Monday, December 30, 2019

Enough is Enough. Do the Planning. Build the Network.

It's time for New Year's Resolutions. I resolve to continue sharing ideas and encouraging others to use information available through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website.  I hope others read some of what I share and that you'll spend some time thinking about how your actions might lead to a world with less need to send men and women to fight on foreign soil, or to fight in our own streets and neighborhoods.

I created this Enough is Enough message in 2007. It shows actions people can take to help solve problems we face locally and globally.  The video below is from this 2007 blog article.

I repeated the ENOUGH message again in this 2008 article. Then again in this 2010 article.  Again in this 2012 article.

Again in 2015 article.

Chicago Sun-Times 1992
Again with this 2016 article.

Now as we head into 2020 and a new decade.

Anyone who looks at a media story like this can dig up one of these "Enough is Enough" articles and share it with friends, family, co-workers, faith network, college and more.

Until more people take these steps we'll keep seeing these stories.

Resolve to spend some time weekly in 2020 to take a look and share with others.

teams needed in many places

The primary purpose of the information I'm sharing continues to be to help teams of people grow in thousands of places. Such teams will use their time, talent and dollars to help long-term, mentor-rich non-school programs grow in every high poverty location in Chicago, it's suburbs, and other cities.  These programs will seek to constantly learn from each other, in efforts to help kids move through school and into adult lives.

put yourself in the blue box 
You can use this concept map to frame your commitment. Just put your photo and/or company logo in the blue box at the top. The rest can remain the same, since it shows a commitment, and set of actions, to help youth in poverty move through school and into adult lives. 

I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and launched it in January 1994--- 25 years ago!  I created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to provide a structure in which I could continue to keep the T/MC available.  I continue to seek contributions from others to  help fund my efforts.

If you can make a 2019 contribution, please click here and use the PayPal button. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Mapping the ideas and vision of an organization

In December 2019 Yahoo  terminated it's long-term support for YahooGroups, by deleting archives for any groups hosted there over the past 20 years.  I was able to pull some of the posts out of the Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment eGroup, which I had started around 2000 to support our efforts to draw volunteers to every youth tutor/mentor program in Chicago.

I share these here.

Most of what I saved are email newsletters sent from 2001 to 2008. Each included an editorial from myself, similar in content to articles I've posted since 2005 on this blog. 

Here's my message from June 2007.

The title is "Mapping the ideas and vision of an organization".

Many of you have been receiving email or print newsletters from me for many years.

Some of you are receiving this for the first time.  I've found that many people don't understand how a small non profit that operates a single site based tutor/mentor program in one neighborhood of a huge city like Chicago can also lead a strategy that intends to help all high poverty neighborhoods of the same city have comprehensive, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs.

Why, and how, can a non profit that does not have enough money to do every thing it wants to do for its own kids and volunteers split its time and money to help its competitors and peers get the money and volunteers that they need to do good work in their neighborhood?

The "why" is because we realize how difficult it is for a small program to attract consistent attention to itself and how difficult it is to find the funding to sustain year-to-year services.  I was lucky to have been encouraged to reach out to my peers for knowledge and emotional support more than 30 years ago when I first became the leader of the volunteer based tutoring program hosted by Montgomery Ward.  I've been doing that ever since.  As a result, I believe that if more programs work to get businesses and donors involved in tutoring/mentoring, we all will  have a greater access to capital.  That helps Cabrini Connections as it helps everyone else.

The "how" we do this is much more complex.  While it's simple to say "help all programs get the resources they need to constantly improve", this really involves quite a few inter-related actions.  If you've every met with me, you've seen me swing my hands in the air and scratch drawings on paper, to try to help you understand what I was describing.  Many people have walked away saying "he's got a lot of enthusiasm, but I don't know what he's talking about."

 Thus, I've been looking for a way to visualize these ideas.  This has led to a use of concept maps, which I've now added to the website.  I encourage you to take some time to study these maps and see if they can help you find and use the knowledge on the T/MC site, or if they help you or business partners, become more strategic in working to increase capacity of all tutor/mentor programs in your community.

