Thursday, July 29, 2021

Response to Chicago Violence: Do the Planning.

Growing violence in Chicago and other cities is prompting renewed calls for action.  The graphic at the left shows this is not a new problem. It dates back to 1992 and earlier.  If you've read many of the articles following shootings you've seen many calls for more non-school youth development and jobs programs.

This week I looked at a Chicago SunTimes web page titled "How Chicago's most violent neighborhoods are faring in 2021".  

This article featured 15 Chicago Community Areas, with a map and analysis such as you see in the graphic at the right.

I began using maps to show locations of non school, volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs in 1993 and to follow media stories about shootings, gangs, or poorly performing schools, with map stories that talked about the availability (or lack) of tutor/mentor programs in the area surrounding the incident.  

My goal has been that maps and the library of programs and research be used by leaders in business, government, colleges, hospitals, faith groups and government to fill high poverty neighborhoods with a wide range of  youth development and workforce development based tutor and mentor programs.

If leaders had embraced these strategies for the past 25  years the maps of the 15 neighborhoods profiled by the Chicago SunTimes would look far different.

I created a set of slides to look beyond the map analysis provided by the SunTimes.  I'm showing a couple below, and the entire presentation below that.

The North Lawndale Community area was ranked as the "deadliest priority neighborhood".  In my presentation I show the maps from the SunTimes at the top left, then a map of this neighborhood, from the Tutor/Mentor Programs map you can find in this article.  Green icons on the map are programs included in the T/MI directory. Click on the icon to get the name and website of each program.

On the T/MI map there is a blue box, showing the number of youth, age 6-17, considered "below poverty line". This is 2018 information provided by the Social Impact Research Center of the Heartland Alliance and is shown in this T/MI presentation.   I provide a brief summary showing the availability of programs and the number of youth in the area.  In the example I say "If there are three programs that each serve 50 youth regularly each week, totaling 150, and there are 2000 total youth in poverty in the area out of a larger number of total youth which could be double that, then the neighborhood clearly has a need for more programs.

Furthermore, if you look at the location of programs and the location of incidents of violence, you can see that while the neighborhood's existing programs reach some youth, they may not reach youth in different parts of the community area.  This is especially true if youth are unable to go safely from one part of the area to another because they would be crossing gang territories.

Here's another neighborhood: This is West Englewood.  I don't show any non-school tutor/mentor programs in this area (based on what I have in my database).  There are more than 2500 low income kids in the area, thus programs certainly would be a benefit.

My goal is that planning teams, consisting of all community stakeholders, including businesses, local schools, political leaders, media, etc., take part in this process, using my maps and the SunTimes maps, as a starting point (note, the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, and other media are also resources for these types of maps).  

There may be more youth serving programs in the area, offering different formats of support.  There may be programs serving one age level, such as elementary school, but no programs for middle school and high school.  My map does not show the multiple sites of some larger organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, nor does it show community-based mentoring matches.  

I've used this graphic for many years showing the need for a continuum of programs, support youth from birth-to-work, or for 20 years or longer.  Think of this as a blueprint for building a new skyscraper. On each page diagrams show a range of talent needed to accomplish the work on that page. Then the next page shows what work comes next, with what talent is needed.

Planning for each community area needs to create similar blueprints then action plans that generate resources and talent to make such programs available to a growing number of k-12 youth in the area. Such blueprints would show existing programs, the age group they serve, and the type of service provided.

From 1994 until 2011 my organization's survey attempted to segment programs by these categories. The image at the right shows a program locator built in 2004 (No longer active. View archive.) that you could use to determine what programs were in different zip codes.  The code for this could be a starting point for building a newer searchable program locator. 

Who else could be helping?  In the West Englewood area, where there are no programs shown, there are potential allies.   Below is a map view created using the Chicago Public School Locator.  

