Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Social Networking with a Purpose

I've written many articles over the past few years intended to draw attention to volunteer-based tutoring mentoring as a form of service learning that engages adults beyond poverty as change agents in the lives of kids living in poverty.

In these articles I point to information created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection and others that people can use to build their own understanding and commitment, then focus actions on specific locations in Chicago or other cities.

I've more than 14,000 people in my Filemaker Pro database and am probably connected to many more via the way I network and the way people find the T/MC and article I write when they do Google searches. However, I've never had a good way to illustrate who I was connecting with, and how I was focusing their attention.

Until now. This graphic is a photo from image created in Facebook. It shows how I'm connected to different groups of people from Chicago and from around the world, and pulling them to the information we share on the Internet.

Our goal is to teach leaders and volunteers at Cabrini Connections and other tutor/mentor programs to constantly tell their story to people in their networks, in ways that increase the number of people who shop a map to choose what neighborhoods of the city, and what programs in each neighborhood, they want to support as volunteers, or donors, or business, college or education partners.

Through the Tutor/Mentor Connection we're trying to coach individual programs to use these tools, to help them build their own programs, and to help build support for all programs in the city. Read the article written by T/MC Coordinator Nicole White, that she wrote about meeting with Chicago HOPES, and helping them create their own blog strategy.

Read this article written by Chris Warren, our Public Interest Program Fellow from Northwestern about how he is reaching out to health care organizations.

I encourage you to book mark these blogs and follow the work they are doing to help tutor/mentor programs grow. Then visit my Facebook page and view the network photos, to see how we describe our network and how it grows.

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