Friday, September 30, 2016

Helping Urban Youth Move Through School – What Do We Need to Know?

On any given day someone is hosting a conversation on the Internet, or in some place, where they are talking about poverty, inequality, education, race, social justice, workforce diversity and quality, etc.

I participate in many of these via Twitter chats, Facebook live videos, etc. In addition I read many blogs where others share their knowledge and ideas. In my own posts I try to draw people to the ideas I've been sharing for the past 20-plus years..plus the ideas an information all these other people have been sharing.

I started putting this information onthe Internet in 1998.

I use graphics to visually communicate these ideas and to emphasize that helping kids from birth to work, in all neighborhoods with high poverty, requires a planning process that engages people from every sector, for many years. If you do a Googlesearch for “tutor mentor” then look at the images, you'll see many graphics like this, and be able to click on the article where the graphic was used.


Below is another graphic that illustrates the same idea. In this case I'm emphasizing a year-round process that is on-going. As volunteers and students join tutor/mentor programs in September, the program will work throughout the year to help them connect and build positive relationships from those connections. Those connections can take place in three different time frames, and different types of locations, ranging from the local school, to a community based youth serving organization. 


Throughout this blog and articles on the MappingforJustice blog I use maps to emphasize a need to support high quality youth programs in every high poverty neighborhood, not just a few high profile programs, or a few pilot programs, in a few places.  Maps show where help is needed, and can also show what programs are available. They can even show where help is being provided, and by whom.  Maps can be used in stories that draw attention to small sections of the city, or to the entire city. Use the examples from my blog articles to create your own.

If a youth is in elementary school when he/she joins a program, the cycle of support needs to repeat for 6-8 years just to help the youth complete high school.


Many people need to be involved in this process, including the business community, health care and legal professions, educators, parents, youth, faith based communities, etc. “It takes a village” is a true statement.


The blue box on the above graphic can be filled by many people, ranging from school-age students to senior citizens. The graphic at the right illustrates how resources grow over a period of years with consistent support, especially if it comes from highly visible people. Program design should encourage involvement from multiple sources of volunteers. Leaders from different industries should be pointing to programs throughout a city where volunteers, donors, tech support, etc. needs to be involved. Commitment should be on-going, lasting many years.

I illustrate this with the graphics below.


While people bring their own knowledge and experiences into a conversation, few conferences, social media chats, or webinars, encourage and/or enable a deeper sharing of ideas among participants at the event, or after. By using graphics and maps like these, I constantly point to information in web libraries and articles on my blog, and encourage people to visit, read and reflect, as part of their own personal learning commitment. Here's a link to a section of the Tutor/Mentor library, that points to dozens of blogs that I think are worth following.


I also point to ways that geographic maps and social network analysis maps can be used to show who is participating in a conversation and how they are connecting to each other. Here's a recent blog article written by Kevin Hogdson, a middle school teacher from Western Mass, that points to these tools.  You can see several maps of an Innovation Mindset #IMMOOC that is taking place in Sept-Oct 2016. 


In 2000 the Tutor/Mentor Connection launched an on-line documentation system where people could report key actions they had taken to further the T/MC mission. This video  describes that system (which is not available as of 2013 due to my own lack of funding and tech support.). I share the video to demonstrate the type of accountability that is needed in multi-sector problem solving.

Each of these graphics is included in one or more articles I've written and shared since 1994, first in printed newsletters, then in email newsletters and since 2005 on this and other blogs. I created the tag cloud graphic to emphasize the wide range of ideas that are available, and to show that doing a Google or Bing search using “tutor mentor” plus any one of the terms in the graphic below, will bring up one of my articles.


Anyone can do this, on any day of the week, and at any time during the day. The challenge is finding ways to motivate people to take the time to search out articles, then read and reflect. One solution is to recruit educators, Bible school facilitators, R&D people in companies, to take the lead.   Another is to create a college degree track, where students look into this information regularly for several years as they earn a degree, then for the rest of their lives as they apply what they are learning.


