Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day. Family and Extended Mentoring Family

I've seen lots of inspiring Father's Day posts on Twitter and Facebook today. They inspired me to create the two montages I show below.

My own father, siblings and children.


My Dad died on Father's Day in 1986, so this is kind of a sad day for me. He and my Mom are shown in this photo. I also show my Dad with his nine living children, in photo taken in early 1980s. I show myself with my two Philadelphia brothers, Billy and Chris and with the two brothers I grew up with, Steve and Nick. I show my son and daughter, Amanda and Jacob, along with my wife Emily, my Mom and my sister Rose and her husband Pete.  It's a big family with dozens of nieces, nephews spread all over the country.

This second photo is from my mentoring and tutoring family, which I joined as a volunteer in 1973.

While I was born into my biological family, I was recruited into this second family. First as a tutor/mentor matched with a 4th grade boy named Leo, shown in the upper right in 1993 and just below in 2014.  Leo posted a message on Facebook today saying:

fathers to me while growing up.
Thanks to:
William Holden
Daniel F. Bassill

Dr. Leon E Drouin
Clifford Gibson
Ajamu Jabari-Akil
You guys have been there one way or another.


I was recruited to lead the tutoring program at Montgomery Ward's corporate  headquarters in Chicago in the summer of 1975 and spent the next 36 years doing what was needed each year to recruit others to volunteer and donate time and talent so that several thousand youth and adults could be connected to each other in on-going and growing tutor/mentor relationships.

"Thank You, Dan" card
I've received many awards for this work, such as the 1999 Publisher's Clearing House Good as Gold Award, but the best were the friendships and thank you's offered by kids and volunteers over the past four decades, as well as the photos I see on Facebook showing the sons and daughters of former students now finishing high school and going to college, and/or starting their own families.

In organized and informal mentoring programs throughout the world extra adults are serving as informal "fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles" to kids who need a few extra adults in their lives.

I want to say "Thank you" to all of them. I also want to say "Thank you" to the many donors who have provided the dollars every year to enable formal, volunteer-based tutor and/or mentor programs to exist.

Let each Father's Day be a time to reflect, share photos and offer "thanks and well-wishes". But let it also be a renewal of the commitment volunteers, leaders and donors need to make every year to support existing programs and help new ones form where kids still don't enjoy this type of support.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Use Maps for Understanding and Serving Areas of Need

For over 20 years I've focused on how community leaders and networks can use maps to build a better understanding of all places within a geographic region like Chicago where poverty and other indicators show a need for long-term systems of youth and family support.  I still don't see enough examples of this happening.

Below is a graphic showing a map found on the Homicide Watch Chicago web site. Every red icon points to a life lost in Chicago.

You can zoom in on this map to focus on specific parts of the city. The inset at the top right shows Chicago's West side. I could have looked even closer, at a smaller area, like the Austin neighborhood.

The homicide map shows that the West and South parts of Chicago have the highest frequency of homicides.

If you look at other maps, such as the one at the left, you can see that these areas also have the highest concentrations of poverty and racial minorities.  Visit the Urban.org web site and you can find a collection of data maps that you can use to visualize where people need extra help.

Another resource is the collection of data maps available at the Chicago Health Atlas web site.  With either of these resources and many others that I point to on this data maps page, leadership groups in different areas can build a visual and spatial understanding of what sections of Chicago need extra help.

However, there's another level of data that needs to be used if the goal is to help kids grow up safely and without detours into gangs, crime, juvenile justice or icons on these homicide maps.


I included this map on the featured image. It also shows Chicago's West side. However, it includes information showing the number of high poverty kids, age 6-17, living in each community area. The  yellow box shows this data for 2011 and the blue shows the updated data as of 2018. 

You can see this map, along with other Chicago community areas, in a PDF available here, and here.

If you zoom into my map you can see some green stars. These are locations of known non-school tutor and/or mentor programs that the Tutor/Mentor Connection identified via its on-going surveys, which were first launched in 1994.  The map image used was from a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, created between 2004 and 2009.  Due to lack of funding this  has not been updated since 2013, so a different map, and list of Chicago tutor and mentor programs can be found at this link.

