Friday, October 05, 2018

Use time, talent, dollars to help youth

Below is a graphic I created to show ways I've been trying to draw attention to youth tutor and/or mentoring programs operating in the Chicago region.
Browse this list of Chicago programs. Create your own graphics.
This is actually a montage of three different graphics that I shared on Twitter and Facebook several times over the past year.

Below is another graphic, visualizing my role as an intermediary, connecting people who can help with tutor/mentor programs in places where extra help is needed.

The list of "who can help" includes almost everyone.  With so much daily attention focused on national and local politics, international issues, natural disasters, along with sports and entertainment, it's important to keep in mind that kids take 20 to 25 years to grow from birth to work, which they do one day at a time!

That means that programs giving these kids extra support need to be in place in every high poverty neighborhood and they need consistent support from volunteers, donors and the public, to sustain and constantly improve their efforts.

View photos from conferences

This photo visualizes my efforts since 1975 to get people involved in youth tutor/mentor programs, and to get people to talk to each other about ways we can make great programs available to youth in more places, and what "great" really means.

If you look at the list of tags on the left side of this blog, imagine each as a topic of an on-going conversation involving people from many sectors, many places, and many cities.

I just don't see enough of this happening, with maps and concept maps serving as guides to where programs are most needed and what program designs and support systems need to look like.

You're welcome to use my articles as thought starters in any conversation.  You're welcome to create your own versions of my graphics.  You're encouraged to duplicate my efforts, to help kids in the Chicago region, or kids in other places.

Visit my FundMe page
Finally, you're invited to provide small (or large) contributions to help FUND ME so I can continue to do this work, and do it better.

That means you're also invited to become a partner and not only help me, but build your own knowledge so  you can take on this role in future years, and /or in other places.

If you're doing this work on a daily basis, as I am, or want to learn how, let's connect on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIN.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Use information in Tutor/Mentor web library to support involvement

I've been using concept maps as a form of blueprints since 2005. Prior to that I was using power point and other desk top publishing to communicate ideas and strategies that I've been developing and sharing since launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993.

Here's one that shows how the information I've been collecting is intended to be used by others.  View this map here.

Information flow - cmap

Now here's the same map. I posted it on an article in 2016 and Terry Elliott, who I met through the Connected Learning MOOC added comments to it, using his blog article.  In this follow up article, which I titled "Build with Me" I added new comments to the graphic that Terry had put on his blog.



The visuals that I've been creating are intended to influence what non-profit youth organizations and for profit businesses and resource providers do to help make youth support systems available in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago, its suburbs, and other cities, and constantly support them so more k-12 kids go through them and into college then jobs, over a 20 year period of continuous support.

I've posted concept maps in dozens of articles. You can scroll through them by clicking this link.

Building teams - cmap
My vision is that teams of volunteers/staff/students from many places, including businesses, would be looking at my graphics the same way Terry Elliott, Kevin Hodgson and others in the #clmooc group have been.

For instance, here's an article that focuses on workforce development which uses some of my concept maps. 

What does this graphic mean to you, your company and/or your community? What does the knowledge flow graphic mean?

Create your own version and share it with me and others.

If you feel this article has value, click here and add your financial support to help me keep writing articles like this.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Connecting with IWU on LinkedIN

Scrolling through my Linkedin groups today and opened this Illinois Wesleyan University alumni group and saw that no posts had been made in quite a long time. So I decided to enter one.

I graduated from IWU in 1968, so this is my 50th anniversary. In August 2001 Minor Myers, Jr . who was President of IWU at that time, called me and asked if I'd come down to IWU in early September. He said they wanted to honor the work I'd been doing with inner city kids. That turned out to be an honorary PHD. You can see me in my robe in the montage of other awards and recognition I've received over the past 50 years.

While I started leading a Chicago tutor/mentor program in 1975 and informally started drawing program leaders together for idea sharing and relationship building, i formally started my network building in 1993 when I formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Since then, I've been trying to build a network of business, education and professional leaders who work to make well-organized, on-going, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs available to k-12 youth in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities. What I find is that while many people support individual programs, or well known programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, few are looking at poverty maps and asking "how do we make the talent and resources available so that we fill more of these poverty areas with great programs?"