Western Avenue runs North to South along the West side of this community area. The map shows several auto dealerships and other businesses.  Each dealership is part of a lager corporate network, thus involvement of someone from a dealership on Western Avenue could provide access to financial and talent support from the corporate headquarters!  

I've only shown two out of 15 high priority community areas highlighted by the Chicago Sun Times.

To see the others, view this Slideshare presentation.  

If you are concerned about the quality of life and high poverty in these 15 community areas, or others where there also are huge needs for non-school youth support programs, then use this information and other resources that I share on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website to build a planning team, dig deeper into the information, create your own maps, and begin to work to fill your community area with world-class youth programs.

This article is one of more than 1000 that have been posted since 2005, focusing on this same topic. There's too much for most people to dig through if they're not willing to spend the time. However, if you consider this blog and the T/MI website as a "book" or a "curriculum" then it might not be so daunting to read a little at a time, then discuss what you read with others in your network.

I'd be happy to help you think through what you are reading.  Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and/or LinkedIn. (see links here). 

If you value what I'm sharing please consider a contribution to help fund the work.  

If you'd like to take a larger role and help rebuild the library and mapping platforms, or duplicate the process in your own community, let's connect.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Going for the Gold

 Yesterday was the start of the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.  It also was the beginning of the 2021 NFL football season, with players beginning to report to camp. These events prompt today's post.

Since Gold Medals are being awarded for outstanding individual and team efforts I want to inspire you to read articles I've posted since the mid 2000s about giving "Gold Medals" to those who do outstanding work to help mentor-rich non-school programs be available to K-12 youth living in  high poverty areas.  That could have categories for a) building public awareness; b) recruiting volunteers; c) raising and/or giving money; d) supporting program infrastructure; e) starting new programs in places where more are needed, or where specific types of programs are needed.  

These are medals that can be earned by people who "help" tutor/mentor programs thrive and constantly improve. A second category could be awarded to those working within individual programs, such as a) outstanding student effort; b) outstanding tutor/mentor volunteer; c) outstanding tech support or infrastructure volunteers, d) outstanding program design; e) outstanding communications via website and/or blog;  etc.  

What categories would you recommend?  Who would judge such events?  Who would provide awards?

When you think of team sports, do you think of all the resources and talent needed to put a winning team in the Olympics, or in the NFL or any other professional or college level sport?

I've used this graphic in many articles to visualize the different roles that need to be taken to make high quality, non-school, youth tutor and/or mentor programs available to youth living in high poverty areas.  

While it's the responsibility of the people who organize the team (or the program) to find all of  these resources, couldn't awards be given to those who help draw these resources to one, or many, tutor/mentor programs in Chicago or other places?

Below are two graphics that visualize the need for "teams" of talented people to help  youth have the support they need.  Such teams are needed in every high poverty neighborhood, in every individual program, and at the city-wide level, to assure that there are teams operating in every high poverty area. Here's one article using this graphic. 

This "Virtual Corporate Office" graphic uses a map of Chicago to signal a need for tutor/mentor programs in EVEY high poverty area of the city.  It shows a variety of activities that could be happening within each program.  And it shows support that industries could provide to help one, or many, programs operate at a high level of efficiency.  Here's one article using this graphic.

Imagine how many more people might be thinking about these graphics if they were being Tweeted by LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, or other star athletes, in every sport.  Imagine an award ceremony, attended by the First Lady, giving gold medal recognition to those who help tutor/mentor programs help kids move through school and into adult lives, jobs and careers.

These awards need to be given every year, in every city for many years if the goal is to help end poverty for every youth through education and a decent job.  

Awards should even be given to bloggers who create their own articles calling for people to build and sustain youth serving organizations in more places. 

If you're doing this I'd love to see your article.  Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or LinkedIn. See my links on this page

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Multiple Site Tutor and/or Mentor Programs in Chicago Metro

 Since 1993 the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC have attempted to maintain a comprehensive directory showing every non-school, volunteer-based tutor and/or mentor program in the Chicago region.  That list now includes many school based programs, too.  These are all shown on the map below, which you can find at this link.  