The goal of this, and other articles that I've been writing for 20 plus years is to motivate teams of people in different areas to use these maps, and other information in the Tutor/Mentor web library,  as part of an on-going planning process intended to fill every high poverty area with needed youth and family support programs.

View this concept map here
If you browse through past articles on this blog you'll find each of the graphics shown in the concept map and you'll find a link to an entire collection of similar maps.  You'll also find many articles that include GIS maps like the ones I show in this article.


At the heart of all this information is my list of Chicago non-school tutor and/or mentoring programs, sorted by sections of the city. In this page on the Program Locator, you can also see an effort to sort by age group served, and type of program. 

This information is absolutely needed if any on-going marketing and leadership is going to fill high poverty neighborhoods with a full range of birth to work programs. Instead of starting new programs all the time, I've tried to identify and give support to every existing program, helping each constantly move toward being great. At the same time, I've tried to show where there are voids, in age group served and/or type of program, so that planners could use this data in their own on-going efforts.

If you've read this far, there are two takeaways.

1) you can use these ideas in any city, or any neighborhood and you can dig through past articles to understand what I've been trying to do, then duplicate what you think will work for you. Since I've not been able to update the Program Locator, and other people are also building lists of youth serving organizations, I created this concept map to point to many places you can use to search for program information.

2) you can offer time, talent and dollars and/or partnership, to help me update and upgrade the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, making it work for Chicago and making it freely available to leaders in other cities.

You can also go to this page and make a small, or large, contribution to help me keep these resources on line until I find some people who will respond to suggestion number 2.

I urge you to connect and share your mapping and planning ideas with me on Twitter @tutormentorteam or on LinkedIn or Facebook.



Thursday, June 07, 2018

Workforce Development. Violence Prevention. Role of Business.

I have used the graphic below since the 1990s to describe an ideal youth tutor/mentor program where volunteers from many business and education backgrounds connect with kids in elementary or middle school and provide a wide range of supports that not only help kids through school, but help open doors into jobs and careers.
Each spoke on this wheel leads to an industry segment.  If you read the daily newspapers or view videos like this, or read articles like this Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report, 2018, you'll see that business is very concerned about the future of its workforce, and the growth of its business.

Below is another graphic that I have used often.  Imagine that each of the arrows on the above graphic leading from the hub to a spoke looked like the arrow shown below.


Within the arrow are a variety of age-appropriate supports that business could be bringing to youth in school and non-school programs. Many already do this. However, I've seen few using maps to show an intent to provide such support in every high poverty area of cities where they do business.

In these graphics I include maps, to illustrate the need for birth to work youth development programs to be in every high poverty neighborhood. I use the graphics to emphasize the role of business in engaging its resources, jobs, employee talent and dollars, to build and sustain a system of mentor-rich youth supports in every city where it does business.

The Deloitte report starts out focusing on the role of CEOs and company leaders.  The commitment they need to make is the same one I included in this ROLE OF LEADERS pdf, which I've been sharing for over 20 years!

While Step 1 is leadership commitment. Step 2 is "Appoint a 'get it done' leader to be responsible for researching, developing and implementing company strategies. Step 3 is "do the research" to learn what you already are doing, what your employees are already engaged with, and what others are doing that you could duplicate and do better. The final step is a report to the CEO showing progress made in one year and plans to continue the work in the following year.

I've created a series of concept  maps showing why business should be taking this role. In each are links to articles that should be part of the "research" and "learning" that is done by company planners.  Take a look. Share them. Create your own.

First map focuses on reasons a company or industry should invest strategically in youth tutor/mentor programs that are designed to connect k-12 youth with workplace volunteers.

Benefits to Business - click here

Second map shows reasons to adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC strategy.

Why invest in youth development strategy? click here

Third map points to articles from Deloitte and other companies that provide more reasons to get involved strategically in helping pull youth through school and into jobs and careers.

R&D for company involvement - do the reading - click here

This final map shows commitment CEOs from every industry need to be making to help draw kids from high poverty neighborhoods into their future workforce. Strategies developed for this hard-to-reach segment of the population will apply to youth from other economic backgrounds, too.

