Friday, July 30, 2010

Why Won't the Shootings Stop in Chicago

This story in the Chicago SunTimes shows that two years following an April 2008 weekend when 40 people were shot, and 7 killed, almost no one has gone to jail as a consequence.

Now, here's the real reason.

Not enough people who don't live in these neighborhoods care enough to get personally involved to change the schools, the poverty, the elected leadership, and the funding for programs that might change the culture of hopelessness that contributes to this urban warfare.

I promote volunteer involvement in non-school tutor/mentor programs because it's an entry point for many people who don't live in poverty to begin a life time of service to change the future for those who do.

For a volunteer to be involved, there needs to be a well-organized program to support that involvement.

For a volunteer to stay involved for multiple years, the program where they are involved needs to sustain a high level of support for the student and volunteer. At Cabrini Connections we describe what we're trying to do in our Success Steps strategy.

As we enter the 2010-11 school year, there are too few volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago. Use the Interactive Program Locator to build your own understanding of how many tutoring and/or mentoring programs there are in the neighborhoods where the most shootings are taking place. Sort the data on our maps, by age group served, to get a better understanding of how few programs there are for older youth.

Visit some of the web sites that we include in the Chicago Program Links section to see how they differ in what they do, and how well they show what their purpose is and what they are accomplishing.

Then, try to find a resource that shows who is funding the general operations of tutor/mentor programs in Chicago. What companies, churches, social groups and foundations are providing flexible, year-to-year, operating dollars to more than 10 of these programs each year? What companies point to our database of programs and encourage employees to choose one or more for workplace fund raising donations.

Who is sponsoring events like the August 29 Tutor/Mentor Jam concert to help us attract more volunteers and donors to look at this information?

If you can find this information, send us the link so we can share it with others.

You can't find this information on the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site because we don't have the money to answer the many questions that need to be answered, and to do the on-going market analysis that would enable all of us in the Chicago region to have a better understanding of what tutor/mentor programs are available, where are they, what are the ideas that can be duplicated, where do we find staff to lead these programs, etc.

We barely have enough money to maintain the web sites and offer the Program Locator as a FREE service to people in Chicago. We are constantly looking for donors to keep our own Cabrini Connections program in place.

Yet we've managed to do what we do for past 17 years. Imagine how much more impact we might have if we had a few more people helping us.

They won't stop shooting until a lot more people get involved, in a lot more significant ways.

No comments: