Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Strategy for 2017 - Everyone Leads!

I saw an article titled "New Paradigm for Leadership: Everyone Leads" on my Twitter feed today.

I've been sharing this graphic for nearly 20 years, with the same goal in mind. In this article I talk about "the village" it takes to raise kids, and encourage anyone and everyone to take steps to build and sustain this type of effort in Chicago and in other cities.

In other articles I talk about network building, network analysis, mapping and on-line communities, focusing on ways we can connect, and ways we can measure who is involved, and who still needs to be involved.

As I share these ideas I realize that the issues I focus on, and the city where I live, are only part of the complex network of problems that we face going into 2017 and beyond.

This, my goal is that just a few people from each sector dedicate their time, talent, dollars and lives to the slice of the pie that I focus on, while others make the same commitment to different parts of the pie chart, and/or different places in the world where the same problem is concentrated.

Then let's find ways to share our idea, via web sites, blogs, videos, etc. and connect with each other in ways that we offer support to each other, and learn new ways to solve old problems.

This is only a "new paradigm" if by the end of 2017 we can identify thousands of people who are adopting and applying these ideas.

"If it is to be, it is up to me" is a slogan given to me in the early 1990s by Merri Dee, of WGN TV.

It still applies.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Building, Connecting Villages of Hope, Opportunity

I am one of those people who fear what will happen to our democracy and freedom, and the planet's health, over the next few years.  In some of the posts I've read, writers say "don't lose hope" and "get involved locally with a cause you care about".

These prompted me to create the graphic shown below, which I'll explain in the following paragraphs.

Since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993 my goal has been to help mentor-rich, non-school tutoring and learning centers be available in a growing number of high poverty neighborhoods. Rather than start new programs, the strategy has been to identify existing organizations who already do some form of tutoring and/or mentoring and help them get a consistent flow of ideas, talent, operating dollars and other resources needed to build constantly improving programs.

When you look at the "oil well" images on the map I want you to think of the 12 years it takes for a youth to go from first grade to 12th grade, and the four to eight years after that to go through secondary education and find a job and/or be starting a career.

Since no program starts out as "the best" the flow of resources needs to help programs launch, then grow, then build and sustain multiple year connections with youth.

It takes a lot of different talents and skills to make this happen. I use the "it takes a village" graphic to visualize this.  In addition, I've created some concept maps that show the range of talent and community networks who need to be involved in supporting each program operating in each neighborhood.

Here's one of the maps in my library, showing supports kids need as they move through school.

Mentoring Kids to Careers - map

The concept map below visualizes a process that should be taking place in hundreds of locations, in the Chicago region, and in other cities, to help programs grow in places where they are most needed, and to help them become great at what they do to transform the lives of kids, families, volunteers and anyone who is involved.

See map at http://tinyurl.com/TMI-PlanningCycle-cmap

When I started leading a tutor/mentor program in 1975 I had a full time advertising job, we had no paid staff, and we already had 100 pairs of elementary school kids and volunteers involved. That number grew to 300 pairs by 1990 (with about 30 hours per week of part time college student staff).  I recognized that I could never touch and train every volunteer to know all they needed to know about why we were offering the program and what they could do to be effective tutors/mentors and program participants.  Thus I began to collect information that they could read and draw from to support their own efforts.

I started to create a "learning organization" well before this term was coined in business schools and trade magazines. This is one of many articles I've written to explain that idea.

In all my communications I was asking my volunteers to look for ways to help the kids we work with move through school. I was offering a library of articles (which was put on the internet starting in 1998) that they could read, share, discuss and learn from.  I focused on a process of improvement, or  how do we get from "here to there'.  I organized social events, such as getting together for food and drinks after a tutoring session, or field trip, so that volunteers could form bonds with other volunteers and we could build an informal, on-going, discussion of what we were doing, and how they could help.

In 1990 we converted the company sponsored program at the Montgomery Ward headquarters into a non profit organization. From that point till today, my goal has been to bring donors, policy makers, media and other leaders into this same learning process.

Do a Google search for "tutor mentor" then look at the images. You'll find many graphics like this.

Chicago SunTimes, Oct. 1992
In November 1992 six volunteers and myself gathered and made a commitment to form a new program to serve 7th to 12th grade teens who had aged out of the original program.  At the same time a 7-year old boy from Cabrini-Green was shot and killed on his way to school.