You can find links to some of these maps at

If you're still reading this message I thank you for making it to this point.  Now, please become an active part of the T/MC network by sharing this information with other people in your business, faith, college and community network. Encourage them to use the information on the web site to help you and others in your community build and sustain more volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs in the neighborhoods where they are most needed.

If you'd like to know more about the Tutor/Mentor Connection, or receive advise about starting a tutor/mentor program, or a T/MC-type network, email

What I wrote in 2007 still applies in 2019 and as we head into 2020.  Below are a couple of PDF essays that communicate ideas from the 2007 article. 

Why Tutor/Mentor Connections was created by small non profit youth program. click here

Tutor/Mentor Learning Network - click here

These and other visualized pdf essays are archived here on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site. 

Since 1998 when we first started sharing ideas on the Internet I've built a huge library of information an ideas that anyone can use to help build and sustain mentor-rich youth programs in their own communities.  This is hosted on several web sites and requires a dedicated amount of browsing, reading and learning to know what's there.

In 2015 an intern from South Korea created this video as a guide to the website. I hope you'll take a look then spend time in 2020 visiting each section and sharing the information with others.

I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to help continue the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago and spread the ideas to other cities. I'm not a 501-c-3 nonprofit, but still depend on contributions to help fund my work.

Click here if you'd like to make a 2019 contribution. Thank you for reading.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays!

Wishing all a safe, happy, hope-filled Holiday.

Thank you to all who have shared ideas, and worked to help youth living in poverty have paths to opportunity as they grow to become adults. 

Thank you to those who have already sent contributions to help me continue this work. If you'd still like to make a gift (not tax exempt) click here.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

What I Wish for Christmas

Earlier this week there was a feature editorial in the Chicago Tribune, "demanding commitment from every Chicagoan" following the senseless murder of 16-year-old Angie Monroy.  It reminded me of similar editorials in past years, and prompted me to create the graphic below.

Media demand action. Why too little result?
At the left is the front page from the October 15, 1992 Chicago SunTimes, which prompted myself and 6 other volunteers to create the Tutor/Mentor Connection, with a goal of creating more consistent attention to draw needed operating resources to every youth tutor mentor and learning program in the Chicago region.  At the right is the Chicago Tribune editorial from December 18, 2019.

telling "rest of the story"

We began building a database of Chicago tutor/mentor programs in 1994 and started using maps to create stories following negative news, attempting to draw attention, volunteers and donors directly to the affected neighborhoods....and to others in the city with similar problems.  I wrote about this strategy in this article.

Unfortunately our ability to distribute our maps widely was limited by our budget and the existing technologies of the 1990s.

The Internet changed this.  We started putting our list of programs on-line in 1998 and launched an interactive program locator in 2004, which was updated in 2008.

shooting in Chicago

From 2008 to 2010 we received funding that enabled us to have a map-maker on staff for 20 hours a week.  This enabled us to create sophisticated-looking maps like the one at the right, which is part of this map gallery collection.

We were able to put these in blog articles, email newsletters and on web sites, but still were limited in how many people were seeing them due to continued lack of funding.

shooting in Chicago

The financial meltdown starting in 2008 resulted in loosing funding, then having the T/MC split off in mid 2011 from the non-profit where it started. I created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to try to keep the T/MC operating.  However, I've not found a source of funding or consistent volunteer help for the map-making.

Yet, I've continued to create map stories, such as the one shown above, which you can see in articles tagged "violence" and "media" on this blog. 

While I've continued to share these via email newsletters, blog articles and social media, they still don't reach enough people. In addition, the Program Locator data has not been updated since 2013, and the main site has not been updated since 2008.  Again, due to lack of funds and tech support.

So, what's my Christmas wish?  Here's another graphic that I created this week.

mobilizing my network
Facebook Friends 2012
I celebrated my 73rd birthday and on Facebook received much appreciated "Happy Birthday" greetings from nearly 100 people. 

