Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Help build the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Knowledge Base

Below is a graphic that visualizes almost all that the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present) have been trying to do for the past 25+ years to support volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in every high poverty area of Chicago.

In this post I'm going to show a role that volunteers, including students, can take to help me collect and maintain information that others can use to help youth in every poverty area of the Chicago region. 

The blue box in the middle of this graphic is where I've operated for almost 45 years. Initially I was connecting workplace volunteers with 2nd to 6th grade youth living in the Cabrini Green area of Chicago in weekly one-on-one tutor/mentor sessions held at the Montgomery Ward Headquarters in Chicago.

In 1993 I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) to try to help volunteers and donors connect with youth in all high poverty areas of Chicago, through organized non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs like the one I was leading. Since 2011 I've led the T/MC via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

If the blue box on that graphic were a live link it would connect you to a vast library of information which I've been collecting formally since 1993.  The graphic at the right visualizes part of what's in the library.  It contains information about Chicago youth programs, including age group served, type of program, time of day, role of volunteers and location where services are provided.

Between 2004 and 2008 we built an interactive on-line program locator, which anyone could search to find specific programs in different zip codes of Chicago.  

Using this information anyone (see list at the right side of top graphic) can find places where they offer time, talent and/or dollars to help formal programs grow and help more kids and volunteers connect. Anyone, including program leaders and volunteers can draw from information in the web library to learn ways to constantly improve what they do to help kids.

While the library is vast (you can use this blog article to see various sections), I seek help in maintaining my list of Chicago area programs.  You can find this list in these places:

a) Chicago programs links in web library - click here. You can also see those programs on the map at this site

b) List of Chicago programs on Facebook - click here

c) Chicago programs list on Twitter - click here 

d) Chicago youth programs using Instagram - click here

My lists are organized by sections of the city (North, Central, South Central, South).  In the graphic at the top of this article you can see how I've created a grid, dividing the city into smaller sections.

My invitation is that groups in each section of Chicago will take on the role of reviewing links in my library to determine if those programs are still active.  If not, they will email me and I can remove those programs from my lists.  At the same time they will survey the neighborhood to determine if there are other programs that I should include in my lists.

NOTE: I'm not looking for every type of youth program in Chicago. I'm trying to find those who have a strategy that involves volunteers as tutors and/or mentors.  In the larger web library I have other sections where I point to other youth programs in Chicago and to others who are maintaining their own directories.

Anyone can do this work. It could be a class from a local school, a church group, an existing youth program, a civic organization, a business-sponsored club, or a college group.  

It's a great virtual learning project. All you need is a computer and internet access. You can work alone, or gather in a ZOOM group with your peers or mentors and discuss how you are locating programs and what you are finding.  You can share ideas for ways to draw attention to the programs in your area, then share those ideas with groups doing similar work in different parts of the city.

 If you want to take this role email me at tutormentor2 at and let's set up a ZOOM call where I can point you to the list and help you understand what I'm asking for.  Once you commit, I'll pin your organization to my map. Ultimately I hope to have groups in every part of the Chicago region.

As you learn about programs by looking at their websites I want you to use social media to tell others about them, what they do, where they are, who they help and how others can help them.  

That's the role of the BLUE box in the middle of the top graphic. I'm connecting people who can help with programs who need help in making a difference in the lives of kids living in high poverty areas. If you learn to take that role, and practice it for a year or more, it will become something you might do often throughout your lifetime.

That would dramatically change how non-profits are supported and how well they are able to do their work.

Not in Chicago? You can build a Tutor/Mentor Connection type strategy and take on the same role, to help youth tutor/mentor and learning programs grow in your own community. 

If you'd like to support me with a contribution, please visit this page

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