Friday, July 19, 2013

Derrick Rose talks about poverty, violence in Chicago

In today's Chicago Tribune sports section David Haugh writes about Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose speaking about violence in Chicago. Rose is quote as saying "It all starts with poverty."

In the column Haugh writes "As powerful as Rose's words can be, his actions can change -- and perhaps save -- lives more profoundly."

I agree. For many years I've tried to recruit celebrities and high profile sports stars to take on-going roles that would draw more volunteers and donors to the information on the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site, and to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in all high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

I created this animation last February, to demonstrate a simple role athletes and coaches can take on an on-going basis. This is a crude video because I don't have money to hire professionals to do this. Derrick Rose and his corporate sponsors have millions of dollars that could be used to produce videos like this, with Rose and other athletes as featured speakers.

This is not asking athletes to spend time at charity events, be mentors, serve on boards or give money. It is asking athletes to use their time in front of microphones and cameras to not only talk about violence, but to point to places where people can get more informed and get involved.

If athletes with access to high quality creative and video production talent could remake this video with themselves as the featured characters they could put it on their own web sites and point to it when a sports reporter asks a tough question that they may not want to answer. They can point to it everytime violence has a personal impact on them, their family and/or the neighborhood where they grew up.

As more athletes and celebrities point to the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and Chicago Program Links Library more people will be motivated to seek out one or more tutor/mentor programs where they can get involved.

Some athletes may choose to go further with this, and begin coaching others to understand how teams of volunteers, donors, leaders, parents and community members need to be working together on an on-going basis to help mentor-rich programs be available in a neighborhood and to keep them available and constantly improving for a generation or longer.

On this page you can see visualizations created by interns working with me for short periods of time. Imagine if rappers, pro athletes, advertising professionals and/or youth in high schools throughout the country were using their own talent, time and resources to create and share presentations like this.

It can happen. Basketball is a sport where just one special athlete, like Derrick Rose, can change a poor team into a winner. All it takes is for one or two high profile athletes to create their own versions of this animation, for others to see roles they could take and to be motivated to do so.

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