Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Snow day project. Study maps.

If you're snowed in at home tomorrow, why not spend some time looking at the interactive map page of the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator. You can use this to learn what (if any) tutor/mentor programs are in different parts of the Chicago area. You can sort by age group to see how well distributed such programs are, and how well we're reaching kids at different age levels.

If you click on the green stars on the map which indicate locations of tutoring and/or mentoring programs, you can go to an organization's web site. If you look at enough of these web sites you can begin to form your own opinion about which are doing good work and which need to improve. This users guide pdf shows the features of the Program Locator.

If you know of a tutor/mentor program that is not on the map, just contact the T/MC to get them added. If you see improvements that need to be made to the Program Locator, help us find a donor like the one who gave $50,000 in late 2007 to build this capacity.

In addition, you can skim through some of the web sites on this section of the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site to learn more about how poverty influences learning and school performance and how tutor/mentor programs like Cabrini Connections are a form of bridging social capital connection kids to people and experiences beyond the neighborhoods they live in.

Then read about challenges non profits face. I know most people don't want to think about this but if we want high quality, constantly improving tutor/mentor programs in more places, for more years we need to help them overcome these challenges. You can also read some of our ideas showing what leaders in business, faith groups, hospitals and colleges can do to mobilize support for tutor/mentor programs.

Finally, look at your giving budget and see if you can send a donation to Cabrini Connections or one of the other programs on this list. You can also give your time doing one of these volunteer roles. While this list shows opportunities at Cabrini Connections, I suspect most non profit tutor/mentor progams need help in similar areas.

If you and others spend just a few hours every couple of months looking at this information, you will know more about ways you can help inner city kids, and you will know more people who you might want to help.

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