Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tribute to "life of tutoring and kindness"

Today's Chicago Tribune front page featured a stirring tribute to Sue Duncan, who "reached across segregated Chicago a half-century ago and through tutoring and uncommon kindness has changed thousands of lives".

While she is the mother of Secretary of Education and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan, Sue Duncan is the hero of this story, as are all of the other volunteers who spend time in inner-city neighborhoods serving as tutors and mentors.

The story ends with the statement "you only get so much time to do something positive with your life."

If you read this I hope you'll think of three actions you might take:

a} Use the Tutor/Mentor Program Links Library to learn about different organizations providing tutoring and/or mentoring in different parts of the Chicago region

b) Reach out to offer your time and talent to one or more of these programs. You can be a tutor/mentor, or can help with technology, fund raising, accounting, etc. Set up a group at your church or company to learn ways you can help programs throughout the city last long enough that they all can boast of long-term volunteers like Sue Duncan.

c) Send a holiday donation to one, or more, and make a commitment to do so each year, in memory of the nearly 50 years that Sue Duncan has continued in her role as tutor/mentor. Make a bequest if you can, to assure long-term operations of the program you support.

Tutoring Chicago and Chicago Tutor Connection are on that list, along with nearly 200 other youth serving organizations. Most don't have any wealthy benefactors supporting their efforts. They depend on an orchestra of donors and a variety of private sector grants.

We also operate the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which maintains this list of tutor/mentor programs, and also depends on donor dollars to offer this free service.

Don't wait until the end of December to get involved or send a donation. Do it today, or tomorrow. Add your own tribute to this life of "tutoring and kindness".

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