Thursday, May 30, 2013
Next Friday, June 7, I'll host the 39th Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference since May 1994. The goals of the conference have not changed. We want to bring people together to share ideas, build relationships and increase support for volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs reaching youth in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities. This page describes the conference, and this the strategy.
I've written about the conferences often in the past and I encourage you to browse some of these to see the consistency of what I've been doing, and the difficulty of attracting the resources and business partnerships needed to increase the long-term impact of the Tutor/Mentor Connection and the conferences.
However, maybe you've not asked, "Why did one small group of volunteers launch the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1992, when they were also launching a new site based program to serve 7th to 12th grade youth living in Cabrini Green?" Take a look at the presentation below to see the logic behind this strategy.
While we faced the same challenge each year of finding resources to support the Cabrini Connections program, we invested in the Tutor/Mentor Connection and attempted to help every tutor/mentor program in the city get the resources each program needs to constantly improve.
Why? First, we realized that every neighborhood needs these programs, not just the neighborhood we were serving and that no leader was trying to help mentor-rich programs grow in every poverty neighborhood.
Second, we also realized that no small non profit can attract all of the resources it needs to do everything that needs to be done to help its youth move successfully through school and into college and jobs. Unless the city developed leadership to support the operations of every program, including Cabrini Connections, we'd not have the resources we needed at Cabrini Connections either.
While this strategy supported the two-part Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection for almost 20 years, our inability to attract -- AND KEEP -- commitment and leadership from the city, CPS, the business and philanthropy community, or to build a business model that would generate revenue for our ideas from other cities, along with the inability to keep leadership on our own board of directors committed to this two-part strategy, led to a split of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection in mid 2011.
I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue to support the conferences and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and to continue to look for ways to support the growth of this strategy in other cities. At next week's conference we'll have people from Indianapolis and Baltimore. In the social media world we have people from all over the world looking at what we're doing.
I continue to point to Cabrini Connections, and over 150 other non-school tutoring and/or mentoring organizations in the Chicago region, via the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and the Chicago Programs Links Library.
I hope to see you at the June 7 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference or connect with you on Linked in, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or some other place where we can talk of ways to help close the gaps between rich and poor by getting more people who don't live in poverty personally involved in the lives of young people who do.