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.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Could this be learning activity in non-school program?

I get my ideas by learning from others. It's an on-going process that I started over 40 years ago. It's been enhanced over the past 16 years by my active engagement with others via the Internet. I've been part of a Deeper Learning MOOC #DLMOOC since January 20, 2014 and in my email every day I get 10 to 20 posts from other participants. I can't look at them all, but I try to look at some.

Thus, today, this video was posted, showing a learning activity taking place in 2007. With so much emphasis on STEM, critical thinking, problem solving, etc. this seems like a great activity that could be taking places in a school, or in a non-school program.

Between 2000 and 2011 a partnership existed between Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin and Cabrini Connections, the tutor/mentor program in Chicago that I led from 1992 to mid 2011. The main event in this partnership was a three-day summer workshop organized by grad students and faculty at Edgewood College, which was presented at the Cabrini Connections facility in Chicago. This blog article describes the 2011 event.

This story from 2004 is one showing the Edgewood Collge program. It describes the planning process. "In collaboration with Cabrini Connections, a tutoring and mentoring agency, Edgewood students help youths evaluate their lives and develop long-term goals. Cabrini-Green children then travel to Edgewood College, where they take part in activities meant to guide them toward a brighter future."

If a college can develop this type of program and keep it going for over a decade, why can't other colleges duplicate the program described in this video, and partner with youth organizations in high poverty neighborhoods, making it a summer learning activity, or a year round learning activity?

While it would be great to think this might become part of the curriculum of every Chicago Public School serving youth in high poverty neighborhoods, "Hell might freeze over before that is a reality." Volunteers from businesses and colleges can bring this learning into these neighborhoods by by-passing the bureaucracy of schools and the education establishment and making it part of innovative non-school youth serving organizations.

If you're already doing this please offer a workshop in the May 19, 2014 (and future) Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference held in Chicago so you can help inspire others to duplicate this effort.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Were you volunteer tutor/mentor in 1980s? Still involved?

This pin was given to myself and other volunteers in the early 1980s. It recognized volunteers who had given five to 10 years of consecutive service the Montgomery Ward-Cabrini/Green Tutoring Program in Chicago, where we were working with Cabrin-Green elementary school youth.

There might have been 20 to 25 people who received these pins. It was only awarded in one or two years. Mine showed 10 years of service. I had joined the tutoring program in 1973 as a tutor, then became part of the leadership committee the next year, and the volunteer leader the following year. When I took the lead in 1975 we were starting each year with around 100 pairs of volunteers and youth, but the number was down to about half of that by the end of the year.

At that time 90% of the volunteers were employees at the Montgomery Ward Corporate office and Catalog Distribution Center in Chicago.

By 1990 we were up to 300 pairs of volunteers and youth. More than 80% of those who started in the fall continued all year and with constant recruitment of replacements, we ended the year with more volunteers than what we started with. On 10% of the volunteers were from Montgomery Ward. After the Catalog operation closed in the early 1980s many volunteers went to other companies, then began to bring co-workers from those companies to volunteer.

I continued to lead the tutoring program at Wards until the fall of 1992 (we converted it to the non profit Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program, Inc. in 1990. It was renamed Tutoring Chicago in the past couple of years). In the fall of 1992 I created Cabrini Connections, to help kids who aged out of the original program after 6th grade have a similar support system to help them through high school. At the same time, we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection to help similar programs grow in all high poverty areas of Chicago.

I led Cabrini Connections until mid 2011. I'm still leading the Tutor/Mentor Connection, but under the structure of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

One of the other volunteers who received an award pin along with myself was Allen Tyson. He started tutoring a few years before me. He is still tutoring, now with Tutoring Chicago.

When I became a volunteer in 1973 I was assigned to work with a fourth grade boy named Leo. That's him with me in this picture. We're still connected today via Facebook, over 40 years later.
I'm connected to dozens of youth (who are now adults) and volunteers (who are now older) who I met between 1973 and 2011. I'd like to find a way to build a "great reunion" on the Internet, so more of those who were part of these programs in the past would reconnect.

One of the things I focus on every day is finding ways to empower some of those who have benefited from their participation so they will become leaders who share the vision I've shared in these blog articles and who will carry this forward in future years when I'm no longer here to provide that leadership.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jefferson Award for Public Service - 32 years later

On February 11 I was honored to be featured in this article on the blog of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service page.

I received this award in 1982, when it was the Chicago SunTimes Jefferson Award. You can see the newspaper story from then at this link.

I've received other awards since then, such as in 1999 when I received the Publisher's Clearing House Good as Gold Award on the Dec. 31 telecast of the Montel Jones TV show.

The best rewards for the work I've done have come from students and volunteers testimonials of how much a difference the programs I've led have had in their lives, or how much help the Tutor/Mentor Connection has offered to their own program-building efforts. I met my wife through the program at Montgomery Ward thus my two kids are also one of the unexpected rewards of doing this work.

