Monday, November 30, 2009

Tutor/Mentor Connection. What is it?

I've led a volunteer based tutor/mentor program since 1975. I've learned that the lives of both youth and volunteers are enriched in different ways because of involvement in these programs. I've received messages from alumni telling me how important the tutor/mentor program was in their lives.

I know how hard this is. I know that there are more than 200,000 school age children in Chicago who would benefit if they could participate in a well-organized, mentor-rich program like Cabrini Connections.

Thus, I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to help existing tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago area get the resources each one needs to constantly improve what they do.

I cannot do that by myself. I did not start this by myself.

Volunteers from the Montgomery Ward Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program, which I led from 1975 to 1992, helped me start Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. This timeline shows our growth since then.

Many other individuals and organizations have helped grow the Tutor/Mentor Connection, with short term, and long-term efforts. For instance, Montgomery Ward provided free space from 1993 to 1999. Public Communications, Inc helped us get media attention from 1993 to 2001. More than 40 volunteers, representing different tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, have volunteered as speakers and workshop presenters at each of the 32 Leadership and Networking Conferences we've organized since May 1994. Volunteers in the legal community created a Lend A Hand Program, which now makes grants totaling more than $200,000 to different tutor/mentor programs in Chicago.

This list of who has helped is extensive. If you visit the T/MC OHATS documentation system, you can read more than 1400 actions we've documented since 2000. Many of these show that other people have taken roles to help us. (You can log in with USERNAME: GUEST and PASSWORD: VISITOR. This works best in Internet Explorer.)

Yet, we're still a small voice in a big city, constantly looking for money and talent to help us help others.

Thus, I encourage you to consider some of the ideas posted in this presentation.

This graphic emphasizes the role of YOU, the individual, the business leader, the faith leader, the student. You know people who have the skills, and the relationships, who could help the Tutor/Mentor Connection have greater impact, if they added their time and talent.

This map shows different talents/skills that are needed in any organization, including the Tutor/Mentor Connection. When we can put names of people in these boxes, knowing they share the same passion and vision as I do, we will have the small group of people that Margaret Mead wrote "can change the world".

Having the right skills is a great start. Having relationships with people in philanthropy, media, business, faith groups, colleges, etc. means that we will be better able to enlist these sectors and their resources to support the growth of tutor/mentor programs, helping more kids in more places.

Can you introduce people you know to the Tutor/Mentor Connection? Can you help find donors during this holiday season to fund the T/MC in 2010?

If you can support our holiday fund, you can help us build this network in 2010.

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