At the top left in the graphic above is a network analysis map showing my Facebook friends in 2012. The labels on the clusters show that they include former students and volunteers from the tutor/mentor programs I've led, members of my Illinois Wesleyan Acacia college fraternity, family members concentrated around Philadelphia and spread in other parts of the country, non-profit and community leaders in Chicago and the USA, and social entrepreneurs from Europe and the rest of the world.  If I updated that graphic today it would show the same groups but also show a cluster of Connected Learning educators (#clmooc) who I've been connecting with since 2013.  You can view the SNA map in greater detail in this PDF.

I could have used this "bombs bursting in air" graphic instead of the "change the world" graphic in the  upper right. The imply the same thing.  As I launch articles on my blog or web site I'm trying to motivate others to spread those to people in their own networks.

In a conversation this week with one alumni I wrote of seeking younger people to carry on the work I'm doing, she responded "I wish I had the capacity to take on more than just mentoring on Mondays. At the moment I am doing what I can."

I responded "Just posting stories saying you are mentoring, and adding a link to where you volunteer, you are taking a greater role.  Just think "Are there ways my stories might motivate others to get involved?" It doesn't take much time, or have to be done daily. But consistency over time leads others to build their own involvement."

map your network

We all have networks. Most of us don't spend time segmenting our network into family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. then look for ways to tell them "I'm involved", yet if more people did that on a regular basis, more people would be giving time, talent and dollars to support youth tutor, mentor and learning programs and that might reduce the number who get involved with gangs and end up on the wrong end of a gun.

I've been sharing this graphic since the 1990s, first with the volunteers and board of directors of the tutor/mentor program I led. 

volunteer involvement form
of service learning
A key part of the ideas I'm sharing is an effort to get more people personally involved, with time, talent and dollars.

At the left is a graphic and video created by interns from Hong Kong (2007) and South Korea (2011) to visualize how a volunteer involved in a tutor/mentor program learns from her service and can influence others if she shares what she is learning in a consistent way.

This has been a long article, but imagine if more people had adopted these ideas in 1993 and continued to expand the network of people involved for the past 26 years. 

I've been writing articles and describing what I'm trying to do for many years.  If you've read this far and want to learn more, spend a little time every day clicking into the tags at the left, then reading some of the articles. As you do, find a way to share what you're reading with your network.

Start with looking at articles in "master plan" and "A new TMC"

If you want to talk about ways you can help, just reach out to me on one of these social media platforms.

Enjoy your holidays and best wishes to all in 2020.

Monday, December 16, 2019

What Am I Sharing on Twitter?

I used the term "Institute" when forming Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to continue the work started by the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993.

tags on this blog
That's because I view the information I've been aggregating as a curriculum that people can study over many years to "learn all that is known" about why and how to build volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that help kids in poverty move through school and into adult lives, while also expanding the network of adults who support those youth.

Since I started writing this blog in 2005 I've posted more than 1000 articles. The tags at the left side of the blog (shown in the tag cloud) offer one way to search sections of the "library", but there's so much good information in former articles that I don't think most people know exists.

Thus, I use Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook to point to articles I've written in the past. Below are a few Tweets from the last few days.

This points to the commitment I hope many leaders will adopt
This describes the idea of a "webquest" as a strategy for digging deeply into the ideas I share

This uses the Total Quality Mentoring graphic that I created in the 1990s to describe the type of program we were leading.

Finally, this seeks to attract contributors who will support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC as a birthday gift to me.

If you want to make a contribution in recognition of my 73rd  Birthday, click here.

Thank you for reading and sharing.  I wish you all a healthy, safe, happy and Hope-filled holiday.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Help Me Celebrate My 73rd Birthday

It's my 73rd birthday on December 19. I'm also celebrating the 25th anniversary of launching the first Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) Chicago programs survey in 1994.

I invite readers to help me celebrate, and keep the T/MC vision alive with a gift to my Birthday Fund.

