Thursday, October 08, 2009

"This is the time to look in our collective mirror and ask whether we like what we see or whether we can do better together." .. Arne Duncan

Today's Chicago SunTimes Editorial was, CPS kids need mentors -- but that's just a start. There must have been a meeting at the SunTimes and the Tribune, where many columnist were encouraged to write articles that reminded readers that this public outrage is not new and that if we don't keep attention focused on this issue, not much will change in Chicago, or in other cities.

Of course, I've been trying to focus attention on this issue every day since we formed Cabrini Connections, and the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1992. I have posted 555 articles on this blog since I launched it in 2005. From 1994 to 2001 we were sending a printed newsletter 3 times a year to up to 12,000 people (we don't have money to do that any more.) Each time I point to the Chicago Program Locator and other links, so that readers can learn more about volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs, where they are most needed, why they are needed, and choose places where they become part of the solution, as a volunteer, donor, business partner, etc.

Below is a media map, showing stories in the October 8, 2009 Chicago Tribune and Chicago SunTimes. None of these stories pointed to the Tutor/Mentor Directory, so readers who want to respond, will need to know where to look. If you Google "tutor mentor" you'll find our web site, and that can lead you to other tutor/mentor programs throughout the region, and in other cities around the country.

While the focus was on Roseland, a drive by shooting in another neighborhood, took another life last night.

John Kass, Tribune

Daily, Obama Officials discuss youth violence,

Mary Schmich, Tribune, How Do We Stop Wave of Youth Violence?

Tribune Editorial, 10/8/09 - Deciding to Care

How Did Chicago Get to This?, by Arne Duncan, in Chicago Tribune
wrote, "Chicago won't be defined by this incident but rather by our response to it. I came here to join with you and with communities across America to call for a national conversation on values......It's a conversation that should happen in every city in America where violence, intolerance and discrimination exist."

When children with illegal firearms rule, commentary in Chicago Tribune, by
Ellen S. Alberding is president of The Joyce Foundation.

Mark Brown, Reaction to Murders Must Be Different, Chicago SunTimes

Stella Foster, Sun Times, Stopping Violence

Mary Mitchell, Sun Times, Derrion not the first victim, or the last

Oct 6, Jesse Jackson, SunTimes, Derrion tragedy a sign of much bigger illness

The media map I created does more than point to the many stories written today. It shows that had media been writing these stories since 1992 when Dantrell Davis was killed, and pointing to tutor/mentor programs, and encouraging people beyond poverty to give time, talent, and dollars, we might have more tutor/mentor programs, and fewer incidents of violence. We also might have more kids in college and careers, who were just starting first grade in 1993.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection is just a small non profit. We have almost no money or cash flow, thus we're limited in what we can do. Our strategy is one that calls on many people to take on this responsibility, not just the media, or the T/MC.

This means businesses could be pointing to tutor/mentor programs in advertising. Faith leaders could be doing sermons, tying "scripture to service" and pointing to places where people from the suburbs can connect with youth and tutor/mentor programs in the city. It means hospitals and public health leaders could be adopting education and tutoring/mentoring as part of public health strategies. Inner city hospitals could be hubs of tutor/mentor neighborhood strategies. Visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute to see more ideas of how others can take leadership roles.

One role that students in a high school or college service learning or media class could take is to map media stories, just as I've done. This could be done by students in every major city, creating a system of accountability, and information, that shows who is writing about this story every day, and who us using their writing to point volunteers, donor and students to tutor/mentor programs in the neighborhoods where there is high poverty, poorly performing schools, not enough jobs, public health issues, and other problems that can't be resolved just by "parents taking more responsibility" or "schools having more money for better teachers".

If you map these stories, you can post them on blogs, and link to T/MC and others, so that your maps become part of the solution to this problem. Contact us at the Tutor/Mentor Connection if you'd like to take on this role.

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