Friday, February 12, 2010

Race for the Top. T/MC 2.0

It's February. It's time to start thinking of the type of tutor/mentor programs that will be available in Chicago and other cities in the 2010-11 school year. With resources scarce, it's time for volunteer-based organizations to be thinking of how they convert current tutors/mentors into leaders and capacity builders.

My thinking on this is expressed in articles like this.

However, I'd like to encourage you to read some thinking from others:

"WSM estimates there are more than 240,00 children in Washington State who could benefit from having a mentor and only 30,000 who have one. This leaves a gap of more than 200,000. With your help, we can close that gap.

The challenge is not simply a matter of recruiting more mentors. Low capacity to meet demand and inconsistent quality of service are among the most persistent challenges facing the mentoring field. We need to ensure that all programs have the resources they need to meet the demand for their services."

This quote is from the Washington State Mentors web site. It could just as easily been referring to Chicago.

"At every step of schooling, the tendency is to breath a sigh of relief when a youngster moves on to the next grade. Concern for specific individuals creeps in when learning, behavior, and emotional problems interfere with progress. Public Health concerns arise when large numbers of youngsters are reported as not doing well. Civil rights concerns spring forth when large scale disparities become evident. And economic concerns spring forth with enhanced visibility about the costs to society of so many students dropping out before high school graduation and the impact on global competitiveness of too few students going on to and succeeding in post secondary education.

Reducing dropouts, increasing graduation rates, and closing the achievement gap require more than improving preK-12 instruction, enhancing school management and increasing the school's role in providing health and social services."

From the front page of the Winter 2010 newsletter from the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools.

"By connecting young people to caring adult mentors and role models, we can dare students to dream and inspire them to achieve the academic success that will prepare them for better life opportunities and good careers". Ron Gonzalez, Mayor, City of San Jose (2002)

"We need to have the best and the brightest in the industry go and teach for a year or two. If you expose students to real people in high-tech, role models that are passionate about what they do, that will motivate them." Dan Walker, Chief Talent Officer Apple (2002)

Both of these quotes were from a 2002 report prepared by A.T. Kearney, titled Connecting Today's Youth with Tomorrow's Technology Careers

"Child poverty in the U.S. costs at least $500 billion per year, the equivalent of four percent of GDP."

"If poverty has an associated cost, then the reduction of poverty should generate an economic return. This return would be realized both for individuals in forms of increased earnings as well as for the entire province in the form of reduced social expenditures and higher tax revenues." Quotes from THE COST of POVERTY: An Analysis of the Economic Cost of Poverty in Ontario, Canada.

Don't these ideas apply to Chicago and Illinois just as much as they apply to California and Canada?

Now how are leaders using this information, and their own marketing and communications resources, and personal networking, to educate more people and mobilize more resources so that business mentors can connect with inner city youth in volunteer-based programs like Cabrini Connections or those shown on this Chicago Program Locator map?

Here's a new video showing one way we're encouraging our volunteers to become leaders. As they reach out to invite friends and co-workers to support Cabrini Connections, we hope they will use the ideas in this blog to educate those potential supporters so they go beyond a "random act of kindness and generosity" to becoming strategic supporters of mentoring kids to careers.

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