Friday, June 17, 2016

Show How You're Using Maps

Below is a map story created almost 20 years ago by the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in 1993 to help non-school tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas of Chicago.  In 2011 I formed the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue this work and to help similar intermediaries grow in other cities.

I keep sharing these stories in an effort to motivate others to duplicate my efforts.  In this map I show major hospitals in the central part of Chicago. I show that these are surrounded by areas of high poverty. I include a list of youth serving organizations from the database I started building in 1993.

The goal is that these hospitals, as the major employer in the area, take on a leadership role that duplicates my own efforts, but focuses on the area surrounding these hospitals (read more).  Rather than operate their own tutor/mentor program, which many hospitals do, become a convener of non profits, businesses, faith groups and others from their trade area. In this role the hospital could lead an on-going planning discussion that asks "What are all the things we should be doing to assure that every child born in this neighborhood, in this year, is starting a job/career in 25-30 years?"

I created this four part strategy, starting in 1993, that organizes "all we need to do" into four steps that take place on an on-going basis.  I've offered myself as a resource to help them build an understanding of these actions.

I've also provided resources, such as the PDF below, that shows every community area in Chicago, and the number of kids, age 6-17 who live in poverty in each area.  In each community area, hospitals, universities, banks, insurance companies, and/or faith groups, could be taking a lead role of bringing people together to ask and answer the "What do we need to do" question.

If this is happening, we should begin to see maps similar to mine (or even adaptations of mine) appear on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and We ought to begin to find multiple blogs and web sites with maps embedded into stories, as I've done on this site for nearly 10 years.

For example, this is a map of Chicago's West side. The small blue boxes are locations of churches that host mentoring programs.  I did not have these in my database, so saved the JPG to a power point, then added the blue boxes as an overlay. I saved this to Photoshop, cropped it, then saved it as a JPG, 

I'm able to share that in this blog and in other stories.  This took about 30 minutes.

Students, volunteers, senior citizens and anyone who understands the need to fill map areas with needed programs and services could be creating maps of different parts of Chicago, and embedding these into stories that intend to educate, mobilize and motivate people to provide time, talent and dollars to help make needed programs available.

If you're doing this, share your maps. Create a board on Pinterest, like mine.  Creating the story and publishing it is only the first step. It's an on-going challenge to get more people to look at the stories, understand what they are saying, then become involved in one or more ways.

However, it's a strategy that can help fill map areas with needed programs and services.  That's a step toward creating social justice, greater opportunity and less inequality.

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