The media were once again putting the "it's everyone's responsibility" message on the front page and in editorial stories. However, there was no master database of Chicago tutor/mentor programs so no leader could offer a strategy to fill neighborhoods with great programs.

So we decided to also create the Tutor/Mentor Connection to fill the void. (I created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to keep the T/MC alive in Chicago and make it available in other cities.)

In the years since then we have created a huge library of information, including a list of Chicago area tutoring and/or mentoring programs,  that anyone can draw from to understand where kids need extra help, who is already trying to offer that help, and what volunteers, donors and businesses could do to help programs grow.

Between 1994 and 2015 I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences to bring people together to share ideas for starting or building effective programs. I also developed a public awareness strategy to try to draw more attention to the web library and the list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs that I had been developing.

However, I was only reaching a few of the people who needed to be reached, and the system was not effective in connecting people (the village) from different programs with others within a single program, or with volunteers, donors, leaders, parents and students from other programs in Chicago......or with similar people from other cities who were doing the same work.

In the early 2000s I connected with a group of ESL educators (Webheads) who were located in different countries, and who were meeting weekly via the Internet, to share ideas and build relationships.

Over the past few years I've connected with another network of educators via Connected Learning MOOC formats, where people from many different places are sharing ideas and building relationships with each other.

I point to these in various blog articles because they are examples of how people can connect and learn from each other in virtual communities.

Most of my ideas for leading a single tutor/mentor program, or for helping build a city of great programs, have come from others who I've met over the past 40 years.  One entire section of the Tutor/Mentor web library is focused on "innovation, process improvement, mapping, knowledge management, etc." which are ideas anyone can use to build strong non-profits, or build strong businesses.

Look at the graphic at the top of the page once more.

The lines on this graphic illustrate how programs within a city need to be connecting with each other using on-line libraries, communities, blogs, annotation, Twitter, Facebook and other learning tools to constantly innovate ways to increase their impact on the lives of  program participants.  The small map in the lower left corner illustrates that people in big cities all over the country need to be talking to each other in the same way.

When you look at web sites of youth serving organizations in the future, hopefully you'll see evidence that shows a program is bringing together a "village" of support for it's participants, and that the community surrounding each program is proactive in offering the time, talent and dollars each program needs to be great at what it does.

At some point in the future you should find maps of Chicago and other cities, with icons on the map showing places where "the village" or "networks of people" are working to help kids grow up, or help communities solve complex problems.  The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator (archive since 2020) interactive map can serve as a model for others to develop such maps.

The November election shows that we need to find ways to bring people from rural communities and Indian reservations into these same discussions.

We don't need government permission or support or funding to do this. We just need a commitment at the local level to build mentor-rich programs (villages) that build a culture of learning into their fundamental operating principles and then nurture this on an on-going basis.

We don't need to solve the world's problems every day. Just make a contribution to help solve a local problem.

Take a step every day and these add  up to mountains of impact over a lifetime.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thanks for 70th Birthday Greetings

My 70th birthday was Monday and my wife and two kids hosted a party at my home on Saturday, with neighbors and family attending. We had a great time.

During the weekend more than 150 people offered birthday greetings to me, mostly on Facebook. I  hope you'll browse my timeline and read some of these.

What delights me is that 20 Facebook comments came from former students of the tutor/mentor programs I've led, from as far back as 1973.  Seven were from former volunteers, again extending back to the 1980s.

One student wrote:

Wishing one of the coolest guys a happy birthday...you've taught me so much and gave me the opportunity to be apart of something that was important to a lot of us kids who didn't have anything else to look forward to as a kid growing up in cabrini green...thank you so much and have a bless birthday

Another wrote:

Happy Birthday Mr. Dan! Thanks for being so significant in the Cabrini Green culture!

37 comments came from  Chicago and national people who I've connected with via the Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conferences I've hosted, or events they have hosted, or through on-line networking.

And 13 comments were offered by members of Acacia Fraternity at Illinois Wesleyan, who have been consistent in providing financial support since the 1990s.  Two of my IWU fraternity brothers were part of the original start-up of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.

One of my favorite greetings came from Terry Elliott, from Western Kentucky. He posted this message on Twitter, with an inspirational animation to go with it:

12 greetings came from family located in Chicago and around the country and 3 came from men in Africa who I've shared ideas with for many years.

