Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Engaging Volunteer Mentors in Youth Employment Issues

I attended a Youth Employment hearing at the Chicago Urban League yesterday where nearly 20 urban youth testified before a panel of elected officials and a crowd of community organization leaders, showing the importance of jobs and mentoring.  Articles sharing this information are in today's newspapers and many places on social media. Congratulations to the organizers for bringing the media,  political leaders and community organizations together to focus on this issuel.

During the hearing, Teresa Cordoba of the UIC Great Cities Institute shared a report, showing nearly half of urban Black men, age 20-24, are unemployed, and used maps to show the relationship of poverty, unemployment and urban violence.   Kelly Hallberg, from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, shared research showing that youth employment programs have a positive impact on the aspirations of youth and in reducing criminal behavior. She started her testimony with a sign saying:

"Nothing stops a bullet like a job."

Since this is obvious, why are the funds not in place to offer more jobs, Why isn't the business community doing more?

I attended this hearing (that's me sharing event information via my Twitter feed)  because I became a volunteer tutor/mentor in 1973, and because I was part of organized, structured, supportive non-school programs, I've stayed involved, and grown my own commitment to where it is today. See timeline.

I've been saying for nearly 20 years that strategies that support the growth of well-organized non-school tutor/mentor programs are strategies that increase the number of people who become allies..and voters... who are needed to resolve these problems.   Unfortunately, too few leaders have embraced the vision and ideas I've been sharing on this blog and on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site.

Below is one of several presentations I've created that expand on this idea.

If company leaders, faith leaders, college teams and more adopt this ROLE OF LEADERS strategy, and build internal teams to lead the engagement of the entire corporate/organization in this effort, there would be more well organized youth programs, and more volunteers, like myself, deeply involved in trying to reduce these problems.

As I listened to the different youth giving testimony yesterday, I had a vision of a different type of presentation.  What if each youth, when they introduced themselves, said "I'm a registered voter. I  live in xxWard, xx County Board District, xx State Legislative and State Senate district.  I am to cast my vote for someone who brings jobs and non-school learning and mentoring opportunities to my neighborhood."

I've written many articles on uses of maps, such as this one.  Here's a presentation, illustrating what youth could have been offering as part of their testimony, using maps of political districts, to illustrate where help is needed and who should be helping.

I'd be happy to meet with leaders of youth serving organizations, schools, universities, faith groups, political campaigns, and business, to show ways I think maps, and map stories, can involve youth in roles that not only educate and motivate adults to do more, but provide skill-building opportunities that translate to well-paying 21st century careers.

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN, or email tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net.

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