Thursday, June 06, 2019

We Have the Words. What We Lack is the Will

Read 1990s newsletters
At the left is page 2 of the Summer 1995 Tutor/Mentor Connection newsletter.  We published this three to four times a year from 1993 to 2002 then ran out of money for print media.  In each issue I used Page 2 to put in an editorial, under the T/MC EXTRA heading.

Here's what I wrote in 1995

"We have the words. What we lack is the will," said Joe Kellman, founder of the Corporate/Community School, as the concluding quote from an article that appeared in the May 1995 issue of Catalyst, a school reform publication. "This is a problem in our community. We frequently point to others for leadership. We seldom point to ourselves."

“illiteracy has a tremendous impact on the cost of poverty”

Kellman was talking about the difficulty of generating long-term support for school reform efforts.  This is also a problem for our tutoring programs. Mentoring only works if volunteers and programs can support kids for years, not weeks or months. So how do we obtain that commitment?

Two ways. First, our programs must be well organized and provide meaningful opportunities for volunteers to join and contribute. That will build a growing base of business volunteers who will draw their companies into the battle.

Second, we must find a way to show the cost of poverty-in a way that CEO's cannot ignore. Better put, in a way that shows up on the profit or loss statement.

Finding this type of data is a challenge. The healthcare industry serves as a model because healthcare discovered a way to successfully market prevention, causing a fundamental change in the way business invests in healthcare. One hospital has gone a step further. New York's Harlem Hospital has shown that prevention saves money--the result of a long term youth program operated by the hospital.

Now we have a new tool. A 1995 summary report titled "The Cost of Poverty in Overtown and in Dade County in 1990." According to the report, 59% of the cost to sustain households in Overtown comes from the public sector. "The public cost of poverty in Overtown is $30 million per year," it concludes.

That's a cost that shows up on the bottom line of every business in America. That's a lot of will-power.

I concluded with this call to action:

This report is available from DEVPLAN, (407) 395-7445. (2019 note: this is no longer available although I have a hard copy in the Tutor/Mentor Libray) Get it and give it to your CEO. Then give us a call. We can help you invest in prevention programs such as tutoring and mentoring. It pays to be involved.

Why is this relevant in 2019?

A couple of days ago I saw this Youth In Cities brief on LinkedIn, then shared it via the Twitter post I'm showing below:

The introduction to the report states "A city’s rate of upward economic mobility from one generation to the next is strongly linked to its investment in its youth-serving nonprofits." The data shows that Chicago ranks 16th in annual per capital investment far behind other cities such as New York.

Maybe that's one reason Chicago has higher rates of violence than New York?  Just speculating.

Anyone can be the YOU 
If you read my 1995 editorial you'll see I was calling for long-term investment in youth tutor/mentor programs.  I've been using visualizations like the one at the left, to show the need for leaders from throughout the Chicago region to take on-going roles that influence people in their networks to become involved and provide on-going support to youth #tutor #mentor programs throughout the region.

I've provide a list of programs to choose from and a map-directory that can be used to understand where programs are located.   Unfortunately too few have been using this information, and too few have been helping me keep it updated.

Yet, as the Youth In Cities report shows, the need is the same today as it was in 1995

I have been collecting and sharing information since 1993 with the goal that others would use this in on-going discussions that focus on finding ways to help well-organized, long-term youth tutor, mentor and learning programs reach k-12 kids in all high poverty areas of the Chicago region.

I started doing this before the Internet became a tool. My library has been growing on-line since 1998. It's FREE.

I'm available to help guide you through the library and to take part in your conversations.  You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN

Let's connect.

PS: If you value the ideas I'm sharing please make a contribution to help me fund this work. Click here.

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