However, these interns are only with me a few weeks in the winter and spring. I come up with ideas all the time but don't have the talent to communicate these as effectively as I'd like. Here's an example.
map gallery. In addition, I use maps in many of my blog articles I've written about how poverty affects health, student aspirations, education performance, etc.
In other articles and in this section of my library I show challenges that non profit tutor/mentor programs face in finding the talent and operating resources to build and sustain constantly improving long-term programs.
Since I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 my goal has been to help all of the non-school tutor/mentor programs in the region get the operating resources they need while helping new programs focus in areas where more are needed. While many of my peers have said "I like what you do." most have said "When I'm able to get my own program stabilized, I'll help you do this".
I've always said to myself, "They will never help because by themselves they can't solve the funding and resource flow problems facing non profit organizations."
So this week I was thinking about this and I thought of the saying "can't drain the swamp because I'm up to my neck in alligators". How could I visualize this? Well I started scratching out some ideas. I used a free drawing application (here) to create these graphics.
So here's the first image I thought of. I'm in a boat in the middle of a swamp. The boat is leaking water and I'm surrounded by alligators.
Operating a small non profit feels like this. I'm surrounded by challenges and don't have the manpower to solve all of the problems facing my kids, volunteers and the organization. In this analogy, the swamp represents the high poverty neighborhoods where our kids live and where we operate. Parents, schools, kids and non profits are surrounded by all sorts of problems. Violence is just one of these (see articles)
actions of the Tutor/Mentor Connection I've been trying to "drain the swamp". This graphic illustrates this.
This next graphic shows how many of the 170-plus tutoring and/or mentoring programs in the Chicago region face the same challenges every day.
We could be building greater daily attention for ways to help build student aspirations and learning habits while also building support systems that expand the network of adults and learning opportunities available to kids in every high poverty neighborhood.