Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Tutor or Mentor Programs are in your zip code?

This is a map of the West Side of Chicago, created using the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator that was developed for the Tutor/Mentor Connection between 2004 and 2009.  Here's a presentation showing how to make map views like this.

The green stars on the map are sites of organized, non-school tutor and/or mentor programs that I located via an on-going survey process started in 1994.  Double click on a star and you go to the organization's web site, where hopefully, they provide information showing why they are important, what they do, their history, and how you can help them.  Not all do this very well, so a role of volunteers from communications and technology fields might be to help programs tell their stories more effectively.

I've not been able to update the Program Locator since 2012 due to my lack of funds to hire tech support and do the on-going survey.  I have been able to maintain a list of Chicago area youth serving organizations that include various forms of tutoring and or mentoring, which you can see here (on another web site that needs an upgrade in design).

In 2011 I created a presentation with maps that showed Chicago community areas, and the number of kids, age 6-17 in each area who were living in homes below the poverty line. The maps were made using the Program Locator. Here's the presentation.

Every area with one thousand or more youth in poverty would benefit with several age appropriate, mentor rich programs located near where kids can easily, and safely, participate. 

President Obama gave his farewell address last night and ended with a call for citizen involvement. I wrote this article in 2009 where the President called on citizens to volunteer.

One way to do that is to help collect and  update information about known non-school tutoring, mentoring, learning organizations operating in different parts of the city and suburbs.  I've written dozens of articles since 2009 showing how youth programs, schools, faith groups, etc. could take on the role of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, focusing on a zip code, community area, or a small section of geography surrounding their own location.

Here's a presentation showing community information collection to be a shared effort:

If you want to create greater opportunity for youth in disadvantaged areas, you can be a direct service volunteer, or a donor, and help a few kids. However, if you take on the role I've modeled in Chicago for the past 20 years, you can influence the growth of an entire community of needed youth serving organizations, and help each become the best in the world at helping kids through school and into adult lives,  while also helping to bring together people from different backgrounds, professions, races, in a common cause where everyone, including our democracy, is a winner.

While I've piloted this strategy in Chicago, it applies to any city, and any region of the country. It applies to big cities throughout the world. 

Thus, many people from many places can take on this role.  I'd be happy to be your mentor or coach.

Hopefully a few of you might also want to offer your talent and technology skills to helping update and rebuild the Program Locator and other Tutor/Mentor web sites. 

No comments: