Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Since 1994 I've been using maps to tell stories and encourage more people to be involved in helping build and sustain mentor-rich tutor/mentor programs in high poverty neighborhoods. In many articles on this and other blogs I've suggested that this is a skill that youth living in high poverty neighborhoods could learn, supported by teachers and/or volunteer tutors and mentors. We know that youth possess unlimited pools of creative talent. This just has not been focused in this direction.
Last week I saw an article on my @tutormentorteam Twitter feed titled "Data Storytelling: Big Data's Next Frontier", written by James Kerr. It emphasizes the talent needed to make sense of the big data that is becoming more and more available. Over the past decade, I've connected to organizations like WEAVE, a new web-based visualization platform, to encourage them to enlist volunteers and youth to use their data visualizations in stories that make sense of the data, and point readers to actions they can take to build solutions to problems indicated by the data. This is an emerging field, thus, it's something urban youth could enter on the ground floor.
If you're a parent, volunteer tutor or mentor, teacher or policy maker, I encourage you to look at a map of Chicago, or any other major urban area, and envision icons showing up in all the high poverty areas of the map, indicating that part of the mentoring and learning strategy of such programs is to teach youth leadership and communications skills, using data storytelling, to draw attention and resources to support these programs, and to help fill the map with more.
That can happen if more people use blogs, newsletters, web sites, etc. to include maps and other visualizations to educate and motivate others to take roles that lead to such results.
For a small fee you can purchase this PDF, showing a variety of map stories I've created since 1994. If you're a business, or philanthropist, I encourage you to become a sponsor of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, so I can update our maps, keep the map platform available, and keep this resource free to all who might be inspired by the stories.