Thursday, October 21, 2010

Expanding Capacity - Partners Needed

The graphic at the left is one of many I've created and posted on this blog, to illustrate that our goal is to help kids living in high poverty neighborhoods have support systems, including non-school tutor/mentor programs, that help them move to jobs and careers. In the complex problems tag you can find more than 70 articles.

One of the most difficult problems we face is finding the time to reflect and think about these problems, or to maintain quality information about all of the organizations offering various forms of tutoring/mentoring in Chicago. This would be a significant task for a larger organization. At the Tutor/Mentor Connection we have just one full time person, serving a one-year fellowship, focused on the T/MC. My own role as President, CEO of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection means I divide my time between the T/MC, our own Cabrini Connections program, fund raising and administrative roles. Even if I work 60 hours a week, it's not enough.

Thus, either we find dollars to expand the staff and capacity of the T/MC or we find partners in universities, businesses, other intermediary organizations, etc. who will share the role that we have adopted. Maybe we can do both.

This graphic illustrates that my organization is not the only one in Chicago that wants to help kids living in poverty neighborhoods move successfully through high school, college and/or vocational school into 21st century jobs in area industries. There should be think tanks in each of the clusters on this village map. T/MC and its resources should be available in each of these groups, just as the ideas from each cluster should be open and available to people who look at this problem from a different lens.

How many people are even defining the problem this way? Who are you? Where are you? How can we connect? Who are the philanthropists who will bankroll this process?

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