Thank you to everyone who has lit a candle on my birthday cake in past years.  I look forward to your help again this year.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Dec. 7, 1941 - A Day to Remember

On December 7, 1941 the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese planes, which drew the US formally into World War II.

Today we honor the memory of those lost that day, and of those lost and wounded, over the next four years.

Below is a world map showing the positions of Allied (US and friends) and Axis (Germany, Japan and friends) in 1941.  A version of this must have been hanging in the offices of US military leaders.

Blue - Allied countries;  Black - Axis Countries. 1941
The job of planners was to mobilize troops and supplies from the US and Allied countries and place them in direct, and sustained, contact with forces of Axis countries.  When Russia (red area) entered the war on the side of the Allies, the supply chain needed to extend to that portion of the map, too.  That was a huge undertaking, but succeeded over the course of the war.  

Many books, movies and articles have been written that describe how the US turned its economic might from domestic production to military production and mobilized its millions of citizens.  Can this scale of mobilization ever be repeated?

view graphic here
Such a mobilization is now being attempted, led by the United Nations.  

At the right I've combined two graphics. The top is a race-poverty cmap that I created to show challenges youth and families in high poverty areas of the US face.  Under that is the graphic showing the  UN's 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals. You can see both in this article

If you've read many articles on this blog you see my frequent use of maps to focus attention on places where people need help, as a result of violence, poverty, poorly performing schools, or a combination of all of these and other indicators.

If you visit the SDGs website you can find maps like the one I've posted below, which is one of several showing world poverty issues, Goal #1, around the world.  

View this SDGs map here

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals and maps like the one above are available for each. 

Thus, as you think of Pearl Harbor, and how the US and Allies mobilized resources to fight battles in all parts of the world, give some time to thinking of how you might help in the mobilization needed to achieve the SDG goals.  

Here's one more graphic. It's a concept map from my collection that shows the planning needed to support such a mobilization.

Planning needed concept map - click here
On the right side of my concept map is a GIS map, showing all the places in the Chicago region where poverty is concentrated and where organized, long-term tutor, mentor and learning programs are needed to help youth move through school and into adult lives.  On the left are graphics that focus on building public will and the need to influence resource providers, volunteers and public leaders, not just the students, parents and leaders of youth programs in poverty areas.  

data maps
This concept map points to many of the mapping platforms that I draw from to create my own map stories. You can use them, too.

This same thinking applies more broadly to the SDGs.  Without building and sustaining the public will, which the US and Allies did during World War II, there will be no distribution of resources to all places where they are needed and no long-term victory.  

My blog articles and web site are a demonstration of what one person and a small group of people can do to try to create public will and influence actions of others.  Everyone who reads this could be creating their own visualizations and blog articles. Or they could simply be sharing mine through their own personal and social media networks.  

Here's a concept map with links to people who already are doing this "sharing". 

On each of my concept maps is a "help me" graphic, inviting people who value the maps or the ideas I share to provide contributions to do this work. Think of these as "war bonds" asking you to invest dollars to fuel this mobilization. 

If you're able, and willing, to help,  Click Here to add your support. 

Click here to help fund Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC for 2020
Thank you for reading, for sharing this with your network and for your contributions.  Let's honor the memory of Pearl Harbor with the work we do to create a better world.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Tapping Potential of Interactive Technology

Digital Promise - challenges
I saw this Digital Promises Priority Challenges graphic on my Twitter feed today and took the time to visit the site and look at the graphic, clicking on different sort features, such as rural, urban, suburban, etc. as I did.

There is a load of information here, that can support the education research and involvement of people throughout the country.  I encourage you to take a look.

I pointed to the Digital Promise web library in this 2016 article.  In that article I wrote "What frustrates me is that I've not been able to find the talent and dollars to do as good a job showing the information in the Tutor/Mentor web library that I started building even before going on the Internet in 1998."

