Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cubs Win! Let's Talk About Building Great Youth Support Teams

I was born in December 1945, just a few months after the Chicago Cubs last went to the World Series. I started watching the team in the late 1950s, and remember a 7th or 8th grade writing project where my theme was "Why the Cubs will win the World Series". That dream has been with me for a long time.

Last night I saw the first step of that dream achieved.

I've been writing articles on this blog, and in my printed newsletters, for nearly 20 years, about what it takes to build great teams of volunteers, donors, program leaders, youth and others who work to help young people move from a birth in poverty, to an adult life free of poverty.

I hope you'll spend some time thinking about this as you read countless media stories about how the owners of the Chicago Cubs built the team that is now headed to the World Series.

As you do, look at graphics that I've used to visualize "total quality mentoring" and support systems.

You can find this graphic in this presentation.  You can see ideas for building youth serving teams with a diverse mix of volunteers and learning experiences, in presentations like this. 

I've used concept maps to create visualizations similar to blueprints that architects use to support construction of big and small buildings. This is my "mentoring youth to careers" map.  It can be a starting point for many who want to build a birth-to-work support system in their own city, state or country. 

 Using concept maps, you can link to additional maps or web sites where additional ideas and information are available. For instance, at the far left, I show a green box, indicating a need for a "birth to first grade" map to be created, showing the types of supports that might shape a young person's lifelong thinking and learning habits, before he/she even enters first grade.

Over the past 40 years I've been building a library, with a wide range of information, intended to answer one question: "What are all the things we need to know, and do, to assure that every child born or living in a high poverty neighborhood is starting a job/career by his/her mid 20's.?"

Part of that library includes links to research, such as this Social Impact Research Center Report on Illinois Poverty.   The report is full of maps showing where poverty is most concentrated.

If you browse articles on this blog, and on the MappingforJustice blog, you'll find many more maps, and web sites with indicators of where youth, families and schools need extra help, for many years.

Using concept maps, systems thinking tools, and other visualization tools, teams working in many places could be developing a set of shared maps, that show with greater and greater depth what it takes to help young people and families overcome poverty and segregation, and roles anyone can take to help such supports be available in one or more high poverty neighborhoods of the world.

As you look at these graphics, and think of the Cubs victory last night, focus on the planning that went into building a pennant winning team. When you watch the nine players on the field and the others in the dugout, you're not seeing the owners, investors, scouts and development people, who spent tons of money and countless hours thinking of ways to build this team.  Nor are you thinking of the role fans in the stands, and at home watching TV, or listening to the radio, had in building the team, which includes buying tickets and supporting advertising sales revenue.

Thus, as you look at the graphics I'm sharing, including this one which shows signatures of NFL and MLB greats, think of ways to build teams in businesses,  faith groups, colleges, and social/civic groups, who do the behind the scenes work of understanding where great tutor/mentor programs are needed, what it takes to design, build, and sustain a "mentor rich, Total Quality Mentoring" program reaching K-12 youth in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities, as well as in rural areas and Tribal lands throughout the country.

While sports is a competitive business, that seeks to produce one champion, helping youth through school and into careers requires thinking that produces winning teams in thousands of locations.

The spokes of the Total Quality Mentoring chart point to different industry sectors, where companies compete for customers and market share, trying to be the best in their field, just like sports teams compete to be the best.

Building great  youth support teams in thousand of locations requires different thinking. Solving other complex problems, such as environmental, and health issues, requires similar teams and long-term commitment.

This work of reducing poverty, racism and inequality requires the involvement of many people, for many years, and in many places.

As I meet people in different events that I attend in Chicago, or in on-line events, I encourage them to visit my blogs and web site and spent time, on an on-going basis, reading and reflecting on the ideas I share. The tag cloud above shows topics I've focused on in blog articles written since 2005. Note the emphasis on planning, leadership, network building, learning and visualization.

These are all part of what needs to be  understood and applied in actions that build great youth support teams and make them available in all high poverty neighborhoods.  

