Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nudge the Net -- how do we mobilize personal network to solve problems of inner city violence?

If you read the Chicago SunTimes, or the Chicago Tribune today, you'll see multiple stories with themes of "Just don't forget" referring back to times in the past when national and local media outrage was focusing on inner city violence. Now we're entering a new period of learning, according to Arne Duncan, and charged with creating a new national strategy. I'll post links to today's stories in another blog.

However, in this article I want to encourage people to think how we might keep attention on this problem 365 days a year for dozens of years. How do we get people who don't live in poverty to think about the problem, and the solutions, so they take active roles, as volunteers, leaders, donors, business partners, voters, to support the growth of programs in multiple locations that help youth move more safely through school and into jobs and adult careers.

In the articles on this blog my goal is to help comprehensive, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow, and thrive, in high poverty neighborhoods. Such programs can expand the network of people and learning available to inner city youth, helping kids through school, and in their adult lives.

There are two groups of people who I'm trying to influence.

1) the people already involved in the 160 or more programs already listed in the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator database. Each program needs to learn how to be a successful business, which means marketing their messages to people who can help them be the best they can be

2) the people who don't live in poverty, but who benefit from helping inner city kids move safely through school and into 21st century jobs and careers. In other words, everyone else.

Learning to understand your network, the people you know, and the people they know, is essential to effectively building and sustaining a volunteer based tutor/mentor program, or any other kind of organization.

Thus, I'm pleased that two of our speakers at the November 19 and 20, 2009 Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference will be Valdas Krebs and Jean Russel. Here's the description of the workshop they will lead.

Nudge the Net -- how do you mobilize your network to accomplish your goals?, Presented by
Valdis Krebs,
Jean Russell,

Building a useful thrivable network is more than "networking" or it's on-line equivalent: "facebooking." We build a thrivable network not just for ourselves but for those around us. When we each improve our individual networks, we all improve our community network -- as long as we are connected and have open flows amongst us.

The old strategy in human affairs was: be between -- be the gatekeeper around what you know and what you have. Only allow select individuals or groups through the gate. Much of the world still works this way, especially hierarchies and bureaucracies -- you must pay to play. With the internet, and the transparency it allows, a new strategy is coming into play: be among -- be the connector of those around you. By developing the skill and reputation for connecting others, many will be drawn to you. Your network will grow for others will want to be connected to you -- to key individuals and groups you have access to.

Valdis Krebs and Jean Russell will walk you through this new strategy of building a thrivable network. You will learn the process, and experience the practice through workshop exercises. Valdis and Jean will explain the three, interconnected aspects of building a productive and thrivable network.

1) Know the Net -- how do you understand your network and what it is today?

2) Knit the Net -- how do you improve your network to what it could be?

3) Nudge the Net -- how do you mobilize your network to accomplish your goals?

You will leave the workshop with actionable knowledge and simple rules you can use every day to improve your network and that of those around you.

You can find a list of speakers, an agenda, and a registration and sponsor form at . There are many people sharing great ideas and experience.

If we want to solve the problems of poor schools, inner city violence and concentrated, segregated poverty we must find ways to connect more people who have ideas and resources with each other, and with those people who are already operating programs in inner city areas.

Come to this conference and learn more ways to use your network for good.

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