Saturday, August 31, 2019

Building Systems of Support for Urban Youth - What's It Look Like?

Last Sunday the Chicago Tribune called attention to our inability to solve the violence and poverty that plagues some parts of Chicago more than others by telling the story of  Yummy Sandifer, from 1994.  I wrote about this on Monday.

I shared my post on social media but received no responses. Yesterday I saw a post on Twitter, following up on this story. You can see it below:

Peter Nickeas, the writer, talks about systems that touch violence.  As I read this and tried to frame a response, I was frustrated because I have more thoughts than could be communicated in one Tweet.

Since the mid 1990s I've been using visual tools to try to show "systems" of support that need to be available in every high poverty neighborhood, using graphics like the one at the right. I've embedded these in print newsletters, web sites and my blog articles, as well as in my own posts on social media.

I create many of these using PowerPoint, which I then convert to JPGs.  A few months ago I embedded one of my PPTs on Slideshare, to enable people to view a collection of graphics in one place. I show it below:

While there are more than 30 graphics in this PPT, that's really just a small sample of the graphics I've created.  Here are places you can find more:

1)  - I've created several collections on Pinterest. With each graphic I've included a link to where the graphic was used

2)  Google search - view images - if you search 'tutor/mentor connection' on Google then look at the images, you'll find dozens of my graphics. Each has a link to where it was used.  Do the same search on

See map here
3) Concept maps can be used to visualize systems of support, showing all that is needed, to help young people move safely through school and into adult lives.  I show a collection of my cMaps at this link.

The Mentoring-Kids-to-Careers cMap is at this link.

Every time a story appears in the news that causes you to ask "Why is that happening?" or "What can I do to change that" I encourage you to view some of my graphics and draw others together to discuss what they mean to you.

That's what I was trying to communicate in this graphic (which was created by an intern from South Korea, using the graphic shown below).  We talk about the "village" that needs to be involved in raising kids.  I show that the "village" consists of many groups.  Each needs to be looking at these graphics, and maps of their city, and asking "What can we do?" and "Where can we help?"

The graphic below shows this in two earlier visualizations.  The top one shows the network of support that helps kids grow from birth to adult lives. Where you are born determines the range of support and opportunities your network makes available to you. Kids born in high poverty don't have as diverse a network modeling hope and opportunity. I believe organized tutor/mentor programs can provide such support. They need to be available in every high poverty zip code.  Here's my list of programs that I'm aware of

The second graphic shows how any person can invite people she knows into a discussion using the graphics and articles I've been sharing.  Many need to be doing this. 

I mentioned that an intern from South Korea created the first graphic, using the second as inspiration. Youth from schools across the world could be looking at my graphics and then creating their own interpretations and sharing them via social media, YouTube, Instagram, etc. with the same goals as I have.  If you're doing that, let me know!

Chicago SunTimes 4-7-1997
While last Sunday's Chicago Tribune focused on one killing, there have really been hundreds in the years since then.  At the left is a story from 1997 with a map we created at that time.  We did not have the Internet then to communicate these. Now we do.

I'd be happy to talk with any group and explain the meaning of my graphics or show how they could be creating and sharing their own.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.   If you want to help me do this, visit this page and send me a contribution.

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