That's what this graphic is illustrating. If one person takes the time to dig into the articles on web sites like mine, he/she can lead a discussion that helps other people understand and apply these ideas.

This graphic and many others were created by interns who spent time with me from 2005-2015. See some of their work here and here. Use this as examples of what your own volunteers and students could be doing to help draw people from many sectors into this complex web of information, ideas and solutions.

If you're taking that role, and using the ideas I've been sharing, please introduce yourself via the comment section or by connecting with me on Twitter, Facebook, G+, or Linkedin.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Growing drug crisis in America

Today my Twitter feed included this post.
The maps in this post are from a Wall Street Journal article (see link in Tweet) which shows the growth of the drug crisis in America since 1990.  I wrote a full article about this on the MappingforJustice blog. Take a look. Share with others.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Question every tutor/mentor has each week: What do I do with my student?


I sent out my September-October eNews today. The first article included this graphic, and provided links to web sites volunteers might visit throughout the year to plan what they do each week when they meet with their mentee.  You can see this month's issue here.

If you'd like to receive the newsletter, sign up using this form.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"This fight belongs to all of us" says Chicago's Mayor Emanuel

I tuned into just enough of Mayor Emanuel's anti-violence speech last night to hear his pledge to find a mentor for every 6th, 7th and 8th grade boy in Chicago's 20 highest violence neighborhoods.

Today you can read full commentary in Chicago's many media outlets, such as Crain's Chicago Business.

To me, this "all of us" call to involvement sounds like something I've seen over-and-over since this 1992 Chicago SunTimes front page editorial.   The message is the right one, but the strategy and actions that makes this a reality has always been missing, or poorly executed.

I visited the City of Chicago web site to see if there were any details, or any maps, showing how this plan was to be rolled out.  None that I could find.

The plan focuses on extra policing and accountability strategies, which I'm not an expert in. I focus on the prevention part of the plan, and the goal of providing mentors for at-risk youth. Here's what it says:

Provides mentors to at risk 8th, 9th and 10th grade boys: According to the University of Chicago, there are 7,200 8th - 10th grade boys in CPS schools in the 20 community areas with the highest homicide rates. Mayor Emanuel is launching a three-year, $36 million initiative supported by public and private dollars to provide each and every one of these boys with a high-quality mentoring program by 2018.

I would have liked to find some graphics with the Mayor's plan such as this one which I created more than 15 years ago. The Mayor's plan focuses specifically on boys in 8th-10th grade. Yet, in these high poverty neighborhoods, habits have been formed much earlier. Mentoring programs, combined with tutoring and many different types of learning, need to be reaching these kids as early as 1st grade.  Furthermore, keeping them in school requires support beyond 10th grade, that includes part time jobs, apprentice programs, college and/or vocational coaching, etc.

Finally, girls in these neighborhoods need to be included in any prevention strategy, not just boys.

I also would like to have seen the Mayor use maps to show the 20 community areas with high violence.  Go over to the MappingforJustice blog and you'll find 20 years worth of maps included in  map-stories.


I created this map in 2013 when the Get In Chicago anti violence plan was announced.  They included a map on their web site showing community areas they were targeting. I added two other maps showing high poverty neighborhoods in the city of Chicago, asking who was going to fund programs for youth in these areas if the Mayor and business/foundation leaders were pouring their dollars into a select group of neighborhoods.

Here's another map, showing community areas on Chicago's West side, along with the number of high poverty youth age 6-17 in each. Data for this came from the Social Impact Research Center of the Heartland Alliance. You can see maps for all Chicago community areas here.

Green stars on the map show existing non-school programs (as of 2010). Double click on the Chicago Program Locator Interactive map, ad go to the organization's web site.  Use the asset map feature to discover for-profit groups and faith groups who could be supporting prevention and youth development strategies in each community area.

 Maps like this can show all of the stakeholders who have facilities in a single community area, and serve as a planing tool used to invite these stakeholders to gather and share ideas while developing a set of actions each can take regularly to help existing programs already operating in these areas, while creating new programs where needed. View this "how to create your own map story" presentation.

