Sunday, January 20, 2019

How I'll Honor ML King Jr. Holiday

I'll be at my computer tomorrow, just as I am today. I'm making an effort to connect people who can help with information and ideas they can use to help bridge the divides in America, to create greater opportunity for all.  I think I can have a greater impact by doing this, than by any service project that I might do.

I've been working on this post for a few days. I hope people will find time to read it tomorrow, or in the next few days.

Last Thursday I attended the Chicago Opportunity Zones event held at the new Malcolm X College in Chicago. I joined with a few others using Twitter to share what I was hearing, so visit  #LiveatUrban and scroll through the Tweets to learn more about the Opportunity Zones (Called "O-Zones" by one speaker. A term I use often below.)

The final speaker was the new President of The Chicago Community Trust, who in the Tweet I've posted below said “Now is the time of action. We can't let perfect be the enemy of good.”


To me, part of those actions is doing the research and learning, to identify places where people need help, and to offer time, talent, dollars and other types of support to organizations and businesses in those areas.

One panel was moderated by Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago. In his remarks, he said, “The biggest thing we have to do when we leave this room is form the partnerships and connections to get to work.”


Since 1993 I've been trying using maps to help people form those "partnerships and connections". Maps can be used to focus attention on places where people in Chicago need extra help, so the first thing that came to my mind was “What neighborhoods are affected?” And, “What indicators were used to show these areas need this government supported capital investment?”

My friend Dan Isherwood, one of the co-founders of Urban Initiatives back in the early 2000s, looked up the info and sent me a link to this map from the City of Chicago web site. I created a short link that I could share easily. https://tinyurl.com/Chi-O-ZoneMap

Then I created a series of maps which I've posted below.

The Opportunity Zone map is shown at the right in the following graphics. In the first map I've used a demographics mapping site  to show Chicago. The green color shows areas with a high density of African Americans. By comparing the O-Zone map with the one on the right, you can see that the Opportunity Zones are targeted to help this sector more than others.


This next map shows the Chicago Tribuneshootings tracker” site, which shows locations of Chicago shootings for past 365 days. There's a definite overlap with O-zones but there are other areas which also need investment.


The next map comes from the Casey Foundation's Community Opportunity Map which shows poverty levels in Chicago (and other parts of the country). Using the interactive map you can focus in on specific parts of the city, and generate tables of information. For instance, I created a view focused on the North Lawndale area.


This next set of maps shows non-school youth tutor and/or mentor programs in Chicago, based on a list I've been maintaining since 1994. While most of these are not profit centers that would attract Opportunity Zone investment, they are part of the mix of youth and family support organizations needed to help bring a neighborhood out of deep poverty.

View Tutor/Mentor Programs map here

A closer inspection of my map would show the wide range of programs on the map, and the lack of these programs in many of the O-Zone areas.

So who are some of the potential stakeholders and resources already in these neighborhoods?

On the graphic below I've zoomed into the O-Zone map to focus on the North Lawndale area of Chicago's West side. Then, I used the Chicago Health Atlas Map to focus on North Lawndale, and show hospitals serving this area.


Hospitals can be employers, can be customers for products and services produced locally, can provide needed health services, and can be conveners who bring stakeholders together. They can also be leaders who help comprehensive youth tutor/mentor programs grow in the area. Using the Chicago Health Atlas you can also create maps showing health disparities, which are indicators of investments needed in different areas of Chicago.

There were only a few maps shown in Thursday's presentation. One shows investment flows in the Chicago region. That map is shown in this tweet. Notice how the areas with the greatest investment, are just the opposite of those the O-Zone focuses on, which  have the least investments flowing into them.


In the concept map below I point to the platforms I used to create the maps I've shown. These are just a few of the growing number of data mapping resources becoming available over the past few years.

Open map at this link

Creating, maintaining, and motivating others to use these platforms offer many challenges. Among these are:

a) Motivating and teaching people to use the various platforms to create maps that focus a story on specific places. That's what I did in the above maps.

b) Locating the different platforms with needed information can also be a challenge, at least from a time perspective. In many cases the data-maps are no longer on-line, so when I open a link it is a dead end. Unless people are really motivated, most won't do the digging needed to put together an effective map story.

c) Building public awareness so more people look at the maps, use them in planning and action steps that bring people together and drive needed resources to non profits and growing businesses in specific areas is also a challenge. People creating the map platforms usually don't have advertising dollars to do the communications needed to attract people to the maps, or to teach others to use the platforms to create on-gong map stories.

These data resources are not profit centers. Thus, they don't qualify for investment zone capital. One role of philanthropy, or other government resources, could be to support the development, constant maintenance and updating, and long-term use of platforms like this.

