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 earthlink.net 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,tutormentorconnection.org 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. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

What's the Game Plan Look Like?

This is what my game plan looks like. What's yours?

Diagram Game Plan To Help Kids From Poverty Areas Grow from Birth to Work - Borrow from Sports Concepts

I've spent the past 40 years trying to connect inner city youth with workplace volunteers via organized, non-school, tutor, mentor and learning programs. While I led a single program in Chicago from 1975 to 2011, I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011) to help high quality, constantly improving programs grow in every high poverty area of Chicago. I've been sharing ideas and resources on-line since the late 1990s.

Programs needed throughout city
I've been using visualizations to communicate ideas for many years. I've also been drawing from the sports world for inspiration, since there are many parallels to what coaches do, and what team owners do, to put great teams on the field, to what support youth programs need to be great at what they do.

In most of my graphics I'm showing two basic ideas.

a) it takes 12 to 20 years for any youth to grow from first grade to starting a career, and it takes support from many different people. Affluent kids have naturally occurring support that kids in poverty do not have, thus organized tutor/mentor programs can provide some of those supports, if they are available, well funded, and have a comprehensive game plan. I've been maintaining a list of Chicago programs since 1993.

b) in a big city like Chicago, with more than 200,000 k-12 kids living in high poverty areas, many great programs are needed. Maps can show where they are needed, and where existing programs are located, or where more are needed. More people need to be looking at these maps then thinking of roles they can take to help make great programs available in one or more places.

Most of my past graphics have focused on football, and game plans coaches use to win championships, like the Super Bowl, which is this weekend. However, since the NBA AllStar game will be in Chicago in February, I created the graphic above to draw attention from basketball fans, players, coaches and sponsors.

That graphic has three main elements:

Emily & Keith connected
in Tutor/Mentor program
1) Our goal is connecting kids with adult volunteers in organized programs, and to connect both with learning resources that serve both the youth, and the volunteer.

Keeping with the theme of sports, and basketball, I talk about "points" being scored to recognize efforts of volunteers, youth and donors.  At the Cabrini Connections program youth earned points that accumulated and were turned in for cash upon high school graduation.  So in the following paragraphs imagine ways "points" might be earned. For instance....

"Points" are scored every time a youth and volunteer meet; every year that a youth stays in school, and safe in his/her neighborhood, and ultimately when that student finishes high school, and moves on to college, vocational school and adult lives. "Points" are scored by all the different ways volunteers can help the youth grow up, acting in many cases as "extra family members", or by drawing others to support the program they are part of.

Many programs needed.
All need consistent funding.
2. Many programs are needed, spread throughout the city and suburbs of Chicago, and in other areas of the country. Most are constantly looking for dollars, talent, volunteers, ideas and other resources that help them stay in business, and stay connected to youth and volunteers.

The way philanthropy and government funding works limits the ability of every program to draw these resources to themselves on a regular basis, thus many programs are never as great as they need to be, and too few programs exist... especially in areas where they are most needed.

YOU can draw volunteers and
donors to programs in all parts of city.
While programs are constantly reaching out to donors, the Tutor/Mentor Connection has modeled a strategy based on corporate advertising, in efforts to motivate volunteers and donors to seek out programs, based on information we share on our web site, and information each program shares on their own web sites. A donor should pick a neighborhood he/she wants to help, then shop and get to know existing tutor/mentor programs serving that area, then choose one, or more, and decide how, and how much, she wants to help. Then write the check and put it in the mail. Or call/eMail the program and offer time and talent.

In many cases this might mean helping a lesser quality program become great, or it might mean helping a new program form where none, or too few, exist. In others it will mean helping good programs continue to be good, and constantly strive to be great.

"Points"  are scored every time a business, philanthropist, volunteer, college, faith group, hospital or other takes an action that supports the growth and continued operations of one or more programs --- with time, talent, dollars, or even votes that elect leaders who support the growth of such programs. For instance, in this article I show a role universities could take.

3. This is team effort. The role of intermediary, shown on this graphic, is one that coaches and athletes could be taking on an on-going basis to help connect kids with volunteers, and to help connect resource providers with programs.

