Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Youth Tutor/Mentor Programs - After COVID19

I've been collecting information about Chicago non-school tutor and/or programs since 1993 and sharing that information using maps, with the goal of drawing a more consistent flow of volunteers, dollars, technology support, ideas and media attention to each program throughout the Chicago region.

Green icons are youth tutor, mentor programs in Chicago. See map here
I've always had challenges collecting and sharing this information. Keeping the technology platforms working and updated is one of those.  This week the site that hosted my web library and Chicago Programs list became so out-of-date that we have been forced to replace it.  That's a huge challenge for me since I've no money to invest in this work. I depend on a volunteer in Indiana to help.  So far we've transferred my list of Chicago programs, so this information is still available. It will take a few months to update the web library.

supporting students
Each green icon on the map above is the location of a youth tutor and/or mentor program located in the Chicago area.  Most of these are site-based, which means youth and volunteers meet at a community location on a regular basis, supported by staff in those programs.

The rest of the green icons are either community based programs, where the volunteer meets a youth at a safe place, or picks him/her up at home and goes to a movie, sports event, library, etc., or they are school based, meaning services are held at one or more public schools.  A few formats are eMentoring, where youth and volunteers connect on-line.

All of these formats have been closed, or greatly restricted, except for the eMentoring or eTutoring (although some of these combined a face-to-face component, which is now closed).

photo from the Montgomery
Ward/Cabrini-Green archive

Many traditional site-based programs have been ramping up on-line connections between staff, students and volunteers. Above is a post that shared on Facebook.  If you visit my TMPrograms list on Twitter, or browse this list on Facebook, you can find similar posts from different programs (but not all) and learn how many programs are meeting the current challenge.

What I want to encourage readers to think about, now, and over the next few weeks, is "How many of these programs will still be operating once COVID19 restrictions are over?"

I don't know of anyone doing a survey of Chicago programs to learn a) how they are responding; b) have they lost funding?; c) have they made staff cuts?; what do they need to re-start once COVID19 is past?

Since so many people are now working at home, and may be getting tired of looking at movies, watching old sports games, or playing puzzles, I suggest that time could be spent looking at the PLANNING articles that I've written over the past 10 years, such as this "Steps to Start a Program" article.

Then, create your own blog articles and visualizations showing your own thoughts about what can be done to help existing programs restart, and help new programs form where they were needed before COVID19, and will be needed even more in the future.

You could also launch a few surveys to ask the questions I posted above, reaching Chicago programs, or programs in other cities and states. As you find answers, please post them in a blog and then share.

We're now beginning to learn how COVID19 is having a greater negative impact on people in poverty, who are also largely people of color. The closing of schools has reinforced the lack of digital access for people in these same areas.  This new information is being shown on maps. I've been  using maps since 1993 to show the same information.

This is one of my ma[based articles

This information is available in a variety of formats. The motivation to spend time searching for the information, reading, thinking, talking with others, then formulating your own strategies, is what is missing.  Anyone can be the YOU in the graphic below, reading information on my blog, website or that you find in web searches, then sharing that with people in your own network, to get more people involved.

Can you be the YOU in this graphic?
I'm on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can find the links on this page.  As you read my articles, please share them, including my @tutormentorteam handle in the post. As you create your own interpretations, on your own blog, share them, too.  As I see your posts I'll learn from your thinking, just as I'm asking you to learn from mine. Together we can get more people to look at this information.

Together we can maybe, maybe, mobilize the people, talent, dollars and votes needed to build mentor-rich systems of support for youth and families in high poverty areas, who will work to tear down the systems of injustice that have been in place since before the founding of the USA.

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