Monday, July 18, 2016

Work Together -- Or Fail On Your Own

In my last email newsletter I included the graphic shown below.

I'm working on my July newsletter and the articles will focus on 'tutor mentor' volunteer recruitment to start the 2016-17 school year.   With so much media clutter drawing our attention to Trump, Clinton, Terrorism, Black Lives Matter, jobs and the economy, it's almost impossible for small and mid-sized tutor/mentor programs to attract visitors to their web sites and volunteers to their programs. Yet, connecting more youth to non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning experiences can be part of the solution to all of these problems.

I've posted more than 1000 articles on this blog since 2005 and used the tags at the left to help people find articles focused on specific topics. Do a Google search, using the words "tutor mentor" then any single word from this graphic, and you'll find stories I've posted here and in other places among the first 10 to 20 listings.

Many focus on strategies programs and leaders need to apply to draw consistent attention, and resources, to all of the high poverty neighborhoods of a city like Chicago, despite the torrents of other stories that flood around them.  They also point to a master list of Chicago are programs, with the goal that ALL get a more consistent flow of resources, not just those who are well-known, or have high profile supporters.

The graphic at the top refers to an old saying "I can't drain the swamp because I'm up to my neck in alligators."  In this case those alligators represent all the challenges individual youth serving organizations face each year as they try to help young people navigate their journeys through school and into adult lives.

If we just spend an  hour or two every week thinking of ways to support the entire Chicagoland community of tutor/mentor programs, perhaps we could get rid of some of those alligators, or make their bite a big less painful.

You can't read these all in one setting. But you could work through many of them over a year, or two. As you read the articles, try to apply them in your own actions. Create your own interpretations, and share them via your own media. That's what the Connected Learning MOOC ( #clmooc ) is all about.

It draws together educators from throughout the world, and has done so each year since 2013.  It's a model of networked learning that could be applied in the youth tutoring/mentoring world, too.  It just needs a few leaders to help make it happen.

I participate in cMOOCs like these because I know that every big city has similar pockets of high poverty with disengaged young people. That means any city could have a team working right now to update a list of non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs and at the same time reaching out to business, faith groups, media, celebrities, etc. to encourage them to put stories about volunteering in their August media. I've shared my own efforts on this site, so others can borrow ideas from me..and so leaders in Chicago can learn ways they can apply these ideas.

If you're already doing this, just reach out and introduce yourself. If you're interested in learning more, let's talk.

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