Sunday, March 12, 2017

What a Tutor/Mentor Connection "do over" looks like

On March 2 I posted an article suggesting a "do over" for the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), which I started in 1993 while also starting a site based tutor/mentor program in Chicago.

In May 1995 this commentary was in the Chicago Tribune, talking about the strategy of the T/MC.

Chicago Tribune article, May 1995
For many reasons, some which I mentioned in last week's article, I've never been able to generate the significant and consistent resources needed to have the impact that I hoped for. The problems of poverty and inequality are still with us 24 years later in 2017. So now I'm suggesting that others could start new organizations with exactly the same goals, but start with everything I've learned and created over the past 24 years. Hopefully in 20 years your impact will be far greater than mine has been, and it will extend to other cities and states beyond Chicago and Illinois.

A few days ago, Terry Elliott, an educator from Kentucky, who I've met over the past four years via the Connected Learning #clmooc, wrote this post on his blog, after reading my "do over" article. In his blog he shared this Hackpad page, where he wrote 
"I am creating this space for people to help Daniel create a Do Over."
Terry has been looking at my blog articles and interacting with me in a variety of formats since 2013 and then has used his own blog to share his understanding of the work I'm doing.  I've been encouraging many to take this role, for many years.


This is a talent map that shows skills needed to build any successful organization.  In addition, here's a network map, that shows networks of business, faith groups and other organizations that need to be involved.

I've had a mix of these people helping me, off and on, for over 41 years (I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in 1975). Since 2011 I've not had a team that would serve as workers, partners and/or co-owners in a non-profit structure, thus I've not had success in raising money to hire a team to help do this work (or pay myself a salary) since then.

The nodes on my talent map could be filled by people from any place in the world, working to create T/MC-like structures, with different names than Tutor/Mentor Connection. One team needs to take ownership of the T/MC focused on Chicago, using its name, and position in Google search rankings for the word "tutor mentor", and adopting its long history and resource library. That team would be a resource for every other team.

Map from Brookings.edu story

This map, from a Brookings.edu story, shows that cities throughout the US have concentrations of poverty, thus could apply the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy. Supporters could come from any of these places, and similar places throughout the world.

For a "do over" to take place all of the yellow boxes on my talent map need to be filled with people doing what Terry is doing. If many of the other boxes are also filled, that's even better.

If the people looking at my articles also have access to resources and can influence others because of their civic and/or business reputation, the chances of a successful "do over" will be even better.

Here's another concept map. If you open the links at the bottom of each node you'll find stories by Terry and others, who already are spending some time looking at what I do and are occasionally writing about it.

For a new, or re-energized, Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy to succeed, or for a 'do-over" to dramatically improve on what I've done over the past 24 years, people need to look at the articles written since 2005, and that I'll keep writing as long as I'm able.   Take time to learn about the work that goes into building and maintaining directories of youth serving programs, libraries of ideas, bringing people together, forming networks, etc.  Look at how I've tried to do this. Think of how you could do it better.

Step 2 of the 4-part Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy emphasizes public awareness and on-going communications, that attracts people to the information in the T/MC library, and to the different tutor/mentor programs in the T/MC Chicago programs directory.

While collecting and organizing information is important (step 1), creating on-going communications that draw people to this information and motivate them to get involved has been equally important. I've been a one-person army. More need to join me.

Thus, do what Terry has done. Look at my blog articles and see how I use social media on a daily basis to educate and create public awareness. Then do the same. Create your own visualizations, and maps and write your own stories, at least once a week, with the goal of influencing others to also learn from the T/MC history, and get involved in rebuilding it in Chicago and creating it in other cities.

Pick a neighborhood that you want to focus on, or an entire city. Make a long-term commitment to fill that neighborhood with great birth-to-work, mentor-rich programs that are constantly learning to get better by borrowing ideas from others, and have the ability to implement those ideas because of the talent and resources that you are helping them attract.

If you're an educator at the middle school, high school or college level, set up an on-going program that engages students in this process. Learn from work interns have done while working with me since 2005.

On his Hackpad, Terry encouraged others to create a "Go Fund Me" page and raise money to support what I do. That would be welcome. However, I already have a page where interested people can find a PayPal button and offer a big or small contribution. Click here to see it.

Like everything else on my web sites, some one, or many, could re-do this page, making it more effective, reaching more people.

I offer some additional thinking about creating a new Tutor/Mentor Connection on Terry's Hack pad. Please take a look.

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