Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Evidence that inequality leads to shorter life spans,

I encourage you to read this New York Times article by Nicholad Kristof which says "There’s growing evidence that the toll of our stunning inequality is not just economic but also is a melancholy of the soul. The upshot appears to be high rates of violent crime, high narcotics use, high teenage birthrates and even high rates of heart disease."

He's pointing to a book by two distinguished British epidemiologists, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. I followed the links and came to a web site called The Equality Trust which shows that "large income inequalities within societies damage the social fabric and the quality of life for everyone."

The maps we show on this blog and at Mapping for Justice, as well as the poverty and social capital articles we point to on the Tutor/Mentor Connection sites emphasize this point. They also are tools that people who don't live in poverty can use to help create programs and services that bridge the gaps between rich an poor.

Volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs located in high poverty areas, like Cabrini Connections, can be places that connect youth and families from poverty with ideas, experiences, ideas and adults from non poverty areas.

You can learn what programs operate in Chicago using the Interactive map and Program Links provided on our web sites. If you compare programs you can begin so see which have more comprehensive and long-term strategies than others. You can borrow ideas from one or more on a continuous basis, so over time every neighborhood has world-class programs.

That can only happen if resource providers are actively engaged in this process and if intermediaries like T/MC are funded so they can host this information and bring people together on a continuous basis.

January is National Mentoring Month. Pick one or two programs and make a commitment to support them with time, talent and dollars for the next few years. Set aside part of your support for the Tutor/Mentor Connection so we can support your efforts.

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