Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Missing Tutor/Mentor eNew for April and May?

If you are one of the 300 or 400 people who open and read my monthly eMail newsletters you may be wondering where the past two month's issues are.  I've been going through some personal struggles since April 1 so I've not been able to focus attention on the newsletters. I continue to post on social media, and you may notice, I've fewer blog articles, too.

I've tried to produce a monthly newsletter every month for the past 20 years to help draw attention and resources to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and elsewhere, while also sharing ideas that resource providers and program leaders can use to build great programs.

Each month's issue has focused on what's timely. So in July and August I'm focusing on volunteer recruitment, while in November and December I focus on fund raising and learning from each other.

With that in mind, you can browse my newsletter archive and open newsletters written in May-June for past years and find many of the same ideas that I'd be including in 2019 newsletters, if I had written then.  Below I'm showing part of the May-June 2018 newsletter. Click here to read it.

By now most programs that operate on a school year cycle have  held their year-end celebrations, or will do that in the next couple of weeks. Most well-organized programs already have been in the planning process, learning from what worked,or did not work this year, and from what they can see about work being done at other programs, then looking for ways to add new or improved ideas into the 2019-20 program cycle. Some are already recruiting volunteers for the coming school year.

I see posts from many Chicago programs on my Facebook feed, and a smaller group on my Twitter feed.  Many are showing success stories, of kids graduating from high school and/or college.  Not many are talking about the challenges they have faced of the past year or more to help kids have these successes.

Too few programs are actually sharing anything!  

If you look at the map in this article, and my list of programs serving Chicago, you'll see that there are nearly 200 organizations providing some form of tutoring and/or mentoring to kids.  Yet, less than 20% of these programs share regularly on FB and fewer on Twitter (unscientific observation!). 

They all might benefit from ideas in my newsletters so please share the link. I feel they also would benefit from connecting to me, and each other in on-line forums. I recommend Twitter for its ease of interaction more than I do Facebook or LinkedIN.

I hope to be back in circulation in a month or two.  In the meantime, please read and share my blog articles, past newsletters and help build the village of support kids in all neighborhoods need to connect with volunteers in well organized programs, and to move safely through school and into adult lives.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Navigating Information Overload - 2019 update

See in this article
I studied history in college, then spent three years in the US Army, in the Intelligence branch. In both cases I was learning to use best available information to support decisions of leaders.

I began to build a library of information in the 1970s, while leading a single tutor/mentor program in Chicago. I expanded this effort in 1993 when I formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and then in 1998 when I began to build the library on the Internet.

Visit this article and find links to all sections of the library.

We now have a new Mayor in Chicago, meaning new people will be seeking solutions to old problems.

Helping kids living in high poverty move safely through school and into adult live and jobs, will be one of the focus areas.

Four-part strategy click here
My hope is that the Mayor will point her team to the web library I've been building, and to the four-part strategy described in this visual.  What makes my library unique is that while some of the information is from my own experiences, most of the sites I point to, have their own web libraries. Thus, each site opens to hundreds, if not thousands, of additional resources.

With all of this information, how can normal people find time to do more than scratch the surface? I think this is one of the major problems facing the world. Too much information. Too few using it.

Below is what I wrote about this in a 2012 article.

Often I learn to understand what I've been doing by seeing how others present similar ideas. Over the past few years I've followed many people who share ideas in a variety of blogs, web sites, videos, social media sites, etc. I've pointed to many on my own blog and web site and even collect some of the links in my web library.

Over the past year I've been learning about Massive open Online Courses (MOOCS). Rather than trying to give you a description of my own, I encourage you to view this video then visit this CHANGE.MOOC.CA site.

Without knowing it, I've been creating a platform of information and ideas that is waiting for a team of facilitators to turn it into a MOOC. This video describes many of the strategies of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and Tutor/Mentor Connection. It shows a way to connect people from different places and different networks in on-going learning that they can use to understand poverty and its impact on youth, families and communities, and to learn strategies working in some places that could be applied in other places.

I've used this graphic often to illustrate the "village" of people who need to be involved in this on-going learning process and in strategies that help kids in poverty areas have more of the support systems needed to move through school and into adult responsibilities.

In several past blog articles I've written about "silos" where groups focus on their own issues, with their own ideas, and their own limited membership. Chicago and other big cities are full of silos. Chicago has more than 200 different youth serving organizations offering various forms of volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring in non-school hours.

Each one is forced to be a "silo" because of how they compete for dollars.