If you know programs that should be added to the map, or programs that no longer offer tutor/mentor services, please help me update the database.  Email updated information to  

What this map does not show very well are organizations who operate multiple locations throughout the city.  In some cases, such as Tutoring Chicago, we show all four of their locations. In other cases, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, we only show their headquarters (and website) on our list.  Visit this page to see the T/MI's  list of multiple site programs in the Chicago region. 

Below I show maps and web pages for four of the largest organizations who offer multiple sites of youth tutoring and/or mentoring.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago (

Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago (

Union League Boys and Girls Clubs (

Chicago Youth Centers (

Help draw attention, volunteers and donors to these programs, and to the many other tutor and/or mentor programs that serve youth in different parts of the Chicago region.   Use your social media and traditional communications to point to individual programs, or to articles like this where I point to programs throughout Chicago. If you're in another city someone should be duplicating what I've been trying to do in Chicago. 

This graphic shows the public awareness strategy I've led since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.  Every day, or every year since then we've tried to connect "people who can help" to our list of programs and library of information, then directly to individual programs operating in different parts of the Chicago region.

In this concept map you can find the T/MI list of Chicago programs, organized by sections of the city, multiple-site and school-based. You can also find other resources that might help you located youth serving programs in Chicago, or any other city.

While most of these programs are recruiting volunteers and donors throughout the year, many work on a school-based schedule, so in August as schools are starting these programs are actively recruiting volunteers and students.

Visit their web sites. See where they are located. Look at what they do. (some websites are much better at communicating this than others). Find the "contact us" button and reach out to programs that interest you, to learn more, and to get involved.

If you're a foundation, philanthropist, or individual donor, look at maps that use indicators like poverty, poorly performing schools, violence, etc. to show where programs are most needed, then choose a neighborhood you want to help.  This concept map shows many platforms that you can  use. 

Then, use the T/MI map (or similar) to locate programs in that area. Visit their websites to see what these programs are trying to do and decide who, and how much, you want to help. Then send your contribution. 

DON'T WAIT FOR THEM TO SEND YOU A PROPOSAL.  If they have a program, and a website, they do need help from you, and many others, on an on-going basis.  They can't wait six to nine months to decide if you will, or will not help them.  Their website IS their proposal. 

When you look at websites you may feel that the program you're looking at is not as good as programs operating in different parts of the city. However, if that program is in the area you want to help, then use your talent to help them grow to become great at what they do.  If you're someone with communications, marketing, web design or other skills, you and your company could act like a "virtual corporate office" helping multiple youth tutor and/or mentor programs throughout the city.

Thanks for reading this and past articles. Almost everything I've posted since 2005  has this goal in mind.  It "takes a village" to raise a child and that means people from throughout the Chicago region need to help non-school youth tutor, mentor and learning programs be available to k-12 kids with high quality learning opportunities and adult support systems.

I'm on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. See web addresses here. I hope you'll connect with me and share these ideas. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Take a Tour of

The website was created in 1998 by Steve Roussos, a PhD student from the University of Kansas, to support the annual Chicagoland tutor/mentor volunteer recruitment campaign. 

In 1999 I started putting my visual essays on the site, using PDFs created with Power Point and Quark Express. In 2006 the site was rebuilt on a Joomla platform and I made it into a library and planning tool that anyone could use to help youth and adults connect in organized, on-going, tutor, mentor and learning.

When I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 I made this site my main resource.  I've added to it every year since then.  

In 2015, Wona Chang, an intern from South Korea, created two videos offering a tour of the website and the strategies of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, developed since 1993. They can be found as links on this Getting Started page. 

I've posted articles on this blog in the past to try to help people navigate the site.  This week I created a new presentation, using screen shots of each sub section, to aid people in understanding what was available in each section. 

