Wednesday, July 02, 2008

8 year old shot. Tells docs: "When I die, I'm going to miss you."

Last week was another violent week for Chicago kids. This time the story took a new twist. While in the hospital the boy said to his doctors, "You guys have been so nice to me. When I die, I'm going to miss you."

That and the response of Chicago's new police chief, blaming the parents for putting the child in harms way, was what made the headlines in last week's Chicago papers.

We mapped this story, and wrote about it on the Mapping For Justice blog. You can see the map at the right.

This map is similar to the one we put on this blog on June 20, except the boy in that story died, and the neighborhood was in the South part of Chicago, not in the middle.

What's different on today's map are the names of the non profits offering various forms of youth development services, and a variety of icons showing Catholic, Baptist and Christian churches in this. To find descriptions of tutor/mentor programs in this part of the city click on the zip code map for zip codes 60625, 60651, 60612 and 60622.

While there are only five non profits in this area, there are dozens of churches who could be places for tutor/mentor programs to operate. We post maps like this so that faith leaders will begin to develop a strategic and long-term approch to the violence and poverty that plague inner-city neighborhoods.

Imagine if the Cardinal, or the head of the Baptists congregations in the Chicago region developed an outreach aimed at increasing the number of church locations that hosted tutor/mentor programs, as well as the number of church locations in the city and suburbs, who were supporting these tutor/mentor programs with a regular communications strategy that ties scripture to service, volunterism and philanthropy.

If you're a member, or a leader, of a congregation in the Chicago region, I encourage you to share this information with others in your faith community. Form a learning group to study the issues, using the Tutor/Mentor Connection library as resource. From this build a communications strategy that engages members of your faith, and the businesses where they work, as leaders, volunteers and donors at one or more tutor/mentor programs in high poverty neighborhoods of the Chicago region.

If you're in another city, duplicate this strategy in support of youth in your own geographic region. Contact the Tutor/Mentor Connection if you want help.

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