Yet, each also has common needs. Connecting together in a MOOC type of process, and engaging volunteers, alumni, business people, philanthropists, etc. might build shared commitment and new strategies for generating and distributing these resources, leading to constantly improving programs in all parts of an urban area.

Until we find ways to connect youth, volunteers, leaders, donors and policy makers from each of these different organizations and from business, religion, philanthropy, higher education,government, media, etc. we'll never have consistent strategies reaching young people in all poverty neighborhoods with best-in-world strategies learned from this world of ideas that can be found through the Internet.

I point to more than 2000 different web sites from my own sites...and these point to other web sites with even greater levels of information. It's the information overload that David Comer talks about in this video about MOOCs.

While I record more than 8000 visitors and 150,000 page views on my own web sites this is just a fraction of the people who need to be involved in this on-going learning. While I have the vision, I don't yet have the ability to organize and lead a MOOC that connects big-city stakeholders in on-going learning that draws from all of this information in the ways the video above describes.

Yet, if you look at the structure of the courses on CHANGE.MOOC, perhaps the blog I've written since 2005 could be considered a MOOC! It's open to anyone in the world. In needs more facilitators.

New organizations keep sprouting up in Chicago with new sponsors and new donors putting up hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are reinventing the wheel and the cost of accumulating all of this information and building a network of people to share it will be overwhelming.

-------------- end 2012 article --------

Since 2012 I've  participated in other cMOOCs and one group that has has a longer-lasting connectivity is a Connected Learning #CLMOOC group that started in 2013 and continues in 2019.

Here's an article that I wrote about this group in late December 2018.

So, what's next?

This picture shows how I constantly am trying to connect people in my network with information in my web library. 

I'd love to find a collection of similar graphics, picturing the Mayor, the Governor, CEOs of business and philanthropy, doing the same thing.  They don't need to point to my library, if the sites they point to have links to it.  But they do need to be encouraging the growth of this information base, as a source of understanding  and solving complex problems.

If you'd like to know more about what I'm describing, let's connect.  I'm on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN. You can introduce yourself in the comments section.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

When Have So Many Done So Little With So Much

I was looking for inspiration for writing today's blog and, as I do often, I looked at what I was writing during this same time frame in past years.

President's Summit
for America's Future
April 1997
I found an article from April 28, 2007, which I'm going to re-post below. 

Some background first. In April 1997 teams of 10 people from 150 cities gathered in Philadelphia, at the invitation of President Clinton, and former Presidents Bush, Carter and Reagan (via Nancy Reagan). The event was headlined by General Colin Powell.

I was there. I was part of the Chicago delegation.  The Tutor/Mentor Connection was one of 50 organizations invited to have a display at the Summit, as a Teaching example. I wrote about it in this 2017 article.

So it's now 22 years since promises were made to help America's 13.5 million kids living in high poverty.

Here's what I wrote in 2007

In this month's issue of Youth Today, Bill Treanor has written an article about the 10 year results of the 1997 President's Summit for America's Future, which gathered leaders from 150 cities and all living Presidents, to focus attention on the help needed by more than 13 million youth living in poverty.

Bill's article can be found here.  Bill points out that the America's Promise organization, which was established to implement the goals of the Summit, has raised more than $27 million since 1997. The question is what has been accomplished other than creating high paying jobs for the staffers at America's Promise?

I was one of Chicago's ten delegates. The Tutor/Mentor Connection was one of 50 organizations from around the country invited to have a display at the Summit, as a "teaching example". I still have newspaper articles, and the manifesto listing the commitments to helping the most at-risk youth in America.

As a leader of a youth serving agency in a big city, I left the Summit hoping for reinforcements. I know how small non profits struggle for resources to keep youth and business volunteers coming to non-school programs, and how difficult it is to influence aspirations of education, college and careers, when these aspirations are not modeled by many of the most visible people in high poverty neighborhoods. I was hoping that General Powell would use maps, and be recruit business and celebrity leaders, who will mobilize resources to support the non profits already on the battlefield in our war against poverty.

Instead, the war profiteers are those with high paying jobs, or who are earning big PR contracts. The troops are under-supported. The claims of success are over stated. As America's Promise itself reports in a 10 year report (no longer available online), there's much to do.

--- end 2007 article --

So Much Spent. So Little Accomplished

I went to Philadelphia with high hopes, of reinforcements for organizations like my Cabrini Connections program, which already was working with inner-city youth.

