Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicago Public School Student Shot - First in 2009

In encourage you to read Mike Trakan's article about the shooting of 16 year old Johnel Ford at about 4:30 p.m. on February 12, 2009. Mike works for me at the Tutor/Mentor Connection, making maps that are intended to help tutor/mentor programs grow in areas where there is too much violence, too much poverty and too many poorly performing schools.

With each map Mike creates, he writes an article that shows how businesses, churches, politicians and others in the area of the shooting could work together to help tutor/mentor programs grow and serve kids in that part of the city.

He points two two programs which we have listed in our database. One is the Arab-American Youth Program and it's web site says they offer tutoring/mentoring. Mike points out that it's difficult to know how much of an emphasis this is from the information on the web site. The other program listed is a church based program. We're not quite sure what scale of program this is because they don't seem to have a web site, and we've not had contact from them to update the information we have. If you know anything about this program, please contact us.

These are the only two listings we show in an area with several thousand young people. There should be more and Mike shows how people could be using T/MC maps to think about who could be involved in helping more programs grow in the area.

We post links to more than 200 web sites in the Chicago program Links section. Not all of the web sites are great. But some, do a wonderful job of showing what a program offers.

Our goal is to teach program leaders, educators, and donors to use these sites to collect good ideas of what is happening in some places, which could be happening in many places, if only the volunteers, dollars and leaders would be available.

Here's an example. This is a blog managed by a volunteer with Cabrini Connections. It shows how a couple of volunteers are working with a few teens to teach them uses of technology. In today's post they are demonstrating lessons learned in the past week.

Imagine if businesses and faith groups were helping recruit volunteers for programs in the area where this last shooting took place, or in other neighborhoods of the city with poorly performing schools. This could be happening if our leaders and media would just write some stories and encourage it to happen when ever they are reporting bad news.

Tell the REST OF THE STORY. Show the good news that can happen.

PS: Visit the NICE Network on Ning and join this week's mentoring discussion.

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