Friday, May 13, 2016
I've been creating maps like this for nearly 20 years. It shows a small area in Chicago, the level of poverty in the area, and is centered around a single youth serving organization, which in this map is Family Outreach and Educational Center.
This map was created in the mid-1990s so demographics have changed and I'm not sure this organization still operates at this location.
Let's just use this as an example.
I'm passionate about maps because they focus attention on all of the places in Chicago where youth and families need a wide range of extra help. In many stories on this blog, and on the MappingforJustice blog, I show many uses of maps.
I'm also a fan of concept maps. They work like blueprints, to show the many different actions needed, in sequence, to help a youth born today be starting a job and career by his/her mid 20's.
Below I'll show two concept maps that illustrate the range of extra help needed.
This "mentoring to kids to careers" map shows that kids living in high poverty areas often need help from first grade all the way till they are in their first jobs. If you look closely at the map, you'll see that at each age level kids need a range of supports to help them move safely and successfully to the next level, and over 12 years, through high school.
Volunteer tutors/mentors can be extra people to help kids get those extra supports. That's what I'm describing in this pdf essay.
However, kids and families face many other challenges beyond those related to education and learning.
This map shows that affluent families face many of the same challenges as do poor families. They just have far greater resources to help overcome their challenges.
Thus, if you lead a youth serving organization in a neighborhood, and you focus on serving kids in 1st to 6th grade, or you offer STEM, or character education, or you serve 50 kids in a community area with 1,000 or more, what are you doing to draw people together to focus on the other support kids need, beyond what you provide?
This is a different version of the top concept map, showing the time line every child grows through as they move through school and into jobs. It shows three time frames when support needs to be available. It suggests that just providing a specific service for a few years may not be enough to overcome the tremendous negative impact of concentrated poverty.
This is a graphic that could be produced by any of the organizations operating in a specific community area, or by a team of youth studying this problem and visualizing solutions. You could highlight the age group you serve, and show the type of supports you offer. Then you could invite others to help provide the additional needed support.
The two concept maps I show here are part of a library of concept maps. Any team of students, volunteers and/or professionals could create their own version of these....or you could invite me to work with you.
The graphics are included in a library of PDF essays that I've created since the mid 1990s. Anyone could create new versions of these, just as interns have done since 2005.
Below are two more maps, showing the neighborhood around Brownell School, on the South side of Chicago.
The top map shows poverty levels (based on 2000 census data) and the number of kids age 6-17 living in the area who are below poverty levels (from Social Impact Research Center of Heartland Alliance). The bottom map shows some of the faith groups, hospitals and banks in the area.
Any of these could be inviting people to come together to talk about the needs of youth and families in the area, and to develop on-going strategies to support existing programs and create new programs where they are needed.
My maps can be a starting point. You can copy these to PowerPoint and then add additional information showing police, library, fire department, and/or other organizations who occupy real estate in the map area who could either be providing direct service, or supporting those who do.
Ultimately, each neighborhood needs to be creating their own unique set of maps.
When events like #OntheTable2016 are organized, I'd love to see people supplied with maps and graphics like I show here and on other pages of this blog and the MappngforJustice blog, so they could talk about what's needed, what's available, and what they can do to help.
Perhaps funding from The Community Trust could support such map building, in preparation, or follow up, to each community gathering.
Furthermore, I'd like to see these maps used from year-to-year, along with network analysis and participation maps, so that such events support ongoing growth and nut constant start up of new ideas aimed at solving old problems.
This is the fourth of four articles I've posted related to this week's #OnTheTable2016 event. Others were posted on May 10, May 11 and May 12.
This is not easy work.
Getting people to adopt these ideas, provide leadership, funding, and on-going actions that bring people out of their silos to focus on more comprehensive, long-term strategies is not an easy task. Some might say, "IT IS IMPOSSIBLE".
Yet, unless a few people say "BUT WE MUST TRY" and then spend time thinking about solutions and sharing ideas, as I have for the past 20 years, we'll still be talking about the same problems, or maybe worse, 20 years from now.
I look forward to connecting with those who are trying.