Put your name and company logo in the blue box - see map
These maps are part of a library of articles that you can find here, and a set of cMaps that you can find here.

Many people have told me often in past years that "this is too much information" and "no one will take the time to read this" yet that's the point of gaining CEO commitment.  This is not charity. This is survival and growth of US industry, commerce and our standard of living. It's about creating equality of opportunity for all Americans and better democracy and standard of living for all.

Ten years ago I wrote this article, talking about a $300 million dollar donation being made to the University of Chicago.  I suggested that some wealthy tech leader could make a similar gift, to establish a Tutor/Mentor Institute on a college campus, with a curriculum that had students from 9th grade through PhD level reading and learning from the articles I've posted on my web sites and blogs and the links in my web library.


If someone had responded to that offer in 2008 that university, and that benefactor, could today be producing maps and articles like mine, with icons showing where graduates from that program were now leading youth tutor/mentor programs in different Chicago neighborhoods, as volunteer board members, paid staff, donors, tutor/mentors, elected officials, media and in other roles.

Similar maps could show business, college, hospital and/or faith group locations in Chicago, with icons on each to indicate their level of strategic involvement with youth and  youth development organizations in their section of the city or suburbs.  Browse articles posted between 2008 and 2011 at the MappingforJustice blog to read more about this idea.

That offer still stands. Maybe in 2028 such a map will be available.






Monday, June 04, 2018

Help Chicago Tutor Mentor Orgs Grow - Everyday!

I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011, to help volunteer-based tutoring and mentoring programs grow in all parts of Chicago.

I've been following four concurrent strategies every day since then, which you can read about here, and here.

While Step 1 involves building a list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs, which is on-going, Step 2 involves efforts that draw attention and resources to each program on my list.

Here's one way I do that, and that anyone can duplicate, for the same goals.


In this graphic are screen shots of the Twitter home page for seven organizations, along with the home page of @tutormentorteam, which is my account.

All I did was open the Twitter list that I use to follow youth tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and in other cities and scroll through to find recent posts of Chicago organizations.  I used the "print screen" button on my PC keyboard and pasted the image into a Power Point page, then cropped it and re-sized it. Then I added the Twitter handle of the organization and saved the PPT as a JPG image, which I can use in many places.

I could make a half-dozen versions of this since more than 40 Chicago youth orgs post information on Twitter. Some do this more than others. I'd like to encourage more to use Twitter.

I could do that. But, if YOU do this, and post your graphics on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and/or LinkedIN, you will help more people learn about these programs than I can with just my own efforts.

That's the goal of the articles I've posted on this blog since 2005 and that I share in email and printed newsletters in the years since 1993. If more kids in Chicago and other cities are to have access to well-organized, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs then more people will need to duplicate what I've been trying to do, using their own talent and communications ability to tell the stories of existing programs and to point to places where more programs are needed.

It's easy to do. No cost to you. It helps kids connect to mentors and tutors and helps reduce violence and inequality in the region.  The YOU could be a business, sports or celebrity person, political leader, faith leader or youth in a middle school classroom. Anyone can do this.

If you take this role include @tutormentorteam on your Tweets so I can see what you're doing.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Helping Youth Tutor/Mentor Programs Grow - Ideas to Share

Last week I posted an article with this cMap showing work interns did between 2006 and 2015 to interpret and share ideas and strategies that I had originally launched as PDF essays and/or blog articles.

I hope you'll take a look. I think these ideas can be applied anywhere, but far too few people know they exist. I also feel that youth in schools and non-school programs could be creating their own versions, pointing to their city and/or neighborhood.

Below is an example of how this works.  It's a pdf essay that I created to visualize the need to influence what resource providers do, not just what leaders, staff and volunteers in non profits do.



The "how to influence change" idea was originally communicated in this blog article.   Below is a video done by one of our interns to communicate the information in the PDF.



Over the past 20  years I've written hundreds of blog articles and created many pdf essays. They're all intended to expand the network of people helping inner city youth get the extra adult support they need to move through school and into adult lives.  On this page you can find a list of the pdf presentations, including links to Slideshare and Scribd where I've posted some of these.

