Monday, June 28, 2021

Mentoring as a Workforce Development Strategy - Updated 2005 Article

I often look at articles I wrote in the past for inspiration for new ones. Today I'm reposting this article, which I wrote in 2005, as one of the very first articles on this blog.

I've not changed much, since what I wrote then is still needed today, in 2021.  I've just added a few graphics created since then such as this one showing that the "pipeline to careers" for kids in poverty has too many blockages. 

Here what I wrote: 

In a Sunday, April 10, 2005 Chicago Tribune article titled "Workforce needs polish, U.S. businesses declare", the secretary-treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO was quoted as saying, "If we infuse education and job-training with an emphasis on 'employability skills,' then we develop workers who not only can get jobs, they can keep them as well."

This was  not a new issue in 2005.  My friend Edward Gordon, of Imperial Consulting Corp, has been writing about the job/skills crisis since the 1990s.  Below is a Tweet I posted last week, pointing to his latest White Paper.  
10-2021 update - Here's a YouTube presentation by Ed Gordon introducing his Job Shock book. 

That's a message the Tutor/Mentor Connection (Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC since 2011) has been saying for more than two decades. We believe these skills need to be mentored, not just taught in short classroom sessions. Furthermore, we believe that youth living in inner-city poverty struggle to succeed in school and jobs because there are too few adults who have jobs and careers in diverse industries modeling the expectation that everyone works, and that there are many career opportunities available to those who develop their personal, academic and employment skills.
While the Tribune article shows the traditional approach of business and schools lobbying legislatures to develop and fund such initiatives, the T/MC believes that business has the most to gain or lose from any delay in the development of comprehensive mentoring-to-career strategies that parallel higher academic goals.

This graphic visualizes the role business needs to take, to "pull" kids through school and into jobs.

This graphic visualizes that businesses in every industry need to be leading strategies that help kids in every high poverty zip code move through school and into jobs and careers.

I encourage you to visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute strategies library and read some of the short power point essays that I started creating in the 1990s. From these you'll see that our focus is on helping comprehensive, volunteer based tutor/mentor programs be in all the places where they are needed and that we serve as an intermediary connecting people, ideas and resources from all over the world. In one power point we illustrate a PUSH and PULL strategy (see graphic above). Parents, teachers, tutors, mentors, coaches are all PUSHING kids to maximize their potential. If these resources are available consistently in the lives of kids, there's a good chance most will respond.

However, in neighborhoods of high poverty, most kids don't consistently have access to adult who are PUSHING them to do their best (view concept map above). Even when such programs exist, they compete against negative traditions and influences such as welfare, gangs, illegal income habits, etc. that reduce their influence as youth grow older. In these communities a vocational mentoring strategy needs to be in place, led by industry, unions, chambers of commerce, etc. Such a strategy uses business resources (people, ideas, technology, dollars, jobs) to create a PULL system, that reaches kids as early as first grade and stays connected with them in age appropriate mentoring, job shadowing, internships, etc. until the youth is an adult and in a job/career.

This graphic visualizes the idea of "mentor-rich" youth programs operating in every high poverty area of Chicago.  

Such programs are needed in every major city of the world, not just Chicago. If we wait for the school bureaucracy to recognize this as a responsibility, or if we wait for elected leaders to make this public policy, we'll still have this need 50 years from now and America may be a second class economy. Business must take the lead, innovating ways to reach kids in every neighborhood with programs that mentor kids through school and careers.

While the Internet can connect the T/MC with others around the world who want to learn about this vision, or who already incorporate these ideas in their own work, local intermediaries are also needed to lead and implement this vision in their own community, with their own business and universities as partners. While T/MC maps point to Chicago, Philadelphia maps should point to Philadelphia and Miami Maps should point to Miami.

That's what this graphic intends to communicate. Intermediaries like myself are trying to connect people "who can help" to information and ideas they can use, to support youth, families, schools and youth programs operating in places where help is needed.

Instead of leaders of networks and individual programs constantly competing with each other for resources, I want to create a meeting place on the Internet where we can talk of ways of working together to increase resources for each of us. In such communities we'll look at what works and try to innovate ways to make what works available in this network of tutoring/mentoring and education to careers programs.

In the graphic above I divided Chicago into sections, suggesting that teams of community/business and university partners could adopt sections of the city and take on the intermediary role that Tutor/Mentor Connection began piloting in 1993. 

No matter where you are in the world, you have the potential to be gathering people in your network to participate in this discussion, for the purpose of building more and better places on the East Coast, West Coast, in the UK or in Australia, where good programs meet more youth.

I created the concept map shown above a few years ago to share links to articles where people are writing about the ideas I've been sharing.  If you begin to do that, I'll add a link to your site. However, in the tutor/mentor web library I point to blogs and websites of more than 2000 others who are sharing their own information and ideas.  

Since 1993 I've maintained a list of Chicago non-school tutor/mentor programs. I show where they are located,  using maps like the one at the left, which you can see in this article.

As we locate programs working with youth and do more to help them get visibility, volunteers, dollars, technology, ideas, etc., we'll begin to stimulate the growth of better programs and that will soon accelerate the movement of more kids through school who are prepared for careers.
Are you already involved in such work? Let's find a way to connect. (when I wrote this in 2005, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn were not yet available). They are now. You can find my pages on these sites at this link

Dan Bassill
Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993 - present)
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Creating a Service-Learning Organization that Mentors Kids to Careers

I started writing this blog in May 2005. I'd already led the Tutor/Mentor Connection and a site-based tutor/mentor program called Cabrini Connections for 12 years.

If you've read some of the messages I've posted to this blog you'll see that I seek to connect workplace volunteers with children and youth living in neighborhoods of highly concentrated poverty.

When we launched our programs in 1993 they were based on my experiences leading a single tutor/mentor program in Chicago since 1975.  Its goal, and the goals we adopted in 1993,  and which I still support today in 2021, is to create an organized framework that encourages volunteers to serve as tutors, mentors, coaches, advocates, friends, leaders in on-going efforts that make a life-changing difference for these kids. By life-changing, I mean that the kids will not be living in poverty when they are adults because they will have the academic, social/emotional and workplace skills needed for 21st century jobs, plus a network of adults who can and will open doors to jobs and mentor them in careers.

I have spent time almost every day for more than 45  years trying to figure out better, more efficient, and lower cost ways to accomplish this goal.

I have learned to mine the knowledge and experiences of others to innovate strategies for tutoring/mentoring, rather than trying to develop my own solutions to problems. Using T/MC web sites, on-line networking and regular face-to-face training and mentoring, I am trying to share what I know, and the process of learning and service that I apply in my own daily routine, so that there are more people in more places accepting this role and responsibility.

So how do we make this vision a reality? We create a "learning organization", which is also the ideal of many of the best businesses in the world. We also create a "service culture" modeled after the work of heroes like Cesar Chavez, whose core values included sacrifice and perseverance, commitment to the most disadvantaged as well as life-long learning and innovation.

In a learning organization, everyone is engaged.
In the world of Cesar Chavez, everyone is willing to make huge commitments, and sacrifices of time, talent and treasure to help disadvantaged people move to greater health, and greater hope and opportunity.

Our goal is to find ways to draw a growing number of our stakeholders into this learning process and to build an on-going commitment to service (as opposed to random acts of kindness). This process is intended to include our students and volunteers, our staff, donors and leaders, and members of the business, education, faith and media in the communities where our kids live. It also aims to engage leaders and volunteers from other tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and in other cities, plus people and organizations in the communities that don't have high poverty, but benefit from a world envisioned by Dr. M. L. King, Jr. as well as a 21st Century America where there are enough skilled workers to meet the future workforce needs of American industry.

In 2006 and intern from Hong Kong created a visualization showing what I call a "service learning loop". Then in 2011 one of my interns from South Korea created a new version. Since this was done in Flash Animation I've created the video below to show that presentation.

The Internet is our meeting place. It's a virtual library of constantly growing knowledge. On Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web sites we collect and host information that shows why kids in poverty need extra help, where such help is needed, who is providing help, and what volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs can do to connect adults, kids and learning in an on-going, constantly improving process of mentoring kids to careers.

If we can find ways to increase the percent of our kids, our volunteers, and our leaders and donors who are drawing information on a weekly basis, and reflecting on this information in small and large groups, the way people in churches reflect on passages from the Bible each week, we can grow the amount of understanding we all have about the challenges we face and the opportunities we have. We can innovate new and better ways to succeed in our efforts.

This process started nearly 45 years ago. I accelerated it's growth in 1993 when we formally created the Tutor/Mentor Connection. I've kept it alive since 2011 via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

Now it's time for others to take the lead and grow it beyond 2021.

Can you help?

Visit the various sections of this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website and start your own learning. I encourage you to read the Power Point Essay titled, Theory of Change . This illustrates our goal and the community that we seek to engage.

This and other PPT essays in the Tutor/Mentor Institute library illustrate the T/MC vision and the community of organizations that we seek to engage. Then share your own knowledge, time, talent and dollars to help us build this service and learning organization.

Thank you all for reading my messages. I hope you share them with others. 