Strong programs are needed, not just funds for "mentoring".  One of my interns created this graphic about 8 years ago to illustrate the organizational infrastructure needed to support strong volunteer-based programs that build multi-year connections with youth.

Any plan that has a competitive funding process means only a few programs will be funded out of all that are doing work to help kids, and not all of these will be funded consistently for a decade or longer.  No business could succeed on such inconsistent funding, but we expect youth serving organizations to be great at what they do, with a funding system that only works well for a few. Read articles showing challenges facing non profits. 

Why so long?  First, it takes a few years for an organizations to become really good at what it does, with a team of talented staff, volunteers, directors and youth.  Second, strategies that provide support for short periods of time, even three years, are not enough to help kids move from first grade through school and into jobs.  Read this article about building public will.

Here's another graphic, created by a different intern. In this case it shows how any of us could be calling on people we know to provide time, talent and dollars on an on-going basis to tutor/mentor programs operating in different neighborhoods.  The web site of the program should provide enough information to convince someone to support them. See this shoppers guide presentation. 

I've maintained a list of nearly 200 different Chicago area youth serving organizations since 1994, with the goal that donors and volunteers would seek out programs in different poverty neighborhoods and offer support that helps each be world-class in what they do to help youth.  I also point to others who maintain their own lists.

One strategy the Mayor might use is to make lists like mine available to workplace fund raising campaigns, and to use his and other celebrity leader's visibility to motivate people to choose organizations on the list to offer year-to-year flexible operating dollar donations.   Media might put maps on their web site, showing where funding is landing, in order to encourage donations to under-served areas.


I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1994 to help mentor-rich youth programs grow in all high poverty areas of Chicago and have been sharing the strategy in illustrated essays, newsletters and on the Internet since 1998. It's been available to any leader, including the past and current Mayor of Chicago.  Here are a few presentations that I hope the Mayor and his team take time to look at in the next week or two.

a) Tipping Points - what are some actions that would make a huge difference.

b) Role of Leaders - the Mayor is a cheerleader, and also has a bag full of goodies that can reward businesses for the role they take in this strategy. This PDF shows a role every business, hospital, university and faith group in the region (not just the city) can take.  The mayor can recognize those who take this role on his on web site, by who gets city contracts, and by his personal appearances.

c) Making tutor/mentor programs available in more places - a Jobs Creation Strategy? Among the many challenges that will face the Mayor, one of the biggest will be helping tutor/mentor programs be available in all the places where youth need such programs.  This presentation suggests that ex military and alumni of existing programs could be recruited as staff and leaders in new and existing programs. Youth could be learning information gathering, data visualization, advertising and community organizing strategies, and be paid to do that work in their own neighborhoods...which would be a source of revenue, a source of pride, and a strategy for developing future leaders, all in one.   It's a talking point. Take a look.



Finally, I wish the Mayor would use this Enough is Enough graphic and set of actions, to mobilize the entire Chicago region in this fight against poverty, inequality, social injustice, violence, etc.

I first built this strategy into my blog in 2007. Here's a 2012 article saying "Stop the Violence. Do the Planning".

I'd love to be a consultant to help the city (any city) develop a comprehensive, long-term mentoring-based prevention and youth development strategy. I don't want to be the savior coming in on a white stallion with a quick fix solution. There is no quick fix. Lots of money will be needed, for many years.  Just building the infrastructure to support all the ideas I've been sharing will take a considerable investment, and the involvement of  universities.

I've generated these ideas over the past 40 years, as a result of thinking almost every day about what needs to be done to connect an inner city youth and volunteer in a single program, and in single well organized programs operating in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Others can short cut their learning path by digging through the articles I've posted on web sites and blogs, but it will take time to digest the ideas and put them to work.

As a first set of steps, use the ideas I've shared here today.  I'd be happy to guide  you through these and other ideas in the web library I host.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Chicago Resource to aid youth, teachers, parents

Yesterday I and about 150 others attended a To&Through Project launch event at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center. This is a powerful data-driven portal intended to increase the number of Chicago Public School 9th graders who aspire to go to a 4-year college (76%) to more than the 18%  who actually do go on to earn a 4-year college degree within 10 years of starting high school.

