Monday, November 17, 2008

Why support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs?

Why Participate in this week's Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago or network with Tutor/Mentor Connection?

If you operate a non-school volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring program, you are competing with schools and public education for funding. I keep getting told “we fund education reform and focus on teachers and leadership.” Yet, I keep reading articles that say that chronically low-performing schools may not change without an equal emphasis on social and emotional support, or without increasing the social capital in the community around the schools. I believe volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs can be meeting places for youth, volunteers and non-school learning. Here are a few articles I read that support my thinking.

"It's All About Relationships" by Charles Leadbeater in Educational Leadership:

Lessons from High Performing Small High Schools in Chicago

Eight conditions that have a positive affect in forming student aspirations,

Bring your own ideas of why and how tutor/mentor programs impact the lives of at-risk youth and of how we can expand business and philanthropic funding of volunteer-based organizations that build these conditions for student success.

1 comment:

Colleen Gross said...

Dan - I appreciate your comments over on our Public Innovators blog: Thanks for contributing to the discussion and for sharing the links to your work - great stuff! In your post on our site, you said:

"I think government leaders can play a role by pointing to these platforms, as meeting places for problem solving....Leaders...can use their offices and prestige to encourage connectivity, and to sustain such interactions so they begin to lead to solutions."

Bingo. Elected officials in particular have a bully pulpit from which to drive priorities and discussion (see our recommendations #3 Convene all sectors and #4 Develop awards programs at

Of course...this is all easier said than done. I'd be interested to hear how much emphasis you have placed on connecting your work with government and whether you've had any success. Have government leaders taken notice of your approach and helped in any way? Any lessons learned that you'd care to share?