I've never gotten rich. In fact, I've never earned as much since 1990 as I was earning in my last year with the advertising department at Montgomery Ward. However, I have a wealth of experience that I try to share via this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site. And a vast network of people who I've met and learned from, just as they have learned from me.

I've been putting as much of my ideas as I can on these web sites. I've also been working with interns to help create new interpretations of these ideas. Visit this site and see new work added every six months by interns from IIT and South Korea, and from other universities. Visit this page to see more work done by interns.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me do this work and thanks to those like the Jefferson Awards for Public Service who help us share our story with thousands of others.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Following Bad News in Media with "Rest of Story"

If you read the Chicago Tribune on February 7, 2014 you might have seen this story. Note where it says "there have been at least 11 other shootings withing four blocks since June 2011". Have you seen any marches, or editorials, or visits by the Mayor mobilizing resources to change the conditions that cause these acts of violence?
I created a "Rest of the Story" strategy in 1993 when I was launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Recognizing that I had no advertising dollars to draw regular attention to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, I felt that a strategy that followed media stories could build public awareness and lead more people to be involved in helping mentor-rich programs grow in more places.

On the Mapping for Justice blog you can see many past map stories. On this section of this blog you can see more.

I think map stories like this could be created by student advocates, working in middle and high schools, or in faith groups and local youth organizations. The week #3 topic on the Deeper Learning MOOC #DLMOOC has focused on internships engaging youth in real world learning.

Imagine a steam of student/volunteers taking ownership of this process.

Once a student recognizes that a new story has been given feature attention in the local media, meaning thousands of people have been reached by the story, the address for where the incident happened is given to a map maker, who uses the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and other on-line resources to create a series of maps.

This map shows where the shooting took place, at the corner of Pratt Ave and Clark Street in the Rogers Park area of Chicago's North Side. It also shows demographic information, locations of poorly performing schools (from 2008) and locations of any non-school tutor/mentor programs in the area (green stars) based on available data in the Tutor/Mentor library.

This map uses data provided by the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance to show the number of youth age 6 to 17 below the poverty line in each Chicago Community area. While the map only shows one area of poverty concentration above 25% it shows nearly 6,000 youth in the three surrounding community areas who might benefit from being part of well-organized, mentor-rich non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs.

This next map shows assets in the area, such as banks, universities, hospitals, faith groups, etc. who should have comprehensive strategies in place to reduce poverty, and violence, in the area, because they share the geography. They are part of the neighborhood.

A team of youth and volunteers could create maps, and create a story like this, post it on a blog as I have done, then use social media to demand that the adult leaders in the community come together to make more and better youth programs available. As they do this they can point to information in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library that can be used to help innovate new strategies to support these programs.

They can also point to online learning events, such as the Deeper Learning MOOC that is taking place now.

They can even organize their own GooglePlus community and learning MOOC to share ideas of ways youth can be leaders in drawing attention to problems in their communities, and in drawing people together to learn new ways to solve those problems.
As they do this they can learn to create maps such as this one used to analyze participation in the Deeper Learning MOOC. If you zoom into this map you'll see that very few people from the Chicago region are involved. If you look at the map showing participation in past Tutor/Mentor Conferences, you'll see that very few people from business, philanthropy, media and/or government are involved. Future blog articles and outreach can target these groups so that over time, more and more people who need to be involved in helping youth in the community are participating in a wide range of actions.

Who could lead this effort? A map of Catholic schools supported by the Big Shoulders Fund shows schools in the Rogers Park area where teams of students, working with volunteer support, could create articles like this. Any of the Chicago Public Schools in the area could also support such activities as part of service learning, or as part of deeper learning and internships.

If this Rest of the Story activity is adopted in schools throughout the Chicago region, and in other cities, the neighborhood can unleash a new generation of talent and leadership needed to draw consistent attention to a problem that only gets random coverage in traditional media. It can unleash a new generation of leaders who understand how the Internet can be used for network building, learning and collective actions.

I posted this story on Scribd at this link. You can see fifty other stories I've posted since October 2011. Collectively these have been read over 80,000 readers. Imagine how many more readers there might be if there were collections of "Rest of the Story" articles posted on hundreds of sites, created by young people and adults who want to turn bad news into better news.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Network Building - See example on I-Open Blog

I've written many articles about network building, collaboration, learning and complex problems, and how the ideas we share on web sites and blogs have little impact if too few people are looking at them.

I first started blogging in 2005 as part of a Non-Profit Blog Exchange. You can see my first articles here. I've done this consistently since then as a way of expanding my network, learning new ideas, and of attracting more readers to the ideas on my own blog.

Thus, I'm pleased to point to an article titled ACCELERATE ECONOMIC PROSPERITY IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, posted on the I-Open blog. The leader of I-Open is Betsey Merkle, who I first connected with on Facebook in 2011. Betsy's base of operations is Cleveland, Ohio. However, through the internet she reaches people throughout the world. She is one of the most active network-builders I've met in the way she is constantly using social media to draw attention to people she has met, and to connect those people with each other.