A range of handouts were provided, including one showing key milestones included in the To&Through strategy.  As I looked at them, I felt there needed to be something added, so I did.


Scroll down on the To&Through home page and you'll see a section under the heading of "Milestones that Matter", which I fully support.

However,  I feel that without emphasizing the support needed, at the school, and during the non-school hours, that helps kids get to 9th grade with momentum to succeed, too few will invest in the programs and talent needed in every school neighborhood where too few kids are not going to college and finishing.

I wrote this article in 2007 to illustrate how the huge emphasis on what happens in the school often reduces resources available for what needs to also be happening in non-school hours.

In the same 2007 article I included this concept map to illustrate how our combined support helps kids move through school and into careers, with, or without, a traditional 4-year college degree.

In a 2014 article titled "Developing Talent: Unlocking the Passion in Employees" I referred to a white paper published by the Deloitte University Press, which describes the concept of 'worker passion'. I hope you'll read it and understand the value of this trait as well as I do.

To me the development of these habits needs to start in elementary school and be reinforced all the way through high school, and then in vocational school and/or college.

Without educators and education funders focusing on pre 9th grade and post high school, and the non-school hours, it's likely that too few resources will support these other important milestones.

My only other wish from what I saw was that there would be an abundant use of maps.  



This map is from a presentation created in the 1990s to show a school-centered strategy that I was recommending then, and still advocate for now. This PDF is out of date, but the ideas are usable.

With a map you can show high schools and feeder schools within a defined area. In this case I'm showing Doolittle Elementary school and Phillips High School, on Chicago's South Side. On the map, and in the PDF, I show non-school programs in the area. On the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator's Interactive map, you can double click on a green star, and go to the web site of the organization.

On this graphic, I'm also listing businesses in the area. In other maps I show hospitals and colleges. In the asset section of the Program Locator you can build maps showing these assets.  All of these groups could be meeting regularly to help students move through school and into jobs and careers,  using data provided by To&Through and ideas provided by many others, to constantly increase the success of young people in this map-area.

In an article posted on the MappingforJustice blog I illustrate how libraries and hospitals in areas with highly segregated public schools could take on the intermediary role of drawing stakeholders in a map-area together. 

Similar map stories could be created for every high school in the city, or in other cities. Students, working with teachers and business volunteers could be creating the maps, creating the map stories, sharing them on blogs, YouTube and Instagram, and hosting meetings where adults discuss this information and become motivated to provide the talent and dollars needed in each school neighborhood.

Much of what I've written here was not discussed yesterday, or is on the To&Through web site.  Furthermore, the Interactive Program Locator is out of date, needs updating, and I've no money or talent to do this. Thus, it's not as useful for students and community organizers as it could be.

I'm hoping that many who attended will take a look and want to talk more about these ideas.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Libraries as anchor organizations

These two maps are included in new article I posted at MappingforJustice blog, showing how libraries, hospitals and other anchor organizations can be proactive in filling the area around each location with needed services.

Please read and share.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Building Public Will. Changing the Future.

Today I attended the UIC Urban Forum: Jobs and the Labor Force of Tomorrow and was actively Tweeting quotes until my phone battery went low. I took about 5 pages of notes, which I'll draw from in future articles.

During the last of three panel discussions I created the sketch below.


I'll put this on Power  Point and add some color, but the box at the left represents the vast wealth that has been created over the past few decades and is in the hands of less than 1% of people in the world. The panel discussions from today, and much of what I write about on this blog and the MappingforJustice blog, focuses on the negative results of this "wealth-creation" and calls on people with this wealth to be much more proactive in what they do to reduce the negatives they have inflicted upon the world, while creating greater hope, opportunity and well-being for people in the US and other countries.

Unfortunately, as my sketch shows, this is not happening on a voluntary basis, or at great scale, which is why many people call on government to take a role. Except, our political leaders are failing us.

Thus, in 2016 we have Donald Trump...and Bernie Sanders.