At the right is the graphic that was used on the home page of the first Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) web site in 1998. The goal was that this would be interactive, meaning you could click on any of the spokes and that would become the center of a new wheel, where the spokes pointed to sub sections of information available on the web site.

web library - open map
In 2005 I began using concept maps to show information in the Tutor/Mentor Connection library, and to show strategy ideas. This is interactive, meaning you can click on the buttons at the bottom of each node and go to external web sites or to other concept maps.

In 2009 two of our interns from South Korea, via IIT in Chicago, created a flash animation showing information in the T/MC library which you can now view in this YouTube Video.

Visit this page and you can see other animations created by interns.

The core component of the T/MC library has been the directory of non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs operating in the Chicago region, which we started collecting in 1994. We've plotted this information on maps and began to share it via an interactive search portal in 2004.

Then, in 2008, we built a new Chicago Program Locator, starting with a map of the Chicago region, which anyone could use to learn where existing programs were located and where more were needed. They could also use this to identify assets, such as businesses, colleges, hospitals and faith groups, who could help programs in different areas grow.

In 2008 a graduate student from the University of Michigan created this animated introduction to the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, during a one week volunteer service term.  I'm not certain how long this will still be view-able since Flash animation is no longer supported on many browsers. 

The financial sector crash that started in 2008 had a huge negative impact on my continued development of these resources. This ultimately led in 2011 to the separation of the Tutor/Mentor Connection from the nonprofit where it was created and my creation of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue its operation.

While I've been able to keep the Program Locator on-line, and have continued to maintain the web library and list of Chicago area youth tutor/mentor programs, I've not had funds to support a team of people working with me to continue to develop these capacities.

Thus, I look on the work of groups like Digital Promise, with envy...and inspiration.

Below is one of many graphics I've created to communicate the vision and strategies of the Tutor/Mentor Connection & Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

I model a role for intermediaries & leaders from every sector.

In this graphic I point to information collection and sharing strategies, as well as effort to motivate leaders to adopt these strategies, with year-round actions that draw needed resources to every youth tutor/mentor program within a geographic region, such as Chicago.  Someone could help me communicate the message of this graphic,  using video, animation or other web tools.

Goal - kids to careers
Just to remind readers, the goal is to help kids move through school and into adult lives. That's what the graphic at the right visualizes.

Thus far, I find few organizations or leaders who incorporate all components of these graphics into their leadership. Thus, there are too few comprehensive services in all the places where they are most needed.  The problems continue from generation to generation.

Any of the graphics and blog articles I've created could be converted to an animation and/or video to communicate the ideas to other people.  In the video below one intern from South Korea created a video that shows work done by earlier interns.

Imagine a future page on a college or high school web site where students and alumni are creating videos like this showing work other students were doing to help make sense of all the information available on my web sites, or on web sites like Digital Promise. 

Youth from any school
could be doing this work.

As I move through the holiday season and into 2020 my wish is that someone from a high school and/or university will read the articles I've written about roles of universities and then reach out to create a long-term partnership with the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. 

Until that happens I still need your help.

I've put my 73rd birthday campaign on this page.

My "fund T/MI" campaign is on this page.

Through these I hope to find money to continue to share these ideas and keep T/MC resources available on line.

However, my lottery wish is that one of the billionaires supporting change in the world will provide the money to create a Tutor/Mentor Institute on one or more college campuses, based on the ideas and resources I've been sharing. 

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Linked in.  Visit this page to find links.

Thank you for reading. Enjoy a safe and happy holiday period.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Look alike. Think alike.

Yesterday a friend on Linkedin saw my Halloween post and said "Is that the late Woodie Flowers?"  I did not recognize the name so did a Google search and found that Woodie Flowers was a long-time MIT professor, a leader of First Robotics for more than 30 years, and an education innovator.  He passed away last month.

Below I've posted the video that I watched this morning to learn who Woodie Flowers was. As I watched I found many similarities to my own thinking, and commitment to creating learning opportunities for young people, starting as early as first grade.  He said in the interview "surround yourself with people smarter than you are". I wish I had found a way to connect with him.

