Wednesday, August 30, 2017

24 Years Later - Children's Needs Still Not Being Met

While the US focuses on the tragedy unfolding in Texas and Louisiana, I keep thinking of what will be needed for decades to help people in these areas recover from these disasters.

I also keep adding links to this Climate Crisis article, showing that disasters like what's happening in Texas are unfolding throughout the world.

Since 2005 I've written a few articles following natural disasters. They all have the same pace. Urgent need and huge attention and outpouring of help as the tragedy unfolds.  Few using maps, so many areas where help is needed get little attention. In the years following one tragedy another happens and attention goes to a new crisis. Keeping attention and resources flowing five, 10 and 15 years after the tragedy is almost impossible.

That same flow of attention follows urban violence.

I've been reducing my paper trail and am scanning some of my news stories into my computer. Added this one from 1993, which is a letter to the editor written to the Chicago Tribune by Florence Cox, President of the Chicago Board of Education

I highlighted one section where she says:
"We must begin to realize that the needs of Chicago-area children are not being met, and in neglecting those needs, we neglect our own future as a prosperous and safe city."

Here's another article with some quotes from other stories, showing how difficult it is for this nation to focus on complex problems that require long-term attention and resources to be solved.

When I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 one of four strategies was to generate more consistent attention to issues of poverty, violence, inequality, etc. drawing needed support to all of the non-school tutor/mentor programs operating in the Chicago region. I started using maps to show where they were most needed and where existing programs are located.  

I found another set of notes, with quotes I'd written down during speeches given during the 1997 President's Summit for America's Future, held in Philadelphia, PA.  I was there as a delegate from Chicago and as a Teaching Example exhibitor.

In the letter to the editor and in the Summit speeches, leaders are calling on Americans to become involved in solving complex problems.  The problem is, they have not made this call for people's involvement every day since then, and they have not pointed to web libraries and directories showing information people need to learn from, and lists of existing programs who need their help.

That's still a problem.

I've tried to model what needs to be done, by my own actions and those of the Tutor/Mentor Connect ion (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present).  I've had limited resources to do this, but continue with what I have.

I keep hoping to find others who will help me...and will help provide the consistent attention needed to support people and organizations working with kids in all places where they are needed. I invite disaster recovery leaders to borrow ideas and apply in their own work.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Volunteer Involvement in Tutor/Mentor Programs - A Growth Strategy

I created this graphic in the 1990s to illustrate how volunteers who become deeply involved in volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs often become evangelists who reach into their personal, family, business and faith networks to get more people involved.  I've suggested that if this were a strategy at  more programs it could lead to greater on-going support for all tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities.

Last week I posted a blog with a volunteer-growth strategy map. See it here.  

I have been inspired to use Thinglink and similar tools by educators I've met over the past five years who are part of a Connected Learning #clmooc.    Below is a version of the featured graphic from last week's blog article, using Thinglink to focus on the four elements of the graphic.

Visit this page and follow the links to where #clmooc members meet on various social media platforms.  Leaders, volunteers and students in tutor, mentor and learning programs could be following this group the same way I do and could be creating their own visualizations to show the strategies of their own programs.

At some point in the future you should see a version of this on a growing number of Chicago and national tutor/mentor program web sites if enough people share this article with people involved in these programs.

Try it.  Then share what you've created.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Influencing Actions That Lead to More Help for Youth in Poverty

When I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993 my goal was to duplicate advertising strategies that big business use to motivate people to shop at their stores.  I needed to find a way to do this without the money available to most companies to do this work.

I've been creating visualizations to share ideas, thinking a picture is worth a thousand words, and you can see many in my blog articles.  My friends in the Connected Learning #clmooc community introduced me to Thinglink, so I'm beginning to use that to point out elements in some of my graphics. Here's one that focuses on "intentional influence".

Both paths shown on this graphic are important.  I think influencing people who don't live in poverty to provide a consistent flow of time, talent and dollars to programs serving youth and families in poverty is going to be just as difficult as it is to influence the people leading existing programs, or starting new programs, to look past what they have already been doing, to new ideas of what they should be doing,  if the goal is that the kids in these programs today are in jobs and starting careers when they are age 25 or older.

Who else is thinking this way?

