Monday, July 02, 2012

Help Tutor/Mentor Programs Tell Their Story

In 2008 I asked interns working with me to visit the Chicago Programs Links section of the Tutor/Mentor Connection library and visit the web site of each program to learn what they were doing and to write a brief review.

I provided this set of criteria:

* Home page features "mentoring or tutoring" with headline words and/or pictures

* Home page has easy-to-find sub-feature of "mentoring or tutoring" with words and/or pictures

* Volunteer involvement opportunity is clear

* Contact information is clear so volunteer or donor can contact program

* Case made for why tutoring/mentoring is important

* Site shows role of tutoring/mentoring in workforce development

* Site shows benefit of volunteer involvement in tutoring/mentoring on the volunteer

* Site provides links to research related to tutoring, mentoring, poverty, education, etc.

* Site links to other tutor/mentor programs in the same city

* Site links to one or more Tutor/Mentor Connection web sites and/or Program Locator

This process of looking at web sites and learning from what they do should be on-going. Every program could learn ideas from each other and use them to improve their own efforts, if they have people doing this comparison and if there were donor/investors ready with talent and dollars that programs can use for constant improvement.

However, many of the web sites don't do as well as they need to in telling the program's story. The talent and time needed to collect stories and tell them via web pages, blogs, videos, etc. is not available in every program. Thus, there is a role for volunteers from business, high schools and/or college to reach out and offer to help programs better tell their stories.

This goes along with the need for teams of volunteers to help collect information about existing tutor/mentor programs so that the Program Locator database is updated on a continuous basis. This essay shows that role.

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