Monday, February 17, 2020

NBA Allstar Game Scores Big Points for Chicago Scholars

I watched most of the NBA Allstar game last night and it was a great show. Most impressive in my point of view was how two Chicago youth serving organizations were singled out for attention and as much as $400,000 in donations, based on which team won the first three quarters and the final score.  Here's one Tweet that shows @ChicagoScholars as the big winner.

Use your visibility
I hope that other sport copies this formula and that every year two or more youth serving programs are given the opportunities to meet with players, be interviewed by media and receive huge donations.

However, I want to see more. 

I want to see these players talking about the need for youth programs in every poverty neighborhood, and the need to find ways to generate consistent attention and financial support for ALL of the youth programs in a city, not just one or two.

I used this photo of LeBraun James in a 2011 article which includes two videos done by interns working with me. Below is one of them.

High Profile Stars 
In 2013 I used Derek Rose's picture in another article, along with an animation showing a role any athlete could take on a regular basis, to talk about where tutor/mentor and learning programs are most needed, and what programs operate in different neighborhoods, who need continuous support from fans, donors, volunteers and media to be world class in what they do to help kids move through school and into adult lives.

I've even suggested that some of these athletes could use my articles as templates and create their own versions, for their own web sites.

In the graphic below imagine each slice of the pie chart at the left representing one category of sports (baseball, football, basketball, soccer, golf, etc) or one category of entertainment or business.

Build year-round support
The only way we can generate enough attention, and enough money, to support hundreds of youth tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, and in other cities, is to have many people doing what the NBA AllStar broadcast did last week. Highlight one, or two programs. Then say "Here's a place where you can learn about others programs who also need help."

Then use social media to draw attention to this message. 

Use T/MI map
Look through the articles I've tagged, #maps, #media and #violence on this blog, or on the MappingforJustice blog and you'll see the maps that I've created showing locations of nearly 200 youth serving programs in the Chicago area. You'll also see how I use other data platforms to highlight where these programs are most needed, based on indicators such as poverty, health disparities, poorly performing schools, violence, etc.

Use this information to decide what neighborhood you want to support, and which youth programs in that area you want to help become the best in the world at helping kids.

In this 2014 article I encourage youth to create map stories on a regular basis, for the same purpose that I do. Athletes and celebrities could coach them to do this and give recognition to those who do it well.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and a few other social media spaces. If you're doing this type of work or want to share ideas, let's connect.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

NBA AllStars Support Two Chicago Youth Programs

Congratulations to Chicago Scholars and Afterschool Matters for being chosen by the NBA Allstar game captains as charities to support from the visibility of this weekend's game in Chicago. 

Here's a Tweet from Chicago Scholars

Here's a Tweet from Afterschool Matters

Athletes w Game Plan
I posted an article last week talking of my goal that athletes support tutor/mentor programs in every neighborhood of cities where they have teams, not just one or two, no matter how good those are. That's because no single program reaches more than a few youth. In cities like Chicago, with more than 200,000 youth living in high poverty areas (and more in the suburbs) many programs reaching k-12 and opportunity youth are needed to reach youth in every high poverty neighborhood.

Gratitude for Shining Light

Then today I found this article on the blog of Sheri Edwards, a retired teacher from Washington State, who I've come to know via the #clmooc Connected Learning network.    In her article she shares a poem that recognizes work I've been doing since early 1970s and includes this encouragement:

Read his blog! Tutor Mentor Institute and search both his blog and his websites: Tutor/Mentor Connection  and  Tutor Mentor Exchange

I added a link to Sheri's blog article to a concept map that I've been building for several years, to point to articles written by others which are similar in purpose to the article Sheri Edwards wrote this week.

This cMap aggregates links to stories about Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC

Imagine a concept map like this featuring pictures of NBA, NFL and/or MBA or NHL stars, with links to stories and videos they had created telling how they help support the growth of k-12 youth tutor, mentor, STEAM and learning programs in every high poverty neighborhood of cities where they play.  The could use my blog articles, such as these, as a playbook that they could borrow ideas from.

