Thursday, January 02, 2020

Looking forward to next decade.

I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago more than four decades ago, in the 1970s.  I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection to help youth tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas of Chicago more than 25 years ago.

four part strategy
 In 2010 I wrote two articles reflecting on the previous decade.

1)  I was still leading the Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program in December 2010 when I wrote this article.

2) Then I wrote this article saying

We all want to lower the high costs of poverty, improve the quality of the workforce, and prepare young people for successful adult lives. Yet, countless articles show that we’re not succeeding, especially in high poverty areas of Chicago and other parts of the country.

Maybe it’s because we’re not focused on the same goals, and we don’t have a common blueprint?

volunteer recruitment
Looking back even further, here's the first message posted into our Yahoo Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment eGroup in February 2000.  The first goal stated was:

Continue to attract the most individuals to volunteer to be a tutor
or mentor with one of the over 300 programs in the Chicago-area.
Create new sites to reach the most potential volunteers in Chicago
neighborhoods, suburbs and the Loop.

view cmap
Then, I started 2019 with this article, using the title of "What the Heck am I Trying to do?". One of the concept maps was titled "If we want to help kids move from school to careers...." what are all things we need to know and do?

As we enter 2020 and a new decade I'm going to continue to share the same ideas, in as many ways as I'm able.

In the top graphic I posted a four-part strategy that was first developed in 1993 when we launched the Tutor/Mentor Connection.   Below is a concept map that visualizes this as a cycle of recurring actions which I've repeated every year for 25 years and will continue in 2020 and beyond.

four part strategy - click here to open
Open the map, and spend time opening the links on each node. You'll find a cascade of additional maps and full explanations of the 4-part strategy.

read about this - here
The graphic at the left shows a pyramid of actions that can lead to a result we all want of "more kids moving safely through school and into adult lives with jobs and careers".  The pyramid sits on a base of knowledge, which is STEP 1 in the four-part strategy. It's information that I've been collecting and sharing for 45 years, in my leadership of a single tutor/mentor program, and in my efforts to help build a city of well-organized k-12 programs reaching youth in every high poverty neighborhood.

The web library is divided into four main sections, which are shown in the concept map below.  

Open map - click here

Concept maps are layers of information. Thus on each of my maps if you click on the boxes at the bottom of each node, the one on the left takes you to an external web site, and the one on the right opens to one, or more, additional concept maps.

find info about programs - click here
For instance, the green node in the upper left opens to the concept map I'm showing at the right.  For those seeking information about youth tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, or beyond, the links in this map point you to the list of programs I've been maintaining since 1993 as well as to directories maintained by others. If you're a volunteer, donor, parent or youth seeking a place to become involved during National Mentoring Month, this is the resource you would want to know about.

research links - open

If you open the yellow node at the lower left, you'll get the concept map shown to the left. This points to a library of research and resources that I've been building for more than 20 years, showing where tutor/mentor programs are most needed and why they are needed along with actions people can take to build and sustain programs that help youth and adults overcome the challenges of poverty, racism and inequality.

Imagine this in hundreds of
locations of Chicago & beyond
Here are three articles that I've written to help you dig deeper into this library of information.  One contains a list of links to every section of the library as well as to concept maps and visualized strategy essays which I've created over the past three decades.

If you've read this far, thank you. I know there's a lot to look at and understand and that most people don't want to spend the time reading. Yet, for the few who realize that the only way we can solve complex problems is to learn from as many sources as possible, this library is for you.

This is one reason I've continued to seek out high school and university partners who would make the Tutor/Mentor Connection library part of a service-learning curriculum.  Here's one article with that invitation.

I'm 73 now and don't know if I'll be here at the end of this decade, but my hope is that the Tutor/Mentor Connection library will not only still be here, but will be led by many people in many places, with complete updating and rebuilding of much that was created in the past 25 years, but is now rusty and not working as well as needed.  Until then, I'll continue to update the library, maintain my list of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs, and use Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Facebook daily to share ideas and connect with a growing network of people who focus on similar issues.

If you'd like to help connect with me on one of these social media places or introduce yourself with a comment.

Thank you to those who sent 2019 contributions to help fund this work. I hope you'll repeat in 2020. Click here to help.


tellio said...

You and your work remind me so much of Bernie Sanders. You are not afraid to say what you stand for in terms that anyone can understand. You are a super active 73. Honestly, how many folks can stand back up after what you went through. Stand up AND deliver. So, keep on. I read and am influenced by your works and your example. Folks like you are rare and needed as paths of perseverance for the rest of us to reflect on. I know you won't give in or give up. Solidarity, Daniel. Solidarity.

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thanks Terry. I'm re-energized every day by knowing that you and a few others do read what I share and take time to comment, and share through your own blogs and Tweets.