Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Go Beyond What's Expected

Below is a video that focuses on volunteer-involvement in youth tutor, mentor programs as a form of service learning. I created a power  point essay in the mid 2000s to communicate this idea, based on my own experiences leading a tutor/mentor program from 1975 to 2011.  Then in 2007 an intern from Hong Kong created an animation to show the idea. In 2011 a second intern, from South Korea created a new version. Since Flash Animation no longer works I've created a video to show the animation.



This shows that as a volunteer learns about a volunteer opportunity, then joins a program, they begin a learning process that repeats every time they meet with their student. After each meeting the volunteer has the opportunity to share what she has learned with friends, family, coworkers, etc. in ways that often draw others into service.

"figure eight" graphic used often
The middle of this figure eight graphic is where program leadership and knowledge reside. It's the role the Tutor/Mentor Connection (and Institute, LLC) have taken since 1993.

If we provide information that helps people find where to volunteer, and helps them become a more successful tutor or mentor, we do more to help kids. If we provide tools and information that volunteers can take back to family and friends to educate them on why these programs are needed and ways they can help, we grow the support needed for tutor/mentor programs to operate and reach more youth.

Below is another presentation, showing the ways a volunteer can do more than what he/she does each week when they meet with their student.



These videos and presentations can be found on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site at this link and this link.  The library is intended as a resource for anyone who wants to help reduce poverty and inequality by providing more learning opportunities for K-12 youth.  The ideas can be used in any place where there are pockets of concentrated poverty. 

They can also be used as a model for information-based problem solving, that applies to many other issues.  Take a look.

I'll be 73 on December 19.

Each year since 2011 I've asked people to help me celebrate my December 19th birthday with a gift to support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  The T/MI is not a 501-c-3 so making a birthday gift is one way to support my efforts.  Click here to learn more.

All of the ideas I share on this blog and on Tutor/Mentor web sites are free to any user. I'd be happy to connect on Skype or Twitter to help you understand the ideas. I'd love to find institutional partners who would help rebuild the Tutor/Mentor Connection and spread these ideas in more ways.

Here's a link to my social media page, where you can find platforms where we can connect.



Saturday, November 16, 2019

Movement Building - Afterschool Conference and More

Yesterday I attended the Afterschool Development Conference in Chicago, along with about 100 other people.  A video in the introductory session talked about the importance of afterschool youth development programs and the urgency of improving the funding stream. The keynote speaker, Dr. David J. Chard, of Boston University, furthered the idea of network building in his comments.

The hashtag #2019afterschooldevelopment was shared on the screen throughout the conference.  Below is one Tweet that I posted:


If you look for other Tweets using that hashtag, there is only one.  If we depend on those already doing this work to help amplify the message of afterschool development and attract new supporters, I feel we must encourage more to use Twitter. Hopefully in coming days there will be more Tweets that share ideas from the conference.

The lack of Tweets by people in the Afterschool Development Conference is not unique. Below I've posted Tweets from a few other events that are important to youth development, tutoring and mentoring.  I encourage you to click on the hashtag and see who else is using it.  Then you can even add your own comments or reTweet posts that  you feel are important.

#EveryKidConnected - Chicago Mayor Lightfoot's youth development initiative

The Metropolitan Planning Council hosted an event on Sept. 19 using #MPCLuncheon. Here's a Tweet I posted:


City Club of Chicago host several luncheons each week, which are live streamed using the #talkcityclub hashtag. This is one of my posts.

This year's #ObammaSummit offered another opportunity to draw people together on Twitter. Here's a post I shared:


Here's a post where I encourage programs that use Facebook to also use Twitter:


Below you can see a concept map that I created to enable me to re-visit past conversations. Some are not updated since being held one or more years ago. However, others have new posts.  All enable you to scroll through the list of Tweets and expand your knowledge base and your network.

Open cMap to click into each Hashtag

I use Linkedin and Facebook, along with Pinterest, YouTube and a small amount of Instagram.  I promote the use of Twitter because it's the only one that enables you to search a hashtag, or a list, to narrow your focus on people and conversations that interest you.

Below is a screenshot showing the some of the people included on my list of Chicago and national Tutor and/or Mentor programs.


Many people use Twitter lists. Thus, if you see someone who shares information you're interested in you might look at the lists on their profile to see if there are other people you want to connect with.  I don't think the other social media platforms offer these features, which are really important if your goal is to build a movement, connecting all stakeholders in the ecosystem, to each other and to you and your ideas.

