Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Looking for inspiration for today's article

I've been sharing ideas via a printed newsletter, web site and blog since 1993, with the hope that others will find the articles, read them, then use them in their own efforts to build and sustain systems of support to help kids in high poverty areas move safely through school and into adult lives.

I often look at past articles for inspiration. Today I did that, but with a twist. As I scrolled through my blog I posted some of the articles that I found on my Twitter feed. Take a look.

Here's another

Here's another

And another

Terry Elliott, from my #clmooc network, posted this Tweet yesterday, with a video showing some Connected Learning #clmooc interactions from a few years ago. You can see my maps and logo in the video.

I hope you'll be inspired to read some of these articles, then do what Terry does. Find a way to share them with people you know.  It's only when thousands of people are reading and using these ideas that we'll reach the critical mass needed to dramatically impact the availability and quality of non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs in every high poverty area of Chicago and other cities.

This visualizes T/MI and T/MC role

In 2011 I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue supporting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago and to help similar intermediaries grow in other cities.  I've managed to continue to gather and share ideas, but have been less successful at finding sponsors and others to share this vision and the work.  Thus, I depend on contributions to my "fund me" campaign. Please help if you can. Click here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Look Deeper to Understand Complex Problems

Below is a graphic from this video, which offers some important tips about network building and bringing people together to solve problems, something I've been focused on for many years.

I love how the Hippo was used to illustrate that what you see above the water line is just the tip of a much more complex set of problems, which are often hard to see. 

I started using the Iceberg graphic below more than 10 years ago to illustrate a similar concept. In my graphic (created by one of my Northwestern University Public Interest Fellows) what you see above the water is a youth and a volunteer, meeting in a tutor/mentor program.  What you don't see is all of the infrastructure needed to enable that program to be near enough for the youth to participate, and organized well enough that she and a flow of volunteers will be motivated to participate week after week for many years.

I combine this graphic with many others to illustrate that it's not enough to support one or two great tutor and/or mentor programs in a few places. Chicago has more than 200,000 youth who might benefit from these programs, spread throughout the city.  There are more youth who might benefit living in the suburbs.

So take a look at this graphic.  The oil well icons represent well-organized programs that reach youth when they are in elementary or middle school and stay connected as the youth moves through high school and beyond.

I ask "Can you help make this happen?" because there are not enough of these programs, and the few that exist are not evenly spread into all high poverty areas of Chicago.  Each needs a team of people helping a program build the infrastructure that supports great mentoring, learning and youth development.

I think that every neighborhood, or Ward. in the city should also have a team, working to assure that there are enough good programs to reach at least 25% of the kids in different areas.  A team at City Hall should be working for the same purpose.

I've been writing this blog since 2005 and started creating visual ideas like this in the 1990s, when I formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection.  There's a lot of information to review, which is why I keep reaching out to universities and high schools, to offer my Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site and blogs as content for a service-learning course, intended to develop leaders who apply these ideas.  Here's a recent article that focuses on this leadership development.

At the left is a picture of Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, along with Montgomery Ward CEO Bernie Brennan, taken in 1990 when Daley visited the tutoring program I had been leading since 1975.

Imagine if these two leaders had given their full support to the ideas I've been developing for the past 25 years. Would the Chicago map be filled with more and better programs? Would some neighborhoods show different patterns of violence, employment, education levels, in 2019, as a result of that many years of consistent leadership? 

Maybe the new Mayor, or other business, university and/or philanthropy leaders in Chicago, or in other cities, will embrace these ideas. It's never too late. 

PS: If you value what I'm sharing please visit this page and send me a contribution to help pay the bills. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Missing Tutor/Mentor eNew for April and May?

If you are one of the 300 or 400 people who open and read my monthly eMail newsletters you may be wondering where the past two month's issues are.  I've been going through some personal struggles since April 1 so I've not been able to focus attention on the newsletters. I continue to post on social media, and you may notice, I've fewer blog articles, too.

I've tried to produce a monthly newsletter every month for the past 20 years to help draw attention and resources to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and elsewhere, while also sharing ideas that resource providers and program leaders can use to build great programs.

Each month's issue has focused on what's timely. So in July and August I'm focusing on volunteer recruitment, while in November and December I focus on fund raising and learning from each other.

With that in mind, you can browse my newsletter archive and open newsletters written in May-June for past years and find many of the same ideas that I'd be including in 2019 newsletters, if I had written then.  Below I'm showing part of the May-June 2018 newsletter. Click here to read it.

By now most programs that operate on a school year cycle have  held their year-end celebrations, or will do that in the next couple of weeks. Most well-organized programs already have been in the planning process, learning from what worked,or did not work this year, and from what they can see about work being done at other programs, then looking for ways to add new or improved ideas into the 2019-20 program cycle. Some are already recruiting volunteers for the coming school year.

I see posts from many Chicago programs on my Facebook feed, and a smaller group on my Twitter feed.  Many are showing success stories, of kids graduating from high school and/or college.  Not many are talking about the challenges they have faced of the past year or more to help kids have these successes.

Too few programs are actually sharing anything!  

If you look at the map in this article, and my list of programs serving Chicago, you'll see that there are nearly 200 organizations providing some form of tutoring and/or mentoring to kids.  Yet, less than 20% of these programs share regularly on FB and fewer on Twitter (unscientific observation!). 

They all might benefit from ideas in my newsletters so please share the link. I feel they also would benefit from connecting to me, and each other in on-line forums. I recommend Twitter for its ease of interaction more than I do Facebook or LinkedIN.

I hope to be back in circulation in a month or two.  In the meantime, please read and share my blog articles, past newsletters and help build the village of support kids in all neighborhoods need to connect with volunteers in well organized programs, and to move safely through school and into adult lives.