Monday, November 21, 2016

In #Trump dominated media world how do we keep focused on youth?

I was hoping that the November 8th election would lessen the daily bombardment of political messaging. With the election of #DonaldTrump that has risen to a new level, and does not seem likely to lessen anytime soon.

There are too many reasons for this to continue, for me to list here.

However, I want to share this image to remind you that the work of raising kids won't take a four-year holiday while we work to offset the negative impact of Trump in the White House.

This was the front page of the Chicago SunTimes in October 1992 after the shooting of a 7-year old boy in Chicago's Cabrini-Green neighborhood.  I've used this image over and over since then to remind myself, and others, of our on-going responsibility to help build support systems for youth that help more kids move safely through school and into jobs and careers.

You can read one of those articles at this link.

Like many, I'm concerned about how Donald Trump and those surrounding him might move this country toward something that resembles Nazi era Germany.  That cannot be allowed. Those organizations on the front lines of protecting civil liberties need to be supported.

However, let's not drop the ball on other important causes.

I created the graphic at the right in the 1990s, recognizing that there are many important issues that require attention, volunteer talent and dollars.  My hope is that people will devote a small percent of their attention and resources to support on-going operations of youth serving organizations in their neighborhood and in other under-served areas of the country and the world.

Which brings me to a final thought as we start this Thanksgiving week and holiday season.  I created the graphic below in the 1990s to illustrate the need to surround youth with a diverse mix of adults from many work, age and faith backgrounds, from the time they are born until a time when they are in work and raising their own kids.  You can see a version of this in this pdf essay.  I added the red and blue boxes, and the political map of the US over the weekend.

I think of on-going, volunteer-based non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs as a "melting pot" where youth and adults from different backgrounds connect and over many weeks and years of interaction, begin to know each other on a personal level, not as labels and stereotypes, such as "red state" or "blue state".

I think raising kids to become contributing adults is everyone's responsibility. Teaching them to read, reflect, think and become future leaders is a goal I hope many share, regardless of political affiliation.

While I've focused on building and sustaining tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other big cities, I hope to connect with people who focus on rural areas and foriegn countries, using web libraries, maps and visualizations for the same purpose as I do.

While I fear the growth of programs where adults mentor youth to hate and promote one race and class over all others, I believe that programs with a mix of adults and perspectives have the potential to offset this bias.

I use maps because such programs need to be in many places and only with maps can we clearly see their availability and distribution.  The map creation and update is an on-going process, so this too needs to be supported, ideally by universities, company teams and even high school service learning organizations.

As you head into the holidays I hope you'll read this and other articles on my blogs and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site.  Create your own blog and use maps and visualizations to share your own ideas. Share your link with me via the comment section, or on Twitter or Facebook.

As a nation, we've not come close to accepting the responsibilities requested in that October 1992 Chicago SunTimes article. Let's try to do better in the future....regardless of how traditional and social media try to pull our attention in different directions.

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