Saturday, August 11, 2018

Value of Tutor/Mentor Program - Alumni Update

Leo & Dan - 1973
I started volunteering in a tutor/mentor program in Chicago in 1973. That's when I first started meeting weekly with Leo Hall, a 4th grade boy living in Cabrini Green Public Housing, near the Montgomery Ward headquarters where I was starting an advertising career.

I became the leader of that program in 1975 and continued through mid 1992. Then I and a few other volunteers formed Cabrini Connections, to help kids who aged out of the first program at the end of 6th grade have similar support as they move from 7th grade through high school. I led that program till mid 2011.

Maps show all areas where
programs are needed.
As we created the direct service program in 1993 we also created the Tutor/Mentor Connection to help similar programs grow in all parts of Chicago and to try to increase visibility and the flow of operating dollars to all programs, including the Cabrini Connections program. I still lead that strategy through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

I try to share my experiences, and those of others, by pointing to a list of program web sites that I've been maintaining since 1993.

At the Cabrini Connections program we maintained a blog from mid 2005 through 2011 that was a daily journal of what was happening in the program. I was scrolling through it today looking for information about one of the activities when I came across a message from Leo, posted in 2006.  I've re-posted it below:

Hi.. I'm Leo Hall - Dan Bassill's tutee and friend

Today, I got an email from my friend and former tutor, Dan Bassill, about the graduation ceremony going on tonight. It made me think about when I graduated from MWTP (Montgomery Ward Tutoring Program) or what some of you may call Cabrini Connections. 
See, I was Dan's first tutee, way back in 197??. It's been that long ago, I honestly cannot remember. But ask Dan about the one kid that changed his life and he will probably mention me (or maybe his daughter and son first, then me). But I digress. 
As a former tutee and volunteer, I want to say that you all have a great program working on your behalf. When I graduated from the program, it only went to the sixth grade, but you all get to stay until senior year of high school. 
That is so cool, cause high school can be a very stressful time in your life. I should know, I went to one of the largest high schools in the state, Lane Technical High School. Graduated with 1000 students, so I was basically a number. But the things I learned from Dan and the MWTP really kept my head on straight. 
See, Dan was at every major event in my life, with the exception of the births of my children. Now, how many people do you know would travel all over the country to see you graduate from college, then come back to see you get married. With gas prices today, I'd only expect a card. Dan has been my mentor and friend for over 30 years and I really respect his opinion on things. 
I also liked what he has done for the children in Cabrini Green, the children of Chicago, IL. But especially, the children on Cabrini Green. Dan has taken a lot of heat from a lot of people and he kept going. So, you all are the fruits of his labor. 
After graduating from high school, I went to Memphis State University (Univ. of Memphis) and graduated in 1988, on the Dean's List with a Bachelors degree in Engineering. I now have 2 sons, and am a movie producer and director. A lot of what I do with people is what Dan used to do with me, and that is mentor them. Teach them how to make good decisions and trust and believe in themselves. 
Presently, I am on the set of my new movie, and I asked Dan to send me some CC products, tee-shirts and stuff, so that my cast can wear them on the set. You never know, you may see CC on the big screen real soon. 
Well, time to get back on set, but I wanted to say this, keep your head up and never forget where you came from and the people that got you there. Thanks Dan and MWTP for everything that you have done for me.

Leo Hall
Leo & Dan, 2014

In 2014 Leo invited me to Nashville to celebrate his 50th birthday. He paid all of my expenses! I wrote this article following that.

The testimony by Leo is one of several alumni articles posted on the Cabrini Blog. I encourage you to read them.

It's these stories, which I have experienced over and over for more than 35 years which drives my passion to help make well organized, non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs available in more places.

If you browse the Chicago Programs list, and this section of programs in other states, you'll find many who also have stories from alumni.  I was just looking at this page on the Higher Achievement web site (Washington, Baltimore) with 40 stories. Can these convince you to become strategically involved in helping these programs continue to do good work, while helping new programs start where needed?

I've been reaching out to alumni and others to help re-build the Tutor/Mentor Connection and carry it forward into the next decade, with them as leaders and people writing articles like this.  While a few have begun to show interest, there still is no new leadership team in place.

I've also been asking for financial help to keep me going. Click here to find a page with contributor information.

If you'd like to get involved or know more, just introduce yourself with a message in the comment box or connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIN or Facebook.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Building Different Support Systems for Kids in High Poverty Areas

Once again violence in Chicago is front page news and the topic of countless commentary writers. I agree with Rex Huppke's Chicago Tribune column from today that tells politicians to "shut up" unless they have a comprehensive plan.

