Friday, September 27, 2013

Visualize your strategies for helping kids through school and into jobs

Before the Internet was a primary tool for communication, and many years before I started writing this blog, print newsletters were used to share ideas. This is page 2 from the Fall 1999 Tutor/Mentor News. I started publishing this newsletter in 1993 and continued every four months through 2001. At its peak I was sending this to over 8,000 people. I now have that many visits to my web sites every month.

In the graphics on this page of the newsletter I'm communicating a goal that every industry build strategies that support the growth of long-term, non-school, mentor-rich, volunteer-based youth serving organizations. The graphic shows that programs are needed in three time frames, school day, right after school, after-work/weekends and it includes a map, illustrating that such programs are needed in every high poverty neighborhood of the Chicago region.

I started communicating this strategy in power point/pdf essays in the late 1990s, and have been posting them on and SlideShare in the past two years. I've posted a library of graphics from these presentations on Pinterest. The essays on Scribd have been viewed more than 64,000 times in less than two full years.

Interns have worked with me for many years and since 2005 I've had them spend time looking at these graphics and PDF essays, then build new versions that share their own understanding of the ideas, using different types of media to communicate the ideas. This "iceberg" graphic was created to illustrate the infrastructure every tutor/mentor program needs in order to support on-going connections of youth and volunteer tutors/mentors. It was created by an intern several years ago.

At the right is an animation, created by another intern, providing a different interpretation of the same idea.

Here's another example. In this PDF I show that as volunteers spend time (service) in tutor/mentor program, they are learning more about poverty and the needs of youth. They are also expanding their personal network and building new skills. Each week as they do service they informally share stories of what they are learning with friends, family and co-workers, which leads to more people becoming involved. The graphic below was created in 2007 by an intern from Hong Kong, to interpret the message in the PDF. Then it was re-done a few years later by an intern from Korea working with one of our Northwestern University Public Service Fellows. Here's the latest version.

Thus, for more than 15 years I've been sharing ideas that leaders in any industry, politics, universities, and/or faith groups, etc. could be using in their own efforts to help k-12 youth in every high poverty neighborhood have a wide range of tutor/mentor programs to participate in, with an overall goal of helping kids move through school and into jobs, with a growing number of volunteers from different industry, business and social/economic backgrounds helping.

I've created a web library where I post links to work being done by other organizations, researchers, idea people, etc. Most of the links I point to host their own web library. They serve as a hub for additional knowledge. I'd like to find a web library pointing to places on business, political, media and celebrity web sites where visualizations like I've created are being used to show their own commitment to helping kids in ALL POVERTY NEIGHBORHOODS move through school and into jobs.

If you're hosting such a web library, or see this as a research project for you and your students, please share your web site so I can point to it in my own efforts.

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