Thursday, January 07, 2010

Obama Supports Mentoring. What's the Strategy?

This is a powerful invitation for citizens to become involved in tutoring and mentoring programs. Following are some images that we hope you'll consider, so your involvement has the desired impact.

What do you want to happen? I urge you to look at this chart and think of what our aims are from National Mentoring Month, or from all of the money we put toward volunteer service, mentoring, tutoring, etc.

Isn't the goal to help kids grow up to be strong, contributing adults? If the youth is just starting first grade in 2010, the support system may need to be in place for 15 or 20 years. If a youth lives in a high poverty neighborhood, or a broken home, then the types of support, beyond mentoring, will need to be even greater.

If the goal of Mentoring Month, or any other form of civic engagement, is to encourage people to be volunteers or leaders in tutor/mentor programs, what strategy and resources are in place to help people find programs in their community?

What strategy is in place to help every program be able to support those volunteers so they become effective tutors/mentors and have an impact on the growth of the youth they mentor toward a job and career? This graphic shows a map of Chicago, and you can use the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator to zoom into different sections of the city to learn what programs are available, or what neighborhoods may need more programs.

However, every program has the same needs for volunteers, donors, technology, etc. and these needs must be filled every day, every year if the program is to continue as a support system to help the young person move through elementary school, middle school, high school then to a job.

Big cities like Chicago have a need for several hundred great tutor/mentor programs. What leadership is in place to make that happen?

How many of you are thinking of a planning calendar as you consider where and how to volunteer? What are programs doing in January that assure they will be starting the 2010-11 school year in August with good ideas, more volunteers, and adequate funding? What are business leaders and volunteers doing to support this process?

I'll write more about this in the next few weeks as the National Mentoring Month media draws attention to this issue. I encourage you to read the articles on the Tutor/Mentor Institute site that expand upon these concepts.

If your in a consulting, training, facilitation, marketing or technology role, I encourage you to think of ways you can use your talent and resources to support this process, and help your community have a full range of mentoring and tutoring resources to help kids through school and into careers.

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