Sunday, November 04, 2007

Halloween Tragedy. Education Gap Grows. How to respond?

Last week's headlines included a tragic story of a young mother who was shot and killed as she was out trick-or-treating with her three young kids. It was a random shooting, gang related, and too common in Chicago.

As tragic as this was, it did not get as much of a headline as the reports from the most recent round of education test results, showing a continuing gap between the learning or rich and poor in Chicago.

The question is, "who cares?". Do you see the stories of shootings so often that you just read past them? Is the education gap something that is "somebody else's problem"?

The reason I advocate for volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring is that it connects people who don't live in poverty, who have never had to fear for their life as they go to school every day, or walk in a park, or take their kids out for Halloween, on a personal basis with kids and families who deal with these issues every day.

If we can help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs like Cabrini Connections grow in every part of the Chicago region where there are pockets of poverty, we can connect thousands of people with this tragedy and, hopefully, increase the number of people who don't put the paper down when they read these stories, but dig deeper for meaning and understanding, and look for ways to stop this killing.

I write about this often and encourage you to scroll back through the past messages that I've posted. I also encourage you to try to participate in the next Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference, which will be November 15 and 16.

If you can't attend personally, then join us on the Internet, in the T/MC forum, on Facebook, or in other spaces where we can stay connected for many years, or as long as it takes to develop a more sophisticated, and broad based, response to these tragedies.

As you move through the coming week, and read more stories like these, I hope you'll remember this invitation.

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