Connecting Global Sustainability Development Goals to Local Problems

I created this graphic in an effort to show how the United Nations' Global Sustainability Goals (SDGs) are also local challenges.   If you open the SDG web site you can click on each of the 17 boxes and find information related to that goal.

I think that many of the issues we face in Chicago and America are the same, but that some may be on a different scale. For instance the income level of really poor people in Chicago may still be quite a bit higher than really poor people in India and Africa.  However, the gaps between rich and poor in other countries may not be as wide as it is in America. All of this deserves greater study, so I point you to the research section of the web library I've been building since the late 1990s.

I've been using Thinglink (free version) to highlight sections of complex visualizations. So invite you to look at this.

I've put nodes on my Race-Poverty map to the SDG Goals that have a direct correlation.  On the left, with a black dot, I list goals that are not directly related to poverty, but affect the well-being of all of us who share this planet.

There is a world-wide effort to bring the SDG's into classroom study. At the right is a learning path infographic from this site.

I encourage classrooms to look at my Race-Poverty map, and other concept maps and visualizations.  Think of ways students and adults can use their time, talent and dollars to help overcome these problems in different places throughout America and the world, over many years of consistent attention.

11-14-2017 update - Here's a pdf showing 17 SDGs, in comic book format.

6-9-2018 update - "How the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals undermine democracy". The writer of this article claims that "basic freedoms that underpin and advance human development are missing from the SDG equation.' Read the article.

3-12-2019 update - Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-Being - this report ties into the SDGs and is model that might be used elsewhere. click here

2-27-2020 update - Catalytic Communities is committed to the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Rio de Janeiro’s favela communities -

The text next to the tree says "Sustainable communities and cities are impossible to achieve without social justice and accountable institutions. If CatComm were a tree, SDG 16 would be our trunk and SDG 11 our canopy."  Read more

9-15-2021 update - Global SDGs action map shows who's involved in each goal, in every country.  click here

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Blacks & Hispanics Still Underrepresented at US Universities

tutoring program alum
The New York Times has a detailed report showing that "Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago".  The article includes charts showing changes at dozens of top private and public universities. Take a look.

I'm proud that the tutor/mentor programs I led from 1975 to 2011 now boast many college graduates and a few with advanced degrees. Even more, I'm really happy to see posts by alumni on Facebook, showing their own kids now entering college.

That shows a long-term benefit that we struggled to find support for each year between 1990 and when I left the program in 2011 (due to lack of funds.)

Last week I had a conversation with an education advocate and remarked that while so much attention, and funding, focuses on education and college attainment and graduation, too little focuses on "social capital" or the network of people who help you with job interviews and promotion and life challenges.

I've been pointing to articles about social capital for many years. Here's a quote from a 2002 article.
“Social networks that can bridge across geography, race and class are key to success in the new economy”, says Professor Manuel Pastor, Jr., University of California, Santa Cruz, who has studied social networks in Los Angeles among Latinos. ‘Hard’ skills are essential, but it’s the connections and mentoring that provide information about what skills are necessary and a vision of how acquiring them can lead to new opportunities for all our residents”.
This section of the Tutor/Mentor web library contains many more articles that I hope funders, policy makers and program leaders will study.

When I use graphics like this I'm visualizing a design of an ideal tutor/mentor program, or public school, showing that students are connected to a wide range of adults through on-going mentoring, tutoring and other learning activities.

If such connections start early, many can continue for a lifetime and many will open doors to colleges and universities that might now be closed, and to jobs and careers that might now seem out of reach.

Program leaders, board members, donors and business partners all need to embrace this vision and compete with the education lobby for on-going, long-term, flexible funding of programs that build social capital as part of helping kids grow up.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Transforming Adults Involved In Volunteer-Based Tutor/Mentor Programs

I wrote this article in 2009 and said, "Now that Chicago won't host the Olympics, can we create "gold medal" thinking about ways to help kids from poverty win their race to futures?

Me & Leo - 1973
I've updated this for 2017.  We still don't have much "gold medal"thinking.  Please read on.

When I first became a volunteer tutor at the Montgomery Ward program almost 35 years ago, I had no idea that I'd someday be writing articles like this to encourage others to become involved. What transformed me over these years? What if hundreds of places where volunteers connect with inner city youth were trying to transform their own volunteers for the same benefit?