During the event one speaker said there are already community planning resources. Why not use them to guide investment? I Tweeted out LISC Chicago as an example of this.



Below is a screenshot is from one of 27 quality of life community plans developed under the lead of LISC Chicago. It shows the Austin Community area. All 27 can be downloaded at this link.

Download at this link.

I don't include it on my data map because it's in a PDF, and not an interactive, on-line map (according to LISC Chicago). Thus while it's a great map, it's only useful to those who have access to it. You can't add layers, or zoom in, to focus on specific areas, or turn it into stories. There may be other map platforms like this in Chicago, or in other cities. I'm always adding to my library and this concept map. Send me links if you have them.

In my own efforts between 1994 and 2011 I tried to build one platform that would provide many layers of information that could be used to support neighborhood based planning intended to make more and better youth serving programs available in high poverty neighborhoods.

Example of map view created using
Tutor/MentorProgram Locator

The map of the left was created using  the Interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator's Asset Map section.

It's no longer functioning properly, although still can be seen on-line.

While I've been collecting and mapping data since 1994, for most of those years I was dependent on volunteers and donated software. In 2007 a $50k anonymous gift, combined with a grant from HSBC North America, enabled me to re-build our in house mapping platform, and to build the on-line interactive platform.

Using ARC GIS software we could create maps showing layers of information and using the interactive platform, we enabled others to create similar maps. Below are two examples. You can see more like this in the MapGallery created in late 2010.


Unfortunately, the recession, starting in 2008, dried up funding for this by mid 2010.  I've not had funds to update this or create these maps since 2011, and it would take a significant investment to rebuild my capacity.

Yet, I feel it is needed because I don't find any other mapping platforms combining all the layers I was trying to combine, and building it into blogs and on-going communications, so community planners could show the need, show existing service providers (and/or businesses) and show assets in, and around, the community who should be involved in any planning process.

Thus, if part of your day of service honoring the life and work of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was to read this article, perhaps you can become the investor, partner or benefactor who rebuilds the Tutor/Mentor Connection and its on-line mapping, and makes it freely available for others to use in Chicago and cities around the world.  Or, you might be a creative social entrepreneur who can figure out how to generate revenue and profit from this, so we could seek capital investors from programs like the Opportunity Zones program.

I hope I can be part of some of those "partnerships and connections" Derek Douglas talked about.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN. I'll look forward to connecting with you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Best Recognition

I received an email yesterday from the Giraffe Heroes Project telling me of a private Facebook group they were launching in an effort to connect past Giraffe heroes to each other. I had received the recognition in 1997 which I show with the badge at the left. You can find my Giraffe profile here.

I've received many other awards in the past. Here's a list.  I appreciate the Giraffe label more than most because it's one that keeps on drawing attention and support to help me keep doing this work. It recognizes that the work we do is on-going and needs on-going support. 

Below is another type of recognition that I value. I spent time today talking with Darcel Washington, the founder of Mentoring You, LLC, who had contacted me last fall, asking for some ideas. We spoke for an hour on Skype today. Below is a reflection she posted on Twitter following our talk.



Maybe the best of all are the things students and volunteers have said to me over the past 45 years.  I posted this Thank You Dan card on Slideshare last year.   I invite you to scroll through this collection of articles to see more like this.

Another form of thanks comes from the many types of reciprocation and idea sharing that takes place daily in a Twitter community that I've been building relationships with since 2013. I wrote about it in this post. Search #clmooc and #modigiwri on Twitter and scroll through the posts and see how this is on-going.


Below is a post made on Facebook in December 2018, encouraging others to read a blog article I've posted.  This is another form of thanks that I appreciate, because it shows alumni beginning to take part in the work I've been doing.


I appreciate all of this, but there's much work to be done to rebuild the Tutor/Mentor Connection to where it was before the recession that started in late 2008.  I've not had funds or staff to do that since 2011. 

Thus, another form of thanks comes in the form of contributions that help me pay the bills and continue doing this work. Click here if you'd like to offer that appreciation.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Focus on Youth Tutor Mentor Programs in High Poverty Areas

It's the annual January National Mentoring Month, where thousands of organizations are drawing attention to mentoring, of youth, and of adults.  If you do a Google search for National Mentoring Month, you'll find the images shown below. Mostly logos, with a mix of photos showing a mentor and mentee.   

Do web search for National Mentoring Month, then look at images
Now at tutor/mentor in front of National Mentoring Month, and repeat the search. Look at the images and you'll see what's in this graphic.

