Sunday, July 28, 2019

Using Maps. In Planning. In Media. In Blogs.

Below is a story from my PDF version of today's Chicago SunTimes.  So far I can't find it on the paper's web site or Twitter feed. When I do, I'll update this story with a link.

Story from 7-28-19 Chicago SunTimes
It shows areas of Chicago that are thriving, that are beginning to grow and that are declining. Compare this to the WBEZ maps shown in the center and left below.

View these maps in this article

The map on the right was created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection in late 2000s and shows high poverty areas, with overlays showing transit routes in and out of the city.  In the Chicago interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, created in 2008, we also show locations of non-school volunteer-based tutor and mentor programs, as well as assets in different neighborhoods who could be helping programs grow.  Unfortunately, I've not had funds since 2011 to update the Program Locator so now it's mostly serving a demonstration model.

You can see that both maps  highlight the same areas of affluence and of need.  I focus on youth tutor/mentor programs as part of a broader strategy intended to get more people involved in providing time, talent, ideas, dollars, votes, jobs, etc. that help kids move through school and into jobs and help change the economic conditions in these areas.

I view media stories as  part of an on-going effort intended to draw more people to information they can use to understand complex  problems, and see how some people are trying to solve these problems in different parts of the city, or the world.  In doing so I believe people should be borrowing from good ideas to build better solutions rather than constantly starting from scratch.  For this to happen donors and funders need to provide a consistent flow of innovation and operating resources to programs in every part of the city, not just to a few high profile programs favored by the Mayor, the former President, or a few foundations.

GIS maps can show us where people need help.  However, they don't work like blueprints to show what help is needed, or when specific types of help are needed.  I've built a collection of concept maps and visualizations to stimulate thinking around the planning process. Below is one of those.

View mentoring-to-careers map (lower right) at this link
In the lower right corner is a "mentoring kids to careers" map, that shows supports kids need at different age levels as they move from pre-school into adult lives and jobs. For most kids living in middle class and more affluent areas most of these supports are naturally available in their family, community and schools, or the family can afford to purchase them.

In the areas with high levels of poverty these supports are not naturally available and most families could not purchase them, even if they were available.

Thus, organizations that try to connect kids with these resources via volunteer tutors and mentors and the generosity of donors are valuable. They just are not available in enough places.

Ideally each node on my "mentoring kids to careers" map would have a box at the bottom which would include links to more information related to that node. For example, below is the 'research and resources' map, showing one of four sections of the Tutor/Mentor library.

Research section of Tutor/Mentor library - click here to view map
Click on the small box at the bottom of any of the nodes and it opens to another map, or to a web page where I aggregate links to articles and other web sites related to that topic. I've never felt that I could include "everything" that people need to know on one web site, so I point to others who have "part of everything".  Most of these sites keep adding new links so this is a dynamic web resource.

Chicago transit routes
My maps and many of the links that I point to focus on Chicago, although many of the ideas can be applied to any city.  I keep trying to find Chicago and Illinois leaders who will adopt and support the Tutor/Mentor Connection (since 2011 it's been the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC), with limited success (since 1993),

Thus I also look for people in other places who might be allies, partners and supporters who would duplicate my efforts, and build their own web library, to create information sections specific to their own cities and states.

4-part strategy
Take some time to view the four-part strategy shown in the concept map at the right. The maps and web library are part of step 1. Getting more people to look at this information, understand it, and apply it, are steps 2, 3 and 4.  This strategy applies anywhere, and to any problem.

Below is a Tweet exchange from yesterday with a mentoring leader in England.

I remember meeting with a community activist in a SW Chicago neighborhood in the late 1990s and I gave him the same advice.  My voice is too small to reach and influence all who need to be using maps and visualizations in the ways I'm demonstrating. Thus, if others share the same ideas, and link to each other, our collective voices might reach far larger audiences than our individual voices ever will.

Last December I created several images (see article) showing how this was happening via the #clmooc network of educators who I've been connecting with on Twitter since 2013. I also point to work done by interns from various colleges who worked with me from 2006 to 2015.

view article
Read the article and look at the map. Open the links to see the articles I'm pointing to which show how these people have created stories, videos and visualizations that share what they are learning from my web sites and blog articles.   

More people can do this. More people need to.  Students could be doing this.

Today's article is just one of many articles share on this blog and the MappingforJustice blog. I've collected too much information and written too many articles for anyone to just jump in and try to learn it all in a short time. However, it's ideal for a high school and college learning program, or a faith based learning program, to adopt for on-going, long-term, accumulative learning.

For instance, some of the people in the #clmooc group are people I first started meeting on-line in 2013. We focus on learning as an on-going process, and a journey.  I hope you'll join us.

