Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wave of Shootings in Chicago. What's Your Response?

This front page from today's Chicago SunTimes was designed to get reader attention. 7 more young people in Chicago will killed as part of a continued wave of violence.

We hope that whenever you read stories like this you learn to go to the Tutor/Mentor Connection Map Gallery, where you can find follow up stories, that point you to actions you, your business, your faith group, college, high school, or family can take to help build and sustain more birth to work, mentor-rich, youth serving organizations in the high poverty neighborhoods that breed this type of violent behavior.

If you lead a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program, and you are not listed in the Tutor/Mentor Connection directory, use this instruction PDF to learn how to add your organization to the database.

If you want to know more about what the Interactive Maps of the Program Locator are designed to do, view this introduction presentation.

In order for neighborhoods to have good volunteer-based programs, a network of donors needs to make a commitment to provide the resources needed for these programs to operate, and grow stronger from year to year. Great programs don't start out being great. They grow to be good, then great, if they can reinvest what the learn from year to year, and what they learn from others. Then when they are great, the need to continue to learn and innovate, so they stay great.

Every non profit youth-serving organization has the same needs. They are not all equally good at finding these resources. However, if you read the SunTimes today, and want to help, you can reach out an provide these resources. You can mobilize your fiends, your congregation, your business partners and point them to the Program Locator, so you can choose what neighborhood you want to partner with, and decide what programs you want to help.

This was the front page of the Chicago SunTimes in October 1992 when we started Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. The shooting of Dantrel Davis inspired rich editorial commentary, demanding that everyone take responsibility for changing what was happening.

Not much has changed since then because too few people who don't live in poverty are getting up each day and asking themselves what they will do that day to help one, or more, tutor/mentor programs reach kids in the neighborhoods where kids need more help. Too few people are using blogs, sermons, media, advertising and personal leadership to demand that they, and others, provide the time, talent and dollars to build and sustain constantly improving tutor/mentor programs in every neighborhood of the Chicago region where they are needed most.

You can change that by your own actions. One person.

The maps created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection can be used by anyone in the Chicago region, or the State of Illinois. Yet, the funding for the T/MC and these maps has been coming from only a few donors, and most of the work is being done by volunteers. In order for us to continue to reach out and add tutor/mentor programs to the directory, or continue to host the maps, we need a few benefactors who will help us go from good to great, and then stay that way to serve Chicago for the coming decade.

Call 312-492-9614 if you can help us find these benefactors, or take that role yourself.

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