Wednesday, January 29, 2020

MyChi. MyFuture. Feedback.

As the Tweet below shows, yesterday I attended the citywide meeting of Mayor Lightfoot's EveryKidConnected initiative, which was launched last October. Since then the hashtag has changed to #EveryYouth Connected, and may change again.

As the meeting ended I encouraged the others at my table to use their blogs to share their own ideas for next steps for this initiative.  Mine are below.

In this next Tweet I'm sharing the mission statement developed at the January meeting.

As I said in the Tweet, that vision is what I feel describes a total quality non-school tutor/mentor program.  The graphic below is shown in this presentation. It visualizes the growth of organized, non-school, k-12 youth programs, available in every high poverty neighborhood, with a wide range of age-appropriate mentoring, enrichment and learning opportunities.

Building a learning distribution system - read more

How we get there is what needs to be worked out.  Below are some of the ideas for generating public awareness and involvement that were shared at my table.

The MyChi.MyFuture media campaign is planned to launch at the end of March. The costs of a comprehensive tops-down campaign could be huge, thus efforts that generate free communications from people and organizations throughout the city should be a priority, now and in the future.

1) - So far there is little communications from the leaders of the initiative on Twitter, using either #everykidconnected, #everyyouthconnected, or #MyChiMyFuture.  I received an email follow up yesterday, with the PDF of the slides from the presentation.  If that had been in a Tweet I could have already shared it with my own network.  Using Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram in the same way should be strategic. (see more social media ideas below).

2) - Encourage organizations throughout the city to blog their understanding of this initiative, as well as their part of the process, as well as services available to youth in their own programs and/or communities. Bloggers could be faith groups, elected officials, businesses, non-profit youth orgs, schools, etc.  Once blog articles are written they should be shared in social media, using a hashtag launched by the leaders of the initiative.  


I have written numerous articles on this blog showing my engagement with the Connected Learning #clmooc community on social media. I urge leaders of this initiative to spend time studying these, to see ways they can use these same low, or no-cost, strategies to connect people, organizations, resource providers and youth throughout Chicago with each other.

3) - Enlist students and parents as communicators. 

The Parent Mentor Program was mentioned as one example where parents are already working to help build relationships between parents, teachers and students. Such groups could be learning about non-school opportunities and existing programs and communicating those via their own efforts. Below I show Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC efforts to aggregate and share information. Someone should be aggregating information about parent groups who could be sharing MyChi.MyFuture information and supporting youth involvement in different parts of the city.

Enlist students as story tellers.  During National Mentoring Month youth have been posting #ThankYourMentor stories.  This could be #MyOutOfSchoolLearning experience or #MyChiMyFutureLearning experience. It could also be #HowISpentMySummer  or #MySummerLearningExperience. As youth become engaged they could suggest new  hashtags, and themes for future communications and interaction efforts.

Participation maps such as this from the 2017 CLMOOC could be used to show places in the city where youth are creating messages for this campaign, and to show locations of non-school learning opportunities.

Use maps to assure youth in every part of Chicago have opportunities

Enlist students via classroom learning activities - Here's one of many blog articles where a middle school educator from Massachusetts shares work his students are doing.  If during spring 2020 educators were encouraged to develop a back-to-school activity where students used blogs, videos, social media, games and other forms of communications to share #MySummerLearningExperince or #OutofSchoolTimePrograms in my neighborhood, which were then aggregated and shared on blogs like Kevin's, this could launch thousands of stories from September 2020 to May 2021 (and beyond) to help the MyChiMyFuture initiative grow and reach all Chicago youth over the next few years.

Tutor/Mentor lists on Facebook

4)  While MyChi.MyFuture is attempting to create a master list of out-of-school-time opportunities I feel it should point to existing lists, such as the ones I point to from this concept map. I'm sure there are others that I'm unaware of. Collectively these will always have more information that what any single intermediary is able to collect and keep updated.

5)   To  help draw attention to existing providers and help them connect and learn from each other, MyChi.MyFuture should a) create a profile on Twitter, FB, Linkedin, etc. then use the list feature on Twitter, and Notes feature on Facebook, to create one of more lists of Chicago programs.  (It could create one master list, or could create lists for sections of the city, North, Central, South Central, Far South) as I do in the Tutor/Mentor Programs Directory.

Here's my TMPrograms list on Twitter. Here's my Facebook list of Chicago programs and intermediaries.  If MyChi.MyFuture were to create its own lists, people visiting their account could scroll the list to learn about existing programs via the information they posts. Donors and volunteers could learn to use this to find programs in different parts of the city to support. Parents and youth could learn this to find opportunities.

6)  - Recruit volunteers from advertising, PR, technology and other communications companies to mentor youth and teach them ways to tell stories via multiple media. At some point in the future maps should be showing icons throughout the city where people from each industry are connecting with youth.  Programs should show that multiple industries have volunteers working at their sites, not just in direct service, but in helping programs communicate their stories, their lessons and their challenges.  Many companies should be doing this as part of on-going, formal, workforce development strategies.

7) - Focus on connecting intermediaries like the Austin planning group, to others throughout the city, so they can learn from each other.  Below is a concept map showing the planning process that should be on-going in every community area.

Planning is an on-going cycle, focusing on a specific geographic area. read more
One of the roles of the leadership of MyChi.MyFuture is to identify the various stakeholders and share that information in ways that encourage conversation, interaction, learning and shared efforts among the various organizations.  Below is an example of how I've been doing that.

Intermediaries focused on youth in Chicago - cmap
Youth in various schools and non-school programs, local colleges, or any other group could be creating similar maps showing local organizations, intermediaries, etc.  Note that I point to the web sites of each organization on the map (if I have a link).  This information is published in my blogs, website and social media to encourage programs to connect and learn from each other.

8)  How will you measure this?  How will you quantify the number of youth in each neighborhood who most need these programs? How will you show how many participated during the summer, or during the school year? How will you share that, at the neighborhood level, to support on-going planning and program growth?  Below is a Slideshare pdf that shows the number of youth, age 6-17, and the number of high poverty youth, in each community area.  

Every Youth Connected implies that 100% of the youth in each area will participate in one or more learning experiences in the summer and in the school year.  That is a significant challenge, both from the planning perspective, and from the funding perspective, since right now there are so few program slots available in many areas of the city.

I've been sharing ideas like this on this blog since 2005 and on websites since 1998. I hope some of the people involved in this new initiative will take the time to look and want to have me help them understand and apply these ideas.

You can find links to my social media sites at this page.

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