You can be the blue box in this graphic
The graphic at the left visualizes the idea I'm sharing.  As more people use Twitter and other social media to attract people "who can help" to "libraries of information, including maps and program directories" they can draw volunteers, donors and other needed resources directly to every youth program in Chicago or in other places.  This is more than drawing people together to discuss ideas. It's an every day attempt to provide needed resources for people to put the ideas to work.

There's a downside to Twitter.  Some of the more high profile hashtags, such as ObammaSummit, attract spammers and haters.  This is a negative of all social media.  I ignore them and look for the value in the conversation, rather than the negatives.

To summarize: Twitter can be a powerful network-building tool, but you have to use it. If you review the hashtags in my concept map, you'll see that few have a history of drawing participants from events like the Afterschool Development Conference into on-going, on-line, network building.

Here's one last Tweet I'd like to point to.
The Schott Foundation uses their newsletter and blog to share Twitter accounts of a small group of people they follow.  If every foundation who funds youth development and tutor/mentor programs in Chicago did this consistently I feel we'd draw more programs to Twitter, and be able to do more work to attract consistent resources and help programs grow in more places.

Thanks for reading. I hope you'll share this on Twitter and connect with me @tutormentorteam.

If you appreciate the ideas I share, consider sending a contribution to help me pay the bills. 

Friday, November 08, 2019

Can you help youth tutor, mentor programs grow?

View list of programs
I've maintained a list of nearly 200 Chicago area non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs since 1993 and use my blog and social media to try to draw attention, ideas, volunteers and donors directly to each program, based on information they show on their web sites.

I try go through the list at least twice a year, just to make sure the websites are working, and to update myself on how they tell their stories.  While I think some do a great job (see below) many don't provide enough information.

Having led a small program from 1975 to 2011, I know how difficult it is to find the talent and dollars to build a web site and keep it updated with great content. Thus, I keep looking for ways to influence others to provide this support.

First, let's look at a couple of examples of web sites providing great content and how I draw attention to them on Twitter.

Urban Initiatives uses its blog to show strategy and results



I Could Be - not a Chicago area program, but view web site to see how they show programs and impact


Here are a couple of others that I pulled from the list on the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) web site. (Note: T/MC was started in 1993. It now is operated as part of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, formed in 2011. The names are used interchangeably in this blog.)

Horizons for Youth
As I've looked at Chicago area program websites from year to year I see some providing great information to show what they do and the impact they have.

At the left is the "results" page from the Horizons for Youth Program.  It's a combination of stories and numbers.

Tutoring Chicago Impact

At the right is a screenshot from an impact report that is in a PDF format on the Tutoring Chicago web site. (note: I led this program from 1975 to 1992)

In my last updating of Chicago area program web sites I saw several who presented their stories in interesting ways, but few showing a theory of change or participation data.  Websites are constantly being updated so as I look through them again over the next month I'll update this blog with a few more.

However, what I'm really hoping to inspire is a university to partner with me and do this website review annually. 

Intern review 2008
At the left is a screenshot from a page on the TutorMentorConnection.ning.com site, showing work interns did in 2008 to visit Chicago tutor/mentor program web sites, then post a brief review.

There are several pages of these. Click here for page 9, then look at others in reverse order.

Here's a different example. On this blog you can see a different set of stories about Chicago Tutor/Mentor Programs, written by Nicole White, a Northwestern graduate, during here fellowship and employment with Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Universities in Chicago
I've not had the resources to have interns working for me this consistently since 2011.  My goal since forming the T/MC in 1993 has been that colleges and universities in different parts of the Chicago region would create on-going Tutor/Mentor Connection student teams who would build a library of knowledge about tutor/mentor programs in their sections of the city, then share it on blogs and social media like I do.

That would be much more effective than just me going through the list to pick out websites I feel do a great job of telling a program's story.

Interested?  Contact me.  This link shows social media sites where we can connect.

So, what should you be looking for on a tutor/mentor program's website?  Take a look at this presentation which shows what I think is important.



Few program websites provide this much information. That's why I suggested at the start of this blog that volunteers from industry, universities, social groups, etc. might adopt neighborhoods and build web site templates that could be updated easily by program staff and other volunteers or by students who are part of university Tutor/Mentor Connection teams.

If we can help programs tell their stories better, and attract more consistent resources, we can help them be more powerful in how they help kids and volunteers connect, and how that helps kids move through school and into adult lives.  It's a tipping point, which so far I've not been able to reach.

Is this possible? Do you think it's possible? If yes, share the idea and help make it happen.

