Sunday, December 23, 2012

Goals the Same. People Change. Read Newsletter of Jan 1996

Below is the front page of the printed Tutor/Mentor Connection newsletter of Jan-Feb 1996. I've been meaning to put PDF copies of past newsletters on-line for a while and started doing that today. On the front page you can see a photo of Paul Vallas, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, who addressed a 1995 Tutor/Mentor Conference.
If you browse through this archive showing other newsletters written in the 1990s and in the past couple of years you'll see that my goals have not changed, but the people in business, philanthropy, politics and Chicago Public Schools have. So have many of the leaders in volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs who I first started connecting with in the 1990s and even earlier.

In this image from the Summer 1999 newsletter, you can see a photo of Barack Obama, who was a speaker at the May 1999 conference, along with Congressman Luis Guitierrez. I wish I could say that "Appearance at a conference translated into on-going support for the strategies represented by the conference".

I will add more copies of past newsletters to the archive and hope you'll read and share them.

As you browse these you'll see uses of maps and graphics that I piloted in the 1990s. I'm still using maps and graphics for the same purposes today. If you're asking "Why hasn't this had a greater impact?" the answer is that this strategy has never had consistent support from business and civic leaders, and never has had more than $150,000 at its peak to operate. Initial sponsors such as the Montgomery Ward Company went out of business. Others changed their giving strategies. Others gave once, and never again.

While many people have been touched with these ideas, the printed newsletters only reached 10-12,000 people three times a year at the maximum circulation in the 1999-2000 school year. In 1994-95 the distribution was to fewer than 4,000 people per issue. In a metropolitan region with more than 8 million people, that's like whispering in a tornado.

If more leaders from the past had adopted some of these ideas perhaps we would have a wider range of mentor-rich programs in Chicago today and perhaps more of the kids who had joined programs in the 1990s would now be in jobs and volunteering to support programs now operating in Chicago and other cities.

We can't change the past. We can change the future.
Adopt these ideas in your own organization and stay committed to them for the next 20 years. Become a sponsor and help create a new printed version of this newsletter, along with an email campaign to share these ideas with thousands of people every day, starting with the people in your own personal, professional and faith networks. Become a sponsor of the conferences and help build participation back to over 300 as it was in 1999.

This strategy requires leaders from every sector, not just leadership from one small organization, or one elected official. Leadership can come from youth and from adults. The strategy can be adopted in any city, not just Chicago.

I'll post more of these throughout the year. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. I hope you'll find some time to read these newsletters and browse other articles on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site. I look forward to hearing from you.

No comments: