Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Follow up to #ChicagoIdeas, #ToAndThrough, and more

Yesterday I attended one of the Chicago Ideas Week events, titled "2 Miles, 16 Years: Chicago's Death Gap is a Crisis".  Below is a Twitter post that shows the map shared at the start of the panel discussion, to show how where you live makes a huge difference in how long, and how well, you live.

This is a map showing far Chicago's West side neighborhoods. As I listened to the presentation I said to myself, with considerable frustration, "they are preaching to the choir" and "why have I not been able to get into these conversations at the planning stage?"

I Tweeted out a string of post during and after the presentation, attempting to connect participants with information and ideas I've been sharing for the past 25 years. Here's one Tweet:

Since this discussion focused on Chicago's West side, I want to call your attention to a few maps I posted in recent stories, that also focused on the West side.  Here's one:

Chicago West side
This map shows non-school tutor and/or mentor programs on the West side. It's part of this article, where I point to roles hospitals and universities could be taking to help give kids greater hope and opportunity, by helping well organized,  long-term, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs reach k-12 youth throughout the map area.

Mt Sinai Hospital - Chicago West side
Here's an article I wrote in 2008, focusing on roles that Mt. Sinai Hospital could be taking to help youth tutor/mentor programs grow in the area served by the hospital.  I've had conversations with various staff from Mt. Sinai since the late 1990s, but never have been able to forge anything strategic that would have helped them implement the strategies I've been sharing.

Below is a concept map that I created in December 2017, to point to various public  health networks and resources that I've been pointing to since late 1990s.  One of these is the Hospital Youth Mentoring Network, that operated from the late 1980s until the early 2000s.

Open concept map in this article, then click on links

T/MC 2001 newsletter
In this Feb/March 2001 Tutor/Mentor Connection newsletter you can see a photo at the top of the page, showing how members of the Hospital Youth Mentoring Network participated in one of the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences that I held in Chicago from May 1994 to May 2015.

Prior to starting this blog in 2005, I  used email newsletters, and web sites, to share ideas and strategies. Prior to that I was able to send a printed newsletter to about 12,000 people three times a  year, from 1996 to 2002. When funding ran out I had to discontinue this. 

Finally, here's a map story from 1997.

This shows all of the strategies I've been trying to incorporate into our map stories for more than 20 years.  

It follows a feature story in the Chicago Tribune. Thus, reader attention had already been built. We just needed to tell "the rest of the story."

Using donated ESRI software we were able to create a map showing the location of the school featured in the news article, which was located on Chicago's West side. In that map we showed indicators, such as poverty, which contribute to failing schools.

We wrote a story to go with the map.

We built a list of youth tutor and/or mentor programs located in the area. We also built a list of assets, businesses, hospitals, faith groups, colleges, etc. who could be helping youth tutor/mentor programs grow in the area.

In 2008 I received a generous donation of $50,000 which we used to rebuild out desk top mapping capacity, then to build an interactive map directory that people could use to create their own map stories.  In this wiki page you can see what this was intended to do.

Map views created using Program Locator
Unfortunately, we had almost no money to share these map stories or to keep updating the Program Locator. We put some in our printed newsletters, but the reach was limited. The Program Locator has not been working properly since 2013.

Yet, this is still the strategy I've been following for 25 years and which I share with the goal that students in high schools and colleges, and in existing youth programs, will duplicate my efforts and create map stories focusing on their own neighborhoods or adopted sections of the city.

Open tabs for media, maps, violence and public health on this blog, and then browse articles on this blog, and on the MappingforJustice blog to find many examples of this strategy in action.

Almost every week there is a group of people meeting some place in Chicago, or in other cities, to talk about poverty, violence, inequality, etc.  Last week it was the Chicago To & Through Project annual meeting, held in Chicago.   I can only attend a small number of these, and even if I'm in the room I'm barely able to have a conversation with the one or two people sitting next to me.

Are participants sharing info from events?
The only way to connect such a large ecosystem of people and ideas is through the Internet and platforms like Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.

Yet, if organizers of these events created a network analysis map of their events to see who is engaging on one of these platforms, they'd find that it's only a very small percent of the total.

Among all of the other challenges, this is one more that needs to be addressed.

Here's one more. I'm starved for money pay my bills and keep writing this blog and hosting my library on line. If you value what I'm writing about you can help me in three ways.