Watch the video:

Here's a photo taken when I was interviewed for a Chicago Tribune article a few years ago.

Here's a video of me talking about empathy in 2012. Here's another video from a panel discussion in 2011.   See the similarities?

In the video I looked at this morning were many nuggets that I'd like to share.  One was that innovators and educators need to recruit 100 others who help share the lessons and ideas of the leader.

If you share my blog you're doing that. If we connect on Twitter @tutormentorteam, you're doing that. I hope my life has just a fraction of the impact that Woodie Flowers has had.

I'm beginning my annual holiday appeal. Click here if you'd like to make a contribution to support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and the work I've been doing since 1993.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanks and Giving

As we speed toward this year's Thanksgiving holiday I offer thanks for all those who read this blog and share the stories and to all who support youth Tutor, Mentor & learning programs, with time, talent and dollars.

Have a safe, happy holiday!

The Turkey graphic in the image above was created in 2009 by one of the students in the Cabrini Connections program, which I was leading at that time.  He was one of a few students who participated in a weekly technology club, which offered extra learning and mentoring beyond the one-on-one connections.  You can see his and another Thanksgiving graphic here.

The tech club was just one of the extra learning activities available to the 7th to 12th grade students at Cabrini Connections (which is now Chicago Tutoring Connection).  The graphic below visualizes the idea and uses a map to urge that mentor-rich programs be available in every high poverty area of the Chicago region (and in other places).

Think of these programs as retail stores full of "hope" & "opportunity"
Making such programs available, and keeping them available and constantly improving as kids move from middle school through high school, requires a lot of time, talent and dollars, from volunteers, donors and staff.  It also requires a commitment from students to attend weekly sessions.

Next Tuesday, December 3, you can support youth tutor, mentor and learning programs in the Chicago area.  On the ILGive site  (now an archive) you can search and find many of the programs in my Chicago programs list.

For the past 20 years I've advocated that donors should use a program's web site as their grant request.  For that to work, programs need to show enough information on their sites to convince donors and students to want to participate. Many do that, but many fall short.

Thus, there's a role for volunteers from different industries to offer talent to help programs communicate their strategies.  Here are two pdf essays that focus on this idea.

Virtual Corporate Office - suggests ways volunteers with different skills can help programs

Shoppers Guide - shows information I would like to see on every program's web site.

Note. One of these is on and the other is on Slideshare,com.  Which do you prefer as a platform to view my PDF essays?  Post a message in the comments to share your thoughts.

This is the 25th Year Anniversary of launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection's first survey in January 1994 (after a year of planning).  While I operated as a 501-c-3 non profit until 2011 and was supported by grants and individual donations, I've operated as Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC since then.  I'm doing the same work, and still need contributions to help. 

Click here if you'd like to send a year end contribution to help me continue this work.

Thanks for reading. Be safe as you travel this weekend.  Don't forget GivingTuesday

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Go Beyond What's Expected

Below is a video that focuses on volunteer-involvement in youth tutor, mentor programs as a form of service learning. I created a power  point essay in the mid 2000s to communicate this idea, based on my own experiences leading a tutor/mentor program from 1975 to 2011.  Then in 2007 an intern from Hong Kong created an animation to show the idea. In 2011 a second intern, from South Korea created a new version. Since Flash Animation no longer works I've created a video to show the animation.

This shows that as a volunteer learns about a volunteer opportunity, then joins a program, they begin a learning process that repeats every time they meet with their student. After each meeting the volunteer has the opportunity to share what she has learned with friends, family, coworkers, etc. in ways that often draw others into service.

"figure eight" graphic used often
The middle of this figure eight graphic is where program leadership and knowledge reside. It's the role the Tutor/Mentor Connection (and Institute, LLC) have taken since 1993.

If we provide information that helps people find where to volunteer, and helps them become a more successful tutor or mentor, we do more to help kids. If we provide tools and information that volunteers can take back to family and friends to educate them on why these programs are needed and ways they can help, we grow the support needed for tutor/mentor programs to operate and reach more youth.