Thanks for reading.

If you want to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and help me keep the Tutor/Mentor Connection operating in Chicago, and as a model for other cities, click here and send a contribution. 




Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Influencing Change - Take a look

Influence change
I created this graphic several years ago to visualize the idea that "reaching goals we want, such as kids born in poverty areas being in jobs/careers by age 25", requires that we influence what people beyond poverty do, not just what people, schools and social services organizations in high poverty areas do.

Here is a series of blog articles that include this graphic. I encourage you to read each of them to build your own understanding of this strategy, then create your own visualizations to share it with others.

What are some of the strategies that might influence leaders in business, faith groups, universities, media, philanthropy, government, etc. to be more proactive and consistent in reaching out to support organizations working with youth and families in high poverty areas?   One is to visualize the long-term goal we seek, which I do with the two graphics shown below.

Helping kids through school and into adult lives is a long-term process.
What might some "tipping points" be. Or, what would be some strategies that would have a major impact, or influence, on building and sustaining these systems of support?

grow new leaders
In this article I share a visualization that describes a process that reaches youth while in middle school and supports them with on-going learning and mentoring so that some become leaders of volunteer-based  k-12 tutor, mentor and learning programs and so that others become proactive, on-going supporters.

Great programs in many places
Imagine viewing a map of Chicago or another city some day in the future with icons in many places showing youth organizations with leaders and supporters who have come through this long-term learning process.  That's the goal.

Here are a couple of other "tipping point" articles.

View graphic-click here


Here's one more graphic to look at.  This graphic shows work interns did between 2004 and 2015 to understand and communicate strategies of Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present).  Imagine going to a high school or college web site and finding a page with a graphic like this and a list of intern work like this one.

Until more people are spending time reading, reflecting, understanding, then sharing, the ideas I post on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site, most of these ideas will remain unfulfilled wishes. 

You can change that. That would make you a "tipping point".  Want to talk with me about this or other articles and graphics on this blog? I'm on Twitter @tutormentorteam.  I'm also on Linkedin and Facebook. Let's connect.

You can also help me fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC - click here to learn more.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Using Celebrity Power More Effectively

This week the 2019 Obama Summit was held in Chicago. I was not invited to attend but followed on Twitter. Many sessions were live streamed so I and others could have been almost in the room. In addition, we could have been Tweeting and interacting using the #ObamaSummit hashtag.

If you did, you would be included on this map created by NodeXL, which is a product of the SMR Foundation. This represents Tweets of 6,463 Twitter users using #ObamaSummit between October 21 and October 30, 2019.

to view map, click here
The map is interactive so you can zoom in and click on any of the nodes to see who was Tweeting. In the information provided below the map you can see who the most influential Tweeters were, which included President Obama, Michelle Obama, Ava DuVernay, and many other high visibility people.

click to enlarge
I created a few screenshots to illustrate this.

This graphic shows the cluster at the far left of the NodeXL map.

I used my marker to point to the node that is President Obama's Twitter account (#1).  If you zoom in closer you can click on any icon to see who that person is. Double click and open that person's Twitter profile. You can then follow them, add them to a list, or just scroll through their posts to see what they are saying on Twitter.

click to enlarge

The middle cluster (3-1) features Michelle Obama's Twitter account in the middle.  At the bottom of this cluster (2-1) are Twitter accounts of Oprah Winfrey,  FLOTUS44 (Michelle Obama) and Kerry Washington.

The cluster to the far right features Ava DuVernay @ava in the middle. There are many, many other highly visible people within these clusters, plus far less visible people like myself.

Unfortunately there are also some "haters" who are using the hashtag to post their own views.

I'm not an expert in doing an analysis of these maps so invite any who do have that skill to do their own analysis of this map, then post it to Twitter. I'll update this article with a link to your analysis (more than one would be welcome). I would really love to see one by the Obama Foundation!

The most frequent website referred to in all of these Tweets was The Obama Foundation.  I've visited the web site and in the Mission section are a few featured initiatives.  That means any who were motivated by this year's Obama Summit, who visited the website, might be motivated to click into any of these initiatives and learn ways they could use their own time, talent or dollars to help, or find ideas and resources that enable them to help a similar organization in another place.

As far as that goes, it's good.  It does not go far enough.  As former Commander-in-Chief I hope President Obama has a basic understanding of the value of maps, as used by military commanders to put troops and supplies in all places where an enemy is concentrated.

