Monday, September 28, 2009

The Violence is just on the other side of the Highway

I spent most of the day Saturday at the Morgan Park Church of God, located on the far South Side of Chicago. On Friday, I posted a map of Roseland, listing five youth serving organizations.

On Thursday afternoon, another Chicago teen was beaten to death, as part of a gang fight, right outside of one of these agencies, Agape Community Center, 342 W. 111th St., . Read the follow up story in the Chicago SunTimes.

Below is a map showing the location of Morgan Park Church of God, just west of I-57, within the 15th Illinois State Senate District.

This church is just West of Roseland. Further west are more affluent communities and more faith groups who could be mobilizing volunteers and donors to support the growth of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Roseland, Englewood and other South Chicago neighborhoods. Voters in these areas could be judging elected leaders based on what they do to help such programs grow, if maps like this were used to show change over time. Anyone can be using the ideas in the Tutor/Mentor Institute to build their own leadership strategies.

I went to this health fair at the invitation of Rev. Jonathan Hall, of Vernon Park Church of God. My goal was to continue to reach out to faith leaders, to help them create communications strategies that would draw more people from faith communities in the city and suburbs, to information that would help them learn where, and how, they could be involved in helping volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas.

While there was not a huge crowd, this was a successful network-building event for me. The map below illustrates the different people and organizations that I connected with because of this invitation and my willingness to give up my Saturday for this event.

One of the people I met was from Aunt Martha's Youth Service, and had attended a Tutor/Mentor Conference in the past. Others were from different types of health care providers, and from the host church, Morgan Park Church of God.

In each case, my goal was to introduce the T/MC, and point out ways that the people I meet can begin their own leadership and network-building strategies, so that people in health organizations, faith groups, business, and politics, would be more consistently involved in learning ways that people can use time, talent, and limited dollars, to build programs that connect youth with more positive mentors, and non-school learning and enrichment, so there are fewer youth becoming involved in the tragedies that we keep reading about in the paper.

Here's a follow up map that I created and will be sharing with the people I met on Saturday. It shows a 12 month schedule of communications, outreach, and networking at events such as the Nov. 19 and 20 Tutor/Mentor Conference.

Imagine if dozens of faith groups that are not located in poverty were using this strategy to engage the members of their congregations, and the places where faith members work.

That's our goal and we'll be happy to meet with anyone who'd like to discuss ways they might build such a strategy.

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