I've been saving news stories about violence, gangs, poverty,  poorly performing schools, etc for the past 30 years as part of my own on-going effort to motivate leaders in business, philanthropy, government and the social sector to fill all high poverty areas of the city with comprehensive systems of support that help kids move through school and into jobs.

Thus, the headline from yesterday and the front page from January 1, 1993, call attention to the same problem....which was greater then than now, but still too much in 2018.


I wrote about this on Sunday and have written about violence in Chicago and long-term strategies that might reduce it often on this blog over the past 13 years, and before that on websites, list serves, email and print newsletters.

The politicians aren't the only ones saying "we need to work together". Here's a Tweet that I saw yesterday.


At the right is another article from my collection. It's a 1993 Chicago SunTimes story which leads off with a statement saying "Chicago neighborhoods that were poor 20 years ago are even more entrenched in poverty today because the city lacks a comprehensive battle plan".

That's still true.

I included this article in a 2015 article with the headline of "After the riots, do the planning".


I've been offering a plan since starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 (and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011). It's visualized in this graphic, and dozens of others, and shows the need to build an information base that anyone can use to support their own efforts to help youth in high poverty areas move safely through school and into adult lives with jobs that enable them to raise their own kids free of poverty.

I've been describing this in articles on this blog and on the http://www.tutormentorexchange.net web site for many years.  However, far too few people have ever seen these, or spend time digging through past articles and sections of my web library.

I keep asking myself, "what if it were the Mayor writing these articles, or issuing them on his web site?"

Or, what if LeBron James, Derek Rose, or Oprah were the one writing these articles and calling attention to the ideas in videos, TV shows and music?

Several years ago I created the animation below to illustrate a role athletes and celebrities could take to support the growth of needed youth tutor,mentor, learning and jobs programs in different neighborhoods.



This animation, and other videos in my library, could be re-produced in many ways, with hundreds of different athletes, celebrities, alumni of tutor/mentor programs, etc. giving the message.  This video is included several times in a series of articles focused on sports and celebrity stars.

Building an information base is just the first step in an on-going four part strategy that I've developed over the past 25 years. Getting people to look at the information, understand it, then apply it to help kids and families in one, or many, high poverty neighborhoods are essential additional steps.

While I feel this strategy applies to Chicago, it can also be applied in any other urban area. It can have leaders from many sectors who share the same goals.  If you're interested in learning about this, devote time over the next few months to read past articles and browse through sections of my web sites. Or, reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or with a comment on this blog and invite me to be part of  your planning group.

Or, you can visit this page and make a small (or large) contribution to help me keep sharing these ideas and resources.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

31 Shot in Chicago - August 5 - What's The Rest of the Story?

Chicago Tribune - shootings tracker
On my Facebook feed this morning I saw a link to a Chicago Tribune article telling about 31 people being shot since midnight, Sunday morning.  Sixteen were teenagers.

I did some digging and found this page on the Tribune web site that maps locations of Chicago shootings and keeps it updated regularly. 

If you view the violence and media tagged articles on this blog you'll see I've been using maps in stories for many years, to focus on where these shootings take place, why, and ways people can get involved in building and sustaining long-term solutions that might reduce some of this.

It's my "Rest of the Story" strategy that I first launched in 1993.

The graphic below is one I use to visualize the need for comprehensive youth development, tutoring and/or mentoring programs in all high poverty areas, which is where most of the shootings take place.

So let me walk you through the way I create these map stories.

Chicago West Side
The first thing I did was zoom into the Tribune map, and enlarge the Chicago West side area where most of last night's shootings took place.  I copied this into Power Point and added the yellow labels to identify the community areas of Austin, North Lawndale, Humboldt Park, West and East Garfield Park. Then I saved it as a JPG so I could upload it into this article.

Anyone can do this.

Several weeks ago I posted a PDF with maps of different sections of the city, showing the number of high poverty youth, age 6-17 in each neighborhood.  The West side of Chicago is shown in the map below.

Chicago West Side
The yellow box shows data from 2011 and the blue box shows the same data, but from 2018.  You can see that Austin and North Lawndale have a larger number of high poverty youth (more than 6000) than any of the other 77 Chicago community areas.

I made this map using the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which as of 8/3/2018, no longer is connecting to Google maps. Thus, you're not able to use it to determine if there are any tutor/mentor programs in the area.

Chicago West Side
However, I started having problems updating the Program Locator in 2013, so in late 2015 I put my list of Chicago tutor and/or mentor programs on another map, which you can find here.

I opened this link to the full map, then zoomed in to show the West side of Chicago.  I put my mouse on one of the green icons, just to show how you can find the name and web site address of programs on the map.  It's not as detailed as the Program Locator, but it works for this process.