I'm on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook if you'd like to connect and explore these ideas.

I also have a page (here) where you can make a contribution to help me keep doing this work.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Youth Development-Role of Leaders

click to enlarge
I created this graphic about 10 years ago when President Obama was entering the White House.  It shows how high profile leaders can influence the flow of volunteers and dollars to youth tutor, mentor and learning programs in poverty areas if they are consistent in calling attention, and change their message at different times of the year.

I used a photo of Obama from the 1999 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference, where he was a speaker.

Unfortunately, he never took this role in the way I intended. Instead he focused narrowly on a few programs that  he favored. Good for them. Not so good for all the other youth serving programs scratching daily for the resources needed to do good work.

His replacement has not even done that much.

I updated my graphic today. I've not hosted a May and November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference since 2015 and in August/September my effort to draw volunteers to tutor/mentor programs involved maintaining this list of Chicago programs and using my blog articles and social media to encourage leaders to take the role I wanted Obama (and others) to take in previous years.

This graphic is based on the 17 years I worked in retail advertising for the Montgomery Ward corporation. The January to December calendar does not change from year to year and thus promotional events were repeated each year, with a goal of greater reach, more sales, and more profits.

Thus in March the front cover of our ads were promoting lawn mowers and in August we were promoting back to school stuff. In December it was a White Sale and Holiday Gifts. We even had alternate versions for stores in the North part of the country where spring came later than for stores in the South.

My graphic shows a January-December cycle that repeats each year, although for a large number of programs, their cycle begins in August each year as they are recruiting youth and volunteers to begin the new school year.

That means if you are reading this you,  your faith group,  your company or your professional group could be creating ad campaigns and promotions to draw volunteers to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities.

In the graphic shown above I include a "leaders wanted" image in the upper left corner.  If you are wondering what this might mean, take a look at the concept map below, then the slide share presentation below that.

View this concept map. As you do, imagine a page on your web site with your photo, or company logo, in the blue box at the top of the map.  Kids need leaders from every part of a community to adopt this commitment.

put yourself or your company in the blue box

 As a leader you might say, "What do I do?"  You might say "I'm too busy to look at this stuff in detail."  That 's why the following presentation should offer you some steps to follow.

If you don't have time recruit a "get it done" person from within your organization. Don't delegate it to someone who is a 'gate keeper" like your foundation manager. Recruit someone who looks for opportunities and is great at building teams and sharing a vision with others.

Make it important. Encourage year-to-year growth.

I would love to see versions of my concept map and this PDF on web sites of many different types of organizations, in Chicago and throughout the world. If you make this commitment, send me a link to show how you are providing leadership to this effort.

I'd even be willing to come and speak to your team if you cover the costs!

This is just one of more than 1000 articles I've posted on this blog since 2005, and many more that I've written since 1993 when we formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago.  I hope a few people will make the time to look through them and think of ways they can apply this thinking in their own efforts.

If  you value these ideas, a contribution to fund my work would be welcome. Just click here to find a PayPal and my mailing address. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Understanding impact of social capital on future outcomes

I saw the post below in my Twitter feed today:

It's a long article, but I decided to read it. Toward the end found this paragraph:

"His data also suggest that who you know growing up can have lasting effects. A paper on patents he co-authored found that young women were more likely to become inventors if they’d moved as children to places where many female inventors lived. (The number of male inventors had little effect.) Even which fields inventors worked in was heavily influenced by what was being invented around them as children. Those who grew up in the Bay Area had some of the highest rates of patenting in computers and related fields, while those who spent their childhood in Minneapolis, home of the Mayo Clinic, tended to invent drugs and medical devices."

I've been describing mentor-rich youth programs as a form of social capital for a long time and use this Total Quality Mentoring graphic to visualize how an organized program might help connect a young person to a wide range of influences over multiple years in a program.

View Total Quality Mentoring essay
The most important idea to take away from this is that youth don't form these bonds without help; and youth living in high poverty areas with strong influences by others living in poverty, don't have natural connections to other influences which are available to youth in more affluent areas. Some form of intermediary needs to help these connections form. Volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs serve that intermediary role in many places. There are not enough of such programs and funding for long-term operations is almost non-existent.