I hope you'll go through this the same way you've go through a new shopping mall the first time.  Open each section, just to see what's there. Then return later to those you want to know more about.

While I focus this strategy on Chicago, where I've piloted it since 1993, and led a non-school tutor/mentor program from 1975 to 2011, the ideas, the concept maps, and the resource library, can be used in any area with high concentrations of  poverty spread over a wide geographic area.  

I'd be happy to walk people through the site, and would love to work with a university to set up a program to teach students to build and sustain information-based problem solving strategies, based on what I've tried to do in Chicago for so many years.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn (see links here). I look forward to connecting with  you. 

There's one other page I'd like to call your attention to. It invites you and others to send small contributions to help me continue to do this work. 

Thank you to those who read and share my posts and to those who also send contributions! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Racism and the Economy - Get Informed

Today I watched 3 hours of panel discussions hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks of Minneapolis and Boston, with participation from all 12 Feds. The topic was Racism and the Economy. You'll be able to watch this, and find previous events, on this page.  Read this blog article, summarizing the event.

I Tweeted comments and shared those of others using the #RacismandtheEconomy hashtag. 

Below I'm posting a few Tweets that were made. I really hope that many people will visit the Twitter conversation and read these, then visit the home page and look at this and past events hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks over the past year.

The first panel provided the statistical background, showing the severity of this problem. 


another: another: another: Tweet by me: Imagine the power and influence of the 12 Federal Reserve banks adopting this commitment, and supporting this 4-Part Strategy. 

View this article to understand the components of the strategy map that I've invited the Federal Reserve Banks to adopt.  In the upper left corner it shows that one role they would take is to enlist leaders from every industry, in the cities where they have influence, to also adopt the strategy.

In this article I show Step 2 of the 4-part strategy that can be accessed from the middle link on the strategy map.  Step 2 focuses on building public awareness, while Step 3 focuses on helping people understand the information your are putting in your library. 

Thus, the Presidents of the Federal Reserve would be making a long-term commitment to collecting and sharing information and solutions related to Racism and the Economy.

Here's one more Tweet

When one of the Presidents referred to the Rodney King riots in L.A. I pulled an image from my own library that I have used since the 1990s to motivate people to "never forget" and continue working toward solutions.  I encourage you to read my "After the Riots, Do the Planning" article of April 2015. 

Imagine how much could be accomplished if the different Federal Reserve Banks adopted the Tutor/Mentor Connection commitment and strategy and led it for the next 25 years, using the full weight of their influence and resources, just as I have done for the past 25 years.

Interested? Recruit a "get it done" person, a rising star, and assign her to review this Role Of Leaders PDF, and the concept maps I've shared. At the end of each year ask "What have we done? What did we learn? and What will we do next year?"

Maybe much would be different in 2045 than now. 

Note: I've attended events hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks in the past.  Here's a 2005 article following one of these.   Here's a 2008 article.  And I wrote this article, just a few weeks ago. 

Thank you for reading this far. If you visit the Twitter feed, please follow me and let's connect. 

8-25-2025 - Exploring the Racial Wealth Gap - Federal Reserve Bank, July 12, 2022. click here
Note:  Search this blog for "Federal Reserve" to find more of their presentations. 

Friday, July 09, 2021

Network Building - Learning from the Past

Today I participated in ZOOM meeting organized by the Social Capital Research Group who I connected with first on Twitter, then on Facebook.. Today's speaker was Daniel P. Aldrich, who I'd met last year on Twitter. After the formal session I was invited to host a breakout, which I did. I was joined by Christopher Chinapoo from Jamaica, and Marion Cornish, from the RCRG. I was able to share resources of the T/MC and Tutor/Mentor Institute and opened connection with Christopher on Twitter.  

I've been entering this type of event for 25  years and it's never certain who I'll meet or what will happen.  Below is an example taken from two articles I wrote in July 2005, the first year I wrote this blog.

