Saturday, May 12, 2012

Raising New Adults Takes Team

After leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program for 35 years I'm convinced that providing a network of extra adult mentors, tutors and learning supports during non-school hours for kids in high poverty neighborhoods is essential.

However, finding the dollars to do this in all of the places where these programs are needed, for the 20 years it takes to help a youth from first grade to first jobs requires a new way of thinking. I use visualizations to try to communicate these ideas.

Take a look at this one.

The general contractor who is in charge of building a skyscraper works with a team of professionals who provide the different skills needed to build the building. They all get paid or the work stops.

If you think of a tutor/mentor program leader as a general contractor, or a store manager, the team of people and talent that needs to come together year-after-year to provide age-appropriate supports and learning opportunities is just as diverse as the team building that skycrapper. However, the money to pay this talent and keep it involved for many years is not consistently available and not flowing to all of the neighborhoods and programs where kids need this type of extra support.

I've created concept maps to illustrate the range of supports kids need, and to show that volunteer tutors/mentors can be people who help bring these resources to a neighborhood. This graphic illustrates the many different sources of volunteers, dollars and support that need to be involved in raising future adults.

In other concept maps I show organizations in Chicago who focus on helping kids. Take a look at their web sites to see if they convey any of these ideas. I also show places where I connect with others.

Every six months since May 1994 I've reached out through these networks and invited people to come together for a one or two-day networking conference. I've reached out to businesses and foundations asking for them to provide financial support. With the help of volunteers I've tried to create maps showing the range of people participating in these events.

You can see more conference maps like this on this blog. They show who is responding from the invitations I send.

The next conference is June 14 at First Unitarian Church. Here's the web site. . I'm still organizing panels and would like to see some of the leaders from my network participate so we can build the funding based needed to support the teams of people needed to help raise future adults in neighborhoods throughout Chicago and other big cities.

It also takes a team of talented people to do what I do. I don't have investors providing capital to pay the team of workers I describe in this visualization (see map here) so I depend on volunteers, interns and partners for this help.

You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in or the Tutor/Mentor Connection forum.

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