Thursday, July 27, 2017

Four part strategy - to help k-12 youth in all high poverty areas

All of the articles I've posted since starting this blog in 2005, and shared in the Tutor/Mentor Institute library since 1998, have focused on supporting non-school tutor/mentor and learning programs that connect with youth in elementary or middle school, then stay connected to help those youth through high school and into adult lives and jobs.

What are all the things we need to know and do to make effective, on-going volunteer-based programs available in hundreds of locations of a big city like Chicago?  I started asking that question in 1975 when I became the volunteer leader of a single program.  While starting a new site-based program serving Cabrini-Green teens, I and six other volunteers, created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to build a library, sharing my experiences, along with those of others in Chicago and around the country. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, or starting from scratch, anyone should be able to borrow ideas from work already being done in different places.

We launched the T/MC with four strategies which are shown in this concept map.  These need to be taking place within each individual tutor/mentor program, and at each resource provider, as well as in intermediary organizations.

Click this link to see the map.  Let's look at this in more detail.

The graphics below show each section of this map.

Step 1.  I've been collecting information about existing tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and showing that on maps since 1994, with the goal that volunteers, donors and leaders would use the maps to find programs in different neighborhoods that they could join and/or support, and that they could use to see where more programs are needed.  In addition, I've built a huge library of links to articles showing where and why these programs are needed along with ideas programs could use to build stronger organizations and that volunteers can use to be more effective tutors and mentors and advocates for strong programs.

When you go to the concept map you'll see small boxes at the bottom of each element of the map. The box on the left points to external web sites and the box on the right points to additional concept maps.  Thus under the Step 1 node you can find five additional concept maps that provide greater levels of detail and point into sections of the web library.

In this library you'll find links to youth serving organizations throughout the country as well as articles about philanthropy, fund raising and volunteer recruitment and training.

Step 2.  No mater how good the information in Step 1 is, it has little value if too few people are finding and using it. Thus, step two focuses on creating a daily frequency and reach of stories that talk about tutoring and/or mentoring and encourage people to visit the web library then search for programs they can support.  This page shows a list of newspaper stories generated as part of this step. This concept map shows some of the web spaces where we share this information.

Since the Tutor/Mentor Connection never had much money for advertising or public relations support, the strategies intend to recruit many leaders who will help create this public awareness, using their own visibility and communications tools.

Step 3.  With so much information available there is a need to help people understand and apply the information collected in Step 1.  This article and many that I've posted in the past are examples of how I do this, and how others could take the same role.  I hosted a Tutor/Mentor conference in Chicago every six months from 1994 through May 2015 to bring people together to learn from each other. I use social media daily to share information from the library, and to draw greater attention to tutor/mentor programs on my list.

The leadership strategies on this page show how this information facilitation role can happen at colleges, hospitals and businesses.  

Visit this page and see how interns from many colleges have created blog articles, videos and visualizations to help people understand Tutor/Mentor Connection strategies.

View this concept map and see how others are using their own blogs to help people understand and use information collected in Step 1.

Step 4.   The result of better information (Step 1) and more people looking at it (Step 2) and more people understanding how to apply the information (Step 3) should lead to more people seeking out tutor/mentor programs in different neighborhoods to offer their time, talent and dollars to help programs constantly improve what they do to help kids connect with volunteers and learning opportunities and move more safely through school and into adult lives.

This is where the maps play an important role.  By mapping locations of concentrated poverty and other indicators showing where people need more hope, our goal is that more support flows to programs serving youth in every part of the Chicago region, not just to high profile neighborhoods or high profile organizations.

In some cases this means supporting well designed programs. However, in other cases it may mean trying to help programs become better than what they are today.

If you're not in Chicago you can use everything in this strategy. You'd only need to build your own directory of local programs, maps and indicators of need. 

This cycle repeats from year to  year.  As we help programs grow, and help them show their program design, strategies and successes on their web sites (see shoppers guide pdf),  we're also updating the information available in Step 1. Furthermore we're constantly adding new links to the web library, and almost every link we point to is also adding new information to their web sites.

Each year we need more leaders to make a commitment to helping kids in poverty areas move through school and into  jobs, using this four part strategy to achieve that goal.  As we succeed we provide continuous flexible funding and a flow of volunteer talent that helps every program, not just a few.

And that means we reach more k-12 youth, with better on-going support.

What can you do?

This article shows steps you can take.  Form a study circle in your business, faith group, high school, alumni or social group and read articles like this, or from the Tutor/Mentor library, on a regular basis, then discuss ways you and your group can use your own talent and resources to help programs in one or more parts of the region become the very best in the world at helping kids move through school and into jobs and adult lives.

Here's a short video showing these steps.

And here's a pdf presentation showing the four part strategy.  I also showed the four steps in this article.  Finally, below is another concept map visualizing help needed on every one of these steps, if we're going to have the impact we need to have, helping thousands of k-12 youth in  Chicago and its suburbs, and helping youth in similar cities around the country.

Read about the Tutor/Mentor Connection do-over.  Look at this PDF and see the value of the information being collected.  If you want to help with a contribution, visit this link.

If you want to offer your talent, become a sponsor, or support this effort in other ways please introduce yourself with a comment below, or email me at tutormentor2 at earthlink dot net.

Click here to see where you can find me on social media.


tellio said...

First, I love the use of 'black space' in your Lumen.
Second, just gotta appreaciate the depth of competence that your post demonstrates.
Third, I think that your post's organization and layout is a great how-to if anyone wants to know how to do a great explainer.
Thanks, Daniel.

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thanks Terry. I appreciate that you view my articles and write about them in your own blog. I hope others will do the same.

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