As with other events I attend, many of the panel members and attendees are people I've met over the past twenty years, but who for what-ever reason, don't make much of an effort to draw me into their conversations or use the ideas I share in their work (that I know of).  I think Terry Mazany of the Chicago Community Trust rolls his eyes every time he sees me.

For instance, the moderator of the first panel this morning was John McCarron, who wrote the story above in 1995, describing the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I launched in 1993, and which I now continue to lead via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  John also included me in this 1996 article.

Today's first two panel discussions created a sort of momentum, or volcano of interest, which was topped off by Clarence Page, and his concluding quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?" speech, which I found on this web site

“Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the fires of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until they who live on the outskirts of Hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heap of history and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into the bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?


That was 50 years ago! While much has changed, there is still too much to be dissatisfied about.


I created this graphic in the 1990s and have used it often. It illustrates how each one of us needs to be "dissatisfied" with the wrongs in the world, and how we need to be reaching out to try to engage other people in efforts to overcome those wrongs.

In this graphic the circle represents the information available on the Internet, and in many libraries, that groups of people can read, discuss, debate and use to innovate ways they can use their time, talent and dollars, to help kids move through school and into jobs, in one of the high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago, which show on the map at the right side of this graphic.

Clarence Page talked about how "We tend to be kind of crisis oriented in our society". As he did I recalled how I used this 1996 article to illustrate that problem.

I spent 17 years creating retail advertising for the Montgomery Ward Corporate Headquarters in Chicago. We spent over $250 million dollars a  year (in the 1980s) using weekly adversiting to tell 20 million people, in 40 states, that we had stores near them, with merchandise they were looking for....AND.....this week it's on SALE!

What will it take to motivate leaders to create on-going advertising type campaigns that draw more and more people to information they can use to become solutions to the problems we face?

As one person responded to me, "Where's the profit?"   


I created concept maps like this to try to show the "profit" gained by strategic investment by business in youth tutor/mentor programs.

I've attended forums like today's for over 20 years. I've been on the Internet since 1996 and in one section of my library I share links to web sites talking about innovation, creativity, collaboration, network building, mapping, etc.

Articles that I point to show ways people who attend events like today's can be connecting with each other after the event and digging deeper into the ideas shared, while learning and innovating ways to build the "public will" needed to create the world we want and should have, rather than the one the super rich are forcing us to live in.


In another two sub sections of the library I point to a set of blogs where the writers talk about learning and cMOOCs which show ways organizers of events might be connecting participants to each other in on-line communities where they engage, share ideas, learn new ideas, and put into practice the type of learning we hope young people bring into their adult lives. 

Another set of links points to articles about poverty, social justice, housing, etc.  


I recognized a long time ago that I am an inadequate teacher, unable to fully communicate the ideas I find from others. Thus, I try to point people who are inspired by speakers like the panel members in today's UIC Urban Forum, to visit web sites that  I point to, where much more talented and knowledgeable writers than I, can help them understand issues and ways to respond.

For instance, I've had a link to this paper by Dr. James Heckman, another panel member at today's forum, in my web library since the mid 2000s.

If others are looking at these articles, or attended events like today's forums, they might be able to communicate the "Where's the Profit?" response to business leaders and the wealthy better than I do.

My goal is that organizers not only build on-line interaction into the design of their events, but that they also build an evaluation process that creates maps showing where participants come from and what skills/network they represent. From year-to-year such maps should show repeat participation and greater engagement....if the goal is building public will to find solutions to complex problems like poverty and inequality.

They also might aggregate stories created by event participants and share them, in an effort to help everyone become a blogger, network builder and solution finder.

I've posted more than 1000 articles on this blog since 2005 and have more than 2000 links in the web library I host. No one can comprehend all of this if they only spend a few minutes on site. However, if college and high school students, faith group members and business research & development teams spend time on an on-going basis looking at these articles and links I think they will find a wealth of ideas that they can apply to resolve their own "dissatisfaction" with the way the world is structured in 2016.

I hope I can be included in that process.