I attend many meetings where the problems and tragedies of poverty are discussed. Almost all bring together many people with personal experience and good ideas. However, a time in the meeting comes when we talk about funding, and then we all recognize that this is a problem, then we go on and talk more about the problems, and what we could do IF we had the money.

I focus most of the articles in this blog on what steps we might take to increase the flow of resources to all tutor/mentor programs in a geographic area, on a long-term basis, which includes money, but also includes talent and technology, and ideas.

Yesterday as I sat in another meeting, I scribbled out some concepts, which I later polished up on a concept map. If you've skills in animation, you could do even more with this idea.

This chart shows a cycle that takes place almost every day, in hundreds of locations throughout the country. However, it may be happening with less purpose and impact in most places, than is needed to change the flow of resources to tutor/mentor programs.

Let me try to break this down for you.

The first step in volunteer involvement is creating advertising, or network building, that motivates a volunteer to seek out a place where he/she can get involved. This could be the Cabrini Connections (now Chicago Tutoring Connection) program which I led from 1993 to 2011. It could be one of the programs on the list of Chicago programs maintained by the Tutor/Mentor Connection since 1993. It could be one in any other city, found by searching through any of these volunteer-matching systems.

The next stage of volunteer involvement is on-going. This involves the coaching, training, and peer mentoring that a volunteer receives in the program where she became involved. This also involves the learning which a volunteer does on his own to build his skills as a tutor/mentor. This type of support varies dramatically from place to place, depending on the level and experience of staffing, and the structure of the program. If a volunteer is well supported, and if the student attends regularly and is not what we call a "volunteer killer" (meaning they don't want to work, are disrespectful, or don't attend regularly and the volunteer gets frustrated and quits), then the volunteer will stay longer with the program.

Now comes the important, trans formative stage. As volunteers who don't live in poverty become personally involved with kids who do live in poverty, they begin to learn more about issues and challenges the kids deal with on a daily basis. They begin to become more interested in learning more about these issues. Some will do this on their own. However, some programs make an effort to broaden the volunteer's understanding of the issue by organizing conferences, training sessions, or by providing reading materials, or on-line libraries of information that the volunteer can learn from.

Each week, as the volunteer grows his/her relationship with the youth, they also grow their understanding of the issues. If the program nurtures this, the volunteer takes the next step, to becoming an advocate for the student, the program, and the tutor/mentor industry.

Initially this might be the volunteer making contact with the student's parent, or teacher. It might grow to making a greater effort to find study ideas, and college and career resources. It might lead to creating a part time job at the volunteer's company for the student, or other students in the program, or to recommending speakers and other resources.

As the volunteer shares his weekly experiences through informal story telling, a few friends and co-workers may offer to join her as a volunteer.

If the volunteer is coached, or self-motivated, he might begin to raise money to support the organization. Some volunteers might join fund raising committees, or even become part of a board of directors.

If this is happening in many programs, in the same city, or in multiple cities, and the number of volunteers increases, the impact of their informal networking can result in more volunteers becoming involved, and more people donating money to support their programs.

However, if there are face-to-face events, or on-line platforms, where volunteers from the same program, for from different programs, can connect with each other, then the sharing of information can include more people, and the hosts of these events can become more strategic.

Imagine if we were able to attract two or three thousand volunteers from tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Miami, LA and other cities to the same on-line forum. What if a volunteer said, "I'm from Microsoft. Are there any other volunteers from there?"

This could lead to volunteers who work in the same company, same industry, or attended the same college, forming groups where they share tips and ideas that enable each member to be more effective in how he supports his/her own student.

It could also lead to these volunteers beginning a process of "What could we as a group, or as a company, do to support our programs more consistently? Or, What could we do to improve the quality and experience, and retention, of key staff members who are essential to coaching volunteers and students into long-term involvement? What could we do to lower the costs and frustrations of fund raising?"

Such discussions, happening in many groups, could lead to a more strategic understanding of a tutor/mentor program and how we transform the lives of kids, by transforming the lives of the volunteers who we recruit from areas beyond poverty, and from the many industries who benefit from a well-trained and diverse workforce.

Ultimately, such strategies would increase the number of well-organized, volunteer-based programs, where leaders incorporate this thinking into their own core strategies, which would just lead to a greater on-going growth in the number of volunteers who are involved and transformed.