Thus, I'd want to find a map on his web site, or maybe even a collection of maps, such as I show in the concept map below (from my collection).  If you look at the 2019 Obama Summit page, you see a theme of "Places Reveal our Purpose" but not one map! Maybe maps are embedded in some of the presentations. I don't know.

Click here to open and view map. Open the links at the bottom of each node.
This concept map shows a) work the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC has been doing since 1993 to draw resources (attention, volunteers, dollars, ideas, etc) to youth tutor, mentor and learning programs in the Chicago area); b) work others do to collect and share information that shows where people throughout the US need extra help; and c) the United Nations Global Goals, which point to places throughout the world where extra help is needed.

The data map could be just one link, or story, in a resource section on the Obama website. Including this would enable the site to serve more as an intermediary, connecting everyone who was paying attention to #ObamaSummit this week, or in future weeks, to places throughout the world where those people can get involved.  A narration of this data map could have been one of the featured presentation at the ObamaSummit. 

Now look at the graphic I show below.  I created this several years ago when Mr. Obama was President.  The photo shows him when he was a speaker at the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago in 1999....which the Tutor/Mentor Connection organized.

Attention needs to be continued throughout year to increase flow of resources.

This graphic was created when the I had the resources to organize May and November conferences and an Aug/September volunteer recruitment campaign in the Chicago region, and when I had more resources to collect and share information about youth tutor/mentor programs in the region. You can read about the quarterly event strategy in this PDF and in this Collaboration Strategy PDF.

In addition, the graphic illustrates that if highly visible people use their websites, social media and personal appearances to point to web sites with maps and information about every youth program in a geographic region, volunteers and donors will be more motivated to provide the on-going time, talent and dollars each program needs to constantly improve and become great at helping kids through school and into adult lives.

By using a map this strategy aims to distribute needed resources to all poverty areas, not just highly visible programs, or highly visible places. 

Anyone can be the YOU

President Obama emphasized the power of telling stories during this year's #ObamaSummit and on his web site.  I want to emphasize that if those stories point to maps of Chicago (or other places) that show where poverty is concentrated and were youth programs are located they can serve as advertising to draw volunteers and donors to all of those places....if they are repeated throughout the year.

That's really important. Calling attention to a program or place just one or two times a year is not what traditional marketers do to draw customers to their products, services and retail stores.  

Furthermore, you don't need to be the President or a movie star to be the YOU in the above graphic.  Anyone can use the resources I point to to support stories they tell every day that show where help is needed, why help is  needed, and who needs help...and to call for actions that deliver needed support to those places.

If the #ObamaSummit organizers post weekly stories on their blog that point to these ideas, then share them on Twitter, they could also ask NodeXL or any other network analysis expert to create maps showing how many people are engaging with them, who those people are, and how they are connecting to each other.

I've been sharing ideas like this on this blog since 2005 and on the http://www.tutormentorexchange.net web site since the late 1990s. They are now available for anyone who wants to expand their thinking on ways to help youth in poverty move through school and into adult lives, and to draw people together to solve any of the complex problems we're facing.

I hope you'll take a look. I'll look forward to connecting with you on Twitter, Facebook and/or Linkedin.


I'm trying to scare up some resources to support Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. Click here if you want to help.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Join me on Twitter

Here's a Tweet that I have pinned to my @tutormentorteam profile on Twitter.


I've been posting ideas like this to Twitter since 2009.

Here's a response to a recent Tweet.



The blue box is an intermediary role
That's what I seek.  I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to fill the intermediary role shown in this graphic.  While I host a huge web library I'm constantly seeing new ideas in the daily flow of activity on Twitter. When I comment on a post, like or reTweet a post, I'm sharing that with my followers and they share it with their followers if the pass it on.

Below is another example of how I  use Twitter to try to draw greater attention to youth tutor, mentor and learning programs in Chicago.

All programs have same needs
Any one can do what I do. In fact, I hope I'm inspiring many to do what I do. That way we'll draw needed attention and resources to EVERY youth tutor, mentor and learning program in the Chicago region.

How can you make more effective use of  Twitter?  Narrow your focus, using lists, hashtags and TweetDeck.

