Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Legal Leader Using Social Media to Build Support for Mentoring in Chicago

Over the past few weeks I've posted a couple of stories showing how Dan Cotter, the 2014-15 President of the Chicago Bar Association, has been asking friends (and strangers) to help him raise money to fund Chicago mentoring programs. The weight lifting event was last weekend and on Dan's Facebook page you can get a detailed description of activities leading up to the event, during and after.

I've featured Dan's work because as the media and public leaders are agonizing about what to do to reduce violence Dan has been raising money to fund tutor/mentor programs in Chicago for more than 10 years. By highlighting the good work one person does my goal is to inspire others to take the same role so that people in many industries are recruiting volunteers and raising dollars to fund tutor/mentor programs in all high poverty areas of Chicago, not just a few high profile programs.

I created this graphic several years ago, and I've created many like it, to illustrate the role each person can take to mobilize others to support the growth of tutor/mentor programs.

One of the pushbacks I've had from people in business is "that's not what I do" or "I don't have time". Well, Dan's a busy attorney working for a big company. He's chairman of the board of the Lawyers Lend A Hand Program, and he's incoming President of the Chicago Bar Association.

Yet for the past four weeks Dan has been using his Twitter feed and Facebook to encourage people to get involved with mentoring and pledge funds to his weight lifting effort. In order for you to better understand what Dan's been doing, click into these three Twitter accounts which Dan uses.

DCotter1 - click here

The Lifting Lawyer - click here

CBA Pres 2014-15 - click here

Scroll down on each page and see how Dan Tweets, reTweets, favorites Tweets of others, and is featured in Tweets I and others have posted. He's taken an active position on social media to support a cause he cares about. If he can do it why can't executives of companies, faith groups, colleges and other professional groups do the same.

If you've read this far you've seen that I've given a lot of praise to Dan Cotter. He deserves it.

What if teams of youth and volunteers in different parts of the city where following social media and were creating links to a Village Map like this, pointing to people in different sectors who were trying to connect the people they know with programs working to help youth through school and into jobs and careers. What if they were writing stories like this to recognize the good deeds of people doing good work?

Each year the Mayor, or other celebrities, could give awards to leaders in each industry who have been outstanding examples of using social media to mobilize attention and resources.

Yesterday the Mayor said violence in Chicago is a complex problem and many people need to be involved in solutions. Here's a way many people can be involved, and who if they stay involved as long as Dan Cotter has, can make a huge difference, without spending a lot of tax payer dollars to do it.

Mr. Mayor, are you listening?

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