Sunday, December 17, 2017

What Do We Need to Do to Achieve this?


As we move into 2018 I want to focus on two ideas that I've championed for more than 20 years, but without much traction or support.

This graphic represents the first:



This concept map shows supports kids need at each stage of schooling as they move from pre-school toward adult lives, jobs and careers. We all know how architects and engineers use blueprints to show all the work involved in building a building or an airplane. Consider this concept map a blueprint for what help kids need as they grow up. Most kids have these supports naturally within their family and community. However, kids living in high poverty have fewer natural supports, or family and community wealth, thus it's up to others to help make these supports available.

Don't agree with my concept map? Create your own. Share it. We can learn from each other.

Here's the second idea. Below is a map of Chicago, created a few years ago. The shaded areas are high poverty neighborhoods.



I led a single volunteer-based, non-school, tutor/mentor program serving 2nd to 6th grade kids in one Chicago neighborhood from 1975-1992 and created a second program in 1993 to help these kids move from 7th grade through 12th grade and beyond. I led that till mid 2011. As we created the new program in 1993, we also created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), to help our program, and similar programs throughout the Chicago area, get the resources each need to constantly improve and stay connected to youth and volunteers over a multi-year stretch.

The T/MC started using maps, like the one above, to show where our single program was located, and to show where other programs in Chicago were located, using overlays of high poverty, poorly performing schools, and incidents of violence, or health disparities to show where these programs were most needed. Browse articles on the MappingforJustice blog, written since 2008, to see uses of maps. Click here to see a current map and list of Chicago area tutor and mentor programs.

Here's the question I've been asking for 20 years. If we know what supports kids need, and understand how organized programs help create greater access to some of these supports (like a local grocery store provides access to fresh food), then what do businesses, foundations, volunteers, donors, policy makers and others who don't live in high poverty areas need to be doing on a regular basis to  help local community leaders fill every high poverty neighborhood with the entire range of needed supports?

An engineer or an architect knows that if you leave out one or two components, like wiring for the 4th floor, or a few screws in the side of an airplane, the end product is not going to work. Without building a full range of supports for kids in every high poverty neighborhood why should we expect different outcomes than what we're getting?

While my maps primarily show Chicago, similar maps need to be created that show other cities and regions of the US....and the world.

The only way to show that you've an answer to my question is to put a map on your web site showing where you're providing resources to support needed programs in one or two neighborhoods, or an entire city, along with a concept map, or blueprint, to show all of the supports you think will be needed as each youth moves from birth to work over a 20 to 25 year period.

I've been building a web library for over 20 years with links to programs operating in Chicago and other cities, as well as links to research and to process improvement, innovation and collaboration sites. Send me links to show how you're bringing people together to discuss these ideas, or that show solutions you and others are already implementing. I'd be happy to add them to the library so I and others can learn from what you are already doing.

If you value this idea and my web library and maps, become a patron and support my work. Visit this page and use the PayPal button to contribute.

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