I copied the image into PowerPoint, added the yellow labels, then again, saved it as a jpg so I could put it in this article.

By doing this I'm showing where the shootings took place, indicators, such as poverty, that show why they took place, and whatever resources might already be in these neighborhoods trying to help kids stay safe and headed toward high school graduation and jobs.

By doing this you know that there are youth serving organizations in these West side neighborhoods, but too few based on the large number of high poverty k-12 kids. If someone were collecting data on opportunity youth, age 16-25, it would show a need for even more programs.  Furthermore, by looking at the location of program sites you can see that they are too far for many kids to attend. If gang territories were also shown on the maps, they might show it's also unsafe for kids to go from one part of a neighborhood to another to take part in a non-school program.

Thus, more programs are needed in most areas.

Kids to Careers cMap
There's more.

At the left is a concept map that I created many years ago to show the different supports kids need as they grow from from pre-school through when they are starting jobs and careers. These need to be available in every high poverty area.  I've been trying to plot tutor/mentor programs, showing type of program and age group served (see search page), but I don't know anyone who is even trying to collect the data that would show what other assets are available on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

If we're going to provide systems of on-going support to kids in every high poverty neighborhood, someone needs to be collecting information that shows what's already available.

If someone were doing this, they could be putting links from each node on a concept map like mine, to web sites of those service providers.

Then, if this information were available, it would be possible to lead year-round efforts to help existing programs get the resources they need to stay available and constantly improve, while also trying to bring new services to areas where more are needed.

Since I already collect and share information about existing non-school programs, groups in any Chicago community area could be already creating map stories like this one and be sharing them on social and traditional media with a "get informed, get involved" daily call to involvement.

However.

One of the many challenges we face is that if you look at web sites of the youth organizations on my list, very few provide enough information for shoppers (parents, donors, volunteers, media, researchers, etc) to really know what their theory of change and long-term strategies are. Thus, while there are many green stars on my map, they don't all serve the same grade levels, or fill all of the steps on this "mentoring kids to careers" ladder.

And it's almost impossible to differentiate between them.

This Shoppers Guide pdf offers some ideas for what I think would be helpful on program web sites. It's only my suggestions. I encourage you to create your own version and share it with myself and others.

However, until business partners, volunteers and donors provide the resources for programs to collect and communicate this information on their web sites, few will be able to do it.

"It takes a village" cMap
On my Facebook feed someone said "it will take the entire village" to help prevent these shootings.  I've visualized what that means to me with this concept map.  The village includes people from all sectors who each make a long-term commitment to use their time, talent, dollars, technology and jobs to help kids in every high poverty community area of Chicago (or other cities) have the full range of supports that I show on my graphics.

Had leaders been doing this since the 1990s when I first started sharing these ideas maybe things would be different today.  If they start applying these ideas today, maybe things will be different by 2025 and 2030.

As much as we all might wish it, these changes will not take place in just a few months or years.


I'm available to help groups understand this process and (for a small fee) will gladly help them learn to create and share map stories like I've been doing.  Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIN or Facebook.

If you've read this article and value what I'm sharing, I could use your help. Visit this page and use the PayPal to send me a small contribution to help me keep doing this work.


Friday, August 03, 2018

100% of Seniors Graduate. What does this mean?

I want to focus on two ideas in this article.

First, over the past few of year’s I’ve seen statements from several different organizations saying “100% of my seniors graduated from high school”. Some added “and went to college”.

With the emphasis on outcomes I can see how this would be a meaningful statement. But is it also a misleading statement?

Here’s a chart I created several years ago showing the 20-25 year role of business, family, non profits, educators, etc. in helping youth move from birth to age 20-25 when they should be starting jobs and careers.

When someone says “all my seniors graduated” they are not telling you at what age level those seniors were when they joined that mentoring or tutoring program. They are not telling the demographic background. They are not telling the academic history.

Thus, you could imply that this organization that claims to serve several hundred young people has built a strategy that gets those young people involved at an early age, like middle school, and keeps 100% (ALL) of them involved through high school and they ALL graduate and they ALL go to college.

If someone working with young people living in high poverty is telling you they accomplish this, I think they are leaving out some important information. There’s too much transition of families in poverty for all youth to be able to stay with a program located in one neighborhood for 4 to six years. There are too many diseases that affect youth in poverty, such as Asthma and Diabetes, or gang violence and/or teen pregnancy, and too many young people getting caught up in the juvenile justice system for programs to be able to keep 100% of youth enrolled for four to six consecutive years. And, if a program starts with youth in elementary school, this is even more of a challenge.

