Monday, May 04, 2009

Tracking Murders in Chicago. How about tracking tutor/mentor programs, too?

Today's front page for the ChicagoSunTimes featured the story of a boy brutally murdered on the Southwest Side of Chicago. Page 2 was also devoted to this story.

The front cover of Chicago's RedEye newspaper, featured the headline "Chicago Murder Report". Two inside pages gave the grim details and provide a map showing where these took place.

However, neither of these stories, which represent more than $500,000 worth of news space (from an advertising perspective) did anything to show how readers might do something, such as support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in the neighborhoods where there are too many shootings caused by too much poverty.

Take a look at the crime mapping that the Tutor/Mentor Connection is doing. We not only show where the bad news took place, but also show steps that community leaders, elected officials, faith and business leaders, and individual citizens, can do to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs reach kids in these neighborhoods.

I hope that the disgusting details of today's killing, or the staggering number of killings and shootings reported in REDEYE, cause many readers in the city and suburbs to ask "WHAT CAN I DO?"

Right now you can look look at the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator database and pick one or more programs, such as Cabrini Connections, then send a donation. A big one if you can. A small one if that's what your budget allows.

Government funding for prevention is being reduced, while dollars from donors are shrinking due to the depression. This means that unless more people respond to negative news with positive actions, there will be fewer tutor/mentor programs trying to reach kids than there are now.

And right now, there are too few!

If you browse the tags on the left side of this blog, you can read more of the articles about ways leaders can help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs reach more kids in Chicago neighborhoods.

You can also find information about the Tutor/Mentor Conference on May 28 and 29 where one panel will include media members who will talk about how they cover the negative news.

The conference, and the Tutor/Mentor Connection are made possible by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, not the government. Without your continued help, we cannot keep trying to turn the violence off, by turning kids on to other aspirations and opportunities.

Good tutor/mentor programs are needed. Without your help, many won't survive and new ones will not grow in places where more are needed.

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