Thursday, July 28, 2005

Making connections

Today was a busy day. I hosted a visitor from a mentor program in the UK, who was in Chicago on a Winston Churchill Fellowship. I attended the MY HERO AWARD lunch hosted by the Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Lend-A-Hand Program of the Chicago Bar Association. This recognizes lawyers, judges and law firms for their involvement in tutor/mentor programs. It as are love-fest for Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, the inspiration behind the Lend A Hand, and for mentoring as an activities that enriches all who participate.

Then I met with a guest from Northwestern University who was learning more about volunteer based tutoring. On the Internet if responded to people from Seattle and Kentucky who had contacted me after I was quoted in a news article about youth using the Internet.

These are all connections intended to increase the number of comprehensive volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities.

Tomorrow I'll be attending the Omidyar.net conference in Chicago and next Thursday and Friday I'll attend the National Conference on Volunteerism and Service in Washington, DC.

My goal from all of these is to find people who'll work together to increase the flow of volunteers and flexible operating dollars to all of the tutor/mentor programs that are now operating in different parts of Chicago, and to groupw who want to start new programs to fill voids where there are no programs.

The Lend A Hand Lunch is an example of how an industry can begin to draw the attention of its members to tutoring/mentoring. The Lend A Hand not only raises visibility. It raises dollars. If such programs duplicate in every industry, and in every major cities, it can lead to a distribution of volunteers from different backgrounds into tutor/mentor programs in every poverty neighborhood, and a flow of resources so that experienced staff is in place to mentor students and volunteers to build long-term, life changing relationships.

I'll post my results, and my observations over the next few days.

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