And for the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which was a strategy to help build and sustain mentor-rich non-school programs in every high poverty neighborhood.

That help never came. Instead there was a lot of re-inventing of the wheel, with new people starting new initiatives with limited information.  Of those in power, few have ever come to me to ask "Dan, can we learn from your efforts?"

Bigger picture.

In 2017 I used the map below in an article titled "Pain and suffering throughout the world - how do we respond?

Overlays on this map could show poverty concentrations. They could show health disparities. They could show environmental issues that cause people to leave homes looking for other places to survive and raise families. They could also show conflict zones, terror attacks, and many more  pain and suffering locations.

View this concept map and see examples of the type of information platforms that are available.

I suspect other versions of this map could show places where wealthy people are extracting profit from the suffering of others, either as manufactures of weapons of war, or as manufacturers and/or financiers who extract resources from the land and oceans. I don't have a map showing this.

 Below is one of my graphics, with a map of Chicago. The oil-well icons symbolize programs helping kids grow safely from birth to adult lives and jobs that enable families to live beyond poverty.

There are a lot of places, just in Chicago, where people need help, for many years. There are even more places, throughout the world where similar help is needed, along with many other kinds of  help.

So how do we motivate the people with wealth, as well as those who can only spare a few dollars, and a few hours of volunteer time, to get involved with one or more places, then stay involved for many years, or until the problem is solved.

I don't have an answer. And, unless people read my article and share it with others, my questions won't be seen, and I won't be in the thinking and conversation with others who are looking at the same problems as I am.

So, please read and share my articles.

Then, send me a contribution to help me pay the bills, so I can keep writing these and keeping my web library on line.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Connecting People, Ideas and Inner City Youth

Ten years ago, in 2009, I posted an article using this map of the Austin neighborhood of Chicago's West side with headline of "West Side Community can't fight gun violence alone."

In my 2009 article I pointed to a July 21, 2009 Chicago SunTimes  column by Mary Mitchell which was about the Austin (Chicago West Side) community's Number 1 ranking for weapons violations in the past 90 days. Her plea was for tougher gun laws so more young offenders will know they will go to prison, and think twice about carrying a gun.

She ended her article by saying "We need to do more to stop these offenders".

Ten years later, and that's' still true.  Too many in Chicago are still fighting this battle, working alone, or in silos, of a few organizations, research groups and resource providers.

Mayor Daley was still Mayor of Chicago then. Rham Emanuel had not yet been elected. Barack Obama had just become President. There was a lot of optimism.

Sadly, I doubt that any of these leaders, or any who have been trying to reduce violence and create more opportunities for kids growing up in high poverty areas of Chicago or other big cities, read my 2009 blog article, or have read many that I wrote before then, or since then.

Too bad.  Since I led non-school tutor/mentor programs in Chicago from 1975-2011, and created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to help fill all high poverty areas with similar programs, maybe I've some ideas that might be worth looking at.

Below is a Chicago Tribune story written about the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1995, talking about a "Master Plan for saving our kids". 

view this story here

The Master Plan was just developing at that time.

In 1995 the Tutor/Mentor Connection was just two years old. We had held the first three Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences, published our first program directory, and were launching the first Chicagoland Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment campaign that year.

We had not yet launched our first web site, or the on-line tutor/mentor program locator. Social media was science fiction. Yahoo groups had not yet begin. We were just developing our #GIS mapping capacity and had not yet learned to use concept maps to visualize strategies.

Thus, our "master plan" had just put seeds in the ground.  I've been watering and nurturing these every week since then, with whatever resources I could find.

Below is a timeline, showing highlights of what we built from 1994 to 2011, despite inconsistent funding and major disruptions like losing Montgomery Ward as host and major sponsor, then suffering through economic collapses following the 2001 technology bubble burst, the 9/11 terror attack and economic collapse, and the financial sector depression, starting in 2008.

1992-present Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC time line

Below is a second map, showing work I've done to maintain the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago and share its ideas and resources with the world, since 2011.  This map shows work with interns between 2006 and 2015 who came from Chicago area and South Korean universities. It also shows connections with educators from around the world, via a Connected Learning #clmooc network on social media.
sharing ideas since 2012 - click here

If you take the time to browse through past articles on this blog, or visit all the sections on the site you'll see more than 1000 articles focused on filling high poverty areas with mentor rich programs where volunteer tutors and mentors help kids grow up safely and move through school and into jobs and careers.