At the right is a graphic that shows people I was connected to on Facebook in 2012, and puts them in categories similar to the mix who offered birthday greetings over the weekend. I've not done a similar analysis recently, but I should, just to illustrate how the outreach I do, even my birthday celebration, intends to reach people in many different sectors and connect them to information they can use to help solve some of the problems we face in Chicago and the world.

I appreciate the greetings, and value the complements. However, it's to financial support provided by a few who help me keep doing this work.  Visit this link and offer your own contribution if you are able.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Creating the World We Want - Engaging Youth

I've been following Dan Rather, retired news commentator and reporter, on Facebook. Today he posted this article, talking about "deep and abiding fear and panic across a lot of the country", resulting from the Presidential election in the US and similar elections taking place throughout the world.

He ended by saying, "There are no simple answers or silver bullets, but I would begin by saying you can start by doing something. Pick a worthy cause, like education, the environment, racial justice, and seek out where you can volunteer your time and energy."

I created the above graphic many years ago to show the power of individuals to influence change in the world, or to help non-school, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs be available to youth in more places.

Below is a presentation that shows how young people and adults can unleash their own personal power to influence change.

I created a version of this, focusing on a specific issue, STEM education, to illustrate how a group could focus on distributing a specific form of learning in many places.

I've been building the Tutor/Mentor web library for over 20 years, so there's much more information available than any person can learn in one visit. Just like reading the Bible, or earning a college degree, is an on-going process of learning, I encourage groups of people to dig into sections of my library on a weekly basis, then form discussion groups to share what they are reading with a larger network of people.

This graphic is from an animation created by an intern from South Korea, who came to the Tutor/Mentor Connection via a program at IIT in Chicago. You can find it and many others on this page.

Here's another page, titled "Getting to know the T/MC and T/MI", introducing past interns and work they have done.

As you look for ways to use your time and talent in 2017 and beyond, and for ways to engage young people and their talents, consider enlisting students and volunteers as your "research" team.

Have them dig into my web sites and presentations just as past interns have done, then create blog articles, visualizations and videos that share what they learn and show how the ideas can be applied in their own community, or by universities, businesses,  hospitals, faith groups and others, to help make more learning and work opportunities available in more places.

Teach them that solving problems, building networks, and building resources is an on-going effort that requires daily and weekly actions and outreach via traditional and digital media channels.

Creating the world we want requires the work of many people, in many places, who are on-going in their efforts, and who are connecting, learning, inspiring and supporting each other, again, using traditional and Internet based formats for connecting.

I'd be happy to help you think this through. Leave a comment or connect with me on one of these social media spaces.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Article in "The Atlantic" - Mentoring's Promise and Limits

Leo Hall and I were featured in this article, titled "Mentoring's Promise and Limits" which appeared today in The Atlantic. I want to thank Larry Gordon for interviewing me and Leo for the story.

Leo and I first met in 1973 when he was in 4th grade and I had just joined the tutoring program at Montgomery Ward as a volunteer. We have stayed connected for over 40 years, which to me is the goal of "well organized, long-term" tutor/mentor programs.

The article includes comments from many researchers but really does not dig into the information base needed to understand where organized programs are most needed, where existing programs are located and what they do, or who they serve. Nor does it talk about the long-term, on-going support, that business, media, donors, volunteers, etc. need to provide to enable long-term programs to exist ....where relationships like the one between Leo and I are able to launch and grow.

I've posted more than 1000 articles on this blog since 2005 that show strategies intended to help well-organized programs grow. If you look at this collection of printed newsletters from 1994-2001 you will see that I started sharing these ideas long before blogging became available.

I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to continue the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which started in 1993 as part of a small site based tutor/mentor program that I was forming.   I still depend on contributions to do this work, even though I do not operate as a 501-c-3. Visit this page to offer your help.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Mapping a Week of Learning

In January 2016 I was introduced to on-line annotation by educators I've met over the past few years.  Here is one article that you can read to learn more about this.

I created this StoryMap to focus attention on some articles I read over the past 10 days and to show how I'm connecting, using annotation, with people from all over the world to build a deeper understanding and a network of people who support each other.

The link to the article is here.