I wrote this article about Network growth and this article about Unleashing Your Personal Power to illustrate the work that must be done if we're to attract millions of people, and thousands of leaders and decision makers, to the ideas we share on blogs and web sites which represent a "university of ideas" focused on closing the gaps between poverty and affluence by creating and sustaining mentor-rich support systems in thousands of high poverty neighborhoods of the US and other countries.

Without others sharing what I write, or me pointing to what they write, few of us have the advertising dollars, or celebrity visibility, to draw needed attention to these ideas on a single day, or a consistent basis.

I hope you'll read the articles I write, follow the links, and share this information with people in your own network. That's how movements grow and how change can take place in this world of many problems.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Use maps to mobilize community assets to support tutor/mentor programs

In 1993 when I started building a data base of Chicago volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs the goal was to find ways to increase the reach and frequency of stories that would show the need for these programs in high poverty areas and would draw consistent volunteer and donors support to every program, in every neighborhood. Since I had no dollars for advertising or Public Awareness, one strategy was to create map-stories following news reports of negative news. With these maps we'd show any of the tutor/mentor programs in our directory, with contact information, and we'd show a list of some of the assets in the neighborhood (banks, insurance companies, faith groups, colleges, hospitals, etc.) who should be working together to support the growth of high quality non-school programs in the map area because they are invested in the same geography!

Building map stories like this required the aid of a skilled map maker, along with a computer, software, etc. I've never had the money to have such people working with us consistently, although in the Map Gallery you can see maps made between 2008 and 2011 because of funding for a part time Map Maker that had become available. At this link you can see a couple other maps made between 1996 and 2000 by part time staff and volunteers. I have quite a large archive of these.

However, making the map was just the first step. We also needed to find a way to get the map into the newspapers, or in front of potential volunteers and donors and tutor/mentor program leaders in different neighborhoods. We did not have much money for that, but did include maps in a printed Directory that we mailed to about 400 locations once each year.
I also displayed a set of maps at every Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference held since May 1994.

In 2008-09 I was able to build an on-line, interactive version of the Directory, which anyone could use to make their own map stories. If you browse past articles I've written you'll find many examples. If you read this article you'll see instructions for making a map. This shows how students could make maps that can be used to follow negative news stories.

Unfortunately, in 2009 we ran out of money to continue to upgrade the technology and update the content on the maps, except for program information, thus some of the information has been out-of-date. That's why I'm thrilled to say that one of the Interns from IIT who has been working with me since Jan 8, 2014 has updated the bank section of the assets maps, deleting banks that have closed and adding six more to the list. You can read the full story of that update here.

I think maps are a powerful visual tool that can be used to point people and resources to all of the places in a city or country where a problem persists. This map from the Program Locator shows all of the banks now included.

Zoom into any section of the city and you can create a map view including banks, faith groups, hospitals, etc. who all share the same geography and who should be working together to solve a problem, because of their own investment in the neighborhood.. Students in local high schools or non-school programs could be creating map stories like this and using them to mobilize adult support for extended learning, internships, jobs, etc. Volunteers in faith groups and businesses could do the same. Anyone can create a map and tell a story. They can also show assets in a map-area. They can even create maps of political districts and use them to evaluate the effectiveness of any elected official.

However, there is a cost to doing this work and since 2011 I've not had a non profit structure to raise money via grants and charity donations and I've not been able to build a business plan that would show potential investors a return-on investment that would attract needed capital. Thus, I'm dependent on volunteers to help. There is much work still to be done to update all the sections of the Program Locator, keep it working every day, and teach people to use the maps in their own planning and leadership.

If you feel this map strategy has value and you want to help, you can send financial support at this page. Or you can introduce yourself to me on Twitter, Linked in and/or Facebook and we can talk of ways we might work together.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Interns as network builders

This video is one of four short videos created by SUNJOONG YOO, and intern from South Korea and IIT, to encourage more viewers to look at ideas shared on Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web sites. Take a look!

In many articles on this blog I talk about how non profits have too few advertising dollars to draw larger numbers of visitors to their web sites, or to information that educates business, philanthropy, policy makers, media and others about ways they could support the growth of long-term tutor/mentor programs reaching k-12 youth in high poverty areas. The videos and visualizations done by interns working with me in Chicago for six week periods in Jan-Feb and May-June are examples of work that could be done by youth in thousands of locations, as part of their own learning and skill building, and as part of a larger effort aimed at generating more consistent support for youth tutoring, mentoring programs in more places.

Internships and career education are the topic of this week's Deeper Learning MOOC (#DLMOOC). The reading material includes articles like this, where a programs deeper goals are described as "Finally, the LTI is not simply about the product that is created or the service that is rendered. On a deeper level, it is about teenagers learning to become mature, thoughtful adults."

If youth in your organization create their own PSAs aimed at drawing your own volunteers, leaders, donors into an on-line learning space, they can point to the same materials as my interns are pointing to.