There is a lot of information, the result of more than 40 years of leading a single tutor/mentor program in Chicago while also trying to find ways to get thousands of people involved in strategic thinking, learning and acting that would make such programs available to more people.

See graphic in this article
The graphic at the right shows that since 1994 I've had inconsistent support, and major set backs, in efforts to fully develop and implement the Master Plan describe in 1994. 

Current news stories show we're facing many of the same problems, so that means there is still opportunity for new leaders to adopt and energize these ideas.

Since 2011 I've not had a nonprofit organization supporting me and while I've been trying to find new partners or universities who would use my history to rebuild the Tutor/Mentor Connection to have greater impact over the next 25 years, I've not yet succeeded.

I've been getting older, which means there has been more urgency to find these partners.  I've said to many "What if I get hit by a car, and I am killed?"  Who is prepared, or interested, in carrying this work forward.

Well, I did get hit by a car, on April 1, 2019. Fortunately, a fractured leg and shoulder were my worst injuries.

But, what if it had been worse.

Everything I have learned, and that I share on my web sites would potentially (likely) be lost.

I don't want that to happen. I hope someone with deep pockets but no vision of where to direct her wealth, will start to look at my web sites and blogs, follow me on Twitter, @tutormentor team, or on LinkedIN, or Facebook, and think about how they might be the lamp that lights the way for this work to go forward.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Starting New Month. Same Goals.

Monday is April 1, which for many, means it's a day of practical jokes.  For me, it's a new week, of a new month, and new opportunities.

Here's the goal:

While the planning for the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago was done 1993 it was launched in January 1994 with a survey to identify every non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago.  Using maps we began to plot their location, in an effort to determine what neighborhoods were well served, and which needed more programs.

We published the list of programs in a printed directory in the 1990s and on the internet since 2004, along with a growing library of links to web sites that provided information about where and why these programs were needed, and how to build great non profits, to support great youth programs.

For the past 25 years every week has started with efforts to draw attention to this information, and motivate leaders in every sector, to take roles in building and sustaining constantly improving programs, which work to help kids succeed in school, stay safe in non-school hours, and move toward high school graduation, post high school education, then jobs and careers.

The graphic at the top of this page was used in this article.  It's one of more than 1,000 posted on this blog since 2005.

I want  you to read them all, and use the ideas to do more to help kids living in poverty.

That's no April Fools joke.

Of course, I don't expect anyone to do this in a day, but it could be done over a year, or two.  Maybe not by many people, but hopefully by a few who will adopt the strategy and intermediary role I've piloted for the past 25 years so that more people try to make this happen.

Tipping Point-role of universities

Actually, I doubt that many will make an effort to read even a few of my past articles, let alone all of them. That's why I've tried to enlist teachers in high schools and colleges, to make this part of a learning curriculum, that youth start looking at when they are in middle school, and are still looking at as they finish college. I posted this article with that goal last week.

Do you think that's a joke?  Kids as young as one or two years old are reading Bible stories. Many do this for their entire lives. Why can't we enlist people in reading material that helps them create a better life for people who are alive now, rather than in an afterlife?

If the type of learning I've described were happening some would be well prepared to be leaders of mentor-rich youth programs while many others would be prepared to take on the critically important role of building the resource flow and supply chains, that enable programs to grow from good, to great, and then to stay great for many years.

I've been trying to make this vision come true for over 20 years, but so far no one has embraced it. Maybe people think I'm just joking.  Like every day is April 1st.

SunTimes, Oct 15, 1998
Except, it's not a joke. Every week we read about some kids being shot in Chicago. At the right is the front page of the Chicago SunTimes, from October 15, 1992.  This was when I was in the process of forming Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

The headline of "7-Year Old's Death in Cabrini Requires Action" has been a constant reminder of the commitment I made then and continue to try to keep in 2019.

It's a commitment that many need to make, and keep.

I hope you'll think about this as you enjoy your week.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Have you looked at these Maps?

I've been writing this blog since 2005 and hundreds of stories include maps, intending to show where youth tutor/mentor programs are most needed and where existing site-based programs are located.

1993 T/MC Plan
This is part of a strategy launched in 1993 to collect information about existing tutor/mentor programs, and share that in on-going efforts to attract talent and dollars to each program, to help every program constantly improve their impact on the lives of kids and volunteers who participate.

On the left side of this blog are tags that I've applied to each article written to help you search for different topics.  If you look in the maps, media and violence sections you'll find stories with a constant use of map.