Volunteers and donors needed in tutor/mentor programs throughout the city & suburbs.

I've written more than 30 articles on the Tutor/Mentor Blog that focus on the role athletes can take.

Athletes as leaders

In this 2013 article I used an image of Derrick Rose, and pointed to a Chicago Tribune article where he was quoted as saying "It all starts with poverty".

The blog article includes an animation, in which I show a role athletes could take on a regular basis, to help draw attention to the ideas I've been sharing on my blog, to my list of tutor/mentor programs, and to create an "act now, do something" call to action that motivates fans to become involved with one or more different youth serving programs in Chicago.

Below is a Tweet posted by Kobe Bryant, just a few days before his tragic death.
Imagine if athletes like Kobe were pointing to maps of the cities where they play, encouraging fans to adopt neighborhoods and support all youth tutor/mentor programs in each neighborhood.

Athletes adopt neighborhoods

At the left is a  map of Chicago, signed in the 1990s by several professional athletes, to show the idea of athletes adopting neighborhoods. I wrote about that in this article under the headline "Wouldn't he like to talk about something else?"

Imagine if someone were keeping score, with "points" scored every time someone shares this or other ideas from my blog with someone else. "Points" could be scored when athletes and coaches take on roles that support multiple programs in the communities they play in or where they grew up.  Awards at the end of each year could recognize those who score the "most points".

That's just a start. As athletes, coaches, fans, writers, video makers, and others are motivated to view my articles and web library by the actions of sports stars, many will also say "I can communicate these ideas better" and they will begin to do that. Or they will say, I can apply these ideas to another city than Chicago, and they will begin to do that.

Imagine where Chicago might be today if Chicago athletes and coaches who were stars in the 1990s when I started sharing these ideas, had adopted this game plan as their own commitment to helping reduce inequality and increase opportunity.

If that had been happening I should have a section in my web library that points to such stories and videos. I don't. However, anyone who reads this could adopt the strategy as their own and begin to create their own game plan and play book. I'd like to help you.

Find me on Twitter @tutormentorteam. I'm on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin, too.

The ideas I share were first launched through the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which was created in 1993. I started the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, which is not a non-profit, in 2011 to keep the T/MC alive in Chicago and share it to other cities.  I still depend on contributions to share these ideas.

Visit this page and use the PayPal button to send your support.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

MyChi. MyFuture. Feedback.

As the Tweet below shows, yesterday I attended the citywide meeting of Mayor Lightfoot's EveryKidConnected initiative, which was launched last October. Since then the hashtag has changed to #EveryYouth Connected, and may change again.

As the meeting ended I encouraged the others at my table to use their blogs to share their own ideas for next steps for this initiative.  Mine are below.

In this next Tweet I'm sharing the mission statement developed at the January meeting.



As I said in the Tweet, that vision is what I feel describes a total quality non-school tutor/mentor program.  The graphic below is shown in this presentation. It visualizes the growth of organized, non-school, k-12 youth programs, available in every high poverty neighborhood, with a wide range of age-appropriate mentoring, enrichment and learning opportunities.

Building a learning distribution system - read more

How we get there is what needs to be worked out.  Below are some of the ideas for generating public awareness and involvement that were shared at my table.

The MyChi.MyFuture media campaign is planned to launch at the end of March. The costs of a comprehensive tops-down campaign could be huge, thus efforts that generate free communications from people and organizations throughout the city should be a priority, now and in the future.

1) - So far there is little communications from the leaders of the initiative on Twitter, using either #everykidconnected, #everyyouthconnected, or #MyChiMyFuture.  I received an email follow up yesterday, with the PDF of the slides from the presentation.  If that had been in a Tweet I could have already shared it with my own network.  Using Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram in the same way should be strategic. (see more social media ideas below).

2) - Encourage organizations throughout the city to blog their understanding of this initiative, as well as their part of the process, as well as services available to youth in their own programs and/or communities. Bloggers could be faith groups, elected officials, businesses, non-profit youth orgs, schools, etc.  Once blog articles are written they should be shared in social media, using a hashtag launched by the leaders of the initiative.  