Below is another presentation, showing the ways a volunteer can do more than what he/she does each week when they meet with their student.

These videos and presentations can be found on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site at this link and this link.  The library is intended as a resource for anyone who wants to help reduce poverty and inequality by providing more learning opportunities for K-12 youth.  The ideas can be used in any place where there are pockets of concentrated poverty. 

They can also be used as a model for information-based problem solving, that applies to many other issues.  Take a look.

I'll be 73 on December 19.

Each year since 2011 I've asked people to help me celebrate my December 19th birthday with a gift to support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  The T/MI is not a 501-c-3 so making a birthday gift is one way to support my efforts.  Click here to learn more.

All of the ideas I share on this blog and on Tutor/Mentor web sites are free to any user. I'd be happy to connect on Skype or Twitter to help you understand the ideas. I'd love to find institutional partners who would help rebuild the Tutor/Mentor Connection and spread these ideas in more ways.

Here's a link to my social media page, where you can find platforms where we can connect.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Movement Building - Afterschool Conference and More

Yesterday I attended the Afterschool Development Conference in Chicago, along with about 100 other people.  A video in the introductory session talked about the importance of afterschool youth development programs and the urgency of improving the funding stream. The keynote speaker, Dr. David J. Chard, of Boston University, furthered the idea of network building in his comments.

The hashtag #2019afterschooldevelopment was shared on the screen throughout the conference.  Below is one Tweet that I posted:

If you look for other Tweets using that hashtag, there is only one.  If we depend on those already doing this work to help amplify the message of afterschool development and attract new supporters, I feel we must encourage more to use Twitter. Hopefully in coming days there will be more Tweets that share ideas from the conference.

The lack of Tweets by people in the Afterschool Development Conference is not unique. Below I've posted Tweets from a few other events that are important to youth development, tutoring and mentoring.  I encourage you to click on the hashtag and see who else is using it.  Then you can even add your own comments or reTweet posts that  you feel are important.

#EveryKidConnected - Chicago Mayor Lightfoot's youth development initiative

The Metropolitan Planning Council hosted an event on Sept. 19 using #MPCLuncheon. Here's a Tweet I posted:

City Club of Chicago host several luncheons each week, which are live streamed using the #talkcityclub hashtag. This is one of my posts.

This year's #ObammaSummit offered another opportunity to draw people together on Twitter. Here's a post I shared:

Here's a post where I encourage programs that use Facebook to also use Twitter:

Below you can see a concept map that I created to enable me to re-visit past conversations. Some are not updated since being held one or more years ago. However, others have new posts.  All enable you to scroll through the list of Tweets and expand your knowledge base and your network.

Open cMap to click into each Hashtag

I use Linkedin and Facebook, along with Pinterest, YouTube and a small amount of Instagram.  I promote the use of Twitter because it's the only one that enables you to search a hashtag, or a list, to narrow your focus on people and conversations that interest you.

Below is a screenshot showing the some of the people included on my list of Chicago and national Tutor and/or Mentor programs.

Many people use Twitter lists. Thus, if you see someone who shares information you're interested in you might look at the lists on their profile to see if there are other people you want to connect with.  I don't think the other social media platforms offer these features, which are really important if your goal is to build a movement, connecting all stakeholders in the ecosystem, to each other and to you and your ideas.

You can be the blue box in this graphic
The graphic at the left visualizes the idea I'm sharing.  As more people use Twitter and other social media to attract people "who can help" to "libraries of information, including maps and program directories" they can draw volunteers, donors and other needed resources directly to every youth program in Chicago or in other places.  This is more than drawing people together to discuss ideas. It's an every day attempt to provide needed resources for people to put the ideas to work.

There's a downside to Twitter.  Some of the more high profile hashtags, such as ObammaSummit, attract spammers and haters.  This is a negative of all social media.  I ignore them and look for the value in the conversation, rather than the negatives.