However, this is not the only resource where the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present) have been sharing information about using maps.  I also host the site, which is more focused on showing  uses of maps and visualization tools than is this blog.

Below I'm highlighting a few recent stories.

This is a map view showing youth in poverty in the Chicago region, created using the Community Commons platform. See it in this article.

This map is from an article posted on March 13, showing updates to the Chicago Health Atlas web site.  View it here.

This map is part of an ambitions new plan, titled Resilient Chicago, to create a Chicago "where residents, neighborhoods, institutions, corporations, and government agencies are successfully connected to each other in the pursuit of economic opportunity, safety, equity, and sustainability."  Click here to view the article.

This map is from the Field Foundation of Illinois web site. It would be great if every foundation were using similar maps (or the same maps) to guide their giving decisions, and to assure a more equal distribution of resources to all parts of the city and to suburban areas with growing levels of poverty.  See article.

The above maps are from recent articles. This map, showing the 34th State Legislative District, was created in 2008, as part of the first collection of maps created by Mike Traken, who was hired after the Tutor/Mentor Connection received a $50,000 anonymous donation to rebuild our mapping capacity.  You can see this article at this link.

Mike used donated ESRI GIS mapping software to create a variety of sophisticated maps, which he then put into blog stories. He did this until early 2011, when we finally ran out of money and had to take him off the payroll.  He created this Map Gallery to show maps he had created.

We used half of that grant to create an interactive mapping platform, where anyone could create map stories, based on the same data and logic that Mike was using. Below is just one map created since then.

You can see this map in this story and you can find many other maps created since 2009 using the Program Locator, on this blog and the MappingforJustice blog.

As I said above, we ran out of money to keep investing in the mapping in 2010 and 11, due to the depression that hit the financial markets. This also led to the separation of the Tutor/Mentor Connection from the Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program, where it had been born in 1992 at the same time that the CC program was launched.

I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to continue the T/MC in Chicago and try to share it in other cities where there were large concentrations of people living in poverty.  Since then I've not found partners, volunteers or resources to update the platform, collect the program data, or do the outreach needed to teach people to use it to create their own maps.

However, I've kept the platform on line as a model and template that could be used to build a new version, using newer coding and GIS technology than we had in 2008.  If you're reading this and want to know more, browse through the articles on these blogs, visit this page on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site or reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

It costs me $100 a month to keep the Program Locator on-line. This is one of many expenses I've been paying, drawing from my own savings, and a small pool of contributions. If you'd like to help, click here, and send your own support. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Tipping Point - Growing and Supporting Future Leaders

If you've read any articles on this blog, or followed my @tutormentorteam posts on Twitter, you've seen graphics like the one below.

The message in both graphics is the same. We need to reach kids as they enter school and support them with a wide range of mentors and learning experiences as they move through school and into adult lives. While all kids need this support, for most kids, it's naturally available through family, neighbors, faith groups and community.

For kids born or living in high poverty, such support is less available, and organized, intentional efforts, are are needed to make mentor-rich support programs available. Having led such a program for more than 35 years, I know how difficult it is to build and sustain such programs.

I've been part of a #clmooc network of educators for several years, who I've written about in past #clmooc articles. A couple of weeks ago our discussion of online Affinity Groups caused me to post this Tweet, with a graphic that I had created based on a recent conversation:

I posted this Tweet and my graphic in this article last weekend.  I'm adding more detail to my explanation in today's post.

So here's the graphic:

In the middle of the graphic is the birth-to-work arrow that I've  used since the mid 90's to visualize age-level supports that volunteers and businesses could provide to youth, via well-organized tutor/mentor programs as well as schools. 

At the top of this graphic is the question. What can universities do differently, that might be a tipping point in terms of making well organized programs available in more places, for more years, reaching more youth, and helping them through school?

I answer by saying "build a pipeline of leaders, who work in these programs, and who work to provide the talent and resources needed by each program on an on-going basis".

So I added an overlay to the Birth to Work arrow to suggest this idea.

If you strip away the arrow, this is what's left.

Imagine a four to six year masters or PhD level college program, starting the freshman year of college.  Then visualize on-going practical learning, in which college students serve in existing programs, reaching youth as young as elementary school, with their service tied to course work being studied on campus at different points over their college career.

Imagine part of what college students are teaching youth in middle school and high school, is drawn from the same "how to" lessons that college kids are studying. If students begin thinking of what it takes to make the programs available to them, which they are part of, they will have momentum if they choose to pursue this course of study in college, and as a career.

