Friday, June 08, 2012
I've been hosting a gathering of tutor/mentor program leaders and supporters in Chicago every six months since 1994. The above photo is from a 2009 conference. You can see collections of photos from previous conferences here. You can see videos here. You can browse this list of attendees for conferences going back to 2007 to see who attended. More than 1000 different organizations have participated at least one time since 1994.
We held one conference at the Chicago Fire Department Academy and Paul Vallas, CEO of Chicago Public Schools was a speaker.
At another conference Cook County States Attorney Dan Devine was a speaker, and a sponsor. Anita Alvarez, the current States Attorney attended.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez was a speaker in 1999 and at the same conference a little known State Senator was also a speaker.
In all of these conferences I've shared ideas and strategies for mentoring inner city kids through school and into jobs and careers.
All of these strategies aim to enlist leaders and groups in various industries who will mobilize volunteers and donors to support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs all over the Chicago region. During the 1990s I helped the Lawyers Lend A Hand Program at the Chicago Bar Association grow and each spring they presented small grants to 15-30 different Chicago area tutor/mentor programs.
I keep looking for evidence that these strategies are becoming part of the on-going leadership of the people who have been part of the conferences in the past. The problem certainly has not gone away. Maybe they will send representatives to the next conference being held on June 14 at First Unitarian Church in Hyde Park.