Monday, June 26, 2017

Supporting Youth Tutor/Mentor Orgs Throughout a City

I've been posting articles to this blog since 2005 and to a web site since 1998. All focus on actions that people in business, media, faith groups, etc. could take to help mentor-rich non-school programs be available to k-12 youth in more places, and for more years.  I've embedded maps and graphics into many articles, and I'm going to pull a few into this article.

You're welcome to put this into for deeper reading and annotation.

See TQM Strategy
This graphic shows a youth, or a tutor/mentor program, as the hub of a wheel. The timeline in the middle shows different age groups from pre school through work and is intended to show that once a mentor, or tutor/mentor program connects with a youth, the goal should be to stay connected till that youth is an adult and in a job...or to connect that youth to others who help provide such long-term support.

The spokes point to different type of industries and careers kids might aspire to if they had adults to model these opportunities and help open doors as young people grow up.

The map shows that such programs are needed in all high poverty neighborhoods, not just a few good programs, in a few locations, reaching a small percent of kids who need such support.

It Takes A Village -article
At the right is another version of this graphic, with the heading "It takes a village to raise a child."  While both of these maps could be used to show youth program design, they could also be used to show how business, hospitals, faith groups, colleges and civic groups, etc. are helping well-organized youth programs grow in all poverty areas.

Here's another concept map, which I use to show the talent needed for any organization, big or small, to be successful.  Look at the yellow nodes, showing finance, legal, communications, etc. In small non profits a few people wear many hats, and few have all the talent and skills needed to be really good at what they do. Some are effective in raising money and hiring people, or can find volunteers, while others are not as good at this.

This is another graphic communicating the same idea. In every high poverty neighborhood, every tutor/mentor program needs the same mix of talent and support.

Below is a presentation that includes a theoretical organization chart, showing the different talents needed to build and sustain a strong enterprise.  It includes some of these graphics.

Now here's what I want people reading this to think about.  Instead of several hundred non profits competing with each other to find the talent they need to do good work, why can't every business, faith group, alumni group, philanthropy and civic organization look for ways to spread their members, talent and expertise to organizations throughout the city?

Service-Learning LOOP - video

Look at the horizontal figure-8 in this graphic and think of it as a volunteer engagement strategy. As you do, think of the hub/spoke graphic above.  On the right would be the different sources of volunteers and talent that is available in different industries. On the left are the existing tutor/mentor programs where someone might become involved.

Every time a volunteer connects with a youth in a tutor/mentor program he/she is learning about the poverty that causes the program to be needed, about the strength and weakness of the organization, and about the strengths and needs of the youth they meet.  As the volunteer returns to family, friends and workplace, she informally shares what was learned.  If that volunteer is well supported, by the program, or by his industry, he will stay involved longer, and ultimately, some will take greater roles and responsibilities. Here's a video that shows this idea.

The map at the right is a screen shot of the asset map section of the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, showing some of the banks in the Chicago region.

What if a version of this were created for each industry, with flags on each icon, indicating a volunteer support strategy that a) encouraged volunteers to be tutors or mentors; b) encourage volunteers to offer talent to support specific needs of programs, such as planning, marketing, technology, finance, legal, etc; c) encouraged volunteers to sit on Boards of youth programs in the area around individual locations; and/or d) encouraged volunteers to make annual financial contributions to support programs where other employees or church members were involved?

Another version of the map could be created or sponsored by each industry, showing known tutor/mentor programs in the region, with flags on the map indicating that volunteers from the industry were involved in one, or all, of the ways suggested above.  The screen shot at the left is also from the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator. The green stars on the map are programs identified through surveys done until money ran out in 2010.

Tech volunteers could be helping create and update maps like this!

Now, as you think of the hub/spoke wheel, and the service learning loop, imagine the impact if volunteers from an industry, or faith group, or college alumni network, who were becoming involved with youth programs in every part of the city, now began to meet and share ideas with each other on a regular basis.

What works? What did not work? What are the needs of the youth, or the organization, that our industry could fill? What can  we do to help these organizations do more to keep the youth and their volunteers involved for multiple years? What other questions should we be asking and trying to answer?

What can we be doing to "pull" kids through school and into adult lives with jobs and careers that enable them to raise their own kids without the challenges of poverty?

What can we do to help volunteers from other industries get involved and take a similar leadership role, so that every youth program begins to have a mix of volunteers, leaders and resources representing every sector of the village, with everyone taking a role to help kids move through school and into careers.

What can our industry, faith group, family group, etc. do to share responsibility with non profit leaders for making well-organized, long-term, tutor/mentor programs available to k-12 youth in more places?

A small group of volunteers within each industry could be facilitating such conversations, just as small groups organize United Way campaigns every year.

Many leaders needed.
What I'm suggesting is that leaders from any sector, or each spoke on the wheel shown above, could put themselves in the blue box at the top of this concept map and apply this Role of Leaders strategy to help more kids born or living in poverty move through school and into adult jobs and responsibilities. If they can make this work for the poorest kids in the city, it will support every other youth at the same time.

This strategy applies in any city, and can apply to any service that needs to be located close to clients, meaning multiple distribution points are needed throughout a geographic region.

If you'd like me to meet with you or someone from your organization to talk through these ideas, just let me know. I'm on Twitter @tutormentorteam and on Facebook and Linkedin.

If you'd like to make a financial contribution to help me continue to share these ideas, click here, and use the PayPal button to send your support. 

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