Saturday, February 12, 2011

Local-Global Tutor/Mentor Strategy

The graphic below shows a map of Chicago where more than 200,000 school age youth live in high poverty neighborhoods. The arrow points to the Cabrini Green neighborhood on the Near North part of the city where we have operated the Cabrini Connections program since 1993. Before that I led the Montgomery Ward/Cabrini Green tutoring program from 1975 to 1992, which was hosted at the Wards corporate headquarters on Chicago Avenue (same neighborhood).

Thus I've many years of experience in mobilizing volunteers and recruiting inner city kids to be part of weekly non-school tutor/mentor program activities. Leo was in 4th grade when we first me in 1973. We're still connected today. He has completed a new movie "Count It All Joy” that is an official selection in the 1st Annual Hollywood Christian Film Festival .

Tangela graduated from high school in the late 1990s. She's finished college and is in graduate school now. She was a speaker at our 2011 year end dinner.

The Local-Global chart shows a map of Chicago, illustrating my commitment to helping programs like Cabrini Connections be available to youth in all high poverty neighborhoods, as well as my understanding that without support from businesses, universities, faith groups and public leaders, we can't do as much as we need to do to help the teens at Cabrini Connections.

In this series of articles I show what we accomplished over the past decade, and the financial challenges we faced. During the 18 years since we formed Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection our first commitment has always been to the teens we work directly with. Thus, when funds are tight, or when leaders don't support the Tutor/Mentor Connection, we continue to focus on work needed every day to help the teens and volunteers of Cabrini Connections stay connected.

Chicago is going through a huge transition. Residents will elect a new Mayor and many new aldermen. We have a new Governor. We have two new leaders at Chicago Public Schools in Terry Mazany and Charles Payne.

I've shared information from the Tutor/Mentor Connection with these people and hundreds of other leaders every year since 1993. Here's an example. Our use of maps has been available since 1994. Yet we still don't see much evidence of leaders using these ideas and we don't have much financial support for our efforts to help tutor/mentor programs grow in all parts of the Chicago region.

Thus, we continue to focus on helping the 70-80 teens and growing number of alumni of Cabrini Connections stay connected to volunteers and each other and to the library of information we've been collecting. During February and March our students, volunteers and friends are involved in the 2nd Annual Cabrini Madness competition, where teams compete to see who can raise the most money to support the ongoing operations of Cabrini Connections. I hope you'll join a team and help us.

I hope you'll share these ideas in your business, faith group and college to help similar programs reach youth in more places.

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