To summarize: Twitter can be a powerful network-building tool, but you have to use it. If you review the hashtags in my concept map, you'll see that few have a history of drawing participants from events like the Afterschool Development Conference into on-going, on-line, network building.

Here's one last Tweet I'd like to point to.
The Schott Foundation uses their newsletter and blog to share Twitter accounts of a small group of people they follow.  If every foundation who funds youth development and tutor/mentor programs in Chicago did this consistently I feel we'd draw more programs to Twitter, and be able to do more work to attract consistent resources and help programs grow in more places.

Thanks for reading. I hope you'll share this on Twitter and connect with me @tutormentorteam.

If you appreciate the ideas I share, consider sending a contribution to help me pay the bills. 

Friday, November 08, 2019

Can you help youth tutor, mentor programs grow?

View list of programs
I've maintained a list of nearly 200 Chicago area non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs since 1993 and use my blog and social media to try to draw attention, ideas, volunteers and donors directly to each program, based on information they show on their web sites.

I try go through the list at least twice a year, just to make sure the websites are working, and to update myself on how they tell their stories.  While I think some do a great job (see below) many don't provide enough information.

Having led a small program from 1975 to 2011, I know how difficult it is to find the talent and dollars to build a web site and keep it updated with great content. Thus, I keep looking for ways to influence others to provide this support.

First, let's look at a couple of examples of web sites providing great content and how I draw attention to them on Twitter.

Urban Initiatives uses its blog to show strategy and results

I Could Be - not a Chicago area program, but view web site to see how they show programs and impact

Here are a couple of others that I pulled from the list on the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) web site. (Note: T/MC was started in 1993. It now is operated as part of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, formed in 2011. The names are used interchangeably in this blog.)

Horizons for Youth
As I've looked at Chicago area program websites from year to year I see some providing great information to show what they do and the impact they have.

At the left is the "impact" page from the Horizons for Youth Program.  It's a combination of stories and numbers.

Tutoring Chicago Impact

At the right is a screenshot from an impact report that is in a PDF format on the Tutoring Chicago web site. (note: I led this program from 1975 to 1992)

In my last updating of Chicago area program web sites I saw several who presented their stories in interesting ways, but few showing a theory of change or participation data.  Websites are constantly being updated so as I look through them again over the next month I'll update this blog with a few more.

However, what I'm really hoping to inspire is a university to partner with me and do this website review annually. 

Intern review 2008
At the left is a screenshot from a page on the site, showing work interns did in 2008 to visit Chicago tutor/mentor program web sites, then post a brief review.

There are several pages of these. Click here for page 9, then look at others in reverse order.

Here's a different example. On this blog you can see a different set of stories about Chicago Tutor/Mentor Programs, written by Nicole White, a Northwestern graduate, during here fellowship and employment with Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Universities in Chicago
I've not had the resources to have interns working for me this consistently since 2014.  My goal since forming the T/MC in 1993 has been that colleges and universities in different parts of the Chicago region would create on-going Tutor/Mentor Connection student teams who would build a library of knowledge about tutor/mentor programs in their sections of the city, then share it on blogs and social media like I do.

That would be much more effective than just me going through the list to pick out websites I feel do a great job of telling a program's story.

Interested?  Contact me.  This link shows social media sites where we can connect.

So, what should you be looking for on a tutor/mentor program's website?  Take a look at this presentation which shows what I think is important.

Few program websites provide this much information. That's why I suggested at the start of this blog that volunteers from industry, universities, social groups, etc. might adopt neighborhoods and build web site templates that could be updated easily by program staff and other volunteers or by students who are part of university Tutor/Mentor Connection teams.

If we can help programs tell their stories better, and attract more consistent resources, we can help them be more powerful in how they help kids and volunteers connect, and how that helps kids move through school and into adult lives.  It's a tipping point, which so far I've not been able to reach.

Is this possible? Do you think it's possible? If yes, share the idea and help make it happen.

Thanks for reading.

If you want to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and help me keep the Tutor/Mentor Connection operating in Chicago, and as a model for other cities, click here and send a contribution.