If colleges just did the first part of this suggestion, they would  be reaching youth in neighborhoods surrounding the college and enlisting their students and alumni  in various roles that help PULL kids through k-12 school, and into college, then on into jobs and careers.  If this were a continuous program, lasting for decades, it might dramatically close the opportunity gap.

However, that's not enough. Volunteers need a safe, well-organized place where they can connect with kids, and stay connected for many years.  Such places are constantly seeking dollars, volunteers and other resources, but are not equal in their abilities to attract those resources. Thus, too few programs are available.

Here's the TIPPING POINT:  The curriculum I am suggesting is not limited to just those going into direct service. It's a college wide humanities type course that engages students studying in different fields, most of whom will go into the business world.

Imagine that each year's class of graduates from a university include a few with degrees showing them to have a full knowledge of how to build and lead a mentor rich youth serving organization.  And then imagine another group of graduates, leaving college with an understanding of what it takes for such programs to succeed, and the role they can take in PROACTIVELY providing dollars, talent, technology, volunteers and other resources needed, including jobs, internships and learning opportunities for youth in organized tutor/mentor programs and public schools.

Then, imagine that people from both groups spend time daily, or weekly,  in on-line affinity groups, supported in part by universities, and students who are working toward their degrees, where they keep learning, from the college, and from each other, so they are constantly seeking to do more and do better, at helping kids move out of poverty, or helping solve other complex problems facing the world.

I've attempted to communicate this idea in the past using this graphic, which you can find in this series of articles.

The problem, as I see it, is that most adults don't have time to dig through my articles and learn what has taken me 40 years to learn.  Most are not motivated to do this, nor guided through this mountain of information, they way faith leaders and college professors guide students through other information resources.

So what types of curriculum would students study?  I started building a list on my original graphic, and I've already expanded it with the graphic below. I suspect that others could add more, if they just spent time thinking about it.

As you look at the list of skills needed, compare them to courses required by colleges preparing teachers, social workers and/or business leaders.  I doubt that many are required to learn spatial thinking tools like GIS mapping, or concept mapping. Or that they are asked to learn basic coding, so they can oversee a web site or blog, to communicate ideas. I doubt that many are learning ways to support digital learning in on-line communities, or the creation of digital content that can be used to share ideas and promising practices.

I mentioned that the #clmooc group is reading a book titled Affinity Online: How Connection and Shared Interest Fuel Learning. They have created many pathways into joint reading of the book, and point to many who are reflecting on what they are reading via their blogs. 

I've been impressed by the amount of time many of these young people are spending in these groups, building new skills, taking on leadership and organizational roles, mentoring and guiding new members, etc.  Imagine that level of learning embedded into the DNA of graduates of the type of program I'm imagining. 

Wendy Taleo, from Australia, is a member of the #clmooc group. She posted a graphic today, which I annotated with my own #hashtags, suggesting my goal that people from many different sectors join together in on-line learning. 

To me, this graphic also represents how students, alumni and community members, including youth, would be connecting in on-going learning to better understand complex problems, and learn about actions being taken in some parts of the world, that might be applied in other places, if resources were readily available.  If alumni who are working or have been blessed with wealth are in these conversations they would be ready and able to offer support where needed.

I've been reaching out to universities in Chicago and beyond since the 1990s to find one that would adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC as a strategic partner.  Here's one of many articles showing this invitation.

It just takes one college to pilot this, and one wealthy benefactor to provide the financial incentive for a college or university to take this role.

Look at the graphic below. Imagine each of those red school icons being a place where an alumni with a Tutor/Mentor Institute degree from your university were on the staff and that others were volunteers, board members and/or donors.  Can you visualize having such an impact?  This is not intended to help one, or even a few, great youth programs grow. It's intended to fill a growing number of high poverty areas across the US and the world with great, constantly improving, well-supported youth tutor/mentor programs that are recognized as world class, by the degrees of their leaders and by the work they are doing.

That's it for today. I look forward to reading some one else's interpretation of this idea.

In the meantime, if you value what I'm writing about, please consider a contribution to help me pay the bills. Click here and use PayPal to send your support today.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

We Need a Lot More Good Luck in World Today

It's St. Patrick's Day today, so time to bring out a few graphics that I've posted in past years to show how I've been trying to bring good fortune to others. Here's an article where I used the graphic at the left.