Created by Intern from Hong Kong in 2007

I call this a Service Learning Loop. You can see an animated version of this here.

Instead of thinking of a shrinking economy and support system, we should be thinking of this as a growth strategy.

I encourage you to borrow the charts I post on this blog for your own articles, brain storming and visioning. Just point a link to us as the source. You can find essays with some of these ideas in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library. I also encourage you to join me on social media where we can meet without the costs of travel to attend face to face conferences.

Since I first created this article in 2009 an intern from the University of Michigan, working with a public interest program fellow from Northwestern, created an animation to share this information. That can be seen in this video.

In addition, the Service Learning Loop animation was updated by an intern from South Korea who was part of a program with IIT in Chicago.

You can see the animation in this video.

If you're a writer, graphic designer, film maker, or student looking for an internship, or for a masters, or PhD project, we offer the Tutor/Mentor Connection as a project that you can study, and where you can apply your talent to enhance and improve what we're doing.  As these videos demonstrate, any of the ideas I share on this blog could be re-done many times, by students and volunteers from many places.

I encourage that to happen.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Get to know resources in Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library

I started reaching our to peers and others in 1973 when I became a volunteer tutor with a program at the Montgomery Ward headquarters in Chicago. When I became the volunteer leader of that program I expanded my search for ideas since I had no previous experience leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program serving k-6 elementary school kids in Chicago's Cabrini-Green neighborhood.

When we formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, with a goal of  helping tutor/mentor programs grow in all poverty neighborhoods of Chicago, our first task was to find out who was already doing this work, and to expand our library of research showing where and why they were needed, and ways leaders could build and sustain strong programs in more places.

Over 40 years I've collected quite a bit of information.  Below is a concept map that I use to show the 4-sections of the library. I put it into a Thinglink so I could point to each section and tell why I think the information is important.  Take a look.

You could spend a lifetime digging through this information and still not find all that the library includes. One reason is that while I point to more than 2000 other organizations, they each point to more organizations from their sites, and they each are constantly adding new information.

Thus, think of this as a huge department store or a college library. Get to know the sections and what's included. Then dip into it on an on-going basis to build a deeper understanding of different topics and to see how resources from one section relate to resources in another.  Or just search for terms or topics and see if they are there.

As you look at this, take a look at this 4-part strategy map, described in this article.  The information in the web library is Part 1 of this four part strategy.  Drawing more users to the library and helping them understand and apply the information to help build and sustain systems of support for kids living in high poverty areas are the other three steps.

I've been building this over 40 years and now am looking for partners to help me keep it going and draw more users to it, but also to carry this forward in future years.  I created this Wiki page to show that "One of the greatest resource we offer is the library of links and ideas we host."

If you're interested in helping, connect with me on one of these social media pages or post a comment below.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dig into Idea Library I've Built Since 1994

While I've created more than 1000 blog articles since 2005, I started putting strategy ideas into printed newsletters in 1994 as we were launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in Chicago.  I began to turn words into pictures and create strategy visualizations about the same time. Then in 1998 I created a Tutor/Mentor Institute page on one of my web sites to share these ideas.


Visit this page and browse through this collection. Since they are on-line, you can gather a group, project these on a screen, and discuss ways you can apply the ideas in your own neighborhood, city or country.

Then, visit this page and see how interns from universities in the US and Asia have created their own interpretations of my articles and presentations.  This is work students from any place could be doing.  Take a look. Browse the ideas. Engage your students and community.

All of these could be done better, with more creativity and greater impact.  If you'd like to volunteer time, talent and dollars and work directly with me to update these, just introduce yourself on one of these social media sites.

If you want to go ahead and create your own version of any of these, go ahead. Just put in a link to where the ideas originated.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Violence, Racism, Nazis - Don't just voice your anger.

While social media reacted with a mountain of posts about the White Supremacist, Nazi, KKK- led march in Chancellorsville, VA, young men and women continued to be shot and killed in Chicago neighborhoods.   Responses to both are inadequate.

I've been using maps as part of an on-going public education strategy, for 23 years to focus attention on places where people suffer, due to poverty, violence, inadequate schools, etc and have created far too many focused on the Austin neighborhood on the West side of Chicago.  I updated this map today, showing where two men were gunned down on Sunday morning, right in front of the Friendship Baptist Church in the Austin neighborhood.