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. See links on this page. Please connect with me and help me connect with others. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Get to know Dan Bassill

I've spent so many years thinking of ways to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas that the ideas and experiences from the past fill my dreams.  A few nights ago I asked "Who is Dan Bassill?" and realized that while I've a ton of articles that share my ideas I wasn't sure if I had a place with a few articles that answered that question.

So I browsed a few sites and found this Tutor/Mentor Business article, written by Sara Coover Caldwell, in 1997. You can read it here

Sara joined the tutor/mentor program at Montgomery Ward in the late 1980s and during one social event I said to her, "I'm looking someone to write a book about the tutoring program."  She responded, "What about making a video instead?"  From my advertising experience I thought of how much that might cost and shared my doubts.  She said, "I can do it. I'll raise the money."  Over the next nine months she created the video below that was shown on WTTW TV in Chicago in late 1990.


If you view the video and read the comments, you'll see many asking, where are these kids now? I've never had funds to do an extensive study, but I am connected to dozens of former students on Facebook, extending back to 1973 and the student I first mentored. He has finished college, and has raised to sons, who have both finished college (or are close to it.). He's one of many with similar stories. It's great to see these successes and hear many say how important the tutoring programs were to them.

If you read the article, you'll see that Sara Coover Caldwell became one of the founders and first Board of Directors members of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I, Sara and a few others formed in late 1992.  Today she's living in California and using her talents to teach Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara and to make award-winning horror films.  Learn more from this Wikipedia page.

I added a link to the Tutor/Mentor Business and a couple of blog articles where I've reflected on the past 45  years to this page on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website so now when my dreams ask me "Who is Dan Bassill?" I'll have a better place to point people who want an answer.  

Sara wrote the Tutor/Mentor Business in an attempt to find a publisher who'd fund a full book.  We still have not found that, but as you read through my blog articles and dig through my websites, you'll find a wealth of information for anyone who does want to write a book about my work over the past 45 years as well as my ideas for building and sustaining long-term mentor-rich programs, like the ones I led, in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities. 

Some might ask, "Why don't I write the book?"  I have. The chapters are blog articles and pages on my website. It's available to everyone in the world, through the Internet.  I keep adding to it.

I don't have the discipline, or energy, to try to put this in printed book format myself. Furthermore, since I embed links in so many of my articles, I'm unable to visualize how this would work in a printed format.  Thus, I invite others to take that journey.

I hope you'll take a look.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Find links on this page.

Let's connect. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Expanded Role for Volunteers in Tutor/Mentor Programs

I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993, and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011, to help draw extra attention, and a more consistent flow of operating resources, to volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs in every high poverty area of Chicago.

The ideas I've been sharing can be applied in any part of the country, but especially in big metropolitan areas where the geographic divides between rich and poor are greater and the population numbers are much larger.

I studied history in college, spent 3 years in US Army Intelligence, then 17 years working in the corporate retail advertising department of a big company.  Thus, the strategies I've developed focus on information-based solutions, which depend on building, and using, comprehensive information libraries.

One thing I've tried to do is build a deeper understanding of the different types of mentoring strategies that exists within a geographic area like Chicago, and the different youth and adults who are the intended beneficiaries of various types of programs.

Furthermore, I've tried to expand the roles volunteers can take to help youth, and help tutor/mentor programs grow in more places, beyond being a mentor, or without being a mentor.

Let's look at this graphic first:

All youth and adults would benefit from mentors helping them journey through life. However, much research shows that youth living in high poverty, segregated, and/or isolated, areas need more help to move from first grade toward their adult lives.  Here's a concept map that illustrates this differently. People living in more affluent areas have more resources to help them overcome challenges. 

Then look at this graphic (click to enlarge). Kids face many different challenges based on differing abilities, health conditions, family structure, etc.  The T/MC and the work I do focuses on kids living in high poverty, where the environmental condition of poverty is the root cause of many challenges they face as they grow from birth to adult lives.   

Volunteers in organized non-school and school based programs can have a huge impact on the lives of these kids.  However, volunteers normally do not have the specialized training needed to address the challenges of kids with special needs. These need much more sophisticated services.  

So, what programs exist serving kids in poverty? How do we find them? How do we help them get the ideas, talent and dollars each needs to be the best it can be? That's what I've focused on since 1993. 

The T/MC launched a survey in January 1994 to determine what volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs operated in Chicago and segmented this information by asking "What type of program?  Pure tutoring; pure mentoring; or combination tutoring and mentoring."  And by age group served:  Elementary School, Middle School and High School.  We shared that information in print directories until 2002 then in 2004 we launched the directory on line, with the searchable Program Locator screen shown at the right.  This is now only available as an archive. 

