Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Letters to President Obama

Last night in his speech to the nation, President Obama read a letter from a little girl.

In January Cabrini Connections, a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program that I lead, encouraged our teens to write letters. One wrote,

"Gang violence is a huge problem in the community today. People are getting killed left and right for these unnecessary reasons. There are drive-by-shootings, gang wars, and people getting jumped and beat up for having their hat tilt to the wrong side. Innocent youngsters are dying and getting hurt for something they did not cause or have any notice of. The solution is getting these “wanna-be-gangsters” off the streets. Provide more programs for them to be doing something more productive. After-school programs only go up to 13-14 years of age then just drop kids off out on the streets. There has to be a better way to go about this.

You can read these letters here, and here.

At you can find maps showing where there are poorly performing schools and high concentrations of poverty. You can see some showing where shootings took place. These are areas where volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs can make a difference, if they exist.

In some place there are programs, and we provide contact information via a searchable program locator database, so people who want to help President Obama keep his promises can offer time, talent and dollars to these specific programs.

In other places there are no programs, which means the businesses, faith groups, colleges and hospitals could be taking leadership roles to help new programs start and to help all programs in a neighborhood grow.

The information on the Tutor/Mentor Connection web sites is intended to help businesses and non profits learn from each other, so that they can become more strategic and connected in how they help tutor/mentor programs connect with youth in many neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

Our role is to mentor this process, to help people find and use the information. Contact the Tutor/Mentor Connection or join our Ning group if you'd like our help.

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