Monday, December 31, 2007

Act Locally. Influence Globally. Add this to your 2008 Resolution

This photo describes the strategy of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC). While we operate one tutor/mentor program in the Near North part of Chicago (LOCAL), we created the T/MC (GLOBAL)to help tutor/mentor programs grow in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and its suburbs. Through the Internet, we're sharing this strategy and enlisting partners in big cities throughout the country.

We'd like to encourage businesses, colleges, civic and health care groups to adopt this local/global strategy. It's very expensive to operate a tutor/mentor program, and it takes many years for a program to become great, as well as a minimum of 6 years for a youth to go from 7th grade to high school graduate. Thus, while a company can put great energy into one or two sites, they really only reach a few kids out of the more than 200,000 living in poverty in Chicago, or the approximately 13 million living in poverty around the country.

However, if a company uses its advertising, public relations, internal communications, etc. to encourage employees and customers to get involved in tutor/mentor programs all over the city, or in many cities, it can influence what happens in many tutor/mentor programs, and the lives of thousands of kids.

What's great about this concept is that this form of leadership is not really very expensive. It's a mindset. Business uses all sorts of advertising to influence the actions of millions of people. If they apply this same thinking they can influence hundreds of tutor/mentor locations. In addition, they probably will also learn more ways to make the local programs they operate much more effective. That's what we've learned. By operating the Tutor/Mentor Connection we actually have done more to help our own Cabrini Connections program grow.

Follow the links at the left side of this page, or skim through the articles I've written over the past 2 years, and learn how your church, business, law firm, university, and/or high school service learning project can adopt this thinking in your own efforts.

Have a safe, happy new year. I'll add some more to this blog tomorrow.

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