Visit this article to see the current Chicago tutor/mentor programs map and list of programs. 

As we collected data on youth tutor/mentor programs we plotted it on GIS maps, with overlays showing indicators of need for programs, such as high poverty and poorly performing public schools.  In 2008 we created an interactive map enabling people to search small sections of the city, or look at layers of information, such as mixed tutor/mentor programs serving high school youth.  You can view the archive here. 

If you visit the MappingforJustice blog you can find many articles where I've used map images created from the Program Locator or with our desktop GIS.

While all of this information can help  youth, parents, teachers and social workers find programs, the maps and directory were intended to help leaders make sure that k-12 youth in every high poverty area were being reached by mentor-rich programs.  Our goal was to influence what resource providers were doing to help programs grow while also sharing information that programs could use to constantly improve. 

Unfortunately, I no longer have the resources or capacity to do the survey or create these maps.  Furthermore, while I find some websites with interactive youth program map/directories, I don't find any who are segmenting the information with the layers I was using, or to the degree that I visualize in the graphic at the top of this article.  Nor do I find many attempting to draw volunteers and donors through their platform directly to youth programs in their city. 

Without that information cities will spend millions of dollars and still now know if they are reaching kids in every age group, in every high poverty neighborhood, with a wide-enough range of programs. 

The question we should be asking ourselves, if our focus is on youth living in poverty, is "How can we fill all high poverty neighborhoods with organized, age specific programs, that can build and sustain long-term connections with children as the grow to become adults?    How do we pay for it? Where do we attract and retain talented leaders? How do we keep volunteers involved for multiple years?  

There are another set of questions that need to be answered. Why are these programs needed?   Where are they needed most? The answer may be obvious to many, but I created this concept map to visualize the many obstacles kids and families face if they live in high poverty areas.  Kids in affluent areas also face many of these challenges. However, their families and neighborhoods have far greater resources to overcome them.

Thus, how do we mobilize and educate potential volunteers to build this information base, share it with millions of others, and address these challenges?   How can we teach volunteers, students, alumni and parents to tell stories using this information, powerful enough to draw more people into support of youth in every high poverty zip code?

This is in addition to the questions volunteers and youth program staff must answer weekly.  What do I do as a tutor, mentor to help the youth I'm working with, or the young people in the program I'm involved with? 

These are just a few of many questions to be asked an many places. For instance, of all of the organizations that offer mentoring, which focus on children living in high poverty poverty areas? Which have long-term strategies? Do cities have  maps showing what neighborhoods are being reached with existing programs? Do they use that information to expand the number of kids reach every year?

Furthermore, who's providing the money and talent to collect, organize, analyze and share this information on a continuous basis?  

Finally, where are the on-line spaces where people are talking about these things?  

So what role do volunteers, and people who don't  have the time to meet directly, and regularly, with youth, take to make this happen?  Here's one presentation titled "Mentor Role in a Larger Strategy".  I hope you'll look at it.

The questions I've posted here just scratch the surface of the questions that might be asked.  Visit this section of the Tutor/Mentor Web library and read the research articles. Visit this section and read some of the blog articles.

Throughout the year, I invite volunteers, program leaders, media, donors and policy makers to dig into this and other articles I've posted since 2005 on this blog, and in my library on  Do a Google search for "tutor mentor", then look at the images. You'll find dozens more intended to stimulate your thinking.

Become the YOU in this graphic.  Build a deeper  understanding of what types of  programs serve the different needs of youth from different age groups and different social/economic backgrounds. Talk about proactive roles business, volunteers and donors can take to help strong, long-lasting tutor/mentor programs reach youth in more places. Create a "learning organization' where many are involved in this effort.  

If you're hosting this conversation share links on social media so I and others can join you.

Every child is special. Every child deserves a support system that offers hope and opportunity. Some have this when they are born. Others won't have this unless many adults who don't live in poverty make a consistent, heroic, on-going effort to make such supports available. 

If you're writing similar articles on your own blog, or host on-line forums where people are discussing these questions, use the comment box to share a link to your web sites or forums. I hope there are many leading this discussion.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and Instagram. Please reach out and connect with me.  Find links to these sites on this page

Help me continue to write and share articles like this. Visit my FUND ME page and add your support. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Juneteenth Celebration starts today

 Cook County, Illinois launches it's first Juneteenth Celebration today, recognizing the June 19, 1865, freeing of the last slaves in Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  

During the week I encourage you to spend some time digging through the sections of my web library (using this cMap),  which focus on social justice, inequality, poverty and the history of slavery in America.  Deepen your understanding of the challenges that Black Americans have faced in the past, and continue to face in the 2020s. 

