Friday, October 10, 2014

Tell Story of ALL Tutor/Mentor Programs in Chicago, Not just one.

A couple of weeks ago I posted an article that gave attention to the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the tutoring program hosted at 4th Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. In that I told of sitting next to Bob Greene, a former Chicago Tribune writer who had frequently written powerful stories drawing attention to the program at 4th Church. Today in my Wall Street Journal I found a new article by Bob Greene, again celebrating 50 years of tutoring at 4th Church.

I think it's great, and fortunate, that this program has had a champion like Bob Greene for so many years. However, there are many other well organized tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, and few have had such powerful attention focused on their efforts.

I led one of those programs from the corporate headquarters of Montgomery Ward, the retailer who went out of business in 2000. The Tutoring Chicago and Cabrini Connections programs which still operate today, have roots also going back to 1965 when the program started at 4th Presbyterian Church.

Yesterday I was invited to connect on linked in with David Gates who, along with his brothers, was part of the program at Wards in the 1970s. His niece was part of the Cabrini Connections program in the 1990s. Here's a message he sent me:

Montgomery Ward tutoring program was a wonderful life experience that I wish my kids had the opportunity to be a part of. Your program was a positive influence that steal reflects the lives of many Cabrini kids today. Thanks for being a beacon of light in a tough place to grow up.

Through the Tutor/Mentor Connection I've been building and sharing a list of Chicago non-school tutoring/mentoring programs since 1993, with the goal that writers like Bob Greene would use their talent, and the power of Chicago media, to draw consistent attention to programs in every part of the city.

Those writers could be alumni who have participated in these programs. Perhaps their stories would provide motivation for donors, business partners and foundations to provide the consistent support every program needs.

As we move through October, November and on toward the year-end holidays, and the year end tax deduction decisions, I hope writers, film makers, bloggers, etc. will get to know some of the programs on my list and make an effort to tell about the work they do, and how they need a wide range of talent and consistent flow of operating dollars to be able to operate for many years.

Below is one of many stories written to show how the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been trying to inspire people to support tutor/mentor programs in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago.

You can see this and many similar stories on this page. I doubt that a web search will find a web site with as many stories like this, generated by one small organization in the third largest city of the US.

However, if you share this story, perhaps you can inspire others to begin creating such stories, so in a few years they will be able to share a web page showing what they've done to help mentor-rich programs have a long history in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago.

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