Since I had created several map views of Austin for past articles, all I did this time was pull up a previously created map and add a circle to show where the church is located and add a small screen shot showing how this story was featured in today's Chicago Tribune.

The name of the church sounded familiar so I looked at a map I had created a few years ago to show some churches that were providing mentoring to youth.  The Friendship Baptist Church is number at the bottom of this map.

I did a presentation at one of these churches a few years ago, sharing the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web resources and inviting each church to set up a study group to dig into the ideas I'm sharing and apply them to build strong tutor, mentor learning strategies at each church, and in other locations, throughout the Austin neighborhood.

One map I've shared often shows transit routes bringing people from affluent suburbs surrounding Chicago to where they work in the downtown area. Every day thousands of people past right by the Friendship Baptist Church, but I doubt that many are stopping to offer time, talent and dollars to help youth in the neighborhood move through school and into jobs.

Here's another graphic from my library. This could be used to show the design of a mentor-rich program, indicating that volunteers and learning experiences come from many different sources.

However, it could also show that at each spoke on the wheel there are groups of people leading others into the information I've been sharing for 24 years, to look for more information about why people are killing each other, and ways to build a system of supports that leads to different outcomes.

Here's another map that the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) created nearly ten years ago, showing the 7th Congressional District, which includes the Austin neighborhood.  We created several versions of this (see pdf) showing businesses, faith groups, hospitals and universities, along with the transit route connecting rich and poor from Chicago's West suburbs to the downtown area.

The goal was that elected leaders pull people together to help build and sustain mentor-rich programs in all poverty neighborhoods of their district.  That's still a goal.

If you're reading this and want to take action, maybe start by pulling up some of the past articles I've written about the Austin neighborhood. Click here.  Then systematically browse through other articles, category by category, and bring together a group of friends, family, co-workers, etc. and begin to talk about ways you might implement some of the ideas.

I'd be happy to act as a friend and consultant to help you set up a learning community and begin to mobilize more consistent flow of resources to support the growth of needed programs and services in these neighborhoods.

At the same time I encourage you to review the 4-part strategy that I've described in articles like these, and see how this applies to other problems we need to better  understand and combat with more consistent flows of time, talent and dollars.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mentoring Kids Through School and Into Adult Lives

This montage shows youth and adults from a tutor/mentor program I launched in January 1992 and led through mid 2011. Some of those kids were in 7th grade when they joined us, and had been part of the 2nd to 6th grade program I led from 1975-1992 before joining us. Many now are out of college, in jobs and raising their own kids and some of us are connected on social media. Many of the volunteers stayed with the program 3 to 10 years with one serving more than 20. One of those alumni posted this message on Facebook today:
"those times spent at tutoring made me the woman I am today"
So when I talk about "mentoring kids through school and into adult lives" I'm talking about the commitment a few people make to helping kids from the time they join a program until they are out of school and in adult lives.

In leading a single program I was constantly looking for ideas, thinking "what are all the things I need to know and do?"  Those things extended to running an effective organization and raising needed funds every year, not just recruiting kids and volunteers and providing a safe space for them to meet.

As we created the single tutor/mentor program in 1993 we also responded to a larger need. No one had a master data base of non-school tutor/mentor programs serving Chicago, thus, no one was leading a business-type marketing campaign intended to help every program in the city get the resources and ideas each program needs to constantly improve what they do while staying connected to kids and volunteers.

Furthermore, no one was mapping this information to identify neighborhoods with no programs, or without programs serving specific age groups.  Thus, we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection to fill this void. We launched a first Chicago programs survey in January 1994 and started producing maps showing locations of programs at the same time.

As we built a database of programs, we also began to expand the library of research and ideas that I had started collecting in 1975 when I first started leading a tutor/mentor program in Chicago.  That library went on the internet in 1998 and has constantly expanded since then.

It contains answers to "what are all the things we need to know and do" and it's free and available to people from anywhere in the world.

I've been sharing what the Tutor/Mentor Connection is and what it offers, in many ways, for many years, in an effort to recruit leaders, partners and a few benefactors to support this work in Chicago and grow it in other cities.  In 2011 I created a space on Debategraph for this message.  Last week I used Thinglink to highlight the information on the Debategraph site.

