Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Using Maps In Tutor/Mentor Program Support Planning

I've been using maps since 1994 to focus attention and resources on all high poverty areas of Chicago where non-school tutor and/or mentor programs are most needed.

I embed them in graphics like this to emphasize roles anyone can take to help this happen.  While some leaders can use maps to focus on the entire city, I'm trying to help people adopt small sections of the city, such as the North Side, West Side or South Side, or even smaller areas such as a single community area.

In this article I'm going to share a series of graphics to illustrate how I do this.  First, let's look at the planning cycle.

View planning cycle cMap
In this concept map I point to a small section of Chicago with the map at the upper left and show information about the number of high poverty kids, age 6-17, who live in the area. Using other maps and the Tutor/Mentor Chicago Program Links,  you can determine what non-school tutor/mentor programs are in the area. The goal is to find ways to support existing programs and help them become great, before launching new programs that do similar work and compete for the same resources.  Based on the number of kids in the area who need these programs, most neighborhoods really need more than they have.

Below is the same planning process map, but I've added two images taken from the IMPACT DUPAGE web site.

View cMap here
Just by finding a data resource for DuPage County I was able to create a couple of images that focused the attention of this map on that part of the Chicago region.  Below is another example.

On Page 7 of the Elevated Chicago Workplan Executive Summary is a map that highlights CTA EL train stations around which they are focusing community development efforts.  One focus area is what they call the Kedzie Corridor, where El stops for the Green, Blue and Pink line align vertically with each other on the West side of Chicago.

I used my Chicago Tutor/Mentor Programs Map, which you can find here, to create the map view shown above.  I enlarged the map to focus on the West side of Chicago, and put my cursor on the Pink Line El Station, to highlight it's location. Green icons on the map are Chicago youth programs.

I then looked at the community area maps in this Tutor/Mentor presentation, to get information about the number of high poverty youth in each West side community area, which I added to my map. Then I created a jpg that I could pull into this article, or use in a planning process.

Using maps like these leaders in can lead discussions that ask "Is there a need for tutor/mentor programs in this area? Are there programs already here? What do they do? Who do they serve? How many? Do we need more programs in the area? How do we mobilize resources to help existing, or future, programs grow and be the best they can be?" 

All of these questions should be part of an on-going process, duplicated in many parts of Chicago and other cities throughout the country.

If you browse other articles on this blog and on the MappingforJustice blog you'll find many examples of maps created using existing data platforms.

Try this idea. Pick any of my articles, and substitute the map-image I use, with a map showing your own city, or a geographic area you want to focus on.  In the text, substitute Chicago with the name of your community. Does the article make sense to you? Is it a call for greater involvement that you can use? If yes, go ahead and use my articles as templates for your own. Just share the link with me.

Creating maps that focus attention on specific geographic areas that need to be filled with a variety of services and business opportunities is just the first step in this process, but it's one that can support other efforts to draw people from within to map-area together to learn from the data and build new strategies that help existing assets get the on-going resources they need, while also creating new resources to fill areas where there is a need.

Without using the maps a long list of services could be generated, yet many of the areas within a map-area would not be covered. 

This is also work that youth can be learning to do, as part of school-based learning, or as an activity supported by staff and volunteers in non-school programs in different parts of the city.

I'd be happy to help you think this process through.  Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, or just introduce yourself with a comment on this article.

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