Monday, June 17, 2019

Make Long-Term Mentor-Rich Programs Available in More Places

School has just ended in most parts of the US and while kids are enjoying summer break, leaders of non-school tutor/mentor programs are doing the planning that will lead to renewed efforts in the coming school year.

I've been using this "Mentoring Kids to Careers" graphic, along with various versions, since late 1990s to emphasize the on-going support kids need from pre-school through high school, then beyond, to assure that more of the youth who are born in high poverty areas are starting jobs and lives free of poverty when they are adults.

In the lower left corner is a map of Chicago, with high poverty areas shaded grey. These are the areas where mentor-rich programs are most needed.  In this article on the MappingforJustice blog you can find my list of programs and see how I plot them on a map. This helps people find existing programs and hopefully is used by planners to determine where more are needed.

Below I've created another version, highlighting one stage on this career ladder.

Kids grow one year at a time. Support  needed for many years.
It's great to be able to provide a youth tutoring and/or mentoring activity that lasts for one, or two years, but it takes 12 years to move from first grade through high school and four to six more years beyond that to be starting a job and career.

The challenge Chicago and other places face is building and sustaining k-12 support programs in every high poverty neighborhood.  I've written about this often since starting my blog. Below is a repeat from a previous article.

View in this article
This is one of many graphics I've used to visualize a need to have a wide range of youth support programs available to K-12 youth in every high poverty area of the Chicago region and other places.

I've been writing articles and sharing graphics like this for nearly 20 years, but as just one voice, I don't have enough impact to influence the massive changes that are needed in how such programs are organized, designed and supported.

View in this article
At the right is another graphic that I use to emphasize the need for continuous flows of flexible operating dollars to youth programs in every high poverty neighborhood.

Thus, I was pleased in the past couple of weeks to find funder networks talking about this.

I wrote about the Grant Makers for Effective Organization conference in this post.  If you search #2018GEO on Twitter,  you can review Tweets from the past couple of weeks and capture much of the information shared at this event.

Read about Annotation
Then this week I found this article published by Open Impact, titled, "The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption"

I read the article and saw many ideas which I've been trying to implement via the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC since 1993. So I decided to put it on and re-read it, highlighting relevant parts, and writing comments in the margin that show my own efforts.

In the paper's introduction the writers say "we hope this paper will spark and important conversation". I agree. 

In my comments I suggest that philanthropy would dramatically change if donors were shoppers and if non-profits and social change organizations would put enough information on their web sites for donors, volunteers and clients to make better choices of who they support, and in what ways.  I also emphasize the use of maps to support a better distribution of resources to all high poverty areas of the Chicago region and other places where help is most needed.

Thus, I invite you to read "The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption" with three purposes:

1) build a deeper understanding of what I've been trying to do, and to find reasons to support my efforts and help carry them into the future;

2) build a deeper understanding of the challenges facing all social benefit organizations, in the US and the world, and a commitment to draw others into this conversation; and

3) see how on-line annotation works and build a commitment to launch other articles and invite more readers and learners to join in.

I look forward to meeting you in the margins.

I wrote the above message in May 2018. 

So far no one has joined me in reading the New Normal article.   Maybe that's because so few people actually see my articles.

I post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN and occasionally on Instagram. I also have graphics on  If you do a Google search for "tutor mentor" my web sites will be on the first page (after paid advertising). Thus, if people are looking, they can find me.

In the past few years I've found Twitter to offer the most engagement and have connected with a wide range of classroom and college educators via groups like #clmooc.  Yet, while more than 100 Chicago youth organizations have Twitter accounts, few post regularly and even fewer use Twitter to talk about the fund raising and sustainability challenges that most are facing.

Here's a Tweet I posted today:

If you're connected to any of these programs in any way (student, alum, volunteer, board member, staff, donor) you can post Tweets that share what the organization is doing and make an effort to raise the profile of youth tutor, mentor and learning programs on Twitter.  You can try to do the same on Facebook or Linkedin, but neither of these have a public list feature that enables you to search and find a group of organizations the way you can do on Twitter.

Hopefully we'll see more Tweets like this one coming from programs located in all parts of Chicago and it's suburbs:


tellio said...

Glorious picture. If we do it right (and by "it" I mean life), then we raise up around us the cadre that will protect us as we grow vulnerable. Thanks, Daniel, for being the connector, the critically necessary matchmaker who brings together tutor and mentor.

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thank you Terry Elliott for continuing to read and reflect on my blog articles, and for sharing them with others via your own blog and social media posts.

And thanks for going one step beyond and sending me financial support to help with keeping the bills paid.