I’ve asked some program leaders what they mean when they claim 100% graduated and they tell me that this really is a measure of those who survived to become seniors, who then stayed with the program through the year, and were accepted for college in the spring. Depending on the level of support a program is able to offer, at what age students join, and what the demographics and family support of the youth is, programs should show different levels of year-to-year retention, but seldom 100%

I may be wrong. However, I don’t see attendance charts on many program web sites. I don’t see “theory of change” strategies with graphics like the one above that shows when a youth joins a program and what they do to help them through high school, then through college, vocational school and into jobs.

I also don’t see information showing the demographics and academic background of young people when they join a program. Using maps to demonstrate where youth in a program live is one way to show this. Providing an overview showing the percent of youth in a program living under the poverty line is another way. Showing what percent of youth in a program attend private schools would be another indicator that would differentiate the youth served by different programs in different places.

That does not mean there are not lots of programs who do have these strategies and this information, but do not share this information on their web sites. Thus, when some leaders boast “100 percent of seniors graduate” we’re making assumptions about what these programs are really doing and what impact they are having.

If you’re evaluating programs and/or choosing between different programs to make funding decisions, it makes a huge difference in the work required if a program starts working with teens when they are juniors or seniors in high school vs if they start working with youth when they are between 7th and 9th grade, or in elementary school.

It makes a huge difference in the services a program needs to provide if a program has recruited youth who already have great academic credentials or potential and/or are already attending private high schools vs serving youth who have not yet navigated the difficult transition from adolescence to high school.

Here's the second idea. The graphic I used at the top of the page shows systems of support that reach kids early and stay with them through high school and beyond. This support should be available during the school day, right after school and in the hours after 5pm when workplace volunteers are more consistently available.

These systems of support need to reach kids in every high poverty area of Chicagoland and other urban areas. I've tried to collect information about existing non-school tutor/mentor programs and plot this on maps since 1993. Browse map stories posted on http://mappingforjustice.blogspot.com between 2008 and 2011 and find examples of this work.

I've not had funds to update my map platform since 2013 and as of today, it's no longer connecting to Google maps. Unless I find a developer who will donate time and talent to help fix this, I'll need to close that site.

So far, I've also not found anyone else in Chicago or around the country attempting to use maps the ways I've piloted

As we head to the 2018-19 school year, I encourage programs to talk about how programs show information about youth in their programs, and how information about program availability in different neighborhoods is made available. t

I encourage you to apply graphics like the one at the top of this article (see more here) to show what age range youth are when they join the program, and what retention they have from year to year, as well as what number then graduate and enter college as a result of the support a program and its volunteers provide.

If you’re a business, college, or local media, you can help
 by asking for this information, and by offering your time and talent to help programs create graphics, theory of change documents, and measurement tools that they can use to track year to year participation and retention for their own process improvement evaluations, and for building a more uniform way that all programs demonstrate what they are accomplishing and who they are serving.

This is also something that can be discussed in online forums such as the ones I host at http://tutormentorconnection.ning.com and on TwitterLinked in and Facebook.

If others are hosting such discussions please post links to them so others can find you and participate.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

With poverty maps, it's easy to see where some kids need help. Not so easy with others.

I've been using maps since 1993 to show where kids need extra help provided by non-school tutor/mentor programs, based on indicators like high poverty, poorly performing schools, and/or incidents of violence. You can skim through many articles on this blog and see how I've done that.  You also can look at the articles at the MappingforJustice blog, or on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site, and see more examples.

Based on the information I've been able to collect, there are too few programs in many parts of Chicago and some of the programs that do exist need a lot of help on an on-going basis to be considered "world class" in what they do.

However, there are many youth who do not live in high poverty areas who also need extra help.  I saw a version of the graphic below on Kevin Hodgson's Twitter feed this week.

I created my own version, putting an "x" on one of the flowers. Can you find it?
My point is that kids who may be struggling with many personal and family issues blend in with other kids in their public and private schools. This problem affects kids of all income levels and all race groups.

The kids could be from broken families or from families where one, or both, parents are in the military and deployed overseas. They are kids who might be bullied. Or who could be struggling with depression, and at risk of suicide.

My maps make it easy to focus on geographic areas where indicators show that extra help is needed. There are no maps that show who these other kids are.

These kids need our attention and help, too.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Wicked Problems. Getting 'Everyone" in the Room. Who cares?

For more than 40 years I've been trying to collect ideas and information that helped me be a more effective tutor/mentor, a more effective leader of a volunteer-based program, and to help well organized, mentor-rich youth programs reach k-12 kids in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

You may have read what I just wrote, but did you understand it the way I hoped you would?

I've been creating visualizations since the 1990s to try to create a shared understanding of the ideas and strategies that I was producing via the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and the single youth tutor/mentor program I was leading in Chicago.

