Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ways to Work Together

School started in Chicago today and CPS leaders did everything they can to get kids into class for the first day. At the same time, the Chicago Tribune did the third of a 3-day feature talking about the work of a teacher in one of the Chicago schools that was completely re-started last year.

Small non profits around the city are also getting started. However, they don't have the advertising dollars and visibility of CPS, and the local paper's not doing feature stories on how youth and volunteers connect in tutor/mentor programs. Thus, many neighborhood programs will not be as successful at attracting volunteers, or donors, meaning kids attending some of these schools won't have the extra adult support that a non-school tutor/mentor program might provide.

That can change. This summer a student from Hong Kong Baptist University was a volunteer with the Tutor/Mentor Connection. He converted one of my pdf essays to flash animation, and I encourage you to view it and show it to your friends, co-workers and church leaders.

One shows a service-learning loop in which volunteers who become involved often reach out to enlist others. (Editor note: this animation was created in 2011 to update the original created in 2007.)

You need flash installed on your computer to view these. You can find the pdfs in the Tutor/Mentor Institute section of our web site.

These illustrate ways people in different cities, or different countries, can work together to create business and philanthropic leadership that supports tutor/mentor programs in many cities, not just in one or two high profile places in a big city like Chicago.

Another way people can help is by directing a workplace fund raising donation to Cabrini Connection, Tutor/Mentor Connection, or to your own program. Here's another example of animation used to create an ad that we'll be sending out via email to ask our volunteers to help us increase workplace donations.

I hope you are able to borrow these ideas to help you in your own tutor/mentor program. And I encourage you to share your own strategies, via blog links, or by participating in the November 15 and 16 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference.

If we link our strategies via the Internet, we can do much more to help kids in our communities than if we continue to operate in isolation.

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