Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tutor/Mentor Strategy - Go Forth and Multiply

I led a volunteer based tutor/mentor program in Chicago from 1975 till 2011 and have collected a load of endorsements and paper archives. I've been digitizing these and last week converted a 22x26" Thank You, Dan! card from 1989-90, signed by students and volunteers.  Click on the graphic at the left and you can see a few comments.

I put the entire card into a PDF and uploaded it to Slideshare. You can view it below. Use your zoom button to enlarge and see all the signatures and comments.  One of the joys of having led these programs is the enthusiasm and positive feed back that I've received.  However, that has to lead to more than just "thank you cards".  Read more after you view this.

I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 (and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011) to help mentor-rich non-school programs grow in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and since then have created a huge library and hundreds of articles and strategy presentations that are tools others could used to help with this strategy.

In the four-part strategy that we developed in 1993, step 1 focuses on collecting information, such as the database of Chicago tutor and mentor organizations. However, step 2 and step 3 focus on increasing the number of people who are using this information.

Since I never had many dollars for advertising, and I'm not a celebrity or part of a wealthy family, or politically connected, this strategy has always depended on others carrying the ideas I launch on this blog and my web sites forward to their own friends, family and co-workers.

This graphic illustrates how ideas I share can be shared by people who read them, with others who will read them and then pass them on to even greater numbers of people. I included this in a 2011 article, and in many others.

I was thinking about this last week during a Twitter chat with educators from around the world and the I began to think of this graphic as a form of fireworks.

Posting an idea, like this article, is like lighting the fuse on a fireworks rocket. As it explodes it creates a constellation of stars, which represents people who are exposed to the message.

Some of these also explode, creating another burst of stars, representing the message reaching a new network of people. Often there's a third, and a fourth blast, meaning the ideas are reaching more and more people.

Think of my Tweets and articles as a daily blast of exploding ideas.  

Below is an example of what I hope happens every day:

Since 1975 several thousand youth and adults have been part of tutor/mentor programs I've led. Some have provided endorsements and "thank you, Dan" messages, like those you can see above.

However, so far, too few are passing on the ideas I share and taking actions that result in more and better volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs reaching k-12 youth in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities.

In addition, too few are providing talent and dollars to help me continue this work, or to help me pass this entire library and mission on to a younger, more talented generation of leaders.  I saw a tweet this morning with a quote saying "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now"  I re-tweeted it with this message.

Had a few leaders helped me "plant the Tutor/Mentor Connection tree" in early 1990s, and helped me continue to nurture it for the past 24 years, I feel Chicago would have a much denser network of mentor-rich programs helping kids in poverty, and many more people taking active roles to share these ideas, get more people involved, and build sustainable and on-going flows of talent and dollars to every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities.  Many might be able to show "thank you" cards from alumni students and volunteers on their own web sites similar to mine.

If this interests  you, read the  "do-over" articles I posted last spring.  And visit this page and  use the PayPal button to send me some financial support.

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