I hope the Cubs path to a World Series Championship inspires you and your team to look into some of these ideas.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Where do you find ideas for helping Tutor Mentor Orgs Grow?

I send a monthly email newsletter, with graphics like this, and with links to articles I've written in the past. These all aim at mobilizing more people to take roles in helping inner-city youth have access to volunteer-based, non-school, tutoring, mentoring and learning programs that build multi-year connections between youth, volunteers and the host organization.  I have been maintaining a list of Chicago area programs since 1994. You can find it here and here.

This is another graphic that I've used often.

This graphic shows the role of intermediaries, such as myself, who seek to motivate people who don't live in high poverty to provide consistent flows of time, talent, dollars, technology and ideas to different programs in high poverty neighborhoods of the city and suburbs. The information I share is intended to be used by resource providers and policy makers, not just program leaders. This article about building intentional influence illustrates this work.

I use maps in many of these articles to illustrate the need to reach every place where kids need long-term help.  I include these graphics in blog articles and illustrated presentations I post on ScribdSlideshare and the library on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site.  I focus on uses of GIS maps and concept maps in articles on the Mappingforjustice blog.

This is another graphic that I've included.

In this graphic I illustrate the goal of creating a shared vision, and collaboration among programs and supporters, that leads to better information and more frequent stories about where and why non-school programs are needed, what they look like, and where to find contact information that people can use to shop and choose what programs they will support.  At the same time, I am illustrating how difficult it is to get programs and supporters to work together. The way programs are funded through competitive grants and inconsistent donors leads to a "I can't drain the swamp" mentality.  

As I watch the MLB baseball playoffs and cheer for the Chicago Cubs today, and the NFL football games and cheer for the Chicago Bears, I'm reminded of what it takes to put great winning teams on the field.  My articles are intended to reach people who will help put great, winning youth support teams in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities around the world.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Springsteen, Vivaldi, Coast Guard, Avengers

I started my day as I usually do, visiting my social media sites and clicking into articles that interest me, especially those written by people I've been connecting with frequently. This map shows my journey.

As I scrolled Google+ I was drawn to an article posted on Kevin Hodgson's blog, which was a review of "Born to Run", Bruce Springsteen's autobiography.   Kevin embedded a few Springsteen songs, which I listened to.

As I did, I thought to myself about how my network exposes me to such different sensations and ideas. Last week I had visited Charle's Cameron's Zenpundit blog, where he had shared video of Vivaldi's Gloria.

I wanted to share this with Kevin, and went to the Zenpundit site. However, the first article on the site was one titled "Of Boxes and Worldviews" which I started to read. It led me through an deep exploration of wicked problems, silos, war planning, and more.

On Saturday I had posted an article under the title of "Climate Crisis - Environmental Racism" in which I described a complex problem and embedded a few concept maps. At the end of the article I invited better writers to help me communicate these ideas. If you read the "Of Boxes and Worldviews" article by Charles Cameron, you're looking at a "better writer" describing the same ideas.

Then, on Sunday, I viewed a 60 Minutes segment about Artificial Intelligence. Imagine harnessing that capacity to try to solve wicked problems.

All of these ideas are related. 

Toward the end of Charles' article he wrote this:

Somehow, these matters of extreme subtlety must at times be borne in mind while making the split-second decisions so characteristic of both military and law enforcement practice. And the higher the decision-maker in an action-oriented profession, the greater the need for deep understanding. 

Throughout Charles' articles he inserts quotes from other people. In this case, he pointed to Napoleon Bonaparte, saying,

 "In Napoleon’s own words, we can see that his actions, too, sprang from contemplation"

I spend time in this type of learning path every day, of every week. Through my links and web library I try to point to other people who are communicating ideas with greater depth, creativity and clarity than I do.

I hope you'll take the tour.

