Saturday, September 29, 2018

Use information in Tutor/Mentor web library to support involvement

I've been using concept maps as a form of blueprints since 2005. Prior to that I was using power point and other desk top publishing to communicate ideas and strategies that I've been developing and sharing since launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993.

Here's one that shows how the information I've been collecting is intended to be used by others.  View this map here.

Information flow - cmap

Now here's the same map. I posted it on an article in 2016 and Terry Elliott, who I met through the Connected Learning MOOC added comments to it, using his blog article.  In this follow up article, which I titled "Build with Me" I added new comments to the graphic that Terry had put on his blog.



The visuals that I've been creating are intended to influence what non-profit youth organizations and for profit businesses and resource providers do to help make youth support systems available in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago, its suburbs, and other cities, and constantly support them so more k-12 kids go through them and into college then jobs, over a 20 year period of continuous support.

I've posted concept maps in dozens of articles. You can scroll through them by clicking this link.

Building teams - cmap
My vision is that teams of volunteers/staff/students from many places, including businesses, would be looking at my graphics the same way Terry Elliott, Kevin Hodgson and others in the #clmooc group have been.

For instance, here's an article that focuses on workforce development which uses some of my concept maps. 

What does this graphic mean to you, your company and/or your community? What does the knowledge flow graphic mean?

Create your own version and share it with me and others.

If you feel this article has value, click here and add your financial support to help me keep writing articles like this.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Connecting with IWU on LinkedIN

Scrolling through my Linkedin groups today and opened this Illinois Wesleyan University alumni group and saw that no posts had been made in quite a long time. So I decided to enter one.

I graduated from IWU in 1968, so this is my 50th anniversary. In August 2001 Minor Myers, Jr . who was President of IWU at that time, called me and asked if I'd come down to IWU in early September. He said they wanted to honor the work I'd been doing with inner city kids. That turned out to be an honorary PHD. You can see me in my robe in the montage of other awards and recognition I've received over the past 50 years.

While I started leading a Chicago tutor/mentor program in 1975 and informally started drawing program leaders together for idea sharing and relationship building, i formally started my network building in 1993 when I formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Since then, I've been trying to build a network of business, education and professional leaders who work to make well-organized, on-going, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs available to k-12 youth in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities. What I find is that while many people support individual programs, or well known programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, few are looking at poverty maps and asking "how do we make the talent and resources available so that we fill more of these poverty areas with great programs?"

Furthermore, how do we help programs learn from each other so they are borrowing ideas that help them become great, then stay that way for many years as kids join their programs, then move through school and into adult lives and jobs, perhaps with IWU a stop along the way?

If any of you are part of tutor/mentor programs, as alumni, volunteers, donors, board members, researchers, etc. I hope you'll introduce yourself and read some of the ideas I've been sharing on this blog, the MappingforJustice blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site

I'm not attending homecoming and my 50th reunion because I've not been able to raise money to pay myself, or the costs of the work i'm doing, since 2011. Thus, driving from the Chicago area to Bloomington, Il.  and getting a hotel room, is an expense beyond my budget.

That does not prevent me from connecting with IWU and it's alumni via forums like the IWU group on LinkedIN, or on Twitter or Facebook. Let's connect if this is something you're interested in.

If you want to help me pay the bills, just visit this page and make a contribution.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Expanding Networks. Deeper Learning.

If you skim through some of the many blog articles I've posted since 2005 you'll find many graphics used to visualize and communicate complex ideas.  I'm not certain how effective this is, but I feel a picture can do more than several pages of words.

Below is a graphic I'm working on.  I'm going to include it in my monthly eMail newsletter.


I use a "wheel" graphic to visualize the need for youth to be connected to volunteers from many work/career backgrounds who can model different opportunities and open doors as kids grow older. As volunteers from different industries get involved in a program, many informally share what they are learning with people in the work/social networks.

The second graphic is visualizing a strategy intended to draw more people to the information available in the Tutor/Mentor web library and on the web sites of the various youth programs and researchers that I point to. Each person involved with a tutor/mentor program formally, or informally, can be telling others about their experiences and recruiting others to take a role.