The concept map I refer to at the start of this article shows work done by many interns. Imagine if you were able to create a similar map a few years from now, showing work students and volunteers did to communicate ideas and strategies showing how your organization or community network is helping kids move through school.

I urge you to spend time looking at these. Then enlist youth and volunteers to create their own versions, applying the ideas to helping youth in Chicago, or in other cities, or specific neighborhoods.  As you see how this works, and how it helps build visibility and understanding for the work youth organizations do, you can expand the range of information that is reviewed and shared based on the vision and strategy of your own organization.

If you're doing this type of work, share your link in the comment section so others can be inspired by your own efforts.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Networked Creativity Focused on Local-Global Issues

In this article I'm going to write about the Thinglink360 video shown below, created by Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts, and more than 20 other people starting in February 2018.



Then I'm going to write about this cMap which I created this week, inspired by the project Kevin is describing.  I hope you'll follow along and see the connection.

See Interns w T/MC cMap at this link. 


I first met Kevin in 2013 as part of the Connected Learning #CLMOOC, and have grown to appreciate and value the ideas he shares on his blog. Thus, I visit often. So in early April I opened this article, which was the first of a three-part reflection under the title of "Creating a Virtual Gallery of Digital Art".

It all started about three months ago (mid February?) when Kevin got an idea. "What if the (open and university) folks dabbling in Networked Narratives (#NetNarr) together created a collaborative piece of trans-media artwork together?"

Kevin brainstormed the idea with a few other on-line friends and soon created this site as an invitation for others to join in the fun. He titled this the NetNarrAlchemyLab.

In his blog Kevin wrote, "Early on, we had a vision of an immersive virtual lab that visitors could wander around in, like a museum."  He went on "We wanted to create a "doorway" in and a "doorway" out.

Over six to eight weeks 20 people from different parts of the world (Australia, Scotland, USA, France, etc) created more than 50 projects. The project began with a group from the #NetNarr ecosystem, but soon spread to folks in the #DS106 and #clmooc groups.  If you open the AchemayLab you can click into each of these projects. 

I encourage you to visit Kevin's blog and read his description of what worked, what did not, and see how he keeps drawing attention to the work he and others have been doing. 

See graphic in this article
As I said, I've been engaging with the #clmooc world for five years and have shared some of these interactions using graphics and concept maps posted in more than 30 articles

I've watched Kevin and many others from several on-line communities connect with each other and amplify the work they are each doing via their own blog articles, Tweets and Facebook posts. The motivations for these interactions are many. For instance, if you visit this #clmooc home page you can see how such interactions have been stimulated in that group.  

As you do you'll see a few examples of where I've tried to draw members into the work I've been doing since 1993, helping non-school tutor/mentor programs reach k-12 youth in high poverty neighborhoods.

I liked Kevin's description of his goal,"to create  an immersive virtual lab that visitors could wander around in, like a museum."  That's the way I think of the web library I've created, and it communicates my own goal that people come in, wander around, do some reading, then share what they see with others.

As I looked at the Thinglink360 I wanted to create something similar to show work interns have done while working with Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC between 2006 and 2015, with the goal that some of these educators would duplicate these intern efforts and for the same purposes.  Since I don't have a paid account with Thinglink (or the talent) I could not do what Kevin did, so I used my free cMapTools account and created the concept map shown above. 

Each graphic on the cMap comes from a project done by one of the many interns who work on the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC project. Below each graphic you can find one or more links that open blog articles and/or videos that show the project, or show how the project was created and how I coached the interns along the way.

As I spent time last week reviewing work interns had done to collect images and links for the cMap I was reminded again of the immense talent of the students who worked with me.  More than half came from South Korea and Hong Kong, while most of the others were from Chicago area universities.


Much of the work being done in these on-line communities focuses on "cultivating connections" and "strengthening networks".  My goal is to draw people from the non-school #tutor #mentor, youth and workforce development and anti-poverty ecosystems together in similar on-line communities...and to connect them with the people and networks I'm already following.