#clmooc 

I have written numerous articles on this blog showing my engagement with the Connected Learning #clmooc community on social media. I urge leaders of this initiative to spend time studying these, to see ways they can use these same low, or no-cost, strategies to connect people, organizations, resource providers and youth throughout Chicago with each other.

3) - Enlist students and parents as communicators. 

The Parent Mentor Program was mentioned as one example where parents are already working to help build relationships between parents, teachers and students. Such groups could be learning about non-school opportunities and existing programs and communicating those via their own efforts. Below I show Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC efforts to aggregate and share information. Someone should be aggregating information about parent groups who could be sharing MyChi.MyFuture information and supporting youth involvement in different parts of the city.

Enlist students as story tellers.  During National Mentoring Month youth have been posting #ThankYourMentor stories.  This could be #MyOutOfSchoolLearning experience or #MyChiMyFutureLearning experience. It could also be #HowISpentMySummer  or #MySummerLearningExperience. As youth become engaged they could suggest new  hashtags, and themes for future communications and interaction efforts.

Participation maps such as this from the 2017 CLMOOC could be used to show places in the city where youth are creating messages for this campaign, and to show locations of non-school learning opportunities.

Use maps to assure youth in every part of Chicago have opportunities

Enlist students via classroom learning activities - Here's one of many blog articles where a middle school educator from Massachusetts shares work his students are doing.  If during spring 2020 educators were encouraged to develop a back-to-school activity where students used blogs, videos, social media, games and other forms of communications to share #MySummerLearningExperince or #OutofSchoolTimePrograms in my neighborhood, which were then aggregated and shared on blogs like Kevin's, this could launch thousands of stories from September 2020 to May 2021 (and beyond) to help the MyChiMyFuture initiative grow and reach all Chicago youth over the next few years.

Tutor/Mentor lists on Facebook

4)  While MyChi.MyFuture is attempting to create a master list of out-of-school-time opportunities I feel it should point to existing lists, such as the ones I point to from this concept map. I'm sure there are others that I'm unaware of. Collectively these will always have more information that what any single intermediary is able to collect and keep updated.

5)   To  help draw attention to existing providers and help them connect and learn from each other, MyChi.MyFuture should a) create a profile on Twitter, FB, Linkedin, etc. then use the list feature on Twitter, and Notes feature on Facebook, to create one of more lists of Chicago programs.  (It could create one master list, or could create lists for sections of the city, North, Central, South Central, Far South) as I do in the Tutor/Mentor Programs Directory.

Here's my TMPrograms list on Twitter. Here's my Facebook list of Chicago programs and intermediaries.  If MyChi.MyFuture were to create its own lists, people visiting their account could scroll the list to learn about existing programs via the information they posts. Donors and volunteers could learn to use this to find programs in different parts of the city to support. Parents and youth could learn this to find opportunities.

6)  - Recruit volunteers from advertising, PR, technology and other communications companies to mentor youth and teach them ways to tell stories via multiple media. At some point in the future maps should be showing icons throughout the city where people from each industry are connecting with youth.  Programs should show that multiple industries have volunteers working at their sites, not just in direct service, but in helping programs communicate their stories, their lessons and their challenges.  Many companies should be doing this as part of on-going, formal, workforce development strategies.


7) - Focus on connecting intermediaries like the Austin planning group, to others throughout the city, so they can learn from each other.  Below is a concept map showing the planning process that should be on-going in every community area.

Planning is an on-going cycle, focusing on a specific geographic area. read more
One of the roles of the leadership of MyChi.MyFuture is to identify the various stakeholders and share that information in ways that encourage conversation, interaction, learning and shared efforts among the various organizations.  Below is an example of how I've been doing that.

Intermediaries focused on youth in Chicago - cmap
Youth in various schools and non-school programs, local colleges, or any other group could be creating similar maps showing local organizations, intermediaries, etc.  Note that I point to the web sites of each organization on the map (if I have a link).  This information is published in my blogs, website and social media to encourage programs to connect and learn from each other.

8)  How will you measure this?  How will you quantify the number of youth in each neighborhood who most need these programs? How will you show how many participated during the summer, or during the school year? How will you share that, at the neighborhood level, to support on-going planning and program growth?  Below is a Slideshare pdf that shows the number of youth, age 6-17, and the number of high poverty youth, in each community area.  