These are embedded in almost every article that I've written on this blog since 2007 and in PDF essays I started creating in the late 1990s. You can also see them in print newsletters from the 1990s.  Below is a screen shot from my page on Pinterest, showing how I've aggregated some of my graphics on that site.

You can also do a web search for "Tutor/Mentor Connection" using Google or another platform, then look at the images feature. Many of the images you'll see were created by myself, or one of the interns who worked with the Tutor/Mentor Connection between 2006 and 2015.  You'll see maps that date back to 1994, created by volunteers and part time paid staff (when money was available for this).

One of the graphics you'll find is the one at the right, created by an intern from South Korea in 2011.  In this article you can see the original version of this graphic, created in the 1990s to visualize the T/MC's goal of connecting a growing number of people to information they could use to help individual tutor/mentor programs grow in all high poverty areas of Chicago, and to help each program constantly innovate better ways to help youth move through school and into adult lives.

On LinkedIn this morning I found a video by Marv Weisbord, a business consultant, that talks about evolution of business problem solving process since early 1900s. In the last eight minutes he talks about "getting everyone in the organization in a room to make a chart on the wall showing everything that has to happen for this system to improve."



He describes a point in the problem solving process where a problem is identified that no one in the room has a solution for.  He says, "They stop the process and ask "Well, who knows?" Then go out to try to find that person."

He concludes the video describing the evolution of group dynamics, or "getting everyone involved to improve the whole" and talking about how important this is in trying to solve some of the complex problems facing the world in coming years.

Read 11/14 article
This is the idea I've been focusing on since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. I use the analogy of the hospital operating room, as the forum with "everybody in the room".  As long as the people doing the operation know all they need to know, they don't need anyone else to join them. However, when a situation arises that they don't have an answer for, someone from the audience can say "I know" and be invited to join the team on the floor. If a question arises that no one in the room can answer, someone can say "I know someone who knows this. I'll bring them into the conversation."

At some point a question arises that has never been asked before. Then someone might say, "I'll do the research, and when I find an answer, I'll bring it to you."

I saw the Tweet below on my Twitter feed.


When Marv Weisbord, or anyone else, talks about "getting everyone in the room" I'm asking, "how do you know who is in the room, or who is missing?" 

One Section of T/MC Library
That should be part of the information we're collecting.  It's part of the knowledge based I've been building since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. Here's one page where I point to network analysis ideas.

In my introduction I wrote that I started creating visualizations because I feel that people who listen to what I say, or read what I write, have a mental picture, based on their own experiences, that may be different than what I'm trying to communicate.

Below is a presentation I created in early 2000 as "No Child Left Behind" was becoming the national education policy of the USA.  It illustrates how people have different mental pictures when the words "tutor and mentor" are used. Creating a shared  understanding is one step toward building solutions and long-term commitment to implementing those solutions.




I have been involved in this work for more than 40 years and have spent part of the past 25 years focusing on ways to get more people involved in helping build and sustain mentor-based youth and workforce development programs in all high poverty areas.

I've built a huge library of ideas.  I've created several hundred visualizations, like this "village" graphic, representing the range of people who I feel "need to be in the room" innovating ways to reach kids in every high poverty neighborhood with a range of actions that help each one move safely and successfully through school and into adult lives.

"It takes a Village to Raise a Child" - who is helping?


In the final portion of his video, Mr. Weisbord talks about "creating images of potential" rather than focusing on what's wrong, and how to fix it.

Maybe my maps and graphics are "images of potential".  What do  you think? 

I've never had enough resources and talent to ask and answer all of the questions that need to be asked, or to mobilize more than a few of "all" who need to be involved.

I'm now looking for a way to share what I've learned in a consulting role, or through partnerships with one or more universities who might carry this work forward in future years.  If you're interested in helping, or having a conversation, just reach out to me with a comment, or by connecting with me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Mother of 2 Gunned Down. Forgotten.

Reading my Chicago Tribune this morning, the article by Rex Huppke, under headline of "Mother of 2 Gunned Down and Forgotten" caught my attention. In the story he wrote about a mother of two small children who was killed last week on the 5600 block of South Michigan Avenue. In the article he also pointed to another article, about a 14-year old boy, killed just a block away, only three weeks earlier. I created the map below to show where these shootings took place:


This map is part of a series of Chicago community area maps that I posted earlier this year, showing the number of high poverty youth, age 6 to 17, living in different parts of the city. According to most recent Heartland Alliance data, there are 1410 youth in this age group, which is 52% of the total youth in the Washington Park community area, located just West of Hyde Park on Chicago's South side. 