As participation grows I hope to recruit a few people from different places who will spend time building their own understanding of what I've been trying to do. I hope some then begin to duplicate my own 25 year history, by creating libraries of content, and recruiting students from as early as middle school to spend time reading, reflecting, hacking and re-making work that I and my interns have done, to mobilize the time, talent and dollars of more people to help kids born or living in high poverty areas get the extra adult support they need to not only move successfully through school, but to have help moving into adult lives with jobs and careers that enable them to raise their own kids in any place they choose.

In many of the links on the cMap, like this one, I show how interns created their own projects after reading PDF essays, or blog articles, that I've written.   That represents more than 1000 articles, a mountain of content and ideas, that educators and social innovators from all over the world could draw from.

Throughout this and other articles I've included #hashtags with links to Twitter.  If you open these and scroll through past Tweets, you'll open yourself to a wide network of people and ideas.  For instance, here's a Tweet Kevin posted to draw attention to one of the projects in the Alchemy Lab.



In another cMap I've been aggregating links to Twitter conversations I've been following.  My vision is that at some point in the future I could find Tweets within each of these groups, pointing to my articles and work interns have done with me in Chicago, with new visualizations, videos, articles, etc. that apply those concepts in Chicago neighborhoods, or in neighborhoods throughout the world.


Furthermore, while my articles focus on helping kids living in poverty connect with extra adults and learning via organized non-school programs, this graphic visualizes a wide range of complex problems that need to be concurrently addressed in Chicago and throughout the world.

The "how do we do this" needs many people's ideas and what better way to communicate those than through the type of work Kevin is describing and that I've been trying to do.

Finally, if you are re-making and hacking the ideas I share, let me know. In the lower right corner of the intern map, you'll find this map, shown below, which I'm using as another 'museum' that showcases others who are already helping share Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC ideas.



I'm at @tutormentorteam on Twitter and you can find me on Facebook and LinkedIN too, I hope to connect and that you'll share with me some work inspired by what I'm writing about.

Monday, May 21, 2018

View map stories on MappingforJustice blog

Chicago SunTimes - 1994
click here
I started trying to use maps to point resources to places in Chicago with high concentrations of poverty back in 1993.  This story about my leaving my corporate job to lead a tutor/mentor program features one of the maps we had created.

Due to inconsistent funding I've never been able to do everything I've wanted to do with maps, or do it consistently, and with a wide-ranging impact, yet in I continue to advocate for this.

A few highlights were

1994-2002 - publish printed Directory of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs each year

1994-2018  - build a huge library of information that  has been shared on the Internet since 1998

1994-2015 - host Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference every six months.

1995-2003 - host Chicagoland Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment campaign in Aug/Sept to draw volunteers to recruitment fairs in different parts of the Chicago region.

2004 - launch of interactive search feature to help people locate tutor and/or mentor programs in Chicago

2008 - launch of interactive map-based program locator directory

These still are available, but due to lack of tech support and funding they have not been updated since 2013.  I continue to build stories from them and show them as a model of what's possible.  If  you're interested, please contact me.

In late 2007 an anonymous donor gave the Tutor/Mentor Connection $50,000 which we used to hire a part time GIS expert who from 2008 through early 2011 created maps and map-stories that you can find on the MappingforJustice blog.

I've not had funds since then for a map-maker on my team, but have continued to post articles on the MappingforJustice blog that show maps and data-platforms hosted by others. 

Below you can see a concept map that highlights some of what you'll find if  you browse articles posted over the past six years.

Data platforms - click here

If you browse the map stories and resources on the blog and in this concept map you'll see sophisticated uses of maps, and resources that you can use to create your own map stories.

However, what you don't yet find in many places is an on-going effort by platform hosts and/or community leaders to draw resource providers to the map, and then directly to organizations doing work to change the conditions that the maps highlight.

In my case, the goal has been to draw volunteers and donors directly to this list of Chicago area non-school tutor and/or mentor programs and to help new programs form in under-served areas.  This wiki page illustrates this goal. It shows a mapping platform that is still on the drawing board, but has not yet been created.

Read other articles on this blog, the MappingforJustice blog, or on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site and learn more about this and the challenges that have been involved.

