Wednesday, March 14, 2007

11- year old boy shot while riding bike

Page 5 of the March 14, 2007 Chicago SunTimes printed the photo of an 11 year old boy who was shot Tuesday afternoon while he was riding his bike. Four boys were being questioned about the shooting, according to the report in the paper.

This story was not important enough to the editors of the SunTimes to make the front page, or the editorial page, but we'd like you to know the REST OF THE STORY.

The neighborhood where this shooting took places is in the 60619 zip code, in the far South part of Chicago. If you search the Program Locator of the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site, you an find listings for park districts and other youth serving organizations in this area, but little evidence of comprehensive, volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs such as Chicago Youth Programs, Inc, which operates in three park district locations in other neighborhoods of Chicago, or the Midtown Center which hosts programs in the central part of Chicago.

Stories of shootings are reported in the Chicago papers almost every day. Seldom do they get feature attention, or editorial attention. Seldom do the papers feature editorial columns which encourage volunteers, donors and area businesses to mobilize volunteers and resources to help every neighborhood have a full range of programs that are as comprehensive as Midtown or Chicago Youth Programs, Inc.

I mention these two programs not because they are the best, but because they have web sites that I can point to where they show what they do, and that others can learn from in building similar programs in different locations. In the Chicago Programs Links you can find links to other programs in the Chicago region. Unfortunately, we can't find many programs on the South Side of Chicago, or in the South Suburbs, with web sites that show a range of mentoring, tutoring and enrichment services.

This can mean there are programs, but they don't have web sites. Or it can mean their are no programs, and this is a reason kids are out on the streets shooting at each other.

If the shooting of an 11 year old boy is something that angers you, and you want to do something to prevent this in the future, search the Program Links and review the concept essays in the Tutor/Mentor Institute . Use this information to begin to learn more about tutoring/mentoring in Chicago and where your time, your talent and your dollars can help build programs that provide more positive alternatives to the choices kids have now.

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