Sunday, August 07, 2016

Helping Tutor and Mentor Orgs Grow. Can You Do This, Too?

I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago in 1975, and over 35 years developed a deep appreciation for the positive impact such programs have on many of the youth and volunteers who participate.

Coming from a retail advertising background, I launched the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in Chicago with a goal of a) building a better understanding of what organizations in Chicago offered tutoring and/or mentoring as part of an on-going strategy; and b) finding ways to build greater public attention that would draw volunteers and donors to all of the programs in the city; and c) would help new programs grow in underserved areas.  I have continued to operate the T/MC since 2011 through Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

Drawing upon my list of programs, I'm able to look at their web sites, Facebook pages and Twitter posts to see what they do, and try to share that with others. Here's an example:

This shows the Facebook page of four Chicago youth serving organizations, and a graphic that points to my list of more than 100 Chicago area programs who I found on Facebook.  I built my Facebook list by looking at my master list of nearly 200 Chicago area youth serving organizations.  By clicking into my "pages feed" on Facebook every few days, I'm able to view updates being posted by those who are active in sharing news on Facebook. My Twitter feed offers the same type of updates. 

I shared this with a group of educators who I've met via the Connected Learning MOOC (#clmooc), suggesting that they and their students could be looking for youth programs in their own community, and then creating visualizations that drew greater attention to each of them at key times each year.

Youth and volunteer groups in Chicago can do this too,  I hope they do.  In fact, if 100's of visualizations like this, showing many of the different youth programs operating in the Chicago region, are created over the next six weeks, and throughout the year, more people will take notice, and begin to offer their own support, as volunteer tutors, mentors, organizers, leaders, advocates, etc.

An equally important outcome of such efforts will be that more people will build a deeper  understanding of the different types of programs, and the different types of activities, that are taking place around the city, leading to a sharing of ideas that can stimulate borrowing and constant innovation and improvement among all of the youth serving programs.

That was the purpose of creating the library in the first place, and for continuing to sustain it in 2016...even with almost no financial support helping me do this.

I don't expect this type of example from any of the people trying to get elected this fall. I needs to come from us.

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