Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Looking Past Current Funding Crisis to Future Challenges

If you read the local Chicago papers, the financial mess in Chicago and Illinois means there's not going to be enough money available to fund Chicago Public Schools, resulting in staff cuts and class sizes increasing. There's also going to be a cut in state funding of non-profit youth serving organizations, meaning staff cuts and lost of services. With all of this weighing us down, I'd like to try to stimulate some future thinking.

I've used this graphic often to illustrate the three time frames when youth need support from caring adults (school day, right after school, evening, weekend, summer). This also emphasizes the responsibility we have of helping kids move through school and into jobs and careers, not just high school graduation.

I led a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago for more than 35 years. Our sessions were held from 5:15 till 8pm, when workplace volunteers were available. In the Cabrini Connections program (1993-2011) we tried to recruit kids in 7th and 8th grade and keep them coming back until they finished high school.

This means we needed to find money every year to pay the bills. That was always a challenge. The graphics below illustrate this challenge.

There's a tremendous amount of wealth in Chicago, and the US, but much of it is not yet being focused on helping build and sustain great learning and mentoring opportunities in high poverty neighborhoods, reach kids at school, and in the non-school hours.

If these graphics resonate with you then let's find places on the Internet, and in Chicago, where we can begin to connect and look for solutions.



I do not mean to bring anyone down but the situation in the country while dealing with fewer folk is way more dire. We are faced with the absolute gutting of our communities much less the few programs available (unless you count the gifted and talented programs). That's what makes me so proud and hopeful for the space Daniel inhabits and animates. God bless him. We need to get a Kickstarter program going for this mentoring program. It's too late for us where I live, but maybe there is a saving remnant where he abides. And this dude does abide.

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thanks Terry. Please share what I'm doing in the CLMOOC and other on-line communities and encourage people to engage their own youth and volunteers in creating visualizations to communicate these ideas.

I greatly appreciate the kickstarter offer since I'm running on 'empty' right now. Here's a place people can contribute, even though it's not Kickstarter.