Twitter Lists. Below is a screenshot from my @tutormentorteam profile.  Along the left side you can see the "Lists" category. Click on that and you see how I've created lists under various categories. Open any list and you are narrowing the Tweets you're viewing to just those on the list.  You can view the profile of anyone on Twitter, and then subscribe to lists they have created.

click the image to enlarge


Tweet Deck is a way to view your lists, or specific conversations that have been identified with #hashtags. You can add as many columns to your TweetDeck as you choose. Then view one category at a time. 

click the image to enlarge

Here's one more way to narrow your world on Twitter.  I created this hashtag map a couple of years ago to archive some conversations that were important to me.

click this link to open the hashtag map

The groupings of #hashtags show different parts of what we need to know if we're going to do all we can to build and sustain school and non-school programs that help more kids living in high poverty areas move successfully through school and into adult lives.  Each node on the map has a small box at the bottom. If you click on this a link will open, which takes you to that conversation on Twitter.  Scroll through previous posts to see what's been shared and return often to see what's added in the future.

Each of these strategies enables you to spend time more efficiently on Twitter and ignore negative conversations that you don't want to be part of.  As you set up your account you can create your own lists, your own TweetDeck and your own concept maps.  Follow what's important to you.

Hopefully you're interested in helping well organized tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in Chicago and other places. That means my example should be a model for you to copy.  And, as you follow me and I follow you, I'll begin to learn from your example!

Did you find this useful? Can you make a small contribution to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC?  Click here.



Friday, October 25, 2019

Can Afterschool Programs Learn from Connected Learning Community?

My Personal Learning Network (PLN) has developed over the past 20 years and includes a wide range of people and organizations. I point to many of them in sections of the Tutor/Mentor web library that I started in the late 1990s.

Today I saw this Tweet from Kevin Hodgson, a #clmooc member and middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts.


I learned about annotation from Kevin and Terry Elliott a few years ago and have participated in shared reading of many articles since then using Hypothes.is.

As I viewed the infographic that Kevin's pointing to I thought of one of my own.

I created this in the 1990s to visualize the role anyone can take to draw people to the information I share and to different tutor/mentor programs in Chicago.  At the right is a map of Chicago, where high poverty areas are shaded with darker colors. These are places where non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs are most needed.

To the left of the map is a large circle, which represents the library of information I've been building, and which now is available on the internet. It also represents the 12 to 20 years it takes for a youth to grow from pre-school to first job, and the support he/she receives from formal schools and from family and community during the non-school hours. 

The circles under the larger circle represent groups of people viewing this information and using it to support actions they take to assure that all kids move safely and successfully through school and into adult lives.

click to enlarge
If you look at my graphic, then the pdf Kevin has shared, I'm describing the same process, but aiming to engage the "village" of people, beyond formal educators and parents, who need to be helping kids grow up and enter jobs and careers.

Since most non-school programs are non-profits the village I'm trying to connect needs to include philanthropy, volunteers, media, researchers, business leaders, media, policy-makers and many others.

To me the only way to connect such a large group on an on-going basis is by using the Internet (in combination with traditional face-to-face interaction).  The process described in this pdf is one way to help such diverse groups connect, learn and begin to work toward common goals.

click to enlarge
At the right is an interpretation of my 1990s graphic created by Sam Lee, a South Korean intern from IIT who spent seven weeks at my organization in Chicago during 2011. 

Sam broke my graphic into two separate graphics. On this first one she enlarged the maps of Chicago to emphasize the need to focus discussions on ways to make programs available in every high poverty area. Then she also listed more of the different groups who need to be having this conversation, and created a circle to represent the sub-sections with each group.

click to enlarge
At the left is the second graphic created by Sam Lee. It emphasizes the pre-school through work timeline, includes the map, and encourages people to become 'more informed, more involved".

When I participate in annotations with the #clmooc group I point to some of these graphics and suggest that students from schools all over the world could be creating their own versions, using maps of their cities or neighborhoods instead of Chicago.

Then they could be posting these in blog articles and videos and inviting others to discuss the ideas, talk of ways to improve them, and talk of ways to apply the thinking to building and sustaining youth-serving programs that expand social capital for youth living in high poverty, highly segregated areas.

I also talk of how I keep trying to draw the ecosystem I've been describing into Twitter and annotated conversations and how others need to help make that happen.

One of the first Asian interns to work with me, Michael Tam, set up this blog in 2006, to journal his involvement. I've used it ever since to journal the involvement of other interns who joined me each year through 2015.  I've also tagged nearly  70 articles on this blog to point to work interns have done.

Any of those articles could be a topic for annotation and for discussion of ways youth (and adults) could be doing similar work, and ways they and the community might benefit from such efforts.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Follow me and connect with those who I follow and reTweet daily.  Let's talk about how you can use these ideas.

If you value the ideas I'm sharing then please consider a small contribution to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and help me pay the bills.  Click here to learn more.