1) visit my FundME page and send a contribution; or become a sponsor of one of my sites;

b) add me to your staff as a consultant, and on a retainer, then use me as a resource to help you understand all that I've been collecting and sharing;

c) share my articles with people in your network

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Visit Tutor/Mentor Video Library

I'm not a professional video producer but with help of volunteers and interns and emerging technologies I've created a library of videos that share ideas from my 35 years of leading a single tutor/mentor program in Chicago, and helping similar programs grow in all high poverty areas of the city. Here's one.

I created this Tutor/Mentor Videos page several years ago to show the full collection of videos that I and interns have created since early 2000s.

As you look at my videos and the layout of the collection I'm sure many will say "I can do that better".  

Yes you can!  

I invite others to create their own versions, just as interns working with me have done. I invite people to offer their time and talent to rebuild the video theater page. And I invite people to send dollars to my FUNDME page to help me keep doing this work.

If you'd like to have your name/logo put on my web sites, pdf presentations and videos, become a sponsor/partner. Let's talk.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Building non-school support systems for kids in poverty

Click photos to enlarge
I'm going to share some graphics in this article. At the end, if you believe in what I do, I hope you'll help me.

The kids shown at the left, and the adult, were part of the Cabrini Connections program I started in 1993 and led until mid 2011. The kids were in 7th and 8th grade at the time this picture was taken in 1994 or 1995. The adult is Claucia Crilly Bellucci, who started as a volunteer in the 1980s and became one of the first paid staff members of Cabrini Connections in the fall of 1993. 

At the right I'm shown with one of the kids in the photo on the left, when she came back in the late 2000s, after college, to speak at our year-end dinner. I'm connected to her, Claudia and many of these kids on Facebook.  I'm still connected to the boy I was first matched with in 1973! He's on Facebook, too.

Long-term relationships and support systems. That's the goal.

My experiences leading a single tutor/mentor program, starting in 1975, led me to a belief that these programs are a form of social capital, connecting inner city kids with people, experiences and opportunities beyond what is modeled in their neighborhoods. Such programs need to be in many places, led by highly motivated people, and consistently funded, if they are to build and sustain long-term involvement of youth and volunteers.

The school day has three time frames. Kids need support in each of these time frames. The third time frame, in the early evening hours, right after work, is when workplace volunteers are more consistently available and able to make long-term commitments.

That leads me to this next graphic.

click to enlarge
I've posted a number of sports-themed articles showing that it takes a team of fans, investors, coaches, players, trainers, sports companies, etc. to build and sustain great football, baseball, basketball and/or soccer teams.  It takes the same range of support to  help each tutor/mentor program in the city become great at what they do.

The graphic at the right illustrates the football team. The graphic at the right illustrates the need for teams of support helping great tutor/mentor programs reach kids in every high poverty neighborhood, with support that starts early and continues through high school, college or vocational school, or the military, and into jobs and careers.

Mentoring Kids to Careers
Below these two graphics is a first grade to first job timeline, showing some of the age appropriate supports kids need at each age level as they grow up.     The concept map at the right shows these supports in a different format.

Actually the support that kids and families need is far greater than what I show on this map. Open this concept map and see many other issues that need to be addressed in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities.

Look beneath the surface

Are you still with me?  

Now look at this "iceberg" graphic. I wrote about it here.  The part above the water is what you see when you look at a photo of a youth and volunteer connecting at a tutor/mentor program, or in an enrichment outing.

What you don't see is what's below the water line. This is the program infrastructure that helps great programs become great. It's the same infrastructure that helps great sports teams become great, or that helps great businesses grow.

I used the word "great" five times in that paragraph. That's because I keep emphasizing the need for well-organized, well-funded, long-term, mentor-rich programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago, it's suburbs, and other cities around the country....and in rural areas and on reservations, too!  They all need to be great, or at least trying to be great!

Read - Logic Model
So here's the logic model that I'm talking about.

If you believe that connecting kids with extra adults and expanded learning opportunities is a good thing, then you need to accept that well-organized youth tutor, mentor and learning programs are going to be needed to help those connections begin, and last, for many years.

If you accept this as truth, and look at a map of Chicago, and the number of high poverty youth in the city alone (over 200,000), then you need to accept that many great programs are needed, and they are needed in every high poverty community area.