The maps are intended to show a need for great tutor/mentor programs in every high poverty area of the city, not just in a few places.


Imagine this photo from a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference as a gathering of your volunteers, where they are sharing ideas for being an effective tutor and/or mentor, or for helping find resources to support your organization.

I'm sure this is happening in many places. But are you writing about it on your blog or web site? Are you pointing to a library of articles for people to read?

Here's a page on the Cluster Tutoring Program web site, where they point to articles their volunteers can read.  Look through the list of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs that I host. How many do you find that share information like this?

It would be great if people who read my blog actually looked at these programs, then posted comments telling about programs who are sharing information like Cluster Tutoring does.  

As volunteers from different industries get involved in programs like this, many informally share what they are learning with people in the work/social networks.

View video
I've described this as an "adult service-learning" process. In on-going programs it repeats every week and the longer a volunteer is involved the more he/she has to share with other people who might also become involved.

How can we make this intentional? Are there ways to motivate some volunteers, and students, to take this role, and use social media and face-to-face interactions to draw more people to our libraries of information, help them understand it, and help them use what they learn in one or more ways that helps a tutor/mentor program help kids move more successfully through school?

Why is this so important?

Birth to work challenges

While making mentor-rich non-school programs available in more places is critically important, the challenges facing kids and families in high poverty, highly segregated, neighborhoods of Chicago go beyond schools, education and mentoring.

I created the cMap at the left to show what some of these challenges are.  Each needs a movement of people who dig deeper into the issue and look for solutions which they apply in many, many places, for many years. 

Unless we dramatically increase the number of people focusing on these problems we'll never do enough to assure that more kids born in poverty are living adult lives free of those challenges.

The service-learning loop video that I point to above was created by an intern from South Korea. I originally communicated this idea in this PDF essay.  Between 2005 and 2015 many interns spent time looking at my blog articles and graphics, then created their own interpretation.

I invite others to do the same. Try creating your own version of the graphic I posted at the top of this article. I'm certain that many could communicate these ideas better than I do.  Or they can reach more people than I do.  Give it a try.

Want to help me? Visit my FUND ME page and send a contribution to help me keep doing this work.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Learning from Others. 25 Year Goal of Tutor/Mentor Connection

My mentoring email group today included a message from Graig Meyer, who led the Blue Ribbon Mentoring Program in North Carolina for 16 years. Graig and George Noblit have written a book,  titled "More than a Mentoring Program" and used the email to introduce it to the research community. He also pointed to a series of videos and podcast interviews. Below is one of the videos.



Here's what Graig wrote about the book:

"My hope is that this can act as a guide for both practitioners and researchers. I believe that the field of mentoring needs more examples of effective programs, and we were able to build a model that did some interesting things:

-Support youth beginning in 4th grade and until they completed college
-Provide community based mentoring while being embedded in a school system
-Utilize volunteer mentors and keep costs low
-Attain a 97.5% high school graduation rate and send 100% of those students on to post-secondary education

Perhaps more importantly, we tried to use our program to create leverage for attacking institutionalized racism within our local school system. In the book, we explore Blue Ribbon's anti-racist approach through a wide variety of stories, many of which should be familiar to anyone who is working at the intersection of mentoring and education."


I've had a link to Blue Ribon Mentoring and hundreds of other  youth programs in Chicago and around the USA in my web library since late 1990s, with the goal that people would learn from each other as way to constantly improve every program, and that new start ups would borrow from others to shorten their journey to becoming a great program.

Furthermore, my goal has been that donors, business leaders and policy makers would be learning from the same resource, and using the information to be more proactive in helping great programs grow in more of the places where they are most needed.

However, what really interested me about Graig's post is the effort the program made to attack institutional racism within the local school system.

I've created dozens of visualizations and concept maps that encourage people to dig deeper into all of the issues that influence the lives of people living in high poverty areas.  Furthermore, in my leadership of a single tutor/mentor program between 1993 and 2011 I attempted to share the research in the Tutor/Mentor web library with volunteers so they would dig deeper and get more involved in helping reduce the institutional barriers and other challenges that kids and families face.

