Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shouldn't Leaders throughout Chicago be Looking at this?

I created this graphic to share my thinking and try to find others who are thinking the same way about ways to help kids living in poverty areas of Chicago and other big cities. As you look at this I hope you'll also look at some of the pdf essay's I've posted in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

I think it would be hard to find people who don't see a value to helping kids connect with adult mentors in formal or informal settings.

If that's the case, then shouldn't we need to be looking for ways to expand the number of kids living in high poverty areas and/or dysfunctional homes who have extra adults and extra learning and enrichment opportunities in their lives.

In a big city like Chicago it's difficult for adults who work in downtown or suburban jobs to connect informally with inner city k-12 youth. Thus, there is a need for structured programs operating in the non-school and after work or weekend hours to support connections of youth and adults, and keep these connections going for months and years.

If we agree with that shouldn't we make an effort to know what programs are already operating and help them get the talent, technology, training and operating resources to constantly improve how they do this work?

Once we agree that organized tutor/mentor programs are needed to connect youth and mentors, tutors and extra learning, and we agree that efforts should be made to help each program get the operating resources they need, shouldn't we be looking at maps of the city to see if we have programs for each age group (K-12) in all of the places with high poverty, high violence, and high concentrations of poorly performing schools? Shouldn't we be looking for ways to borrow ideas from existing programs to help new programs start in neighborhoods with no programs or without programs for certain age groups?

If you agree with this thinking, can you help me find and connect with business, faith, political and philanthropic leaders, as well as other non-profit tutor/mentor program leaders, who are already trying to innovate more effective ways to help tutor/mentor programs reach youth in more places of the city and suburbs?

I host a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in May and November to bring people together for this purpose, but these are not being used by leaders in business, faith, political and philanthropic as part of a planning, innovation and marketing effort? They could be. So far that's not happening.

The next conference is this Monday, Nov. 19. If you're one of those people who embrace this progression of thinking, there's still time to register and attend. If you can just come for one or two workshops just pay the $20 scholarship rate. Stay as long as you can and then let's connect on-line or in one-on-one meetings after the conference.

If you know of other places where this thinking is taking place on a citywide scale, please share that. Maybe we can provide some ideas that would be useful.

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