Why? Did you listen to the Presidential Debate last night? I doubt that Donald Trump has ever spent time in this type of learning. I suspect that Hilary Clinton has.  Yet, I fear that too few elected leaders at the city, state, national levels in America, or the world, are living lives of "super heroes", doing the deep learning and reflection, that prepares them to make important decisions that affect the world we live in, now, and in the future.

I suspect that too few potential voters are either.

This is why I take time to read Kevin's blog articles, and those of others who I've met in Connected Learning MOOCs. Keven is a 6th grade teacher. Most of the #CLMOOC participants are educators. They are helping shape the learning habits of future generations of leaders. 

I connect my #clmooc and other education friends to people like Charles and to my own blog articles, because I hope they are teaching youth to build their own ability to understand and discuss wicked problems.  

I keep looking for ways to draw people from the non-school tutoring, mentoring community into these deeper learning spaces, along with donors, policy makers, business leaders who all have a role to play.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Climate Crisis - Environmental Racism

I've been watching the Weather Channel videos showing the progress of Hurricane Matthew through the Caribbean up through Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. While there will be millions of dollars of property loss in the US, few lives will be lost. In Haiti the death toll already is over 800.

As I watched these Friday morning, I thought of past tragedies, going back to 9/11, and of how these natural and man-made disasters have had a negative impact on the Tutor/Mentor Connection's ability to build a system of support for inner-city kids.

I've written articles in the past, where I've shown how such events make it difficult to consistently build a strong organization, or a strong movement consisting of many organizations that focus on a common problem.  This graphic shows that progress is not steady growth. There are many dips in the road. Such negative impact is probably felt by thousands of organizations in the US and around the world ever time a tsunami, earthquake, flood, or hurricane strikes.  

I recalled a couple of videos I had seen that did a great job of showing the growth of the climate change movement, and the issues it focuses on, so I am repeating two of those here.  This first video was included in an article I wrote in 2014.

It was in this video that speakers called the climate crisis "Environmental Racism" and said "climate disruptions are a social justice issue", saying that "who gets hurt the most are poor people who can't get out of the way."

The organizers of the 2013 climate march recognized that "in order to address the climate crisis we have to first address inequalities".

Thus, throughout this video you'll see efforts to reach out to minorities, the poor, and those who are  most disadvantaged.

This second video was created in 2009 and shows how movements in the 1960's lead to a wave of legislation in the 1970s. I included it in this article.

This video describes the process of mobilizing people as a "swarm" and suggests that with the Internet it's possible to create an on line hub that could support the growth of the climate change movement.

As you look at the strategy that's proposed, visit this presentation, which shows the strategy I've been following since creating the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011.

I did some web searching on Friday to see if I could find some graphics that showed the growth of the climate change network, or showed the different organizations who they have been connecting with.

350 0rg seems to be one of the lead intermediaries in the climate change movement.  Below is a screen shot of a map that shows different organizations working on climate change throughout the world.

I have been using GIS maps since 1993 to show where tutor/mentor programs are needed, and to show participation in conferences I've hosted in Chicago and to show participation in on-line events, like the Connected Learning #clmooc.  Maps force you to look at all the places where a problem needs to be solved, or that need to be represented in movement-building. Without a map you could fill a stadium with people who are active in solving a problem, but still be missing most of the places where the problem needs a constant flow of ideas, talent, dollars, technology, etc. to be solved.

Over the past 20 years I've also become interested in process and strategy. How does a tutor/mentor program help a youth move through school and into a job? How do we make well organized, long-term programs available in more places? How do climate change organizers map their own process toward goal? How is this being done in other sectors?

How do we visualize this?

I started creating concept maps to show strategy and to show organization's I'm connecting with, via events I attend, people I meet on line, or links in the Tutor/Mentor web library.  In many of these maps I include links, pointing visitors directly to additional maps, and/or the web sites of other organizations.

The map below is a collection of maps that focus on building networks, and creating maps to show who I'm reaching out to, and who is in my web library. 