As you do, let's celebrate how far we have come.  While most people of color still face discrimination in many ways, just because of the color of their skin, many have become hugely successful, in all walks of life.  While President Obama and Vice President Harris are two highly visible examples, we can see all around us people of color who are successful in business, education and as parents raising their own kids.

I've used versions of the graphic below to show the support kids need in the non-school hours, from first grade through high school and beyond.  However, it also shows that many of the kids who were part of tutor/mentor programs that I led from 1975 to 2011 are now parents and grandparents, celebrating the success of their own children and grandchildren. I'm connected to many on Facebook and see posts regularly celebrating these successes.

While I point to the successes of students I've known, I also point to multiple other examples. For instance, below is a photo from a website titled "Because of Them, We Can". showing 2019 Black graduates of Harvard Law School.    

I've seen similar photos showing West Point graduates and graduates from HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and Universities).  In 2017-18 48,300 degrees were awarded by HBCUs. 74% (35,742) went to Black students.  That's just one year.  That's just graduates of HBCUs.  (see website). 

There are 42 million African Americans in the United States. 9.3 million (2019) are living in poverty.  That means there are many, many more who are having economic success in America.

There's much to celebrate during Juneteenth.  Let's  not overlook the progress that has been made since 1865. 

Yet, if you read the articles I point to from my cMap and web library, and follow the daily news, there's still much work to do.  

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Climate Change - Environmental Racism

What issue has the most potential to unite people from around the world to fight against inequality? Climate Change. I encourage you to view this film, then plan to share it with youth and volunteers in your tutor/mentor programs.

While we all seek ways to inspire youth to learn, many realize we need to provide a reason to learn and engage with others. Building in a "climate change" study/activism group within a tutor/mentor program could offer many long term benefits to youth and volunteers, and to the larger community.

It this video the speakers called the climate crisis "Environmental Racism" and said "climate disruptions are a social justice issue", saying that "who gets hurt the most are poor people who can't get out of the way."

The organizers of a 2013 climate march recognized that "in order to address the climate crisis we have to first address inequalities".

Thus, throughout this video you'll see efforts to reach out to minorities, the poor, and those who are  most disadvantaged.

This second video was created in 2009 and shows how movements in the 1960's lead to a wave of legislation in the 1970s. Can this be repeated in the 2020s?

This video describes the process of mobilizing people as a "swarm" and suggests that with the Internet it's possible to create an on line hub that could support the growth of the climate change movement.

As you look at the strategy that's proposed, visit this presentation, which shows the strategy I've been following since creating the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011.

Prior to 2016 I did not include much information about the climate crisis in my web library.  After viewing these videos I did some web searching to see if I could find some graphics that showed the growth of the climate change network, or showed the different organizations who they have been connecting with.

350 0rg seems to be one of the lead intermediaries in the climate change movement.  Below is a screen shot of a map that shows different organizations working on climate change throughout the world.

I have been using GIS maps since 1993 to show where tutor/mentor programs are needed, and to show participation in conferences I've hosted in Chicago and to show participation in on-line events, like the Connected Learning #clmooc.  Maps force you to look at all the places where a problem needs to be solved, or that need to be represented in movement-building. Without a map you could fill a stadium with people who are active in solving a problem, but still be missing most of the places where the problem needs a constant flow of ideas, talent, dollars, technology, etc. to be solved.

Over the past 20 years I've also become interested in process and strategy. How does a tutor/mentor program help a youth move through school and into a job? How do we make well organized, long-term programs available in more places? How do climate change organizers map their own process toward goal? How is this being done in other sectors?

How do we visualize this?

I started creating concept maps to show strategy and to show organization's I'm connecting with, via events I attend, people I meet on line, or links in the Tutor/Mentor web library.  In many of these maps I include links, pointing visitors directly to additional maps, and/or the web sites of other organizations.

The map below is a collection of maps that focus on building networks, and creating maps to show who I'm reaching out to, and who is in my web library.  See my entire cMap collection

In this map, which is a collection of several maps,  I'm trying to show that while supporting youth via non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs is my primary goal, it is not the primary goal of organizers who focus on different issues, such as climate change, public health, the environment, inequality, racism, jobs, etc..  Poverty, climate change and other environmental issues are only a few of the issues included in the United Nations Sustainability goals.

I use the pie chart to visualize leaders from many sectors focusing on each issue area, including the mission of my organization. I should be able to find blog articles, such as these that use systems thinking and concept maps to engage a network of stakeholders and show strategies for achieving long-term goals of climate change, public health, violence prevention, inequality, etc.   The hub and spoke design of the wheel shows that these issues are related to each other.  The climate march organizers in the first video recognized this, saying " "in order to address the climate crisis we have to first address inequalities".