We search for "tutor/mentor National Mentoring Month"
On this image I've circled graphics from posts I've made over the past 10-15 years, which focus on marketing and resource building strategies needed to develop well-organized, non-school, mentor-rich programs that reach kids in all high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

In both sets of graphics, you can click into a web site to see how it is used. Maybe you'll find maps and graphics like mine on the sites of many of the mentoring programs shown, but usually that's not the case.

I think the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), which I created in 1993 and now lead via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, is fairly unique in how it hosts and information base and shares ideas focused on building the programs needed to make on-going and long-term connections with youth possible in more places.

One of the graphics you'll see is this one, that shows the Logic Model, driving why the Tutor/Mentor Connection was created.

From the left -

a) youth in high poverty areas benefit from support of mentors and extra, non-family adults

b) because of the size of big cities like Chicago, organized programs are needed to facilitate weekly involvement of volunteer tutors and mentors with inner city youth

c) using maps of Chicago and other cities, with demographic overlays showing indicators of need, you can see that there are many areas, and thousands of youth, who would benefit from well-organized programs.

Thus, leaders are needed to help such programs start and grow in all of these places.

Take some time to view this presentation. If you agree with the logic, support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, and form a team to duplicate these ideas and strategies in your own city.



I've been creating visual presentations like this since the late 1990s.  On this page you can find a complete list of the presentations I've created, along with links to places where you can view them.

I wrote a post last week under the "What the heck am I doing?" title, which contained a few of my graphics. To really understand what I've been trying to do,  you need to spend time looking through my complete library of presentations and past blog articles.

Here's another way to get involved.

On this page you can find visualizations created by interns between 2006 and 2015 to communicate ideas in my blog articles, web sites and these PDF presentations.

Anyone can duplicate this!

Anyone can use my presentations for personal learning, or to stimulate a group discussion.

Use these ideas.

As you go through January, and the next 12 months, I encourage you to use these ideas and resources to help build and sustain on-going, mentor-rich programs in all high poverty areas of your community. 

My hope is that some of  you will reach out to help me update and maintain this resource, and pay the bills. Click here if you'd like to do that.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN if you'd like to connect and start a conversation. I look forward to helping you dig through this extensive library.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

What the Heck Am I Trying to Do? Annual Reflection.

Every year I start out with a reflection, aimed at clarifying to myself, and others, “What the hell am I trying to do?” Why should anyone listen, or give me support?

Thus, this annual reflection is as much for my own reinforcement as for readers, but I hope you'll take the journey with me.

I found out more than 20 years ago that my words were not clearly communicating my ideas, in large part because too few others had the same background as I did, and too few others were thinking the same way. My college and Army background in history and intelligence gathering, and my corporate career in retail advertising for a company with 400 stores in 40 states, armed me with a commitment to collect and share best available information to support my decisions, and those of other people and to use daily communications to try to draw people to the ideas I was sharing...which focused on helping hundreds of big and small youth tutor and/or mentor programs grow, not just the single small program I was leading.

Thus, I started creating visualizations to share my ideas. I've been doing that for over 20 years. I'm going to post a few today.

Let's start with this one. 

In this graphic, the photo on the left, from the mid 1990s, is a group of 7th and 8th graders. The photo on the right is one of those kids who came back in 2010 to speak at the annual year end dinner. I'm still connected to her and many former students and volunteers on Facebook.

From leading a youth tutor/mentor program that served 2nd to 6th grade kids (1975-1992) then became a 7th to 12th grade program (1993-2011), I began to think of volunteer mentors and tutors as people who give extra help to young people as they move from first grade through high school, and college or vocational school, and into jobs and adult lives.

This has led me to focus on the role of organized programs, that create a safe space, and an opportunity for youth to connect with a wide range of mentors and learning opportunities over a period of years. I created this Total Quality Mentoring graphic in the 1990s to communicate that idea.

Read TQM description.  Read Virtual Corporate Office pdf.

On Facebook and Twitter I'm finding stories from a few programs about alumni who are doing great things. However, too few programs are doing this. Too many may not have program designs that make long-term support possible.

In the next graphic, I then ask “If we want to help kids move from 1st grade to careers, what are all the things we need to be thinking about to make organized tutor/mentor programs available to k-12 kids in more of the places where they are most needed?” Open the map and read it from top left to right, as a circle of thinking. On the bottom row you see a focus on program infrastructure, funding and learning.

