Thursday, December 22, 2011

Expanding networks is benefit - social capital theory

I read a couple of articles today that support the role of information intermediaries like myself, but support my vision of helping mentor-rich tutor/mentor programs reach more youth in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

A Social Capital Framework for the Study of Institutional Agents & Their Role in the Empowerment of Low-status Students & Youth is a paper written by Ricardo D. Stanton-Salazar, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.

The article also introduced the concept of ‘empowerment agents,’ who "not only understand the power of institutional support and social capital in the lives of youth and students from historically-oppressed communities; they carry a vision of a more just, humanistic, and democratic society, deeply committed to an enlightened and fair distribution of societal resources, and to dismantling the structures of class, racial, and gender oppression."

Volunteers and staff in mentor-rich programs can take this role if they are trained to do so and if they have the resources to stay in place to support this process for many years.

The marketing and information-sharing needed to make this happen has been the focus of my work for the past 20 years.

That leads me to the next article, which is much shorter than the first. This is a paper titled Strategic Network Formation with Structural Holes. The paper claims that "people who occupy bridging positions between groups in a network are at higher risk of having good ideas".

This is what I do and why I have so many ideas for ways we can make mentor-rich programs more available. However, it's also what could be the goal of "empowerment agents" in hundreds of tutor/mentor programs. If we can teach young people and volunteers to build networks and understand how to use them effectively, they are more valuable in the 21st century marketplace and have more people to help them overcome the barriers of poverty and the challenges of adult lives.

The graphics on this page illustrate the goal of expanding the networks of youth and volunteers who become part of tutor/mentor programs and part of city, state and national networks that connect hundreds of tutor/mentor programs to each other. I've created a workspace where interns, volunteers and others can help me develop network analysis tools that could be used to demonstrate the growth of personal networks within programs, and program networks within cities.

If you know of others who are doing social capital research or who show the mission of their volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs from a social capital perspective, please share the information.

1 comment:

Social Network said...

Social network like Twitter, facebook, Linkedln, orkut plays a very important role to make communication between one another. Through this social network students can share their knowledge with other student and also they clear their doubt with free of cost. And also this all site are the medium of entertainment and time pass for boring people. So we can say this is social network revolution going on....Social Network Analysis