Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Second Most Dangerous Neighborhood in America

Today's Chicago SunTimes reports that FBI statistics show residents near 55th and State had 1-in-4 chance of being victims of a violent crime between 2005 and 2007.

If you look at the map on the SunTimes Web site you'll see that four Chicago neighborhoods are listed on the FBI top 25 list. They are in the West and South parts of Chicago, which is where our maps show large concentrations of poverty, poor schools, and too few volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs.

The map above was created using the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator's Interactive map. I zoomed in on the area highlighted in the SunTimes story, then added layers of information for poverty (20% or higher concentration), poorly performing schools, and organizations that offer various forms of volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring. I created a screen shot of the map that I had built, then pasted this into Adobe Photoshop. I cropped this, added some text and saved it as a JPG. All in less than 10 minutes.

You can do the same thing to create your own map stories.

While the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco is encouraging American's to serve (see comment about Michelle Obama's speech), I encourage them to form learning circles, and use research and maps like we make available for Chicago, to learn where people need the most help, and to develop long-term strategies that not only put volunteers on the ground, but build an infrastructure that supports those volunteers in every location with safe facilities, well trained staff, innovative technology, and other resources needed for schools and non-school programs to become good, then great, at what they do to help end this violence by providing youth more positive alternatives.

If you want to support the work the Tutor/Mentor Connection is doing, we need your dollars, and your talent.

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