Take a look.  Click on each circle and a pop-up opens with information related to that spoke of the wheel, with a link directly to that page on the Debategraph site.

I learned about Thinglink from educators I've met over the past five years on Twitter, Google-Plus and Facebook, who are part of a Connected Learning #clmooc community.  The type of on-going interaction and idea sharing that this group models is something I've tried to create for the non-school community, including donors, researchers, policy makers, volunteers and students.

It's one of many mountains I've tried to climb over the past 24 years with too few resources and too little help.  However, by sharing this information, I hope it inspires others to try to build a support system like the T/MC in their own community.  

Since mid 2011 I've continued to support the T/MC through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  It's the same mission, just a different tax structure. Still has the same lack of resources to do all that needs to be done.  Click here if you'd like to offer some help.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sharing ideas using Thinglink

Last week I created this blog post, pointing to a new report, by the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC that focuses on the State of Racial Justice in Chicago . Below is the same image, with embedded links,  using Thinglink. I learned about this from my #clmooc educator network.

Click on any of the nodes and you'll find an article related to that graphic. Read the article and more like it.  Share with people in your own network so more people will get involved and we can increase public will and the number who care.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Role of Facilitators - See Blog Talk Radio Interview

In the 4-part strategy that I've shared often on this blog, step  3 focuses on facilitation, or helping other people find, understand and apply the information on my web sites.

I use my articles to help people understand ideas and information they can use to help build and sustain volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach kids in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

I point to work interns have done in past years to help people understand ideas I share on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

Today Valerie Leonard, a Chicago community organizer, who I have come to know over the past 15 years, interviewed me for her Blog Talk Radio show.  You can listen to the interview below.

You can read the transcript of this interview at this link.

By hosting this show, and inviting me to be a guest, Valerie is modeling a facilitation role that needs to be duplicated by people in many groups to draw people to articles and ideas that I and other people share and help them build their own understanding and use of the ideas.

This graphic illustrates what I'm saying. There are many different groups who could be taking a deeper, more strategic, and on-going role to help improve the quality of life for people in different parts of Chicago or in other parts of the US and the world.

You don't need to have a deep understanding of any of the stuff I post or write about. You can invite a group of people into a room, project the image or article on a screen, the ask people to share what they are understanding.

You don't even need to be in the same room, at the same time. Connect on the Internet.

This past month the Connected Learning #clmooc group has been encouraging people to "make" visualizations that express their ideas. Take a look at their web site and see the activities they have been doing and the way they share and connect with each other on several social media platforms.

The #clmooc organizers are educators from different parts of the world who meet on-line to plan each year's activities.

Go ahead and get started. Invite some people to come together. Pick any of the articles I've posted over the past 10 years or that you find in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

If you're taking this role, send me a link and I'll join in when I can, and share  your videos and Tweets as I receive them.  It's another example of what I mean when I say "It takes a village to raise a child."
One role in the village is information networker, facilitator, trainer, etc.

Thanks Valerie for hosting me today.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

State of Racial Justice in Chicago - Who Cares?

My friends in the Connected Learning #clmooc are focusing on doodling this week and I'm seeing lots of creativity.  Visit the G+ page (no longer available) or follow on Twitter and see all the ways educators from around the world are connecting with each other.

Over the past few days I did not spend as much time with the #clmooc group as in earlier weeks because I was reading this report by the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC that focuses on the State of Racial Justice in Chicago.  As I read I began to scratch out some ideas, and you can see my graphic below.

The report looks at the problem of racial justice from five different lenses which I've shown as spokes surrounding the UIC hub. With each section statistics are presented in a very clear format (very depressing, too). A list of citations is included at the end of each section.  I agree with the choices but the report could have also looked at the easy access to guns, or the impact of climate change, and done more to dig deeper into intentional racism. The section on housing touches on some of this.

Each problem by itself is a huge challenge. However, taken together they present a wicked, complex problem which has persisted for many years and seems to be growing with the new President.

I added four other spokes to the hub.  1) other issues 2) a link to my own research map, which points to sections of my web library with additional information related to these issues; and 3) a hope that all of the citations referred to in the report be aggregated on line using cmaps like I use.  A 4th spoke asks that the movements mentioned in the final section of the report be collected on line, as I've collected youth intermediaries on this map.

