Friday, April 08, 2011

New Map resource

In the past few years I've written many articles and included maps that we've created using donated ESRI software, or created using the interactive Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator that we launched in early 2009.

Here's an example of what you can do with the Program Locator. This map shows high poverty areas of the Chicago region (based on 2000 census) and also shows locations of low performing public high schools. The green stars on the map are organizations on our database that provide some form of tutoring and/or mentoring in non-school locations. Click on a green star to see the name and web site of the organization.

Now we've added a new layer of information, showing 2010 homicides in Chicago, to the map (when you click on this link you will see a tab on the left saying "homicides. You need to open that to add the homicide data to the map.") . I've also sorted to show the number of programs serving high school age youth. You can see that poor schools, high homicide rates and high poverty align. These are areas where there needs to be high quality, mentor-rich tutor/mentor programs. While some of the programs in our database might be considered among the best in the world, others may need help becoming that good. They all need a constant flow of operating and innovation resources if they are to maintain a high level of service, or improve what they are doing.

This next maps shows how we can zoom into a section of the city and enlarge the map so we can see more detail, or so we can create a map that could be posted on a blog like this, as an invitation for all of the assets shown on the map (banks, churches, hospitals, tutor/mentor programs) to come together to share ideas and find ways to help high quality tutor/mentor programs and other youth and family services grow in all parts of this map area.
Students at area high schools and colleges could be creating maps and writing stories like I'm writing if someone were to introduce them to this resource.

However, that may not continue to be possible in the future because the Tutor/Mentor Connection does not have the money to keep offering this service free to Chicago and its suburbs. Without philanthropic investors stepping forward we cannot update the information on the maps, improve the technology, or continue to write articles like this to draw your attention to the maps and to show you how to use them.

If you or your company or foundation would like to support this service, or make it available in a different community than Chicago, please call 312-492-9614 or introduce yourself with a comment on this blog.

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