Saturday, December 21, 2019

What I Wish for Christmas

Earlier this week there was a feature editorial in the Chicago Tribune, "demanding commitment from every Chicagoan" following the senseless murder of 16-year-old Angie Monroy.  It reminded me of similar editorials in past years, and prompted me to create the graphic below.

Media demand action. Why too little result?
At the left is the front page from the October 15, 1992 Chicago SunTimes, which prompted myself and 6 other volunteers to create the Tutor/Mentor Connection, with a goal of creating more consistent attention to draw needed operating resources to every youth tutor mentor and learning program in the Chicago region.  At the right is the Chicago Tribune editorial from December 18, 2019.

telling "rest of the story"

We began building a database of Chicago tutor/mentor programs in 1994 and started using maps to create stories following negative news, attempting to draw attention, volunteers and donors directly to the affected neighborhoods....and to others in the city with similar problems.  I wrote about this strategy in this article.

Unfortunately our ability to distribute our maps widely was limited by our budget and the existing technologies of the 1990s.

The Internet changed this.  We started putting our list of programs on-line in 1998 and launched an interactive program locator in 2004, which was updated in 2008.

shooting in Chicago

From 2008 to 2010 we received funding that enabled us to have a map-maker on staff for 20 hours a week.  This enabled us to create sophisticated-looking maps like the one at the right, which is part of this map gallery collection.

We were able to put these in blog articles, email newsletters and on web sites, but still were limited in how many people were seeing them due to continued lack of funding.

shooting in Chicago

The financial meltdown starting in 2008 resulted in loosing funding, then having the T/MC split off in mid 2011 from the non-profit where it started. I created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to try to keep the T/MC operating.  However, I've not found a source of funding or consistent volunteer help for the map-making.

Yet, I've continued to create map stories, such as the one shown above, which you can see in articles tagged "violence" and "media" on this blog. 

While I've continued to share these via email newsletters, blog articles and social media, they still don't reach enough people. In addition, the Program Locator data has not been updated since 2013, and the main site has not been updated since 2008.  Again, due to lack of funds and tech support.

So, what's my Christmas wish?  Here's another graphic that I created this week.

mobilizing my network
Facebook Friends 2012
I celebrated my 73rd birthday and on Facebook received much appreciated "Happy Birthday" greetings from nearly 100 people. 

At the top left in the graphic above is a network analysis map showing my Facebook friends in 2012. The labels on the clusters show that they include former students and volunteers from the tutor/mentor programs I've led, members of my Illinois Wesleyan Acacia college fraternity, family members concentrated around Philadelphia and spread in other parts of the country, non-profit and community leaders in Chicago and the USA, and social entrepreneurs from Europe and the rest of the world.  If I updated that graphic today it would show the same groups but also show a cluster of Connected Learning educators (#clmooc) who I've been connecting with since 2013.  You can view the SNA map in greater detail in this PDF.

I could have used this "bombs bursting in air" graphic instead of the "change the world" graphic in the  upper right. The imply the same thing.  As I launch articles on my blog or web site I'm trying to motivate others to spread those to people in their own networks.

In a conversation this week with one alumni I wrote of seeking younger people to carry on the work I'm doing, she responded "I wish I had the capacity to take on more than just mentoring on Mondays. At the moment I am doing what I can."

I responded "Just posting stories saying you are mentoring, and adding a link to where you volunteer, you are taking a greater role.  Just think "Are there ways my stories might motivate others to get involved?" It doesn't take much time, or have to be done daily. But consistency over time leads others to build their own involvement."

map your network

We all have networks. Most of us don't spend time segmenting our network into family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. then look for ways to tell them "I'm involved", yet if more people did that on a regular basis, more people would be giving time, talent and dollars to support youth tutor, mentor and learning programs and that might reduce the number who get involved with gangs and end up on the wrong end of a gun.

I've been sharing this graphic since the 1990s, first with the volunteers and board of directors of the tutor/mentor program I led. 

volunteer involvement form
of service learning
A key part of the ideas I'm sharing is an effort to get more people personally involved, with time, talent and dollars.

At the left is a graphic and video created by interns from Hong Kong (2007) and South Korea (2011) to visualize how a volunteer involved in a tutor/mentor program learns from her service and can influence others if she shares what she is learning in a consistent way.

This has been a long article, but imagine if more people had adopted these ideas in 1993 and continued to expand the network of people involved for the past 26 years. 

I've been writing articles and describing what I'm trying to do for many years.  If you've read this far and want to learn more, spend a little time every day clicking into the tags at the left, then reading some of the articles. As you do, find a way to share what you're reading with your network.

Start with looking at articles in "master plan" and "A new TMC"

If you want to talk about ways you can help, just reach out to me on one of these social media platforms.

Enjoy your holidays and best wishes to all in 2020.

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