I don't know how many programs do this as a strategic part of their program design. I can't tell very well from looking at program web sites.  Below is a concept map showing an ideal "volunteer growth cycle".

View in this article
In this video you can see an animation created by an intern in the late 2000s to explain this.  I've annotated it to highlight some features and to demonstrate a way others can engage with videos like mine. I hope you'll take a look.

Every year there are 50,000 to 100,000 volunteers working with high poverty youth. If every supporting organization were doing what Blue Ribbon Mentoring was doing imagine how many more people would be giving time, talent, dollars, leadership, votes and other support to help such programs reach k-12 youth in more places, and help these kids move more safely through school and into adult lives.

If you're doing this, share your links.

If you value the ideas I'm sharing please visit my FUND ME page and make a contribution.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

#Never Forget

This being the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, my Twitter feed is full of powerful, emotional, and motivating posts. Some use the #NeverForget tag. Not all focus on the 9/11 tragedy. Some focus on other tragedies, including US interventions around the world that have resulted in the loss of life and unimaginable suffering of millions of people. 

We are not alone in our suffering and our memories.  I encourage you to click on the link and scroll through some of the comments.

ChicagoSunTimes 10-1992
This Chicago SunTimes front page, from October 1992, is my own #NeverForget message. As with many other times before then, and since then, the editorial writers were eloquent in saying "it's everyone's responsibility" to solve this problem.

Unfortunately, that never was sustained.  Other than a few days, to a year, of editorial indignation, these headlines did little to bring people together, develop solutions to complex problems, and generate an on-going flow of talent and dollars into every high poverty neighborhood, and to all of the organizations needing those resources to help kids and families overcome poverty.

Furthermore, few news stories about urban violence, or poorly performing schools, pointed readers to a library of articles that showed the institutional racism that has existed in America since before the Declaration of Independence, and which has continued up until today.

View map
In one section of the Tutor/Mentor web library, which I show in this concept map, I point to many articles that point out these injustices.

Thus, when I say #Never Forget, I'm reminding you of Dantrell Davis and calling on you to do your homework to learn more about the problems we face and more about ways you can use your time, talent, dollars, votes and voice to bring about solutions.



Here's one more reminder, from today's ChicagoSunTimes.  It's a story of three innocent people killed by gun violence in Chicago.  If you click on the image and enlarge it you can see that I drew a red line around the last paragraphs of the story, then wrote that text in the yellow highlighted box.  It's a quote from the father of one of these three victims. He said,

"This has been going on for 20 or 30 years, and has been evolving. The teens and young adults caught up in the cycle of violence need additional funding for education and jobs programs to get them off the streets.”

“I haven't seen anyone with that kind of leadership. I don't have a lot of hope."


Share this with others.
I've been trying to draw people to a growing information library that people could use to build and sustain these types of  youth development, tutor, mentor and jobs programs. Too few have seen these stories or chosen to respond.

Share my articles with people you know and you become part of the solution.

Visit my FUND ME page, and make a contribution, and you help me continue to keep the memory of Dantrell Davis and others like him alive through my on-going efforts.

Scroll through articles I wrote during the second week of September,  in past years, to see other ways I've remembered this tragedy.

Monday, September 10, 2018

You get up every day and do what you can with what you have

Today I've been looking at articles I posted on this blog in September of past years and am sharing these via my @tutormentorteam feed on Twitter.  Here's an example.


I started building an information library that others could use to build and sustain mentor-rich, non-school programs, in 1993 when we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection.  In 1998 I began putting this on the Internet, dramatically expanding the range of information I could point to and the number of people who could find and use it.

Using this library, and the list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs that was part of the library, I began to invite people to gather in Chicago in May and November for networking conferences.  I continued doing that until 2015 when I no longer was able to raise enough money to fund these (I'm still paying of credit card debt from hosting these in the past), so I've not hosted a conference since.

I posted this article on Friday, asking for contributions to my FUND ME campaign, to help me pay the costs of keeping Tutor/Mentor Connection resources on line, and keeping my own bills paid. Thus, I've had fewer resources to attract people to the information I've been collecting.

