I first met Barack Obama in 1999 when he was a speaker at the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference that I hosted in Chicago. I've shared ideas on this blog often since 2005 that I hope he and other leaders would read and adopt.
Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, and have been sharing strategies via printed newsletter, web sites, email and blogs since then, with the goal that leaders in politics, business, media, religion, higher education and other parts of the "village" would adopt them and use their own time, talent and dollars to implement the strategies.
In his comments on Monday President Obama said
I am the first to acknowledge I did not set the world on fire, nor did I transform these communities in any significant way.
But it did change me. This community gave me more than I was able to give in return. This community taught me that ordinary people, when working together, can do extraordinary things.
It is this transformation of the volunteer that is at the heart of the tutor/mentor strategies that I've shared for over 30 years. I believe that unless we engage people who don't live in poverty, in ways that transform their own lives, too few will devote the time, talent and dollars over a lifetime, to do everything needed to help most youth born in poverty in one year be starting jobs and careers free of poverty 25 to 30 years later.
I've tried to communicate this strategy in many ways, with limited success in reaching leaders like the Mayor of Chicago, the President, or corporate CEOs. When Rahm Emanuel was elected Mayor of Chicago in March 2011, I created a video in which I Imagined what he would say as a leader of the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategies. Today I put that video on Vialogues so I could add comments and web links, to encourage others to carry this message to the current leaders in our city, state and country, and to those who want to get elected in the future.
I am putting this here so that others can create their own version, and present this to President Obama so he might consider adding this strategy to his own future work, or might present it to Steve Ballmer, so he might add this to the work he's doing. Or they might present it to one of the billionaires who wants to be governor of Illinois.
The simplicity of this strategy is that it can be owned by many leaders, not just the billionaires, but also the middle school classroom of educators like Kevin Hodgson in Massachusetts. The strategy applies to any city, in the US, or the world, not just Chicago.
I encourage you to read articles I wrote in the past two months about a "do over" of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Click here and here. Any of these leaders can provide their own resources to help this happen.
If you create a new interpretation of any of my videos and visualizations please post a link so I can know what you're doing and share your work with others.