My blog articles, strategy presentations, web library, concept maps, and GIS maps are examples that not only could be used by leaders who focus on  poverty and youth development throughout the world, but by leaders who understand that to solve their problem they also need to focus on inequalities in the world, and that they, too, could be using maps like I do to show their progress, their networks and how they are connecting people, organizations and resources.

I've started a sub-section in the Tutor/Mentor library, with links to climate change articles.  In addition, I've used this blog article (and my original climate change article posted in 2016), to add new links as I find them. 

As I write articles like this I seek three responses:

a) Are there people already writing articles and creating maps like this?  If you know them, post a link in the comment section of this blog

b) Are you a writer, illustrator, mapper, etc. who can communicate these ideas more effectively than I do? 

c) are you one of those who are contributing hundreds of million dollars to every election cycle and might want to devote a few million to fully developing the Tutor/Mentor Institute as a free standing organization, or on a college campus?

If you're any of the above,  I look forward to hearing from you.   

One organization that has been doing this well is the United Nations' Sustainability Development Goals Project.  Visit the SDGs website and for each of the 17 goals, shown in this graphic, there is an extensive library of information, including maps.

additional reading about Climate Change

Note: 2/2/2017 update - here's an ESRI storymap showing impact of climate change on migration throughout the world. The is valuable resource both for understanding climate crisis, and for understanding uses of storymaps. 

4-2-2017 update - This article on the web site shows that liberal approaches to climate change are just as much of a problem as is conservative denial. 

4-2-2017 update - are we facing a global extension of the human race - this writer has a series of blog articles that show this possible future.

4-15-2017 update - An Unprecedented Four Famines Threaten the Planet. - read article

4-17-2017 update - take to the streets during April 2017 and other actions you can take  - read article

6-19-2017 update - Atlantis Rising: Why Floating Cities are the Next Frontier - see video

6-26-17 update - Deadly Heat Waves Likely to Get Worse - read article talking about affect of extreme heat.

7-9-17 update - analysis of economic impact of climate change in the US - read article

7-10-17 update - This article, titled The Uninhabitable Earth, describes coming climate disasters facing the world.

7-17-17 update - The Climate-Smart Cities program at the Trust for Public Land is helping cities overcome challenges to successful climate action. Read article.

8-30-17 update - The Texas Floods following Hurricane Havey have generated several new articles worth reading.  1) Public Service Media Warned of Texas Catastrophe. Still time to learn (article). This points to a 2016 series titled "Hell and High Water" ;  2) How catastrophe affects most vulnerable people most. article; and 3) library of ESRI story maps showing flooding in Texas and around world. A second page showing ESRI story maps - click here

11-11-17 update - Here's a group that draws attention to climate change with music. It's called The Climate Music Project. click here

11-13-17 update - #Decarbonize #Decolonize  describes itself as "worlds largest synthesis of youth research, recommended policy and action on climate change". Is mobilizing youth from across the planet.

2-27-18 update - Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration - Rolling Stone article. As some areas become unlivable the wealthy will move to more climate friendly cities, causing prices to rise, driving out the poor. Those without the money to move will suffer greatly.

5-16-2018 update - The Shape of Water - Chicago Magazine article forecasting a future for Chicago and the Great Lakes water basin. click here

6-21-2018 update - How Tackling Climate Change Could Tackle Inequality - read article

7-9-2018 update - Nicola Avery, from UK, posted blog article today with a collection of climate change links. Add to your reading list. click here

9-3-2018 update - Planetary Health Alliance - article with many links to additional resources - click here

10-12-18 update - Interactive map shows projected changes in rainfall and snow by 2050 in communities across the world.

10-17-18 update - Popular Science magazine article titled "The most important science policy issue in every state" - click here

11-16-18 update - List of natural disasters in the USA since 2000 - on Wikipedia. What's important to understand is that people in past disasters are probably still trying to rebuild their lives, even after many years. 

3-6-19 update - Project Drawdown claims to be "the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming".  The site includes a list of 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change -   click here

3-6-19 update - WASH Funders by Candid - web resource focuses on water issues around world. Includes a funders map, too. click here

8-1-19 update - "Migration and the climate crisis: the UN’s search for solutions" - article 

10-25-19 update - Global Chaos Map Project - this project is building a map to help understand where in the world environmental and political stress is leading to violence.  Click here to read article.   Click here to the Chaos Map Project site. Click here to view the interactive map.

