Tuesday, March 01, 2016

All Kids Need Help. Some Kids Need More Than Others.

In 1997 I was one of 10 people representing Chicago at the President's Summit for America's Future, held in Philadelphia and hosted by five living Presidents.  In the months preceding the event, news stories emphasized that this event was intended to focus on the 13 million youth in America who were living in areas of high poverty, who needed extra help to grow up safely. In the years since then that commitment has been broadened to all youth, because all youth need extra help.

In doing so, it diluted the focus on those 13 million who live in poverty and don't have natural support systems available in the quantities that are available to other kids.

 I created this graphic and used it in this Defining Terms presentation to emphasize that while all youth need extra help, my goal is to mobilize leaders who will devote a percent of their time, talent and dollars on a consistent basis to help youth living in high poverty neighborhoods of big cities across the country.

This graphic is from another presentation, titled Building a Network of Shared Purpose, which illustrates that kids in high poverty areas have weaker networks of people who model the many types of jobs and careers they might aspire to, and who can help them overcome challenges as they grow up and head toward those careers.

If you do a Google search for the words "tutor mentor" you'll see my web sites several times on the first page. If you look at the images feature, you'll see many visualizations I've used to communicate ideas and strategy.

If you narrow your search and add one additional word, such as 'strategy' or 'collaboration' or 'map' to your 'tutor mentor' search, you'll find graphics and maps that focus on those parts of the complex strategies that I feel we need to focus attention and time on. 

This graphic can be seen in this presentation, as well as in this presentation.  Note the question mark at the bottom pointing to the statement "How do we create infrastructure to support this?"  That question should be a primary question being asked in many donor, policy, business and nonprofit sectors. 

I've created several dozen illustrated essays and many pages could be turned into jpg images and embedded in my blog articles, or in articles written by others.  Since 2006 interns from various colleges have created their own versions of my graphics and presentations. You can see many of them here.

I encourage others to do the same. Until more people are spending time thinking about the systems that support solving complex problems, creating their own visualizations, videos and blog articles to share their thinking, and working daily to increase the number who look at these articles, we'll be at risk of having our country taken over by people who don't use well researched and understood ideas to solve problems, but use celebrity tricks and media manipulation to draw attention to their own view of the future. 

We will inherit the world we build, or that other people build for us.

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