Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tipping Points - Do You Agree?

The purpose of the Tutor/Mentor Connection blog is to share ideas that help more volunteers connect with inner-city k-12 youth in structured, volunteer-based non-school tutor/mentor programs. I've lead a program like this for 35 years which is where my ideas come from. You can browse the Cabrini Connections web site and borrow any ideas you want from what we share.

If you agree that it takes an organized structure like we try to provide at Cabrini Connections to enable volunteers from beyond poverty to connect and stay connected to kids living in poverty, then wouldn't the next logical step be to think of strategies that would make such programs available to more kids in the entire Chicago region?

On January 25 a National Mentoring Summit will be held in Washington, DC. The T/MC won't be represented because we don't have the money to attend. Yet, our ideas can be represented by the way we share them via the Internet.

Here are a few ideas I'd like to have people think about. First, if we want great tutor/mentor programs to reach kids in all poverty neighborhoods, we need to find ways to help each program that is operating get a more consistent flow of operating resources.

Second, we need to support intermediary organizations in each city who will maintain a database of existing non-school tutor/mentor programs, and share this on map-based directories like the Tutor/Mentor Connection does. With the map anyone in the city can see where poverty and poorly performing schools are located. These are areas where kids, families and schools need more help. Tutor/Mentor programs cannot grow in all of these neighborhoods if they don't get more consistent help.

Third, we need to be finding ways to sustain this strategy for decades, not one to three years. This chart emphasizes that it still takes 12 years to go from first grade to 12th grade. How many donors maintain consistent funding to an agency for that many years?

We've taken time to think these ideas through and communicate them in illustrated essays on the Institute section of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Two ideas that you might read and share at the National Summit, and in your own business and faith community are:

Logic Model - If you agree with the logic, help us make it a reality.

Tipping Points - What are some of the actions that could dramatically change the availability and impact of programs helping youth born in an inner-city neighborhood be in a job and starting a career by age 25?

I encourage you to visit our Tutor/Mentor Forum and see how interns are helping us communicate these ideas in new and more creative ways. Join the forum, add your own ideas, and apply this thinking to help an entire city of tutor/mentor programs grow in Chicago and other cities around the country.


Breaking Dawn said...

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Tutor Mentor Connections said...

It would be great if people who focus on workplace mentoring would use their blogs and web sites to encourage business people to support youth mentoring programs in their community.