12-18-19 update - America After Climate Change Mapped - click here

2-3-2021 update - Now's the Time interactive map shows oil, natural gas, coal, wind and other energy production and distribution resources from around the world.  For those advocating for movement away from carbon based energies this site should be a useful tool.  This is website with overview. 

2-3-2021 update - Climate Justice Alliance - Here's description from website: "Climate Justice Alliance is amplifying the leadership of the original Our Power Communities while expanding to 70 communities in seven regions that are home to key grassroots groups. These groups organize to end the era of extreme energy and implement a Just Transition that promotes local control of resources (including energy, land, water, and food systems)." 

2-3-2021 update - Extinction Rebellion Chicago (XRC) - a growing group of activists formed in 2019 to demand, through creative and non-violent direct action, t hat the government act now to stop climate catastrophe.

2-4-2021 update - Mapping Environmental Justice in the Biden-Harris Administration - click here ;  Mentioned in the article is the CalEnviroScreen. This link points to a Disadvantaged Communities Map (California). 

2-24-2021 update - Is your house going to flood because of climate change? These maps will tell you. - read article 

3-6-2021 update - Mapping Project Explores Links Between Historic Redlining And Future Climate Vulnerability - click here

6-10-2021 updateAmerica After Climate Change - Mappedclick here

10-18-21 update - two more resources Arm in Arm -  and Red Black and Green New Deal -

10-19-21 update - can authors of science fiction tell stories of climate crisis in ways that more people understand and respond.  Read this introduction to "Cli-Fi".  click here

1-18-21 update - Project Drawdown claims to be the world's leading resource for climate solutions.  Take a look. click here

6-14-22 update - States at Risk
of climate change site has a page for each of 50 US states, showing risks associated with extreme heat, drought, wildfires, coastal flooding and inland flooding.  click here

6-15-22 update - LCV (League of Conservation Voters) website show state-by-state progress on climate and environmental issues.  click here

4-27-23  update - "How Colonialism Spawned and Continues to Exacerbate the Climate Crisis" - Article on State of the Planet page of Columbia Climate School. 

10-18-2022 update - Decarb My State - built by ChiHackNight -

Monday, June 07, 2021

"Why Not Me?" Geisha Williams at IWU Commencement

In my May 6th article I shared some Tweets from the previous week.  One was of the Sunday, May 2, Commencement ceremonies of Illinois Wesleyan University, where I earned a BA in History in 1968 and was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2001. 

The keynote speaker was Geisha Williams, the only Latina CEO of a Fortune 200 company.  She's also the wife of one of my Acacia fraternity brothers!  View the video to see here speech, then ask yourself, "Why not me?"
When I posted this I did not have a link to her IWU address, so pointed to this blog article featuring Geisha Williams and the "Why not me" video message.  

Today this article and a photo of Geisha and her husband Jay Williams was posted.  It included a link to her address at the IWU commencement. 

This is a message that volunteer tutors and mentors, parents, coaches and educators need to be sharing with youth throughout the world.

"Why not me?"

"Yes, I can."

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Remembering the sacrifices of June 6, 1944 - D-Day

As America and friends around the world celebrate D-Day, the landing of Allied Armies on the beaches of Normandy, on June 6, 1944, I've been looking back at articles I wrote in past years to recognize this event.

In 2009 I posted an article with a link to the web site which announced President Obama's "United We Serve" campaign, intended to mobilize citizens to get involved in community problem solving. The site still promotes volunteerism, but that campaign is no longer on the site.

The introduction said, "people can achieve extraordinary things when given the proper tools."

 "President Obama was asking us to come together to help lay a new foundation for growth. This initiative aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own "do-it-yourself" projects."


I found this photo showing troops that were landing on the Normandy Beach during D-Day. Think about what this photo illustrates, and compare that to the current mobilization of volunteers to do service. 

 These troops had been training for months. This invasion was planned for years. The landing craft were being built years be for the invasion because it was anticipated that they would be needed. The solders were well armed, well fed, and led by well trained leaders. 

That costs money. Lots of money. 

There are lots of ways volunteers can do service. Some projects, like cleaning up a park, or building a house, might take a day, or several weeks. However, these are short term. 

Other projects, like tutoring/mentoring require more consistent, long-term involvement, if the benefit is that the youth being tutored/mentored has overcome his own learning difficulties, and the negative influences of his family or community which might be modeling examples and behaviors that don't lead to high school graduation, college or productive jobs and careers. 

In both cases, volunteers time is well spent when there are leaders who have the experience to organize their efforts, and support their involvement. Sending volunteers into organizations which don't have this leadership is like sending troops onto a beach without rifles or bullets. 