Yet I've continued to work daily, using social media, Skype and face-to-face events (that don't charge a fee), to connect with others who share my concern for the well-being of youth born or living in high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

When we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 we developed a four-part strategy to help programs grow in more places. While step 1 focused on gathering information and step 3 focused on helping people understand the information, step 2 focused on getting more people to visit the library, conferences, etc. and step 4 focused on motivating people to use what they learn in on-going actions that help tutor/mentor programs grow in more places.

I'm still doing what I can to collect and share this information with others who have greater ability to use it effectively. I continue to see financial support, but also seek partnership with universities, hospitals and public schools who could create a Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy within their own organization, focused on the geography surrounding where they are located.

Can you help me do this?  

One no-cost way is for you to look at past articles, just as I do, and then post them, with your comments, on various social media channels, or in your church bulletin, company or school newsletter, or on your blog. Here's another example to guide your own efforts.



That's the way a movement grows.



Thursday, September 06, 2018

Can you help Fund the Work I'm Doing?

Below is a screen shot from an updated FUND ME page that I posted on my web site today. The one I had been using has not been attracting contributions, so I thought I'd try a new look.


Since 2011 when I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to keep the Tutor/Mentor Connection (founded in 1993) operating in Chicago I've been operating at a loss and self funding the deficit from my own savings. I've not drawn a salary so my only income has been Social Security.

You can see that this is not a very smart business, or personal well-being,  move on my part. Yet I am deeply committed to building an information base that others use to become more strategic and on-going in what they do to help kids living in poverty connect with volunteers in organized tutor/mentor programs, that help them move more successfully through school and into adult lives.

So, if you've been reading this blog, or are one of the people who has said "Thank you, Dan" for what I'm doing, now I'm asking you to reach into your pocket and send a contribution to help me keep doing this.

Here's the link to the full page with a PayPal button.  http://www.tutormentorconference.org/2018_Fund_TMC_TMI_Campaign.htm

I am not organized as a 501-c-3 non  profit, so cannot offer a tax deduction for your contribution. I can promise to use the money to continue to do all that you see on my blogs and web sites and social media sites.  If I'm lucky enough to find a major benefactor ($300k or more) I'll actually update all of my platforms, get the Program Locator working properly and do even more to try to help youth tutor/mentor programs grow in Chicago and other cities.

If you want to dig deep and really understand what I've been trying to do, what the current challenges are, and what some opportunities are that I've never been able to develop, visit this wiki and read through all the sections.

Monday, September 03, 2018

The Day after Labor Day - Network Building Continues

 I did not stop working on Labor Day. I continued to reach out via social media to people in Chicago and around the world who are concerned with the well-being of people and the planet.  I've been building a web library that points to some of these people since 1993 and spend time every day trying to connect them to each other and to myself, while increasing attention and support for everyone in the network.

Here are two Slideshare presentations that show what I've been trying to do.

This one focuses on the process of network building



This one shows role of intermediaries, consultants and others who could be doing the same as I'm doing, or helping me do it.



These are just two of 46 presentations I've placed on Slideshare since 2011.  I started creating visual presentations in the late 1990s to explain work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection and the youth tutor/mentor program I was leading.

In 1998 we created the www.tutormentorexchange.net web site and I started putting the PDFs on line.  Now in the Library page on the site you can see a long list of presentations, including some I've place on Scribd.com as well as on Slideshare.

Read about this - here

Between 2006 and 2015 interns who worked with me in Chicago created many new versions of articles that I first launched as PDF essays and/or blog articles. My hope is that students and volunteers from many places will continue this work, as part of their own effort to expand the network and help other people get strategically involved.

I've used many visualizations over the past 20 years to communicate ideas. Some I've embedded in presentations. Others in blog articles. I've put some of those on Pinterest. Others can be found by doing a Google search for "tutor mentor" than adding any of the words from the column of tags on the left side of this blog. Once you do the search, look at the images. You'll find many of mine.



Of course, to keep doing this work I must find a sponsor, benefactor and/or a whole lot of people willing to make small contributions to fund me.

If you're one of those people, visit this page and use the PayPal to send a contribution.