Wednesday, September 24, 2014

45 Years a Tutor/Mentor and Still Going Strong

Here is photo of Sean Mayfield and AJ Tyson. I've known Allen for 40 years since he was already a two-year veteran tutor when I joined the tutoring program at Montgomery Ward in 1973. Allen sent me this message last week to update me on the progress of a student he worked with in the Cabrini Connections program from September 2006-June 2012:

"I met with Sean recently and he's working at Weber Grill and will be entering his second year in college this fall. I tutored Sean for 8 years through the Tutoring Chicago and Cabrini Connections programs in Chicago. He always came to tutoring on time and with his homework. He is a bright young man. I was able to help him get a job interview at Weber Grill through one of my contacts. He got the job on his on. I'm very proud of him. He's doing well there. He will continue his studies in Chicago this fall. I've stayed connected with his Mom and Grandmother even though he finished high school in June 2012.

I'm now back at the Tutoring Chicago program and starting my 45th year of mentoring with my student from last year, Davion Willis. Erin McPartlin is the director and she's the one that got Sean and I together eight years ago when the program was called Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program, Inc."

I asked Allen if he was now raising money for Tutoring Chicago just as he did for Cabrini Connections when he was a volunteer there. He said, "Yes. I raised close to $10,000 last year."

Why does he continue to tutor, and why does he raise money for the programs? He said "I enjoy it! Once you're connected and see the benefit of what you do, it's easy to ask people you know to help."

I've included graphics like this on my blog for many years to illustrate the need to connect with youth when they are young, and stay connected to them for many years. Allen's involvement started with Sean when Sean was in 5th or 6th grade. It still continues today, after Sean has finished high school. In our conversation today Allen told me how he's reaching out to kids he tutored in the 1970s via Facebook. I'm doing the same. In this article I show how I've been connected to my first mentee for 40 years!

In this graphic I'm illustrating the need for volunteers from many industries to be involved in tutor/mentor programs all over the Chicago region, and for some of those volunteers to grow their involvement so they a) help kids into jobs, and b) help programs attract the operating dollars needed to keep these connections in place.

Allen and I both have longterm histories because the programs we were part of provided great support, and managed to survive on inconsistent funding and tremendous levels of volunteer involvement for all of these years. Just to be clear, I was the volunteer leader of the Montgomery Ward program from 1974 to 1990 and led the conversion into a non profit in 1990. I led it until October 1992 when I and six other volunteers left to create the Cabrini Connections program and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC). I led the CC program till June 2011 when I left and formed Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in order to continue the T/MC after the strategy was dropped from the Cabrini Connections program.

My ideas and passion come from leading these two programs and from the constant struggle to find and keep operating resources that were essential to supporting the involvement of hundreds of pairs of youth and volunteers.

I point to the Lawyers Lend A Hand to Youth via blog articles not because they are great, but because they have been working at raising money to support tutor/mentor programs in multiple locations for nearly 20 years! I want more legal and professional groups to duplicate this, and do it better! That's the only way to help more tutor/mentor programs grow. We need to build a generation of leaders who are proactive in what they do every day to encourage volunteer involvement and support it with dollars and talent from other volunteers.

I've written about this often and have probably spent more time thinking about this than most people in America. I really appreciate it when people like Steve Sewall, Mark Carter, Betsey Merkel, Kelly Fair, Steve Braxton, the Jefferson Awards Program and others post articles on their sites helping people understand what I'm doing.

Just as individual programs cannot operate effectively on an on-going basis without financial support, neither can I or other intermediaries.
If you want to help me, a tax deductible donation can be make as a conference sponsor, using this link.

If you're not concerned with the tax deduction, or my tax status (I'm a LLC) with no revenue, then use this form and become a supporter.

If you're a long term volunteer like Allen, I encourage you to create a blog and share your story. Encourage others to get involved, and encourage others to provide the talent and financial support every single tutor/mentor program in Chicago or any city needs to support these long-term connections.

No comments: