Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Innocent teen killed in Maywood. What Can Be Done?

Today the Chicago SunTimes and the Chicago Tribune both included stories about a 14 year old teen killed while she slept in her home by a car that crashed into the house as a result of the driver being shot.

This story is tragic, but it also is personal. The teen was part of the Maywood Youth Mentoring Program that has been led by Barbara Cole for many years. Through the Tutor/Mentor Connection I've tried to help Barbara build the program she leads so it can help more teens. This program has also been aided by Michael Romain, who also volunteers time to write about the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Below is a map showing the 7th Congressional District that was created last year during the campaign to elect a new Chicago Mayor. This map was created several years ago to illustrate ways that leaders in different political districts should be working with business, faith groups, and other elected bodies to help build and sustain a wide range or mentor-rich youth programs in the high poverty parts of the district.

While the SunTimes devoted a half page to the tragedy in Maywood, they devoted two pages on Tuesday and another two-pages today to talk about the tragedy taking place in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. They've focused on Murray Park as a symbol of the lack of safe places for kids to play and build skills during the non-school hours. I've created maps of Englewood in the past. The one below is from the Interactive Map on the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator.

In the Interactive Program Locator each green star represents the name of an organization that offers some form of tutoring and/or mentoring. Some have web sites and you can learn more what they do. Some don't.

We intend the Program Locator and our maps as a tool for leaders. Anyone can look at the map of the 7th District and see that there are very few programs and they are not in every part of the district. Same for Englewood.

I've been hosting a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference every six months. My goal is to bring people together to talk about where tutor/mentor programs are needed and to share ideas and strategies that can help existing programs grow. However, the goal is also to create reasons for newspaper reporters to write stories about tutoring/mentoring and to help us draw more people to the conferences and to the list or programs we host so more people learn to become volunteers and donors helping each tutoring and/or mentoring program constantly improve in an effort to be 'world class' in what they do. The story below was written in November 1996 by Ray Coffey of the Chicago SunTimes.

The next conference is Friday, November 4 at the Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago. You can see more stories written as a result of the conferences and other actions of the Tutor/Mentor Connection at this link.

I hope some of you will forward this information to bloggers and media writers so new stories will be created. I hope you'll also encourage people in business, media, philanthropy and who lead tutor/mentor programs to register and attend so more people will be working to change what is happening in Maywood, Englewood and many other neighborhoods of this country.

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