In this map, which is a collection of several maps,  I'm trying to show that while supporting youth via non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs is my primary goal, it is not the primary goal of organizers who focus on different issues, such as climate change, public health, the environment, inequality, jobs, etc..  Poverty, climate change and other environmental issues are only a few of the issues included in the United Nations Sustainability goals.

I use the pie chart to visualize leaders from many sectors focusing on each issue area, including the mission of my organization. I should be able to find blog articles, such as these that use systems thinking and concept maps to engage a network of stakeholders and show strategies for achieving long-term goals of climate change, public health, violence prevention, inequality, etc.   The hub and spoke design of the wheel shows that these issues are related to each other.  The climate march organizers in the first video recognized this, saying " "in order to address the climate crisis we have to first address inequalities".

My blog articles, strategy presentations, web library, concept maps, and GIS maps are examples that not only could be used by leaders who focus on  poverty and youth development throughout the world, but by leaders who understand that to solve their problem they also need to focus on inequalities in the world, and that they, too, could be using maps like I do to show their progress, their networks and how they are connecting people, organizations and resources.

As I write articles like this I seek three responses:

a) Are there people already writing articles and creating maps like this?  If you know them, post a link in the comment section of this blog

b) Are you a writer, illustrator, mapper, etc. who can communicate these ideas more effectively than I do? 

c) are you one of those who are contributing hundreds of million dollars to every election cycle and might want to devote a few million to fully developing the Tutor/Mentor Institute as a free standing organization, or on a college campus?

If you're any of the above,  I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Building the Network. Who's Here. Who's Not Here?

Just read a post by Kevin Hodgson, a 6th grade teacher from Western Mass, who I have come to know over the past four years by my participation in the Connected Learning MOOC.

In his post Kevin included this Storify, showing a conversation from a Twitter Chat held in July 2016.

This type of conversation needs to be taking place in many sectors, including the youth development, tutoring, mentoring and non-school program sector. It needs to include volunteers, educators, youth (and alumni), parents, donors, evaluators, business partners and policy makers, not just program staff and leaders.

Where do you start?

In Kevin's article, and in the Twitter chat, we talked about what the organizers could do to expand participation.  In Tutor/Mentor Conferences I  organized from 1994-2015 we talked about what  programs can do to actively recruit volunteers.

However, I am focusing on turning this around. I became part of the #CLMOOC in 2013 after participating earlier in an Education Technology and Media MOOC, and a Deeper Learning MOOC. I found announcements for these as I followed my Twitter and social media feeds, and was curious enough to visit the web site, see what they were doing, and click the "join" button.

From that point on, it was a matter of listening, commenting and building relationships.  Sheri Edwards, another educator, who I met in the #CLMOOC, posted this article, showing ways for people to get started in on-line learning networks.

She said "Everyone starts somewhere. Just start".

Thus, the group grows as members reach out to friends, or through their social media networks, and invite others to join in.

I created this graphic in the 1990s to show how volunteers involved in tutor/mentor programs could be inviting people they know to visit our web sites and get information and ideas that they could discuss in small groups of friends, co-workers, faith group members, etc.

Now these discussions can also be held in organized MOOCs, using Twitter chats, Google and Skype hangouts, Facebook, Google+ and many other types of platforms.

As that happens, maps can capture participation information and support analysis and discussions of "Who's here and Who's Missing."

As a result future maps will fill in with larger participation from more of the different groups who might contribute ideas, solutions, and even resources.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Mayor Emanuel's Mentoring Initiative - Not Enough

A friend of mine sent me an email today with this link to the City of Chicago page announcing Mayor Emanuel's Mentoring Initiative and asked me what I think of it.

My friend asked, 

Does your mapping tell you anything based on communities/organizations identified in the attached announcement?

I'm interested in looking at your maps to see the relationships between mentoring programs and public safety, since Rahm's effort is based on University of Chicago's Becoming A Man research. Robert Sampson's work which is the foundation for this research argues CBOs density and community leaders collaboration impacts community outcomes like public safety, education obtainment, health, economic development, etc. My questions include:

A) Which Chicago communities have higher tutoring programs density?
B) How do tutoring programs collaborate with other CBOs? On public safety?"