I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011. The T/MC has been creating maps like this since 1994, as a strategy to keep attention focused on areas featured in negative news stories, and as a tool leaders could use to understand where non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are most needed in different Chicago neighborhoods, where existing programs are located, and what assets are in the map area who could be helping fill the neighborhood with a wide range of needed youth and family supports.  In 2008 we built an interactive Chicago Program Locator, to enable people to create their own map analysis and stories.

My database is probably not 100% comprehensive, and the Program Locator has not been updated since 2013 due to lack of resources, but it still works for this purpose.  The only organized tutor/mentor program that I show in this area is the Chicago Youth Programs site in the North part of this area near 51st Street.  As far as assets, on the East side of Washington Park is the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Hospital, along with the entire Hyde Park neighborhood.

See my most updated list of programs in this article.

I've posted the graphic at the right multiple times on this blog. Imagine if groups of people in the Hyde Park area were meeting regularly to look at maps like mine, and creating new maps when other shootings take place, so that the people who have been killed and mentally wounded by these shootings are not only remembered, but their memory stimulates actions that lead to more k-12 tutoring, mentoring, learning and jobs programs in Washington Park and other areas surrounding Hyde Park.

I'm not picking on Hyde Park. That just happens to be the biggest resource in the area around Washington Park. If the story had been about a shooting in Austin, such as this one, I'd be talking about Oak Park.

Before I started reading today's Chicago Tribune, I looked at my Twitter feed, and saw this post.



Chance The Rapper has purchased Chicagoist. What will he do with it?

I invite him to dig into stories and ideas I've posted on this blog, and the Mapping for Justice blog, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site, and then put these ideas to work in Chicagoist, and his music.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection has been creating map-stories, and graphics like this one, since 1994, to try to draw more attention, and mobilize more people, to support the growth of youth tutor/mentor programs in areas of Chicago where mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents have been getting shot and killed every day for decades.

In this article, and many other articles I suggest that youth in middle school, high school, and college, and in faith groups, and non-school tutor/mentor programs could be creating similar map stories, following every single shooting or media story about violence, poorly performing schools, gangs and other indicators showing that these neighborhoods need extra help, for many years, to change what's in the news.

At the right is an article that John McCarron of the Chicago Tribune wrote in 1995 about the vision of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. You can see it and many others on this page.

To answer Rex. They don't need to be forgotten.

They won't be if you, Chance the Rapper, and many others duplicate stories I've written for nearly 25 years in your own efforts.

Don't just talk about the tragedy. End your stories by pointing readers to some of the Chicago youth organizations I point to in this article, or the volunteer-opportunity search resources I aggregate on this concept map.

End every story with "get informed. get involved....with time, talent, dollars and votes"

I'd be happy to spend time with anyone talking about what I've been trying to do. I'm on Twittter @tutormentorteam. Also on LinkedIN and Facebook.



Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC Concepts

The India Development Corporation of America (IDCA) invited me to speak at their June 2018 education event and yesterday they sent me the video clip below, showing part of my presentation.



In preparation for this presentation I created some slides. You can see a couple in the video. You can view the entire slide show in the SlideShare below.



I was first introduced to IDCA in the early 2000s by one of the volunteers in the tutor/mentor program I was leading at that time. He was also a member of IDCA. Since then I've spoken at their educationT events every few years.

My goal is that the ideas I share are applied in India and other parts of the US and the world, while some of their members and network also offer time, talent and dollars to help me operate the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

The interactive map, and search  portal, of the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator were both built in the 2000s by volunteers from India. Thus, there's an abundance of talent that could be helping me update these portals now.

from 1990s
Last Tuesday evening I attended the weekly ChiHackNight event at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and as I was eating a snack before the start of the formal presentation, a man came up to me and asked "Are you Tutor/Mentor?"

It turns out that he had  heard my introduction the previous week, then had connected with me on the ChiHackNight slack channel.  He and a group from Northwestern University have been developing an interactive map focused on health issues, so we had some interests in common.

Turns out we had more in common than that. He told me that he was a volunteer in the mid 1990s at the tutor/mentor program I was leading.

More than 4000 adults and 4000 youth (now adults) were part of the tutor/mentor programs I led from 1975 to 2011.  This represents an army of reinforcements who could not only be helping me now, but who could be carrying Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC ideas and strategies to cities throughout the US...and the world over the next 20 years.

I'm excited every time I reconnect with one of these people and every time I have the opportunity to share my ideas with groups like IDCA because they represent badly needed drinks and potential new !eaders.

See more videos at this link.

See  more PDF presentations at this link.

Become a sponsor, contributor and supporter at this link.







Monday, July 16, 2018

Find a Program and Volunteer Time, Talent or Dollars

Every year since 1995 I've pointed people to a list of Chicago area volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs and said "choose one where you can use your time, talent and dollars to make a difference".

