Saturday, March 20, 2021

eMentoring and On-Line Documentation

 On Friday I listened to a webinar hosted by the National Mentoring Partnership which focused on e-Mentoring and ways organizations have responded to Covid19 by building on-line connections.  Below I've posted a few Tweets.

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I led a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program from 1975 to 2011. Since both kids and adults were volunteers I used participation tracking to monitor matches and evaluate program success.  My primary tool for doing this was Excel spreadsheets and manual data input and monitoring. 

In 2008-9 we introduced an on-line documentation system, called Student-Volunteer History and Tracking system (SVHATS).  Unfortunately this site is no longer available, but here's one page that's available on the Internet archive and here's a series of articles on the Cabrini Blog that refer to SVHATS.   Here's a PDF that describes the planning that was involved in building SVHATS.

If you compare this to what I Could Be has created over the past 15 years you'll see that we were headed in that direction.  Unfortunately the 2008 financial meltdown reduced our funding and ability to further develop SVHATS and then my leaving Cabrini Connections in 2011 removed the energy and commitment to using an on-line platform to support youth, volunteers and staff.  

I've been using maps since 1993 to visualize the need for well-organized, constantly improving, mentor-rich non-school programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other places.

I maintain a list of nearly 200 non-school and school-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs, and point to many arts, STEM, and service learning programs in the main Tutor/Mentor library.  

Everyone of them could be using the I Could Be platform, or something similar, if donors and tech volunteers would step forward to offer help.  This means providing on-going operating support, not one-time development grants.  

My graphics visualize long-term goals of helping kids living in poverty move through school and into adult lives. On-line platforms enable kids and volunteers to connect with each other, and with program resources, for a lifetime!  This was never possible in the years before 2000 and still is not the vision of many youth organizations or public schools.

On Thursday I watched a different webinar, hosted by the program at Arizona State University, which was focused on "Promoting Broadband Access".  Below is a Tweet from that webinar.
Among the presenters was Paul  Signorelli who I met via the ETMOOC event in early 2013.  I've been a fan of Paul's blog and I encourage you to read some of his "changing the world articles". Several focus on digital access. is described at " is a community of dreamers, doers and drivers shaping the future of learning in the digital age. We are value-led changemakers who envision positive learning futures and undertake concrete action to bring about those futures, together." Visit the website and learn about the "10 actions needed to shape the future of learning in the digital age". Anyone can join this group. Much is done on-line.  

The Thursday and Friday events are connected. Without increasing the number of people who care about the challenges facing people in poverty and who act regularly to provide an on-going flow of dollars, technology, volunteers, talent and leadership into EVERY youth program, in EVERY high poverty neighborhood, schools and non-profits will not be able to adopt technology like that of I Could Be, nor keep it part of their programs for 10 to 20 years, with constant improvement. 

In almost all of my articles I call for those who read them to turn around and share them with others, and teach them to do the same.  That's how I'll finish this one. 

Colleges and Universities have a constant flow of talent and alumni who could be leading a Tutor/Mentor Connection 4-part strategy as part of their own learning and service.  While my focus is on helping kids in poverty via organized tutor/mentor programs, the 4-part strategy could be used to aggregate information about digital access, racial justice, climate crisis, or any other issue.

Here are a few articles where I've outlined that opportunity.  

I'm on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram (see links) and hope to connect and share ideas with people who read my blog articles or are doing similar work in different places. 

I'm also dependent of a small group of donors to help keep sharing these ideas. Click here if you'd like to make a contribution. 

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