In the four leaf clover, I'm pointing to four strategies that I've followed since creating the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. The first of those is collecting and sharing information in a constantly expanding web library.

I find links to put in the library as I move through my web journey every day. One growing resource is the Connected Learning Community (#clmooc), which this month is reading an Affinity Online book and sharing our thoughts in a variety of platforms (see here).

Nerdfighters newsletter - see here
The book is the result of a study of on-line affinity groups, which is a sub-culture that up until now, I was aware existed, but had little knowledge of.  Thus, reading the profiles of different groups has been enlightening. I was especially excited to learn of a group called Nerdfighters, who have been working since 2007 to "try to do awesome things and have a good time and fight against world suck".  Kevin Hodgson of #clmooc wrote this review today.

Kevin pointed to this Wikipedia article which provides a lot of information about the Nerdfighters.

What's awesome is that this group of mostly young people, has raised nearly $7 million for charities

When I think of on-line communities of gamers, this was not what came to my mind. I need to expand my perspective.  While the charity work of Nerdfighters is impressive, what's even more inspiring is how so many young people and adults are spending countless hours of personal time in these sites, learning and building technical, organizational and leadership skills. 

If educators, parents, tutors and mentors could instill these habits in all kids, and help them sustain them through adult lives, what might the future look like?

Now here's where I add my own thinking.  

First, I keep looking for ways that people will spend this amount of quality time in my own web site and blogs learning, and sharing, in the same way they spend time in some of these on-line groups. Visit this site and see how interns modeled this practice between 2005 and 2015.

Increase slide of funding pie
Second, I think it's great that thousands of young people are creating videos showcasing their favorite charity, during the annual Project for Awesome event, hosted on YouTube.  Each year 10 charities are selected, based on how frequently videos were viewed, to split more than $800k raised.

That's fantastic, except that is not money that repeats year after year. It's also not money that grows an entire sector of needed organizations.
Kids need long-term support

I've used the graphic shown above since the 1990s to show a goal of increasing the funding pie for youth serving organizations. I've  used the one at the left in many articles, such as this, to visualize this problem:

Raising kids takes 20 years or longer, with consistent support from family, schools, neighbors and community. In high poverty areas these support systems are weaker, less able to provide the same degree of support as more affluent areas do. Thus, well-organized youth tutor/mentor programs need to be created, that can make a wide range of supports and opportunities available.

They could even provide computer labs, and coach and encourage kids to dig into digital learning spaces and find niches where their curiosity and motivation blooms.

read more
 But those programs need to be in every high poverty neighborhood, led by people who are constantly learning from what they do, and what others are doing, to keep finding ways to attract and retain youth and volunteer participants.

That means donors need to repeat their funding year after year, and make it flexible, so programs can use it as they see fit and so leaders have time to join and participate in learning groups, even some that focus on building mentor-rich youth programs. Such funding should help people stay in this field for more years, thus building human capital and experience that makes every program better.

With the fragmented and inconsistent funding system now available, that's just not possible.

read more

Thus, my hope for Nerdfighters and similar groups is that they develop sub categories, that focus on different issues, similar to what the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals are doing.  Each category on this graphic represents many organizations, in many locations, doing work that needs to be done, and funded, so the "world sucks less" for more people.

I'll add Nerdfighters to my web library, and my eMail newsletter, with hope that their example inspires many others to do similar work, and that a few create sub categories of support as I've described here.

That brings me back to St. Patrick's Day.

Ever since I turned the first tutoring program at Montgomery Ward into a non-profit in 1990 I've had a daily vision that by sharing what I was trying to do in as many channels as possible I'd reach one person somewhere in the world who would become my benefactor, just as Medici family supported Leonardo di Vinci and others, many centuries ago.

I've not found that patron in 29 years, so in the meantime, my luck today will change if just a few people go to this page and make a small contribution.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Chicago Public Schools Annual Regional Analysis

The graphic below is just one page in a comprehensive analysis of school quality in one of Chicago Public Schools' 16 regions. Visit this page and see a list of the 16 regions. Choose whichever interests you, and dig in. This is an annual report, for 2017-18.

Report for Greater Calumet area - pdf
In articles on this blog, and the MappingforJustice blog I've frequently shown how maps can be used to understand the need for extra support of kids and families in different parts of Chicago.  There's no single interactive source for the type of analysis that needs to be done, so users will need to learn to draw from multiple map platforms.

For instance, the image below is a screen shot from a section of the Chicago Health Atlas, showing the North Lawndale area of Chicago.  I posted an article earlier today pointing to some of its features.