Almost every article on this blog focuses on helping well-organized, mentor rich non-school k-12 youth programs reach kids in every high poverty neighborhood.  As we move through July I invite you to browse through past articles written during this time of  year and apply the ideas to helping kids in Chicago and other cities.

Since there is no single master list showing every youth serving organization in Chicago or any other city I created this concept map to point to my lists, and to other sites which also serve as resources for learning about youth organizations in Chicago and other cities.

Take some time to get acquainted with the information, then spend time weekly encouraging others to do the same.

These are some of the kids you'll be helping.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Visualizing complex problems.Making them Local.

I used this graphic in an August 2016 article under the title "Solving Complex Problems. No one Promised EASY".  In that article I pointed to another article that I had posted earlier, under the title "Want to Make a Difference? Spend time in Deeper Learning."

In that article I posted this "How to help the World" graphic.

I've been using visualizations like these for a long time to emphasize the many different things we need to be doing to surround kids and families with a rich support system that helps kids move more safely and successfully through school and into adult lives....with jobs and careers that enable them to live and raise their own kids where ever they want.

In the past few months I've been following the promotion on social media of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  Look at the graphic below. It's also a "table" of issues and goals, with a target of 2030 for meeting them.


One thing I like about the way this information is presented is, if you click on this link, you see that for each goal there is a page full of information, that provides a wealth of additional links and resources.   Now, visit this page and see how I've combined the SDGs chart with my "race-poverty" concept map. I used Thinglink to point to the different sections on my concept map.

Now take a look at this map, which can be seen in a report titled "Leaving No US City Behind" which shows progress (or lack of) made by each of the 100 largest cities in the US toward achieving the UN goals.  Chicago is 71st on this list. No city is doing really great.


These 100 metro areas represent 210 million people, or 66% of the US population. All of the ideas on this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site, focus on Chicago, and similar cities. In total, US cities represent 85% of the population. We must find ways to make them work better.


With the graphics above I'm trying to show that in every city we need to understand and address all of the problems shown on the SDG chart and my race-poverty map, concurrently, not one at a time. To do this we need to redesign how non profits and social enterprises are funded, as well as how we get people engaged and keep their interest and involvement for many years.

Web sites that aggregate information can be useful libraries that anyone can draw from to better  understand different parts of complex systems and to see how each problem is being addressed in different places, and might be applied in any local area.

Gathering people together to look at this information, read, reflect and discuss it, etc., is a role many in any community can take.

That leads me to this graphic which I included in an article that I posted last Sunday after the violence protest march on Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway.

What I'm suggesting is that planning and community organizing to solve these problems needs to be a local-global process. The Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I lead,  created an interactive, map-based Tutor/Mentor Program Locator in 2008 that enables people to build maps showing indicators of need (poverty, poorly performing schools, existing tutor mentor programs, assets who could be helping programs grow (banks, faith groups, colleges, hospitals, etc) and political districts.

Using interactive platforms like the Program Locator*, maps like I'm showing can be created, showing an area as small as a few blocks, and showing some of the stakeholders who need to be connecting and looking at all of this information.

At some point someone should be able to create a map with icons on different neighborhoods, indicating that planning groups are meeting, learning and using this information to address issues specific to each different neighborhood.

If such information is on an interactive platform, with links to each group, any group can connect and learn from any other group.

Billionaires and others blessed by wealth might even be persuaded to provide the on-going, flexible operating dollars each planning group and neighborhood network needs to do the learning, planning and program development needed over a 10 or 20 year period to meet the UN goals by 2030.

Wishful thinking? Maybe. But the rescue of the 12 kids from a cave in Thailand shows that if we put our imagination to solving a problem, it's possible.

The alternatives are not so good.

* Due to my own bad luck and lack of resources the Program Locator has not been updated since 2013. However, it still can be used to create map views illustrating the type of problem solving I'm suggesting.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

After #Dan Ryan March - Do the Planning

Last week when I first read about the protest march being organized for yesterday, shutting down a portion of Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway, I posted this article, saying "Don't drive by poverty. Get involved."

Yesterday and today I'm seeing stories about the march in local and  national media. One Twitter writer posted "what's next?"

In reading about the march in today's Chicago Tribune I saw a sub head saying "Enough is Enough".  I've been using that phrase in articles on this blog for more than 10 years, as steps people could take to follow up on events like this.

If people just looked at those articles and took those steps, I'd be happy, and would write no more. However, I want to offer some more information.

First, Father Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago, has been a huge voice for anti violence and anti-poverty programs for at least 20 years. I've tried to connect with him but with no luck.  So, today, I created the maps below.