Here's what I sent as a response:

I encourage you to read this set of articles on my blog, which I've been writing since 2005. They show what I wish the Mayor were doing.

As to questions A and B, I've not had resources to update my surveys and maps they way they need to be updated since 2011, thus any answer I offer would be based on old information. Below are three maps made using my resources.

Furthermore, there is not a simple answer to this because while the map can show fewer programs in the South Side poverty neighborhoods, and too few in Austin and other areas with large numbers of poor kids, unless you break this down by type of program, age group served, history and number of kids involved, the answer is too superficial.

I encourage you to set aside some time to view this Dave Snowden video about how not to manage complexity.

In one early statement, he says, "We have to see the system as a whole".  

Then look at this Mission/Strategy page of the Get In Chicago neighborhood, which is one of the strategies that the Mayor is focusing on.

The map only points to a few of the high needs neighborhoods, and the Get In Chicago strategy only focuses on kids at the top of the needs pyramid.  I created the set of maps below in 2013 to illustrate this.

The Mayor needs to have a map of the entire city, and perhaps even the suburbs, on his web site, and needs to be drawing people from business, religion, education, media and other sectors together using the very latest on-line tools, around one question, which I visualize in this strategy map.

"What are all the things we need to be doing to assure that every child born in a poverty neighborhood (and elsewhere) is starting a job/career by his/her mid 20's?  If he's doing that it's not transparent on any web sites that I've seen.

The Mayor needs to be leading a learning strategy, with people clicking in all the nodes on this map, digging deeper into the ideas, strategies and resources that need to be included in a master plan. (click here to view Master Plan that I outlined in 1998 and never was able to find significant, or consistent, support for.)

While the goals of my strategy map are visualized on the Thrive Chicago site, a strategy and on-going process that engages a growing number of people and organizations, and supports program growth in all poverty neighborhoods, is not shown.

However, this group is slowed by it's effort to create measures of progress and impact and after 3 years still does not have a map and a marketing strategy with a goal of helping organizations working with youth get the ideas, talent, technology and dollars each needs to build great organizations able to sustain long-term, constantly improving programs aimed at the mission stated on their About-us page.

I offered ideas about Thrive Chicago in this 2013 article, including the graphic above.   I've posted 229 strategy articles on this blog since 2005.  I've posted 413 leadership articles. I've posted 201 articles showing ways maps could be used and devoted the entire MappingforJustice blog, started in 2008, to this strategy.

I started sharing these ideas in printed newsletters sent to the Mayor, foundation leaders, business leaders and tutor/mentor program leaders in 1994.

While I would love to have someone provide financial compensation for me to do this work, especially over the past five years, the ideas I've shared are FREE and available to anyone who wants to take the time to read them.

Mayor Emanuel and his team could have borrowed this from me in 2011. Mayor Daley could have been using the ideas since 1994.

President Obama, who was a speaker at the spring 1999 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference, has had close to 20 years to use these ideas. I presented them to Michelle Obama in the mid 1990s when she was at the University of Chicago.

In the past four years I've been posting articles about MOOCs and the Connected Learning MOOC, because of the way the connect educators from around the country in on-going learning and idea sharing. The give every participant a voice and opportunity to share their own ideas.

This is another effort the Mayor could be including in a "big picture" strategy.

I've only touched on a few of the elements that need to be considered in a "big picture" strategy. This tagcloud represents the tags on the left side of this blog, which each reflect on part of what we need to be drawing from as we develop day-to-day actions that Snowden refers to in his TED talk.

The four-part strategy visualized in this concept map another guide that could be used.  You'll find it referred to often in my articles.

If the Mayor and other leaders are using these ideas I don't know. 

I've not been invited into any conversations and certainly have not been offered any consulting roles.

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 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.