Saturday, February 28, 2009

Are you driving by problems in Chicago?

I encourage you to read Mike Trakan's 2/27/09 blog article in which he shows maps of the neighborhoods where four Chicago school kids were killed in the past week. Mike works for me, and thus his maps and articles are intended to help further the Tutor/Mentor Connection's goals.

In this article, Mike points to the lack of tutor/mentor programs, and the role the media can take to keep attention on all of these neighborhoods, so we draw more resources into the neighborhood to help tutor/mentor programs grow, and then we use those programs to help kids connect with a wider range of adults who can mentor different choices and aspirations than what kids see everyday in the neighborhood.

Yesterday I used a Village Map graphic to illustrate the need to draw people from many different backgrounds and business sectors into this strategy of helping kids from poor neighborhoods go through school and into college and careers.

While it may take years for a tutor/mentor program to change the thinking of kids in a neighborhood, nothing will ever happen for poor kids unless we educate the adults who drive by poverty every day, read about it's impact in the newspapers, but are not personally connected, so only are involved with random acts of kindness.

I keep saying, "If these were your kids, wouldn't you do more?" They are "other people's kids" and involvement in one-on-one tutoring/mentoring is one strategy that can change that.

The map on this article shows how Chicago's major expressways bring millions of people through poverty neighborhoods and into the city every day. Imagine a virtual sign over each expressway saying "visit here for a few hours a week".

Through our blogs, maps, media stories and the role of many leaders, we need to educate those not living in poverty of all the ways they can "visit for a few hours" and give time, talent and dollars to help kids in these neighborhoods have different futures than what is now available to them.

You can help by passing these articles on to others and by setting up a learning circle in your family, business, hospital, professional or social group. Use the articles on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, and in these blogs, as part of your discussion material. You'll find that as you understand this information you'll see many paths to greater involvement and greater impact.

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