2-23-2017 update - read and commented on article titled "Reading, Writing and Inquiry with Adolescents", using Hypothes.is. click here to read and join in.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Creating Opportunity for Urban Youth: Resources

As we head into the new year I want to share some resources I focus on regularly:

Maps that show where people need extra help, based on indicators like poverty, poorly performing schools, incidents of violence, income inequality, etc.  A map motivates us to think of how we fill all of these places with needed services. Without the map we could fill a football stadium with people supporting urban youth in a city like Chicago, and still be missing most of the neighborhoods where kids need help.  I share mapping ideas on this blog and the MappingforJustice blog.

You also need a Directory and map showing organizations already providing needed help in different neighborhoods. Here's a map that I've created, showing non-school tutor and mentor programs in the Chicago region.

Any strategy should start with "how can we help the programs already operating be as good as they can be" before starting something new.

These are maps created by Tutor/Mentor Connection 

A blueprint that shows what needs to be done, and what we need to know.  We understand how builders and engineers using blueprints to show step-by-step work that needs to be done, from the beginning of a project until it is completed.   So why don't we have blueprints showing support kids need to move through school and into jobs?

I created this concept map in the mid 2000s to show supports kids need at each age level as they move from first grade, through middle school, then high school and into their adult lives.  Each node on the concept map should have a link to a directory, showing existing organizations in a city providing that service, plotted on a map showing where they are located.

While I have a few links from the nodes on this concept map, it's not complete.

I've not found any 'blueprints' like this in Chicago. I've not seen anything like this for other cities. However, the technology exists to create such map-directories and tie them to blueprints like this. This could be an on-going project by a team of students from one or more high schools and/or universities.  Here's another article about "what we need to know".

At each age level all youth need a range of support.

Visualizations that communicate ideas:  "A Picture is Worth 1000 Words."  In the graphic below I used a photo of a building to communicate the complex, long-term process of helping kids move from birth to work.   Every worker needed to build the building requires a certain level of skills and must be paid. In the same way, we need to not only build well-organized youth supports in every high poverty neighborhood, but we need to find ways to hire and pay talented workers. 

This is just one of many visualizations you can see on my blogs and web presentations that communicate strategies and actions that are needed to help youth living in poverty move through school and into jobs and careers.
Helping kids grow up is long-term process.

Identify a source of ideas, such as the Tutor/Mentor web library.  We all have a limited range of knowledge and experience that we can bring to solving urban poverty and income inequality. You'll find many ideas and articles in Tutor/Mentor web library, which I've been building since 1993. Below is a concept map  that shows the four sections of the library.  You can search Google for the words "tutor mentor" and any of the words in the tag list shown at the left and find articles I've posted on-line over the past decade. 

At the bottom of each node is a link that opens to a new map.

Finally, we need many leaders with a deep, long-term commitment to create these resources, maintain them on an on-going basis, and point growing numbers of people to the information that is available to them. Such leaders need to act as intermediaries, to mobilize the people and resources needed to fill every high poverty neighborhood on the map with services described on the blueprints showing support that is needed.

Influence your Network!
Leaders can be high profile people, like business CEOs, political leaders, entertainers, etc. They can also be students, volunteers, members of civic, alumni, social or faith communities, etc.

Leaders can be people who spend a little more time than others browsing through the Internet for ideas, and then share those ideas on a regular basis with people in their networks.

Every day you can read an article on one of my blogs or from the library on Scribd.com, then share it with people in your network via social media, one-on-one conversations, group presentations, and/or learning circles.

Start out by saying "Do we have something like this in our community?"  Here's an article shared on the I-Open blog, in the  Cleveland area, which is an example of how you could launch this discussion in your own community.

Help Youth Orgs Throughout City.

Leaders are people who bring others together to learn more about a problem and to innovate solutions.  Using maps, blueprints, visualizations and program directories groups can build an understanding of what services are available in different areas, and ways to support them on an on-going basis so they become the very best they can be. At the same time, groups can identify voids where services are needed, then by looking at work already being done in Chicago and other cities, innovate ways to start new programs and services in those areas.

Many could help.

It takes a lot of talent and a dollars just to build an information base to support this process. I've been trying to do this in Chicago since 1993, using money raised each year through a small non-profit (1993-2011) then using my own funds and a few contributions from supporters every year since 2011.

As you head into 2017 I encourage you to build teams that begin to look at what you have available in your own community who may be doing part of this work. Reach out and support them. Don't reinvent the wheel....unless you must.

