Sunday, October 01, 2017

Planting Seeds. Nurturing Growth

Last week my #clmooc friend Simon Ensor, a professor in France, posted article with title of  "Seeds for Change".  Then, Terry Elliot, another #clmooc friend, who teaches in Kentucky, took time to re-mix Simon's poem, using Lumen5.  See it here.

This kind of reading and remixing is what I encouraged interns to do between 2005 and 2015. On this site you can see five pages of their work.   This is something I encourage anyone who reads this blog to do.

Simon's article prompted me to search this blog to find any articles with the "planting seeds" theme. I found one from December 2012 that had many broken links. So I decided to rewrite it. 

Above I show one of the graphics that was the first frame of an animation done in 2011 by In Hee Cho, an intern from South Korea. It shows how a volunteer grows into a leader as they stay involved in a tutor/mentor program over many years. You can view the video at this link.

My own growth illustrates this. I started tutoring in 1973 when I joined the Montgomery Ward Corporation as an advertising copywriter. I became the volunteer leader of the company program in 1975 and for the next 42 years I've spent time every day trying to figure out ways to attract youth and volunteers and keep them engaged. When I left Wards in 1990 I also had to figure out ways to attract donors and keep them engaged, too, to pay my salary and to pay others who became part of our staff. The original program did not need to worry about this because I and other leaders had full time jobs. We could afford to lead the program as volunteers. This map shows my journey over the past 42 years.

To do this I've tried to educate volunteers, youth, donors, and every other stakeholder by pointing them to information showing where and why tutor/mentor programs are needed and to stories showing the impact of these programs on the lives of kids and adults. This video from the program I led between 1992 and 2011 that tells this story.

For those who read the Bible, I would like to compare my work to the Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13 in the Bible.

Over 42 years I've spread many seeds inviting current students, volunteers and others to spread the word, inviting others to become involved as tutors, students, leaders, donors, advocates, and have tried to nourish them weekly so that some take root and grow.

I met a young man at the Chicago Police Department a few years ago who told me he had used the  Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator Maps in a college research project, to demonstrate the need for more youth programs in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. That's an example of the seeds beginning to take root. A few years ago I received a $2,500 donation from the Women's ProGolf Association. By tracing the donor in my database I found it was a person who I had first started sending newsletters to in 1994. He had changed jobs but it was not until many years later that he could provide financial support.

On this page I've posted a few messages I've received from former students, telling of how the tutor/mentor program has impacted their lives.  In this article I show "thank you" messages posted by students and volunteers on a 22x28" card given to me in 1990.

Thousands of seeds have been planted. Every time I send a newsletter, such as this one, I'm asking people from my past, and who I meet every day, to become active in supporting the work that needs to be done in Chicago and other cities. Every time someone has visited this blog or one of my web sites since 1998 a seed is planted.

I created this concept map a year ago to show how friends in the #clmooc network and others have been passing on ideas from this blog to others.  That's another example of how the seeds I plant are spread, and how I try to nurture and encourage this. 

You've heard the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child".  My vision is that people in every sector would be adopting ideas I share on this blog and would be re-mixing them, and sharing through their own media, with people in their own network of influence.

View village map
As some of these seeds take root we should be able to show links in every node on this map, pointing to blogs and web sites of others who are working to support the growth of volunteer-based, non-school and school-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in every high poverty of Chicago and other cities.

We should be able to point to businesses and foundations who are providing talent and financial support to help these programs grow, and, to help me continue to spread seeds and nourish their growth.

I'm not a non-profit, so you cannot get a tax deduction for helping me. If you want to help me continue to plant and nurture these ideas and spread them to more places,  click here to add your support to Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, which has kept the Tutor/Mentor Connection resources available since mid 2011.

While I need your help, so do many of the tutor and mentor programs operating in Chicago. Click here to find a list of tutor/mentor programs in Chicago that you can choose to support even if you cannot support my own efforts.

Thanks for reading. Now, go forth and multiply.

If you're creating re-mixes of my articles or presentations just include a link to my site and send me a link so I know what you're doing and can share your work with others.

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