If you've read this article, the one take-away that I hope you'll remember, is that the map in the graphic above could be of any city in the world, or of a rural county or Native American reservation where people need help to overcome a wide range of challenges.

If your business, university and/or non-profit would like to partner with me and help update my mapping capacities, with the goal that you would use the tools and strategies in your own community, please introduce yourself to me via one of these social media sites

Friday, May 18, 2018

School Shooting Outrage - Is it greater because White kids are dying?

There was another school shooting today, this time at SantaFe High School in Texas. It's a tragedy and unless there is a massive voter turn-out in the November 2018 elections, then in following elections, to replace gun supporting legislators at the state and national level, nothing will be done.

Below is one of the Tweets that I've seen, demanding action on this.



This is signed by the Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health.  As I read it a question crept into my mind?  Most of the victims of the school shootings have been White kids. Is this now getting the attention it is getting because of that?

This was the front page of the October 15, 1992 Chicago SunTimes, following the killing of a 7-year old African American boy in Cabrini-Green.  The editorial writer says "It's everyone's responsibility" to keep this from happening.

I've a thick stack of news clippings from the past 26 years showing similar shootings taking the lives of Black and Brown Chicago kids on a regular basis.  While occasionally the editorial writers make this an issue, such as right now is happening with the 31 bullets campaign on the Chicago SunTimes web site, too few people have responded in ways that would change what's been happening mostly to poor kids.

I've been pleased to see that the Parkland High School students who lead the #MarchforourLives movement have been intentional in reaching out to urban youth and people of color to try to focus on the gun violence happening every day in big cities, and have encouraged a look at the root causes of these problems.  However, I don't see that on the policy goals on the MarchforourLives web site.

While many have been quick to applaud the rising youth leadership following the Parkland shooting, gun reform in America is a long battle against a deeply entrenched foe.  Addressing some of the root causes of urban violence, school shootings, suicide and domestic abuse, is an even bigger challenge.

With that in mind, I encourage organizers to read this 1980s article about 8 Stages of Movement Building by Bill Moyers.  His lessons apply to 2018 movement-building as much as they did 40 years ago.

I strongly support the first policy initiative on the #MarchforOurLives web site, which is "Fund gun violence research and gun violence prevention/intervention programs."  That covers a lot of bases, including the gun violence in our cities, the shootings in our schools, and the massive number of people killed via domestic violence or who take their own lives through suicide.

With school shootings becoming an almost weekly event, is this now a broad enough issue that the costs of doing nothing are now rising high enough that a majority of the people in the USA, White, Brown, Black and other hues of skin tone, will have an urgency for finding a solution?

Or, will we be looking at headlines like my 1992 Chicago SunTimes story twenty-five years from now?



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

School year ending. Learning continues.

View Library cMap
While this school year is ending the next starts in a few short months. In the time in-between I encourage youth, volunteers, leaders, donors and staff of  youth tutor, mentor and learning programs to spend time daily digging through the four sections of the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC web library for ideas that you can apply in the coming year.

The library has many sub sections and if you're making your first visit, I encourage you to open and close each section, just to see what's there, just as you would if you were visiting a new shopping mall and looking to see what each store offers. Here's a set of blog articles that include guides to the entire library.

Homework Help cMap
One sub section is full of homework help and learning resources. This cMap is a blueprint of what's in this section of the library. If volunteers, staff and students spend time during the summer months learning what's in the library, they will be better prepared to use the information in coming school years.

Below is a video that I made to walk you through the homework help section.



While this section of the library focuses on academic learning resources for k-12 students, the majority of the web library is intended for adult learning, sharing articles, research, "how to" tips and similar information that people can use to build and sustain well-organized non-school tutor, mentor learning programs in all high poverty areas of Chicago and other places.

In addition, articles focus on innovation, collaboration, knowledge management, philanthropy and business involvement, pointing to a wide range of challenges that need to be overcome if youth in high poverty areas are going to be more successful moving safely through school and into adult lives, with jobs and careers that enable them to raise their own children in any place the choose.

I add new links to the library weekly. Look at the video to see where you can find what's been added recently. As you find interesting resources use your own blog, social media, web site and other communications channels to share this with people in your own network.  I'm on Twitter at TutorMentorTeam and look forward to seeing your posts.