Every Youth Connected implies that 100% of the youth in each area will participate in one or more learning experiences in the summer and in the school year.  That is a significant challenge, both from the planning perspective, and from the funding perspective, since right now there are so few program slots available in many areas of the city.

I've been sharing ideas like this on this blog since 2005 and on websites since 1998. I hope some of the people involved in this new initiative will take the time to look and want to have me help them understand and apply these ideas.

You can find links to my social media sites at this page.



Sunday, January 26, 2020

A call for comprehensive, mentor-rich non-school programs

See profile
A few days ago I was pleased to see an announcement on Lovea Smith's Facebook page showing that she'd been selected to be part of the Chicago Foundation for Women's 2020 Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative.

Lovea was part of the Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program for four years in the 1990s (until her high school graduation) and then went on to college and graduate school and now is Director of Support Services at Housing Opportunities for Women.

She's one of many alumni of the Cabrini Connections program, which I led from 1993 to 2011, and the Montgomery Ward/Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program, which I led from 1975 to fall 1992,  who I'm connected to on Facebook.

Below is a graphic that I created more than 10 years ago to show the goal of programs like Cabrini Connections.  Lovea is shown at the left with program leader Gena Schoen, and another student, Eric Moore, who I'm also connected to on Facebook.

Three time frames where youth need support

This graphic shows that there are three time frames where youth need organized support, which are the school hours, the 3-5pm afterschool hours, and the after 5pm and weekend program hours. I divide the non-school hours into two sections because it's only in the after-work hours when workplace volunteers are able to make consistent and on-going tutor/mentor connections with inner city kids.  (This may only apply to major cities like Chicago, where the time to travel from work to a program site is too far for workplace volunteers to get to a program regularly during the 9am to 5pm hours. In smaller communities this distance may not be as much of an issue.) See versions of the graphic above in this presentation.

Furthermore, it takes organized programs to facilitate these connections, encouraging on-going participation of young people and of volunteers.  Below is another graphic that I created to visualize the design of the tutor/mentor programs I led.

programs with this design needed in many places
In this graphic I show the three time frames and the pre school through high school and into adult lives time line. I show that a youth connects with a primary mentor, but that through the design and activities of the program that youth also connects with a wide range of other volunteers, staff and learning opportunities. View this Total Quality Mentoring presentation.

Below is a PDF showing the strategy we followed at Cabrini Connections. It focuses first on building and sustaining participation for multiple years of both youth and volunteers. Take a look.



While I led a tutor/mentor program prior to 1992 when we formed Cabrini Connections, we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection at the same time, in an effort to help every non-school youth tutor and/or mentor program in Chicago get the ideas and resources needed to build their own versions of a mentor-rich program.  Based on my own experiences I recognized that every programs share the same struggle for consistent resource flows.

All programs have same needs
These included public visibility, operating dollars, volunteers, training and on-going support, leadership, consistent student participation, and ideas to grow from.

We started building a list of programs in January 1993, which I still maintain in 2020.  In addition, we began using maps to show where programs were most needed, based on indicators like high poverty, poorly performing public schools, and incidents of violence. Then we create overlays showing the locations of programs on our maps.

View Program Locator

We began publishing our list of programs in a printed directory in 1994 and were able to send it to 300-400 people each year, including foundations, libraries and many businesses. However it was not until 2004 that we were able to launch a searchable on-line program locator that enabled far more people to find the information we were sharing. 

In 2008 we created a new version of this, with the information plotted on a map, and with indicators data included, so people could zoom into a neighborhood to create a story-map, showing where programs were needed, and what programs were available, sorted by age group served and type of program.

Since launching our first http://www.tutormentorconnection.org website in 1998 we've been sharing these ideas and strategies with the world since they apply in every major city where poverty is concentrated in small areas surrounded by more affluent and well-connected neighborhoods.

Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

While we were able to sort programs by age group and type of program we really were not able to dig deeper into program data to create a clear differentiation. If you look at the websites on this list of programs you see great variation. Some include tutoring and/or mentoring as part of a larger organization, and give very little information about program design, goals or history. Others focus totally on tutoring/mentoring as the core part of program design. Few show a long-term strategy as visualized by the charts I've shown above.  Thus, there is much work to be done to create a city with long-term programs reaching youth in every high poverty neighborhood.