I was a member of the Chicago delegation to the 1997 President's Summit for America's Future, which pledged support for the 15 million kids in America who were being left behind because they lived in high poverty. Lots of great rhetoric and patriotic speeches were given by General Powell, President Clinton and others that shows the vision behind the Summit. 

The problem was, not one was thinking of the infrastructure needed across America, and in the neighborhoods where these 15 millions kids were living, which would support this flood of new volunteers, and keep them engaged for the many years it takes to help a first grader living in a high poverty neighborhood become a 12th grader graduating from high school and headed for college or a job. 

I remember sitting in a meeting following the Summit, with a business leader sitting next to me. When I asked about the money needed to support added volunteers, I was told "we're focusing on volunteers, not philanthropy." 

You cannot have good volunteerism without good philanthropy! 

And in today's economy, when many of the small non profits who are working with inner city kids are struggling to find operating dollars to keep existing staff employed, how can you expect them to ramp up programs to support more volunteers in significant efforts that can lead to a victory over poverty? (That was my question in 2009, amidst the financial crisis. The same concern is in 2021, amidst the Covid19 crisis.)

I've focused on the planning process since starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993. And, I've created numerous visuals to focus on the steps needed to fill all high poverty areas with a wide range of needed, long-term solutions. That process always includes one focused on building and sustaining public will.  That was required to win World War 2, and it has been needed (but missing) in the War on Poverty since the 1960s.  

I pointed to this planning process in this 2014 D-Day article.  View the concept map below at this link.

No elected, or business or philanthropic leader that I'm aware of has used visual essays like these, and maps, to mobilize the army of talent needed to do all the work that's needed.  Thus, we still have embedded poverty in Chicago and other cities, and in many rural areas. 

In this Tweet I point to a map showing massacres of Black Americans extending back to the 1860s. The killing of George Floyd and following attention to racial justice and systemic efforts to keep Black and Brown Americans as second class citizens, invites new investigation into this history.  I have been building a section of links to articles about Black History and Racial Justice in my web library and this concept map points to several sub sections.

Good planning requires in-depth reading.  Without a broader understanding of history, we don't fully understand why we've failed for so many years to win the War on Poverty

States and local governments can pass laws that prevent teaching this history in schools. But as long as the Internet remains available they cannot prevent people from finding and learning from this information. 

I call again for the current President to use his bully pulpit to call on faith leaders, business leaders, civic and social groups, to reach out to volunteer based organizations like those I show on this list of Chicago area volunteer-based tutor and/or mentor programs,  with flexible operating dollars that they need to pay the rent, insurance and staff expenses. 

There's still time to point to web libraries and forums where people can gather and learn.  

 Remember:  "people can achieve extraordinary things when given the proper tools."

We can make sure that when these volunteers hit the beach they succeed, and they stay involved until we win this war.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Planning Cycle for Youth Tutor Mentor Programs

In my latest newsletter I included some screen shots of posts made on Twitter by Chicago area tutor/mentor programs. Many were announcing end of year celebrations on ZOOM and inviting others to join in ... and make donations to help them continue their work for another year.

It's now June and in a short two months school will start again. Hopefully it's face-to-face for most kids but continues virtually for those who thrived in that environment due to many different factors.

This also means that those site-based tutor and/or mentor programs who have been virtual for most of 2020-21 are now doing the planning needed to start face-to-face activities again.  I've not seen enough reports talking about how the past year has impacted volunteer and student retention. 

I have seen articles showing how Chicago has become more split between affluent and low-income. I wrote an article a few weeks ago asking some questions of how this changes how volunteers and youth connect in site-based non-school programs.

To support planning for those starting new programs, or improving existing programs I'm sharing three presentations from my library that I hope will be useful. 

Steps to Start a Tutor/Mentor Program

Operating Principles for a Volunteer-Based Tutor/Mentor Program

Year-Round Planning Calendar - For use by leaders and organizers

These are three of several dozen visual essays that I've created over the past 20 years, sharing my own experiences in leading two volunteer based tutor/mentor programs from 1975 to 2011.  Both are still operating.

You can find my complete collection of essays at this page on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website. (Note. If some of the links to PDFs on SlideShare do not go directly to the presentation, use this link and find the presentation you're looking for.  I updated about half of these in early 2021 and that broke the old links.)

I urge you to use these to start discussions in your own organization and/or community. Use them in high school or college courses to teach students to become leaders and/or supporters of long-term, mentor-rich programs.  Create and share your own interpretations.   Visit this Intern blog to see how students from various colleges did this type of work between 2005 and 2015. 

Thank you for reading and sharing my articles.  I hope you'll reach out and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. See links here.

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