Chicago programs list 
Imagine a map like this showing existing tutor, mentor, learning programs in each pro sports city, with flags on each green icon (locations of existing programs in Chicago) to indicate places where athletes were responsible for funding, or volunteer involvement, or other actions that help each program be of "all star caliber" in helping kids move through school and into adult lives and jobs.

Thanks Sheri Edwards for inspiring this article.

As she said in her blog, you can help support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC with a contribution at this link.  

If you'd like to connect, find me on one of these social media sites.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Making Youth Tutor/Mentor Programs Available to More Youth

Oct 15, 1992 Chicago Sun-Times
This was the front page of the October 15, 1992 Chicago Sun-Times which prompted the formation of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC). As leaders called for "action" we said "If  they don't know all of the youth tutor, mentor & learning programs operating in the city, who they serve and what they do, how can they ever know if their actions have resulted in more programs reaching youth in more areas of the city?"

I had led a youth tutor/mentor program since 1975 and had started drawing programs together to share ideas and support each other since 1976 so I had a good idea of the limited number of programs in the city. In my advertising role at Montgomery Ward I understood the need for regular communications to support multiple stores located all over the country. I felt that this type of leadership was needed.

click to enlarge
So we decided to fill the void.  We did the planning for the T/MC in 1993 and created the 10 point plan shown in this article. The plan focused on collecting information (step 1) that anyone could use to help build high quality tutor/mentor programs throughout Chicago, and that volunteers, youth and staff in these programs could use to help kids move through school and into adult lives.  Step 2 and 3 focused on getting people to look at the information and learn how to use it, to help programs grow in different places (step 4).

We decided to use maps to plot locations of programs and where they were most needed, as an easy to  understand visual tool.  By 1996 we had condensed the 10-points to this 4-part strategy which I've been following since then.

view 1997 Director
In January 1994 we launched our first survey and 120 programs responded.  With this information we hosted a first Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in May 1994 and published the first printed directory.  I've created an archive of these directories. You can see the 1997 Directory here. Every Directory followed this same format. If you'd like to see others, email me at tutormentor 2 at and I'll send you a link.

Unfortunately we were only able to send the printed directories to a few hundred stakeholders in Chicago each year from 1994 to 2002.  However, we began to put the information in the directory in a www, web site in 1998.

view at this link
Then in 2004 we launched a searchable on-line directory that also enabled us to more easily up-date the content on a regular basis.  That is still available although due to technical problems it has not been updated since 2013.

This offers many advantages over the printed directory. Now you could search for age group served (elementary, middle and high school), type of program (pure mentor, pure tutor, tutor/mentor) and location. Thus a parent or volunteer looking for a program in a specific zip code could use this to find if any were in our list.

Leaders could also use this to determine if there were enough programs in different places.

Browse list of map stories
In 2008 we launched an interactive map-based version of the Directory. The 2004 search platform worked like a Google search. If you knew what you were looking for you could put in the zip code or name of the program and find whatever information was in the Directory.  We reversed that by creating a map of the Chicago region, with searchable overlays. We also added an assets feature, showing banks, colleges, drug stores, hospitals, etc. Using this people could zoom into a section of the city and create a map showing the need for non-school programs, existing programs, plus assets who could help programs grow in that area.

Here's an article from 2010 that shows the directory and our use of maps.  In 2008 we also launched the MappingforJustice blog to share our maps. Since 2011 I've used this to share map platforms created by others, in addition to map stories created using the Program Locator.

Support Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
Due to the financial challenges of the late 2000s the mapping platform has not been updated since 2010 and the program data has not been updated since 2013.  However, this still works as a model that could be re-built and used in Chicago and every other major city in the world where poverty is a root cause of many problems and is usually concentrated in small sections of big cities.  I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to try to keep the T/MC alive in Chicago and help it grow in other cities.  I'm still trying.

Today I saw a commentary on Crains Chicago Business calling for more programs to help youth. I shared it on Twitter.

Without a T/MC type strategy it's not likely to ever result in enough programs in every high poverty neighborhood helping youth move through school and into work.

This is one of dozens of graphics that I've used to visualize the ideas I've been sharing since 1994. If you're creating similar graphics please connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN and share them.

If you're not, the please share my graphics and blog articles with your network.