Sunday, November 26, 2017

Connecting People and Ideas - A 20+ Year Journey

From T/MC 1998 web site
I've used this  hub/spoke graphic for more than 20 years to describe my efforts to connect people and ideas in an on-going effort to build greater support for non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach kids in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities, and help those kids move through school and into adult lives.

Hub represents an information source, a meeting place, an on-line community, etc. and the spokes represent the range of different people who need to be using this information, or who need to be helping kids in different places.  Below is another example of this graphic.

In this graphic I include a map of Chicago, with high poverty areas highlighted.  The hub of the wheel includes an image of a youth and volunteer and a time line that stretches from pre-school on the left and work/career on the right.  It shows the traditional public school as one source of support, and the family and community as another.  The spokes represent all of the people and influences that are present in the lives of most kids, but are missing for many kids living in high poverty.

I created this Total Quality Mentoring PDF to illustrate how companies in different industries, represented by the spokes, could be leading on-going efforts to help tutor/mentor programs in many locations have activities that help kids learn what these industries focus on (arts, health, engineering, technology, law, etc).

Below is another variation of this hub/spoke graphic:
In this example I'm showing that volunteers who become involved in different tutor/mentor programs can be reaching back on a regular basis and encouraging other people in their network to get informed about where and why these programs are needed, and ways they can use their own time, talent and dollars to help great programs grow in all poverty areas of a city.

The circles from the bottom of the hub represent on-going learning and discussions taking place in businesses, faith groups, media, universities, hospitals, etc. where people are talking about how to use the ideas to help youth tutor/mentor programs grow.

Last week I posted an article showing how I organized networking conferences in Chicago every six months from May 1994 through May 2015, in an effort to bring people together to learn and share and to build greater visibility for all of the programs operating in Chicago. I hope you will look at the conference goals.

I've used this hub/spoke concept in dozens of graphics. If you do a Google search for "Tutor/Mentor Connection Network Building", then look at the images, you can see many of these, and also visit the articles where the graphic was used.

Oct 15, 1992 Chicago SunTimes
This was the front page of the Chicago SunTimes in October 1992 when myself and six other volunteers decided to create the Tutor/Mentor Connection.  We did not have a template to follow. We just knew that a) there was no master database of non-school tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago; and b) no one was leading an on-going campaign intended to draw more attention and resources to each existing programs, while also helping the programs connect and learn from each other so they all could constantly improve their impact.

Over the past 24  years there have been many challenges to doing this work, and since 2011 I've not had much help.  Yet the need for this still exists and I don't find anyone doing all of the things I've been doing (see 4-part strategy) to help high quality tutor/mentor programs reach k-12 youth in all high poverty areas.  You can test my claim by doing a Google search for any organization focused on well-being of kids, then look at the images feature. You won't see the same mix of graphics and maps, shared over many years, like you see with my sites.

While it might make sense to try to re-start the Tutor/Mentor Conference, I think it makes more sense to innovate ways to draw people together in on-line learning.  I've had this goal in mind for many years, but never had the partners and resources to develop this.

Thus, I'm calling on leaders to step forward and help re-energize the Tutor/Mentor Connection and carry it forward under their own power and leadership and help versions of this grow in every city in the world, not just Chicago. Read about the "do over" which I started writing about last March.

Reach out to me on one of these social media platforms if you want to help.

Visit this page if the help you can offer is a financial contribution to help me continue this work in 2018.

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