This map shows the location of St. Sabina Church, on Chicago's South Side, on 79th Street, just West of the Dan Ryan.  I created the map using the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which enables me to zoom in and add layers of information. I added poverty, poorly performing public schools, Catholic Churches and existing tutor/mentor programs.

Note. The information on the Program Locator has not been updated since 2010 due to my lack of talent and funds.

see report
This second map was also created using the Program Locator. The  yellow boxes show number of high poverty youth, age 6-17, living in each Chicago community area, based on 2011 information. The blue boxes show the same information, based on newer information, provided in 2018 by the Heartland Alliance.

St. Sabina is surrounded by Englewood (2549 kids), Greater Grand Crossing (2585 kids) and Aburn Gresham (2765) kids. That's a total of 7,899 kids who would benefit if well organized tutor/mentor programs were in this area. However, that's a decline from 2011, when there were 11,333 high poverty kids in this area. 

My maps also show how the Dan Ryan Expressway cuts through this area, bringing people to and through the LOOP from affluent areas in the South Suburbs. Doing a march on the Dan Ryan can draw attention. Putting a virtual sign saying "Visit my web site. Get involved" can do even more. All of these people could be part of an on-going effort to help change what's happening in high poverty areas of Chicago.

Next:  Do the planning. Follow process shown on this map:

Open map at this link

I've been encouraging faith leaders in others throughout Chicago, and in other cities, to duplicate what the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC has been doing since 1993 to help tutor/mentor programs grow in all high poverty areas of Chicago.  While I focus on the entire Chicago region, others could focus on smaller areas, such as the community areas surrounding St. Sabina Church.

This concept map shows a process that repeats year after year, with more people involved, and by learning from actions taken, and from what others are doing to solve the same problem in different places.

If someone in the map area that includes St. Sabina had been doing this since 1994 the map should show many green stars, showing a range of programs helping kids through school and into jobs.

That's not the case in 2018.

I visited the St. Sabina web site today to see what type of information it was sharing that marchers, and those interested in getting involved because of media attention,  could use to get informed and involved.  Other than pointing to programs St. Sabina operates, I don't see links to other resources or other youth programs in Chicago. I don't see geographic maps, or concept maps, like you see in many articles on my blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site. 

I'm not intentionally picking on St. Sabina. I don't see very many other organizations duplicating the information sharing that I do.

Here's another map from my library of concept maps (which is freely available to anyone)  On the left side of the map I show a section of the Tutor/Mentor web library, which points to articles and research showing the root causes and history of poverty, inequality, racism and violence in America.  On the right I show some other maps with additional information that planners might use.  Click on the small box at the bottom of each node and go to other maps, or to sections of the web library.

I've been trying to motivate faith leaders (and others) to adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy since the mid 1990s, with little success. Here's a pdf presentation where I outline what actions every faith group in the region could be taking every week.  Visit this page and see outlines of strategies others could take.

One simple action would be to put links on a church, synagogue or mosque web site to the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site and this blog.  Another would be to form a team that helps me collect information about existing youth tutor or mentor programs in different parts of the Chicago region. Just visiting this list to see if the links work and if programs still exist would be a valuable service.

Here's an example of information in the library that Fr. Pfleger might point people to. 


On the top of this graphic is a "race poverty" concept map that I created to show the many different challenges people living in high poverty areas face.  On the bottom is a graphic showing 17 United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.  Goal number 1 is "eliminate poverty".  See both in this article.

Now most people might think the UN goals are only focused at poor countries in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.  That's where you are wrong.



Yesterday I read a 2018 report titled "Leaving No US City Behind", showing how well the largest 100 US cities are doing in reaching the UN goals by 2030.  This is one of the maps showing the cities, with color codes showing how they rank. 

Chicago is 71st.

I think that Fr. Pfleger and other faith leaders, and the Mayor, could point to this report from their web sites and create discussions that engage their communities in improving this standing.

Imagine if this were the focus of the Mayor's Summer Reading Program.

As I read the report I used the Hypothes.is annotation tool to annotate and highlight sections of the report, and to add comments in the margins showing how work I've been doing tries to mobilize people to help solve these problems in Chicago and other cities. I also added it to my web library.

Others can do the same.  In fact, until more people build web libraries like mine, then draw others together to read, reflect and discuss the information, and use maps to focus attention and resources to specific areas, not much will change and the violence will continue.

Faith leaders have been doing what I'm suggesting for a couple thousand years as they point people to different religious texts and encourage discussion and reflection. I think they just need to add some other reading materials to their web sites, pointing to the SDGs and my own "race poverty" links, and then encourage people to read a little every week, then gather together in big and small groups, to discuss and act on what they are reading.

Don't wait. The problems we face can get worse.