Unfortunately the financial meltdown starting in late 2008 destroyed our funding base and led the directors of Cabrini Connections-Tutor/Mentor Connection to make a radical change in 2011, dropping the T/MC strategy to focus only on the youth program.  That led me to leave the organization and form Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in late 2011 to try to continue to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy, which I've managed to do through 2019, but with a bare minimum of support. Much of the work we were doing in the 2000s is no longer being done and our web sites are now templates for what should be done, more than active resources, although the web library and list of programs is being maintained and updated regularly.

As we enter 2020 the Chicago Tribune has launched a new call to action (see my article) and Mayor Lightfood has launched an EveryYouth Connected initiative (see my article). 

I keep sharing ideas via this blog and social media with two overall goals:

a) leaders will borrow these ideas and incorporate them into their own plans, perhaps even asking me to help them

b) a  university and/or investor/benefactor will step forward and offer support to rebuild the Tutor/Mentor Connection (see these articles) and to provide leadership to carry it forward in future years.

Get to know T/MC and T/MI
A starting point for anyone is to spend time browsing through my blog and web site to begin learning what I've been describing and thinking of ways to incorporate some of the ideas into your own leadership.  Here's a page where you can see how interns working with me between 2006 and 2015 have done that. 

In addition, here's a cMap showing how others have spent time learning about the T/MC and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

We're beginning a new year, and a new decade. Will the ideas and resources still be available in 2030?  Will there be programs in every neighborhood telling stories showing how youth who have been part of organized tutor/mentor programs from elementary school through high school in the past are now being recognized as future leaders, such as Lovea Smith.  

That's my goal. 

If you'd like to connect, post a comment or engage with me on one of these social media platforms.





Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A New Call To Action from Chicago Tribune

Chicago Forward - Chicago Tribune
A couple of weeks ago the Chicago Tribune launched a  new call to action to reach Chicagoland's disconnected youth, inviting reader ideas.

I've been responding to these "calls to action" for more than 25 years with ideas and strategies posted in my newsletters, web sites and on this blog.  Instead of re-writing all this again, like some sort of narrow grant proposal, I invite city planners to skim through the information that has been available to them for so long, then invite me into their brainstorming and planning where I can help them understand it and ways to apply it.

I shared this with Bruce Dold and the Chicago Tribune on a few Tweets which I'm showing below:



Since October 2019 I've been attending meetings hosted by Mayor Lori Lightfoot's team, which is developing a plan that also aims to reach youth throughout Chicago. Here's one Tweet that I posted.



Here's another one where I focus on the long-term, flexible funding needed to support youth serving programs in every high poverty neighborhood. This needs to be part of the planning.



Here's a Tweet that focuses on the talent needed in every single youth program.



Here's another Tweet, visualizing the many challenges facing youth and families in high poverty areas. Just focusing on providing youth programs won't address the many other issues.


I've been using Maps since 1993 to focus attention and resources to all high poverty areas of Chicago and its suburbs. Here's one Tweet showing that.



Finally, here's one where I show the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator search page, which the Tutor/Mentor Connection launched in 2004. Prior to that we had shared our list of programs via a printed directory, first published in 1994.



This is just a sample of the information available to the planners at the Chicago Tribune, Chicago SunTimes, City of Chicago and other places. There's so much here that included in any planning needs to be a focus on learning.

Below is a video showing steps to learning all this information, created by one of the interns from South Korea via IIT who worked with me from 2006 to 2015.



One of my Tweets posted above shows the front page of the October 15 Chicago SunTimes, which also was a call to action. This is a deeply rooted problem that requires involvement of many sectors, in many ways, and for many years.

The media and city leaders need to take on the intermediary role that I've consistently taken, to encourage others to look at this information, discuss it, then incorporate what they learn in actions that make birth to work youth tutor/mentor programs available in every high poverty area of the city and suburbs.

I'm on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook where I hope to connect with others who will help share these ideas, while adding their own.