If you'd like a one-hour tour of the Tutor/Mentor web library, via Skype, or in person, if you're in the Chicago region, just email me at tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net or connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Steps for Starting a Volunteer-Based Tutor/Mentor Program

I saw a Tweet this morning from MentoringUSA, saying, "9 million children in the US do not have a #mentor"

This graphic is part of a logic model pdf.  If we believe connecting a youth to extra adults and a wide range of learning an enrichment activities is important, then we need to build and sustain youth serving organizations in all places where kids need extra help, so that volunteers can more readily connect with these young people. This requires leadership from business, universities, religion, media, politics, entertainment, etc.

I led volunteer based, non-school tutor/mentor programs in Chicago from 1975 to 2011. The first program was already started when I joined as a tutor in 1973, then became its volunteer leader in 1975. At that time about 100 pairs of 2nd-6th grade youth and volunteers, mostly employees at the Montgomery Ward Corporate Office in Chicago, were starting the year, but only about half were staying the entire year. By 1990 the number was up to 300 pairs, with the number growing from the start of the school  year till the end.

In November 1992 I and six other volunteers formed Cabrini Connections, to help kids who aged out of the first program have a support system helping them from 7th grade through high school and beyond. The program started with 7 volunteers and five 7th and 8th graders in Jan 1993 and reached about 90 pairs by 1998. It stayed at that level through 2011 due to limits of space.  Many alumni are now college graduates, working, and raising their own families.

While the program at Montgomery Ward was not a non profit and primarily led by volunteers, the Cabrini Connection program was a non profit, and each year we had to raise money to fund our operations. By 2011 we had raised over $6 million dollars, funding both the direct service tutor/mentor program, and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), which we launched at the same time (1993). This is a 1965-1990 timeline that shows some milestones in that growth.

Based on this long experience of operating a program, I've created three presentations that show steps to starting and sustaining a program.

I'm writing about Steps to Start a Program today.

In this I emphasize some of the reasons programs fail, and listed some points made by Mark Freedman in a 1991 book titled, "The Kindness of Strangers: Reflections on the Mentoring Movement.". These include - missing infrastructure; -  poor program models; -  missing follow-up; - emphasis on marketing and recruitment instead of program support; - poor or no coordination

Then I provide a set of visualizations and ideas that can overcome these obstacles, such as the one below.

4-color graphic created by Wayne Berg, artist at WANYiMATION 

Over my 35 years of leading a tutor/mentor program, I've developed a commitment to comprehensive, mentor-rich programs, which build connections early in a youth's education timeline and try to sustain them as the youth moves through school, toward college and a career.

This idea is communicated by the small graphic in the lower left and by the two larger 4-color graphics. As you look at these, I want to emphasize another point. While I created the smaller graphic, Wayne Berg, artist at WANYiMATION, working with Sara Caldwell, a former tutor and long-term supporter, created the four-color interpretation. You'll see several of these in the presentation. What this means is that students from many places could be creating their own versions of these presentations.  Interns from IIT in Chicago have been doing such work with me since 2005.

When I say "mentor-rich" I mean volunteers should be recruited from a wide range of business and work occupations and experiences, so youth have many role models they can aspire to achieve, and so the organization has many talents to draw upon to help it grow, as well as many sources of potential funding and support.  I illustrate this in another presentation that I titled "Total Quality Mentoring".

In Steps to Start a Program I use a version of this same graphic to describe the "team" of volunteers (some may become members of your Board of Directors) who need to be recruited to support the work of starting a program, then sustaining and growing it. This Talent Map is a worksheet anyone can use to see that they fill all of the needed functional roles. You'll see an updated version of that talent map in the PDF presentation.

While I was  a volunteer, leading a tutor/mentor programs with 100 pairs of kids/volunteers in 1975, that grew to 300 pairs by 1990, I also held full time retail advertising management roles with Montgomery Ward. I did not have a lot of time to reach out and "teach" every volunteer everything they needed to know.

So I began to create a "resource library" that I encouraged volunteers to draw from to support their own learning and innovations.  That library has grown extensively over 40 years and now is available at this link.

In Steps to Start a Program I emphasize the need to draw your volunteers and co-organizers into this learning process. Look at research showing where and why programs are needed. Look at web sites of other programs, in Chicago, and around the world, to see what ideas they include in their programs that you want to include in your own. This learning, comparison and constant improvement should be an on-going part of your operating philosophy.

The result of this learning should be a definition of mission, goals and a theory of change, which will guide your program development and future operations.