If you layer health disparities over poverty and locations of poorly performing schools you'd find the are the same areas. Building the public attention, and will, to draw needed resources into these areas, and keep it there for 10-20 years, is a mountain few have tried to climb. Yet is is a journey that needs to be taken, which I've tried over the past 25 years.

These are just two data resources you might use. Visit this concept map, and find many others.

I would like to find others who are trying to make sense of this data, and who are putting stories in blogs the way I do, with the same goals of mobilizing resources to support needed tutor, mentor and learning programs in areas where maps show a need.

In the Tweet I've embedded, I found some other statistics about poverty.

"More than 31 million children in America are growing up poor, or near poor. More than HALF of the students attending U.S. public schools are from low-income households."  An analysis of the maps and the data will show where those kids live, which is where we need to be pointing resources, jobs programs and other help.

If you're writing such stories, share them in the comment section, or with a Tweet to me @tutormentorteam.

If you appreciate the information I'm sharing, and archiving, please consider supporting my efforts with a contribution. Visit this page to learn more.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Developing New Leadership Pipeline

Yesterday in a Twitter discussion with my #clmooc network I posted this Tweet, in response to something Sherri Edwards had posted:

That and following responses got me thinking about an idea I've proposed in various ways for many years, and talk about in this TippingPoints pdf.

"What if colleges were preparing people to lead and support constantly improving tutor/mentor programs, schools and other organizations, by reaching youth as young as middle school and keeping them continually engaged, all the way through college, into work, and for the rest of their lives?"

So, I created a ppt slide to try to visualize this idea. It's shown below:

I immediately recognized that this slide is packed with information and while I understand it, most viewers might take one look, then move on.  So, how do I get a few people to spend some time on the graphic, and perhaps help unpack and share it's meaning.

So, I went to NOWCOMMENT, and posted my graphic, then highlighted different sections with questions.

View this on NOWCOMMENT
While I posted a couple of graphics on NOWCOMMENT a few years ago, I'm a novice at using this platform.  Thus, if anyone is interested in helping unpack the slide, I'd welcome a Skype conversation during which we do some unpacking together, and where I am mentored in using the platform more effectively.

Normally, I'd now go on and create a bunch more graphics and unpack the slide myself in the rest of this article. However, I'm going to wait a week or so, to see if anyone else takes a look first.

In the #clmooc group we're doing a collective reading and discussion of "Affinity Online: How Connection and Shared Interest Fuel Learning". We're talking about Affinity Spaces, and what it is that keeps us #clmooc folks connected and learning together.

I saw this Tweet this morning:

Since I formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993 I've continually been looking for people to spend time, talent and dollars discussing, interpreting and sharing the ideas I launched via print newsletters in the 1990s, and web sites, then blog articles since 1998.

Over time, many have joined in this effort, but few have stayed involved for more than a few years, at most. Thus, I've constantly looked for partners to help share this vision, and the work involved. Universities are an obvious place to look, and my interest in universities is expressed in this series of blog articles.

As I read blog posts from the #clmooc network, I have come to believe that this work could be done at high school, or even middle school level.

Since colleges and universities serve different geographic regions, each could have a Tutor/Mentor Institute team of students, faculty, alumni and community members working to collect and share information in an on-going effort to fill the area around the university with programs that reach youth when young, then support them through school and into careers and adult lives.

One of those careers could be in non-school youth tutor, mentor and learning organizations serving youth in high poverty areas.

What I add to this vision is that such a college based program should attract and engage students who WILL NOT choose careers in non profits, or education, but will become lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs and successful business people.  These students will learn the value of youth tutor/mentor programs and sophisticated education programs and will also learn how long it takes to raise a child, and how difficult it is for each non profit to attract the resources that enable them to become great, then stay great for many years.

These students will learn to become proactive in how they work to support existing organizations where other alumni may be on staff or involved as volunteers. They will learn to use maps to understand where programs are reaching youth, and where more programs are needed. They will learn to start new programs, and improve existing programs, by borrowing ideas from working programs throughout the world, not just from one city.

Darn!  I have already given some of the ideas that are included on that slide.  Please go and look for yourself.

Join me, in my Tutor/Mentor AffinityGroup, on line at Twitter, or Facebook, or on LinkedIN, or in new spaces that you might help create.

Note: one role that any can take is to be a contributor to help me pay the bills and keep doing this work. Click here to learn more.