Furthermore, how do we help programs learn from each other so they are borrowing ideas that help them become great, then stay that way for many years as kids join their programs, then move through school and into adult lives and jobs, perhaps with IWU a stop along the way?

If any of you are part of tutor/mentor programs, as alumni, volunteers, donors, board members, researchers, etc. I hope you'll introduce yourself and read some of the ideas I've been sharing on this blog, the MappingforJustice blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site

I'm not attending homecoming and my 50th reunion because I've not been able to raise money to pay myself, or the costs of the work i'm doing, since 2011. Thus, driving from the Chicago area to Bloomington, Il.  and getting a hotel room, is an expense beyond my budget.

That does not prevent me from connecting with IWU and it's alumni via forums like the IWU group on LinkedIN, or on Twitter or Facebook. Let's connect if this is something you're interested in.

If you want to help me pay the bills, just visit this page and make a contribution.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Expanding Networks. Deeper Learning.

If you skim through some of the many blog articles I've posted since 2005 you'll find many graphics used to visualize and communicate complex ideas.  I'm not certain how effective this is, but I feel a picture can do more than several pages of words.

Below is a graphic I'm working on.  I'm going to include it in my monthly eMail newsletter.


I use a "wheel" graphic to visualize the need for youth to be connected to volunteers from many work/career backgrounds who can model different opportunities and open doors as kids grow older. As volunteers from different industries get involved in a program, many informally share what they are learning with people in the work/social networks.

The second graphic is visualizing a strategy intended to draw more people to the information available in the Tutor/Mentor web library and on the web sites of the various youth programs and researchers that I point to. Each person involved with a tutor/mentor program formally, or informally, can be telling others about their experiences and recruiting others to take a role.

The maps are intended to show a need for great tutor/mentor programs in every high poverty area of the city, not just in a few places.


Imagine this photo from a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference as a gathering of your volunteers, where they are sharing ideas for being an effective tutor and/or mentor, or for helping find resources to support your organization.

I'm sure this is happening in many places. But are you writing about it on your blog or web site? Are you pointing to a library of articles for people to read?

Here's a page on the Cluster Tutoring Program web site, where they point to articles their volunteers can read.  Look through the list of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs that I host. How many do you find that share information like this?

It would be great if people who read my blog actually looked at these programs, then posted comments telling about programs who are sharing information like Cluster Tutoring does.  

As volunteers from different industries get involved in programs like this, many informally share what they are learning with people in the work/social networks.

View video
I've described this as an "adult service-learning" process. In on-going programs it repeats every week and the longer a volunteer is involved the more he/she has to share with other people who might also become involved.

How can we make this intentional? Are there ways to motivate some volunteers, and students, to take this role, and use social media and face-to-face interactions to draw more people to our libraries of information, help them understand it, and help them use what they learn in one or more ways that helps a tutor/mentor program help kids move more successfully through school?

Why is this so important?

Birth to work challenges

While making mentor-rich non-school programs available in more places is critically important, the challenges facing kids and families in high poverty, highly segregated, neighborhoods of Chicago go beyond schools, education and mentoring.

I created the cMap at the left to show what some of these challenges are.  Each needs a movement of people who dig deeper into the issue and look for solutions which they apply in many, many places, for many years. 

Unless we dramatically increase the number of people focusing on these problems we'll never do enough to assure that more kids born in poverty are living adult lives free of those challenges.

The service-learning loop video that I point to above was created by an intern from South Korea. I originally communicated this idea in this PDF essay.  Between 2005 and 2015 many interns spent time looking at my blog articles and graphics, then created their own interpretation.

I invite others to do the same. Try creating your own version of the graphic I posted at the top of this article. I'm certain that many could communicate these ideas better than I do.  Or they can reach more people than I do.  Give it a try.

Want to help me? Visit my FUND ME page and send a contribution to help me keep doing this work.