Throughout my blog articles and in Steps to Start a Program I use graphics to illustrate program design principles. In this one I talk about the role of programs, volunteers, parents, peers, etc. as one of "pushing" kids to make the right choices, practice the right habits, etc. to  enable them to stay safe and have the lives and careers they aspire to. Don't we all wish kids would listen to everything we tell them?  

In this graphic I also show the role of businesses, and their volunteers, dollars, technology and jobs in "pulling" kids through school and into careers. In the research section of the web library are countless articles showing how poverty, and the need for income to support a family, lead kids off the path to college and careers. Program designs that include business as full partners can "influence" choices and aspirations and provide experience, income, jobs, apprenticeships and much more.

In Steps to Start a Program program design then leads to program location.  Finding a place to operate, that is easily and safely accessible to kids and available to volunteers when they are heading home from work is essential in creating a program that will attract and retain a growing number of participants.

Once  you have a space to operate then you decide dates and times when the site is going to be open and when kids and volunteers will meet.  If you have a facility that you can keep open during non-school hours, the staff become mentors and glue that attracts kids and volunteers. While a volunteer might only meet with a youth two hours a week on one day, the youth might visit the site on other days to  use the computers, meet in group learning activities with other volunteers and/or just "hang out" with peers.

Next you need to determine strategies for recruiting volunteers and students.  These are two different challenges.  If your planning process resulted in a team of volunteers from local businesses, faith groups and/or colleges, you have people to help you recruit volunteers. If your facility is easy to get to, and hours of operation fit time frames when volunteers are available on an on-going basis, and you design an on-going communications program that encourage volunteers to participate, you should be able to build a corps of volunteers, who as they build loyalty to your organization, will then encourage other volunteers to join you.  This is a process. It can take several years for a program to grow. 

Having a reliable source of student participants is essential to attracting and keeping volunteers. If kids don't show up regularly volunteers will become discouraged and not continue to participate. Thus, your planning needs to develop partners in schools, public housing, and faith groups who will help you with your initial recruitment.  Once students start to participate you should build a direct connection to parents and care-givers, support on-going  participation.

So you want to start a program. Are you including all of these steps in your planning? 

We're in December now. If you use Steps to Start A Program and have success building a team and doing your research, hopefully you're ready by mid June to set a start up schedule and launch your program by recruiting kids and volunteers.

Wait! What about funding?  Have you found some donors who will provide the money needed to pay rent, insurance, staff, supplies, office equipment, etc?  If you've recruited a team from different businesses, they can help open doors for funding opportunities. If you're really lucky, you have a wealthy patron. You may be seeking a government grant, but those come with restrictions and don't cover all your costs.  In the Tutor/Mentor web library are many articles to read about fund raising.  Do your homework. Know what challenges you face and what resources are available.

Hopefully, next August you're starting to recruit kids and volunteers and by mid September you've done the screening, orientations and matching and kids and volunteers are starting to meet.

Do you have a plan to track participation, provide feedback, coaching and follow up on a regular basis?  How will you evaluate what you're doing so  you can learn what works, what is not working and find ways to keep improving?  That needs to be part of your planning process.  This Shoppers Guide PDF shows some things you should be thinking about before you start your program, and focusing on as you move through the first year toward your 50th  year some time in the future.

Every child who is helped by a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program to become a tax-paying adult represents a savings and an investment.  We are offered with the choice of a 12 to 16-year investment as a child becomes and adult and becomes a taxpayer, vs the potential lifetime costs of public services associated with children who live adult lives that are a drain on social resources, and who raise future children who re-enter the cycle of poverty.

Volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs can not-only help individual inner-city children have a wider range of possibilities for long-term personal fulfillment, but they can also engage adults who don’t live in poverty, and educate them to become more personally involved as they build their bonds with the kids they connect with in tutor/mentor programs.

These programs enrich the lives of the volunteers, as much as they support the growth of  youth skills and aspirations.

Building strong programs and making them available in more places is a huge challenge. Do your planning. Do it right.

I've only highlighted some of the information in the Steps to Start a Program guide.  If you want to view the entire pdf, it's available on Scribd.com and on Slideshare.com.

If you'd like my help in understanding and applying these ideas, I'm available for monthly conversations for a small consulting fee. Of course I'm sharing these ideas regularly on my blogs, and most of the pdf presentations I point to are available at no cost.

If you value this information, visit this page and consider making a contribution to support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.