I learned about the Opportunity Index last year and wrote about it in this article.  I've a wish list that I'd love to present to researchers like Raj Chetty

a) Look at 990 reports and identify all tutor/mentor programs in the country; then survey them to see which include a social capital vision in their strategies and practices. What percent of existing programs include this? Plot locations on maps to show where they are and what age groups they serve, and where more programs are needed, which is what I've tried to do since 1994 (dormant since 2013).

b) Develop a tool that programs can use to measure the social capital of youth and volunteers when they enter an organized tutor/mentor program; and to show how that changes for each as they participate for multiple years. Find a way to aggregate and share that data.  Make sure the collection is long term.

c) Build a "data story telling" program into your research practices. Teach more people to dig into your reports and tell stories that share the information and draw needed resources to organizations that show strategies for expanding social capital.  This is Step 2 in Four Part Strategy that I've followed since 1993.

d) Teach people involved in youth programs to tell "how" they do what they do; "what works" and "what challenges they face" on their web sites and blogs, then teach them to spend time reading and learning from each other on a regular basis. Teach donors to seek out such programs and provide on-going, flexible, non-restricted operating funds.

d) Encourage your students and followers to read articles on my blogs and look at how interns have communicated these ideas;

e) Invite me into your conversations and brainstorming.

Here's a page on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site where I point to many social network analysis and social capital articles.

Read some of the articles I've written about Robert D. Putnam's work on social capital and his book, "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis".

Until more people read, understand, embrace, then act upon this information too few kids will have the opportunities that are available in America.   Please read and share.

7-14-2020 update - In the above recommendations I listed "develop a tool that can measure social capital. This Christensen Institute article talks about tools that measure social capital.

9-24-2020  update -Harvard’s Chetty Finds Economic Carnage in Wealthiest ZIP Codes  - click here

5-26-2022 update - Who You Know: Relationships, networks and social capital in boosting educational opportunity for young Americans - BrookingsEDU report. click here 

8-2-2022 update - Seven key takeaways from Chetty's new research on friendship and economic mobility.  From BrookingsEDU.  click here

If you value what I'm writing, please support me with a contribution. Click here

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tutor Program? Mentor Program? Tutor/Mentor Program? What's the Difference

"What kind of tutoring do you offer?" That's a question I've been asked over and over for nearly 25 years.  Here's a blog article I wrote in 2007, in an effort to show what a tutor/mentor program offers. It starts with these two paragraphs:

Between 1995 and today I've created several visualized presentations to try to show what an organized, on-going, volunteer-based tutor/mentor program might offer, based on what we were trying to offer in the Cabrini Connections program I led until 2011.

I've embedded a few of these for you to review:

Defining Terms: Tutor. Mentor. Same Words. Different Meaning.

Virtual Corporate Office. Think of a tutor/mentor program site as a retail store for hope and opportunity. What types of activities, tutoring and mentoring might need to be available? How can we make such programs available in more places?

What will it take to assure that all youth born or living in high poverty are entering careers by age 25? What Role Does Mentoring Have? What can we learn from others? This shows work done by Tutor/Mentor Connection through 2015. Much of this is now in archive form, ready for other leaders to give it new life.

In addition to creating visual presentations to communicate ideas I've also created a library of concept maps. Below is one that shows the many supports that kids need as they move from pre school through high school, then on toward adult lives, jobs and the ability to raise their own kids free of poverty.

Mentoring kids to careers concept map
No single organization can provide all of these supports and few are designed to keep kids involved for 20 or more years. That means an ecosystem of organizations needs to be available in every high poverty area, to provide as much of these supports as possible.

If you open the map and look in the lower left corner you'll see that I show a role of volunteers who become part of organized tutor/mentor programs is to help make all of these supports available.

That's the final presentation. I'm pulling from Slideshare for this one.

Any of these presentations can be shown to a small group at a church, business or small gathering, or can be shown to an auditorium full of people. They are intended to stimulate thinking, discussion, then actions that generate the flow of resources needed to make mentor-rich programs available in more places and keep them there for more years.

Any of these can also be improved.  That's an open invitation to students, volunteers and people/organizations who'd like to partner with me, to update all of the Tutor/Mentor Connection resources and carry them into the next decade.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Let's connect.

If you like what I'm sharing, you can help me keep this work available, with a small contribution. Click here for information.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Congratulations to Women's World Cup Soccer Champions

I joined with millions of others today in offering congratulations to the Women's World Cup Soccer Champions. I did so with the post shown below.

It takes the dedication and hard work of many people to put a winning team on the field. I've written many articles over the past 14 years comparing this effort to what needs to be done to build and sustain world-class tutor, mentor and learning programs for k-12 kids in high poverty areas of the US.

I followed my first Tweet with a second showing an article I'd written in 2014 following another World Cup event.

This is a photo of me from the 1990s, using a map of Chicago to show where poverty is concentrated, and where high quality, long-term tutor/mentor youth development programs are most needed.

My goal is writing this blog and Tweeting those posts is to enlist athletes and leaders from every sport to take my place, becoming the leaders who share these ideas and mobilize others to do the work needed to build great youth programs in more places.

Your visibility, talent and influence can do more to make such programs available than anything I've been able to do over the past 25 years. 

I'll help you as long as I'm able to.