Friday, February 28, 2014

President Obama Launches "My Brother’s Keeper Initiative"

In this White House Fact Sheet, you can read about the new initiative, titled "My Brother’s Keeper", which is a new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead.

This page from the Summer 1999 Tutor/Mentor Newsletter, shows that State Senator Barack Obama was a speaker at the May 1999 Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference in Chicago. I met him, shook his hand, had my picture taken and invited him to build his own understanding of strategies I'd been sharing since 1993 to help youth living in high poverty neighborhoods become part of mentor-rich programs helping them through school and into jobs and careers. I had met previously with Michelle Obama at the University of Chicago in the mid 1990s and asked for her support of Tutor/Mentor Connection through involvement of students at the University.

This is a photo from an August/September Chicagoland Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment Campaign press conference, held in Chicago in 2000 or 2001 when Lura Lynn Ryan, First Lady of Illinois, was honorary chair person of the campaign and Paul Vallas, CEO of Chicago Public Schools was a speaker.
Arne Duncan was Vallas' assistant in 2000 and 2001. I met with Arne at Vallas's office in 2000 and 2001 and he committed his support for Tutor/Mentor Connection strategies beyond the Vallas tenure at CPS. At that point I had no idea he would be the next CEO of CPS. I had known Arne since he was the first recipient of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Lend A Hand Award in 1994. At that time he was leading a tutor/mentor program in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

In the fact sheet from the White House I don't see a graphic like this one, which I've been sharing since the mid 1990s to show the need for long-term support of youth in all high poverty neighborhoods. I've not seen maps and graphics like this used in many leadership initiatives, at the city, state of federal level in the 20 years that I've been sharing maps and graphics in my own print newsletters and web sites.

As the President was launching his new initiative, the Illinois Mentoring Partnership published a "State of Mentoring in Illinois" Report. Download the full report, here.
This graphic is from a page showing challenges mentoring programs face, with the number one challenge being lack of consistent funding.

I've been doing surveys of tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region since the late 1990s. This graphic is from a summary of a survey done at Tutor/Mentor Conferences. It shows that the most important needs were "people" and "resources". In this 2009 blog article results of a newer survey show the same need for funding and talent.

I've been sharing graphics like this for more than a decade, showing the common needs of all tutor/mentor programs and the need for programs in all high poverty neighborhoods.

In the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC Library, and on the library at I've shared short, illustrated strategy essays, showing how leaders from every sector need to be consistently innovating ways to connect needed resources to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities.

One of these is titled ROLE OF LEADERS. Another is titled "NO GENERAL GOES TO WAR WITHOUT A MAP"

A new presentation showing how resource providers need to be equally involved in building high quality tutor/mentor programs is available, with a video done by a 2014 intern to break this down into easier-to-understand pieces.

Mr. President, we don't need a new program, we need new commitments. We need you and other leaders, including mentoring partnerships in every state, to adopt leadership and marketing strategies that support existing programs who already work with youth of color, both boys and girls, so that they can stay connected, constantly growing to be great, and expand where it makes sense. Teach leaders and supporters of new programs draw from an on-line library of ideas, aggregations of links to existing programs and research, etc., such as the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library, to launch new programs where our maps and data show a need that is not currently being met with an existing program.

One commitment would be for you and other leaders to spend just one hour a week browsing articles on my web site, and following the links to other web sites that I point to. Don't delegate this. The power of the Internet is that you and every other leader can be directly involved with information, and with the people trying to put this information to work.

Make this commitment and pass it on to the next President, and the one after that so such a commitment is consistent and grows for the next 20 years. With such a commitment a growing number of youth of color, born in 2014, will be in college, vocational schools, the military and/or in jobs by 2034.

Without this commitment our grandchildren will be able to search Google (or whatever replaces it) and find a long list of Presidential announcements of new programs that over time fail to deliver because of a lack of consistent funding, talent and other resources required in every program location.

1 comment:

advorkin said...

Barak Obama created many initiatives, but most of them fail and are failing, because he is all talk and no action. Besides, why this is about children of colour? I though America is desegregated and children, regardless of colour should be treated equally.