I also put a time line through the middle of the map. These problems have been with us for 50 years and longer. I mentioned a 1993 Chicago SunTimes article that I wrote about here, which talked about poverty being the same then as it was 20  years ago.  Below this I put in a box showing the 4-part strategy that the Tutor/Mentor Connection started in 1993.  To the right of the hub, I asked if UIC and others would adopt the 4-part strategy in 2017 so in 2037 we might see more change than we've seen in the past 20 years.

I listed the four steps in the 4-part strategy across the bottom of the graphic and referred to an "information flow" cMap that I use to show how I've been sharing this information since 1993 in an effort to support the learning, innovation and actions of  users throughout Chicagoland and in other cities and states.

At the top I talk about getting the village involved, building public will and focusing on all areas where people need help with the major heading of INCREASING WHO CARES.

That's what this graphic focuses on. How can the ideas we share reach millions of people and influence actions that change the future?

I plan to convert my graphic to a concept map and I'll share it on social media and in this collection of cMaps. I'll share the graphic I created today with my #clmooc friends.  My hope is that some of them use their creativity to help share the information in the UIC report, using their own doodles and creations.  For instance, the five sections in the report could be highlighted, using a Lumen5 video, or a GIF or other a poetic rendition, put to music.

While the report focuses on Chicago it shows that other cities face the same problems and have greater frequency of some of the problems for which Chicago has a nasty national news reputation.  That means the graphics people create can be intended to attract viewers from their own cities and states, not just Chicago.

Who knows. In a month or a year there could be a set of makes in the CLMOOC Make Bank focused on this single graphic and these issues. And, in 20 years maybe we can see evidence that a lot more people care and are more involved in solutions to these problems.

7-11-18 update -  above I added a link to the words "wicked, complex problem" which points to an article defining this term. Take a look. click here

1-30-2020  update - new State of Racial Justice report titled: "Between the Great Migration and Growing Exodus: The Future of Black Chicago?" available at this link.  See all Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) research at this link.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The world needs knowledge catalysts - like Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

I hope you'll visit this link and read the article titled "The world needs knowledge catalysts", by Harold Jarche.

I've  used a lot of printed (and on-line) space for the past 23  years to try to communicate the value of work the Tutor/Mentor Connection started in 1993 and that I've continued to support via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC since 2011.

Browse the list of tags on the left and you'll find many categories that focus on uses of knowledge for innovation, problem solving, and helping mentor-rich youth programs grow in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

Last week I used this graphic in an article explaining the four-part problem solving strategy I've piloted since 1993. Step 1 of the strategy focuses on collecting and organizing information anyone can use to help tutor/mentor programs grow in more places, and to help programs have a constantly improving impact on youth and volunteers who participate, and the communities where they operate.

I created this "race to be the best" presentation several years ago to visualize how I was trying to collect information showing what youth organizations and resource providers were doing in Chicago, and in different parts of the world, so that other people would be inspired, or motivated, by those ideas and would try to use them to help youth in other places.

Think of the carrot as a good idea. If we can give attention to good ideas and promising practices and to enlightened donors and business partners on a regular basis, we can stimulate constant improvement because we influence the flow of resources and how people use those resources.

I created this presentation more than a decade ago to show how I was trying to share the information we were collecting in a learning network that includes people from Chicago and people from other cities and states.

While I was able to raise more than $3 million over 18 years to fund the growth and operations of the Tutor/Mentor Connection,  the flow was inconsistent, and never enough to do every thing I was trying to do in a big city like Chicago. Furthermore, I was never able to keep more than a few donors for multiple years. Even the strongest multi-year supporters, like the Montgomery Ward Corporation and HSBC North America went out of business, or stopped funding due to their own business situations.

Thus, I'm looking for sponsors, partners and donors in 2017 the same way I was looking for them in 1993...yet I don't have a non profit structure or team of volunteers helping me and I'm 70 so I'm looking for people who will carry this work forward into the future, not just people who will help me keep it going for another few years.

If  you read the Jarche article and look at the work I'm doing, and value my role as a "knowledge catalyst" then help me share this information and do this work.  If you want to make a contribution, visit this page and use the PayPal button.

If you want to explore other ways to help, read this "do-over" article and introduce yourself with a comment, or via Twitter, or via email at tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net.