Dig into strategy map
Many leaders need to share this commitment.

If you are willing to work to help build the infrastructure needed to make great tutor/mentor programs available throughout the city, spend time looking through this concept map. Then create a version, putting your photo and/or company logo, in the blue box, and put it on your web site or blog, signalling your commitment to the goals and the strategy.

I've been sharing this message, along with a library or resources, and list of existing programs operating in Chicago, since 1994.  Yet, I find almost no leaders using a collection of graphics similar to those I've put into this article, to share their own commitment to this same goal.

Ideas bursting in air!
I launch my ideas on blog articles every week, then spread them, like fireworks via social media. As you and others pass them on in your own feeds, we reach more people, and maybe convince some to take on leadership roles in this effort.  Such leaders can be from any city in the USA, or from other parts of the world!

Learn more.

I encourage you to read more of my past blog articles. Or browse sections of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site to build a deeper understanding, and commitment to what I'm writing about.

Subscribe to monthly e-mail newsletter - see exampleClick here to sign up.

Thank you for reading this entire article.
For me to continue to do this I need your financial support. Visit my FUNDME page and send a small, or large, contribution.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Celebrate. Reflect. Indigenous Peoples Day

In many places school is out and people are celebrating the Columbus Day Holiday. However, in a growing number of other places, the name of this holiday has been changed to Indigenous Peoples Day, to recognize that America was already full of people with a rich civilization before settlers from Europe invaded the continent and took their land.

Here's one of many Tweets with links to articles that I invite others to read and reflect on:

Here's a Tweet with a map showing cities that are changing from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day

Here are some hashtags you can use to find more Tweets and links.  #indigenouspeoplesday#IndigenousPeoplesDay2018  You can do a Google search and find many articles and resources. Here's a site with many links embedded.

resource links
I've been working with inner-city youth in Chicago since 1975. Since most of those in the programs I've led were African American and Latino youth my web library has tended to include many more articles that show how actions taken from the 1600's through today have created the racial barriers and cultural divide we're struggling with in this country. 

The cMap at the left points to one sub-section of the Tutor/Mentor web library. This section includes articles about race, poverty, inequality, social justice, prevention, etc. that are available to anyone who wants to build a deeper understanding of these issues. 

If someone is building a similar library, focusing on other US cities or the rest of the world, or focusing on Indigenous Peoples or Latino, Asian and other minority groups who have been discriminated against by the majority in America, send me links and I'll add them to my own library.

Note: I depend on contributions to help fund my work. Please visit my FundMe page and help if you can.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Use time, talent, dollars to help youth

Below is a graphic I created to show ways I've been trying to draw attention to youth tutor and/or mentoring programs operating in the Chicago region.
Browse this list of Chicago programs. Create your own graphics.
This is actually a montage of three different graphics that I shared on Twitter and Facebook several times over the past year.

Below is another graphic, visualizing my role as an intermediary, connecting people who can help with tutor/mentor programs in places where extra help is needed.

The list of "who can help" includes almost everyone.  With so much daily attention focused on national and local politics, international issues, natural disasters, along with sports and entertainment, it's important to keep in mind that kids take 20 to 25 years to grow from birth to work, which they do one day at a time!

That means that programs giving these kids extra support need to be in place in every high poverty neighborhood and they need consistent support from volunteers, donors and the public, to sustain and constantly improve their efforts.

View photos from conferences

This photo visualizes my efforts since 1975 to get people involved in youth tutor/mentor programs, and to get people to talk to each other about ways we can make great programs available to youth in more places, and what "great" really means.

If you look at the list of tags on the left side of this blog, imagine each as a topic of an on-going conversation involving people from many sectors, many places, and many cities.

I just don't see enough of this happening, with maps and concept maps serving as guides to where programs are most needed and what program designs and support systems need to look like.

You're welcome to use my articles as thought starters in any conversation.  You're welcome to create your own versions of my graphics.  You're encouraged to duplicate my efforts, to help kids in the Chicago region, or kids in other places.

Visit my FundMe page
Finally, you're invited to provide small (or large) contributions to help FUND ME so I can continue to do this work, and do it better.

That means you're also invited to become a partner and not only help me, but build your own knowledge so  you can take on this role in future years, and /or in other places.

If you're doing this work on a daily basis, as I am, or want to learn how, let's connect on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIN.