Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Changes since 1994

When we launched the Tutor/Mentor Connection and the first Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in spring of 1994, there was no "national mentoring partnership" and many of the state and city partnerships that now exist were not in existence.

We held a conference every six months to keep attention focused on tutoring/mentoring and to bring together people who had time to meet and share ideas. We built a web library of information that any one in the country could draw from.

We focused all of this on the database of Chicago tutor/mentor programs, and maps, that point to where tutor/mentor programs operate, where more are needed, and who should be helping because they do business or have a role in that zip code or neighborhood.

Now there are conferences in Michigan (Nov 17), Minnesota, Oct. 25; California (Jan 10); New Mexico, Oct 27-29

We share information about all of the mentoring conferences we learn about on this link.

With so many competitors, finding sponsors to keep the Tutor/mentor Connection and conference in Chicago funded has become more and more difficult. We still have not located donated space for the November conference. We don't have donors funding the map based Program Locator so we can keep upgrading the technology. Yet we've been contacted by people from different states, and from the Chicago region, asking to do workshops, or for attendance information.

Will this growth in networks be to the benefit of all of us, or the reason most of us fail in what we're trying to do?

I think it's a good thing that others are hosting conferences in different places. More people can attend, and we raise more visibility for tutor/mentor programs. However, I wish every conference would point to each other and that every conference would point to on-line forums where people who attend, or can't attend, can talk to each other.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection on-line forum is here.

Finally, I would like to see more of those hosting conferences, being more aggressive and innovative in using them to point volunteers and donors directly to the volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs operating in their communities. If we all do this, and link to each other, we can influence more year-end donors to seek out tutor/mentor programs in each city and state.

Without pushing the operating dollars to the programs how can the programs use all of this training and networking that the conferences offer?

No comments: