Wednesday, January 21, 2009

After the Excitement, Day one. Achieving the Obama vision.

Yes. I was glued to the TV yesterday. I was inspired.

I think I'm going to post that photo of the Washington Mall, showing almost 2 million people, and thousands of flags, on my wall. Like many of my fellow world citizens, I was really exicited and inspired by the events that took place yesterday.

I loved the interviews with a couple of 10-year old boys who told of how they were inspired to be leaders because of the example of Barack Obama. I hope such inspiration has infected kids throughout America, including my own 11-year old son and 18-year old daughter, not just kids living in the high poverty neighborhoods of this country and this world.

However, unlike millions of others, I've been working to mobilize volunteer time, talent and dollars to help inner city kids "be like Barack" for more than 35 years. Thus, my hope is that this new leadership, and new energy, brings reinforcements to our efforts and more strategic, and long-term, thinking to our leaders.

Making a speach is only one step in mobilizing an army. Such speaches need to be given by many leaders in many places, for many years.

However, mobilizing an army and pointing it in the right direction, or making sure it does the right work, at the right time, requires a lot more sophistication. I hope leaders in Washington, and in local state and city governments, as well as in business, colleges, healthcare and faith groups, are searching the internet for blueprints they might borrow so that as they mobilize, they can also point volunteers and flexible operating and innovation dollars to all of the places where help is needed.

Even if we point troops to the right places, getting them on the beach in the face of a determined, entrenched enemy, will be a failure without proper training, proper weapons, and without the support of many different people and organizations. The VILLAGE needs to be mobilized and working together. The battle plan for solving poverty, should be a complex map, showing the infrastructure needed to keep troops in battle, in many places, for many, many years. Again, I hope that leaders are searching the internet for models they can use.

If you're goal is to help inner city kids get an expanded network of adult support that helps kids come to school better prepared to learn, and supports them as they grow from first grade, to a job and career, then I encourage you to view this strategy map and some of the other strategy maps the Tutor/Mentor Connection has created.

If you're looking for ideas of how to mobilize others, and for ways to use maps to make sure you're reaching youth in all poverty areas of Chicago, or other cities, visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute and browse the articles posted there.

If think these ideas are useful, borrow them and apply them in your own service. As Obama and many other have said in the past 24 hours, "it will take the individual contributions and sacrifices of many of us".

If you are part of one of the 1500 links on the T/MC web library, I hope you'll reach out to me so we can find ways to work together, if for no other reason than to help your ideas, and my ideas, get more readership.

These ideas have little value if too few people view them or understand them and act upon them. Thus, I encorage you to use your blogs, advertising and personal networking to increase the number of people who use the information we provide ( meaning the T/MC and the other 1500 organizations we point to on our sites) to guide their actions so that we have a well-supported army of volunteers, leaders and business partners helping kids in every high poverty area of this country rise to be whatever their aspirations point them to.

This is day one. When you get up on day two, look in the mirror and decide what you will do and where you will get the information that guides you. When you end the day, look in the mirror and report what you did. If enough people do this every day for the next 4 years, we'll all be able to look at a mountain of accomplishments, and maps showing where we have a foothold, or making some progress, in solving the complex social problems President Obama faces as he goes through Day One.

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