View cMap - click here

Kids need a lot of different supports. Organized programs, with a mix of volunteers from different business, education and age backgrounds can be people who help make these extra supports available, if they are encouraged to think beyond the “what do I do with my kid when I meet with them this week” question. The concept map below shows various supports kids in elementary school need. It is is part of a larger “mentoring kids to careers” cMap which shows that kids in middle school, and high school need similar supports, plus a fee more.

View Mentoring Kids to Careers cMap

As a volunteer in 1973, I started each week asking “What will I do with Leo, my mentee, when I meet with him on Tuesday evening?” I'm certain that every volunteer is asking the same questions. My goal has been to provide a library of information and ideas that volunteers could draw from, and to help programs build a talent pool of veteran volunteers and staff, who could provide answers to this weekly question, and many others that arise.

Dan Bassill - year end graduation, 1980s

I became the leader of that volunteer-based program in 1975 and from then until 2010, I started each August with “How do I recruit 100-300 volunteers and kids?” then moved on to “How do I keep them involved from the beginning of the school year till the end?” and “How do I recruit some to volunteer time to help me do this?” The questions kept growing as I formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. How do we help this happen at several hundred locations in Chicago, not just the single program I was leading?

Since becoming a non-profit in 1990 the questions expanded to “how do we find the money to pay for this?”

That's what this next graphic is focusing on.
Click on graphic to enlarge, and few in greater detail.

The questions keep growing and ultimately focus on “how do we build and sustain public and private sector support for hundreds of separate programs, and for intermediaries, like myself, who work to support the entire system, the same way people in the corporate office of big companies work to support a vast network of stores in different places, distribution centers, technology and logistics and an army of talented people?

How do we build and sustain the public will to support this?

Then I think of how helping kids grow up is just one of many many complex problems that people throughout Chicago and the world focus on every day. How do we find a few leaders who will give daily attention to the problem I focus on, while also helping leaders grow in other sectors and other places?

Open map - click here

I don't know all the answers to these questions. Heck, I don't know all the questions.

What I've been doing for the past 40 years is building a library of “other people's ideas” that I use to stimulate my own thinking, and that I share to help others become involved in this process. This PDF describes the graphic at the right.

This PDF describes the Tutor/Mentor Learning Network, which is what I've been trying to build through the leadership of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present)

So I think what I do has value.

I collect information others can use to build and sustain programs that connect kids and volunteers in places where they are needed. I also lead a communications effort to increase the number of people looking at that information and reaching out to support programs with time, talent and dollars. And I spend time trying to help other people make sense of all of this.

I don't find anyone else who is writing articles like mine, hosting a web library like mine, or using maps and visualizations the way I do. If you find such people, introduce me. That's what keeps me going every year. 

Four Part Strategy


This graphic visualizes that process, showing a 4-part strategy that I've been following since 1993. Open the link and dig deeper into this cMap.

Below are a couple of more graphics to think about.

We all want every child born today to grow up and have a great life, and be a contributor to the well-being of others and the planet.
Common Goal - read more

If we don't collect the knowledge showing how some people are already doing this, we will constantly be starting from scratch, rather than learning from others. We'll never had the best information available to innovate solutions that we're willing to commit support to for many years.

Influencing Actions


Furthermore, if we don't figure out a way to influence both resource providers and program leaders and volunteers, as well as young people, we'll never have enough of the resources needed to build long-term solutions, nor will we have enough program providers looking at ideas they can use each year to improve work they are doing.

Is that all? 

In this article I've shown just a few of hundreds of graphics I've created to share what I'm thinking and what I'm trying to influence. Thanks for reading along with me.

Visit my page on Pinterest.com/tutormentor to see more.

Do a Google search for “tutor mentor” then look at the images, to see more.

Visit this article and find a list of links to all sections of my library, my cMaps and PDF presentations. Build these into a learning and planning curriculum in your community.

And for your viewing pleasure, I converted one of the power point files that I use when creating these graphics, into a pdf, which I posted on Slideshare.com/tutormentor



There are 36 slides with a progression of ideas. I have several similar PPTs with additional graphics like these. If you browse articles I've posted, you can see how they have been used. 

If you think what I'm doing is worth doing, and has value, then, do one or more of the following things

*) read my blog weekly and spend time looking at articles written in past years

*) join me in on-line learning groups such as the #clmooc group on Twitter, or in one of the many conversations I point to in this concept map.

*) share this and other blog articles regularly with people in your network

*) start a conversation with me to explore ways you, your company, your classroom, or your college can take a meaningful role in doing this work, now, and in future years..

*) make a contribution to help me pay the bills – here's my FUNDME page

Visit this page to find places to connect with me on social media. 

Thank you again for reading.

I wish all of you to have a boat load of health, hope, happiness, peace and good news in the coming year.