If you find broken links please send me a message, using this contact us form. If you want to recommend a link...related to the mission of the library, please send that to me, too.


I use graphics like this to emphasize that it takes 12 years to move from first grade through 12th grade and many more years to move securely into a job and career.

That means that the information I'm sharing needs to be used by many people, for many years.  We've much work still to do!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Helping K-12 Youth in Poverty Areas - Address the Fund Raising Challenges

View in this article
This is one of many graphics I've used to visualize a need to have a wide range of youth support programs available to K-12 youth in every high poverty area of the Chicago region and other places.

I've been writing articles and sharing graphics like this for nearly 20 years, but as just one voice, I don't have enough impact to influence the massive changes that are needed in how such programs are organized, designed and supported.

View in this article
At the right is another graphic that I use to emphasize the need for continuous flows of flexible operating dollars to youth programs in every high poverty neighborhood.

Thus, I was pleased in the past couple of weeks to find funder networks talking about this.

I wrote about the Grant Makers for Effective Organization conference in this post.  If you search #2018GEO on Twitter,  you can review Tweets from the past couple of weeks and capture much of the information shared at this event.

Read about Annotation
Then this week I found this article published by Open Impact, titled, "The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption"

I read the article and saw many ideas which I've been trying to implement via the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC since 1993. So I decided to put it on Hypothes.is and re-read it, highlighting relevant parts, and writing comments in the margin that show my own efforts.

In the paper's introduction the writers say "we hope this paper will spark and important conversation". I agree. 

In my comments I suggest that philanthropy would dramatically change if donors were shoppers and if non-profits and social change organizations would put enough information on their web sites for donors, volunteers and clients to make better choices of who they support, and in what ways.  I also emphasize the use of maps to support a better distribution of resources to all high poverty areas of the Chicago region and other places where help is most needed.

Thus, I invite you to read "The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption" with three purposes:

1) build a deeper understanding of what I've been trying to do, and to find reasons to support my efforts and help carry them into the future;

2) build a deeper understanding of the challenges facing all social benefit organizations, in the US and the world, and a commitment to draw others into this conversation; and

3) see how on-line annotation works and build a commitment to launch other articles and invite more readers and learners to join in.

I look forward to meeting you in the margins.




Wednesday, May 09, 2018

#OnTheTable2018 on Twitter, and LinkedIN, too.

Reasons to Engage - see map
Yesterday many thousands of Chicago area residents gathered in a variety of locations to talk about ways to make Chicago a better place for everyone to live, work and raise their kids.

I followed #0nTheTable2018 on Twitter and saw more than 700 Tweets. In the article I posted yesterday, I showed a few of those, plus Tweets I'd posted.

Here's an example:




Connecting people and ideas. - read
I created this visualization in the 1990s. The circles represent discussion groups, as well as information resources that can support those groups and actions that aim to fill Chicago high poverty areas with needed non-school tutor, mentor, learning and youth development activities.   You can find many graphics like this, and maps, embedded in articles I've been writing since 2005.

Today I spent some time looking at #0ntheTable2018 posts on Linkedin.  There are dozens and many seem to be from groups that I did not see on Twitter.  Here's a link to one post.

I also followed this on Facebook, but I think Twitter and Linkedin offer greater opportunities to jump into the conversations and attempt to build relationships with participants.

My goal is that the issues raised, turn to planning, then actions, which are reported in each annual #onthetable event as they mature into programs and services that make a difference in the lives of people throughout the Chicago region.

That was my message in this Twitter post:


Finding time to skim through these Tweets, Linkedin and Facebook posts is one of the huge challenges we face. I look forward to seeing posts and articles that show how you're doing that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

#OnTheTable2018 today in Chicago region

This is a graphic I use in PDF presentations like this to show people from different sectors connecting with each other in face-to-face meetings and on-line. That's happening in many places throughout Chicagoland today as part of the annual #OnTheTable2018 event, hosted by the Chicago Community Trust.

I've written articles in past years about this event. They are still relevant. Take a look.

I was not able to find an event to attend this morning, and am going to the 300th session of #ChiHackNight this evening, so I decided to participate by using Twitter, and my blog, to amplify some of what's happening today. Here are some of my Tweets and Re-Tweets.










There's a lot going on throughout the Chicago region.  If you search #OnTheTable2018 on Twitter you can scroll through the messages posted and see some of what is happening and hopefully connect with people talking about issues  you care about.

You can also search Facebook to find #OnTheTable2018 posts and conversations.  I'm sure you can also find images and conversations on other social media platforms. If you know of some good ones, why not post a link in the comment section below, or on Twitter or Facebook.

Here's one more Tweet that shows what I hope will be on-going conversations that are re-energized in coming years.



The problems and opportunities of Chicago and other places are complex and require long term investments of time, talent and dollars by many people and organizations, from the non profit sector, public sector, business and other sectors.

I hope you find the ideas I share on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site to be valuable resources. I'd be happy to spend time with you to help you learn what's available.




Saturday, May 05, 2018

Sharing Tutor/Mentor Graphics on Twitter

Last week I posted some Tweets in this article, which I had launched into the #2018Geo conference.   I decided that today I'd do a bit more. If you search Twitter for the combination #learning #tutor #mentor, below are some of  my Tweets that you'll find.












Here's just one more. You can do a Twitter search using any of the words in this tag cloud, along with #tutor #mentor, and find ideas I've posted.



Share these with friends, co-workers and others who are concerned with the well-being of youth born and living in high poverty areas of Chicago and other places of the USA and the world.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Conference in San Francisco

People talking about
helping others.
There's a big conference of grant makers taking place in San Francisco this week, organized by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.  I attended on Monday, via my PC, watching the live session on Monday, and planning to watch again today or tomorrow, from this Facebook page.

Here's a blog article by Kathy Reich, vice chair of the GEOFunders board of directors.
One of the accomplishments that she pointed out was 
Thanks in part to GEO’s tireless efforts, practices that once were outside the mainstream of organized philanthropy — general operating support, evaluation for improvement, funder collaboration, use of grantee feedback, and investments in nonprofit capacity building — are now widely recognized as essential in our field.

As I listened I also shared ideas from my library on Twitter and used #2018GEO hashtag to connect with others. You can also use this at a later date to go back and review all the Tweets shared during and after the event. 

I've posted a few of my Tweets below.












I've been building and sharing a directory of Chicago area non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs since 1993,
in an effort to help each get a more consistent flow of needed operating resources and ideas. The graphic below shows two lists that I maintain on Facebook, showing programs, and showing intermediaries, like Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, who also need consistent, on-going support.


I also plot locations on maps and maintain a list of programs in the web library that I've been building as an information resource since the mid 1990s.

What's frustrating to me now, and for the past 25 years, is how few of the organizations I'm trying to help spend time helping me gather and keep this information updated, or help me share it in ways that attract more attention, volunteers and donors to their own program, and to other programs in Chicago and in other cities.

One leader told me in the 1990s, "I love what you're trying to do, but until I get my own house in order, I can't help you.".  What that meant to me was, he'd never be able to help, because most non-profits can't influence the type of donors giving habits that big organizations like GEO Funders is trying to do.

I wrote about this a few years ago in this "Can't Drain the Swamp" article. I've focused on trying to increase operating funds for tutor/mentor programs as a strategy to create more time and motivation for various organizations to work together to help every high poverty neighborhood have a full range of well-organized, mentor-rich programs.

While social media offers opportunities to easily connect, share ideas, and interact, only a few organizations actively use Twitter, which I feel is the best platform for connecting with others. A few more use Facebook, but mostly as a bulletin board for their own organization. I don't find a conversation of "What works, what could work better, where are programs most needed, how can we work together to overcome challenges that we can't solve by ourselves?"

Here's another Tweet that I posted recently:


While the conference center for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is filled this week, what will bring these grant makers and youth program leaders, as well as other nonprofits needed in high poverty areas, into on-going conversations that lead to stronger, on-going organizations in more places?

A starting point might be to connect on Twitter. I'm @tutormentorteam

Is there someone who could represent your organization, or your foundation, in this conversation?