On July 29, 2005 I wrote this: 

I attended the O-Net conference in Chicago (Oak Park) today. More than 20 people from different parts of the world gathered to brainstorm ideas on how we might work together to make this a better world. 

The wonderful thing about this is that up till today, most of the people had never met face to face. They had met in the portal (available now only in web archive). The conference was the result of the efforts of just a few people who said, "let's get together" and who then used the o-net space to plan the entire event, even raising nearly $4,000 to provide scholarships so that seven people could attend, from as far away as Germany!

I met many people who shared exciting ideas and who may someday be partners with the Tutor/Mentor Connection. I even met one person who had come to a Tutor/Mentor Conference many years before. The conference will continue tomorrow, and hopefully on the Internet after that.

I hope that tutor/mentor stakeholders participate, and that some begin to use the new portal as a meeting space where some of them can launch actions that lead to more people coming together to help each other do good.  Thanks gang. 

Then on July 31, 2005 I wrote this: 

I was only able to attend the O-net conference for half a day Saturday. However, I read through all of the summary reports and blogs this morning. I hosted a conversation on Saturday, focused on creating a group of active o-net members who work to draw people from universities into o-net conversations, with the goal of recruiting resources to support o-net projects. 

 As I said after Friday's day-long session, I'm really impressed with the talent of the people who are participating in the conference, and who have posted introductions at One person I talked to yesterday was a PhD student at Purdue, who is organizing information intended to be used to help connect people doing good work with resource providers. Another person was a technologist who had great ideas of creating alternative currencies that would encourage people to share talent with each other. A third was a women with an idea of creating visual databases to map assets. 

I was really inspired by the Peace Tiles project. I hope we can duplicate this in Chicago tutor/mentor programs and connect our kids with kids in African and on other continents. 

When I read one of the blogs, one person was questioning whether or not O-net was just a lot of talk, or if it was stimulating action (providing resources for O-net members to do their various projects). I'm hoping that my participation accelerates the rate at which people help each other, or draw new resources into o-net that end up helping members of the community do their work. 

One of the people I met through the Omidyar network was Steve Habib Rose. He took time to get to know what the Tutor/Mentor Connection was attempting and started this conversation in 2007 to help me find others who would help. Unfortunately, Steve died suddenly shortly after starting this and the potential support never was realized. However, his demonstrated interest and initiative of starting the conversation, is what motivates me to keep joining in new conversations, such as today's ZOOM meeting.

Unfortunately, until on-line events and forums like actually draw attention and resources to participants on a regular basis,  it is just idealism within a world where the daily papers remind us of reality. 

A few weeks ago I did a Mind Map of the Sunday Chicago Tribune. Today I did another. I found a really great story written by Mary Schmich, one of my favorite writers, telling how people had responded to an earlier story about a computer center in Cabrini-Green being flooded, with all computers destroyed. Because of her first story, people provided new computers, and everything else needed to get this site up and running again. That demonstrates the power of the media. 

Below is a media map from 2007, which demonstrates what I had created in 2005.

However, in the same section of the Tribune Metro section was a story about a boy being fatally shot at a playground on the far South side of Chicago. There was another story on the same page about a Muslim teen center re opening, after being closed since 2003. These neighborhoods don't have a feature writer of the Chicago Tribune, or SunTimes, writing regular stories about life in these neighborhoods. Most of the times they get in the news is when something bad happens.

My mind map linked these stories. Every time I read a story about Cabrini-Green, written by Mary Schmich, I just wish she'd end with "and this is just one neighborhood of Chicago where kids live in poverty and need extra help with volunteers, donors, technologist, etc." (and provide a link to web sites that people could use to learn about other places where volunteers, donors and technology are needed).

If she and other reporters were doing this regularly, maybe people would have been helping the Muslim teen center get computers, and maybe the boy shot on a playground (or the shooter) would have been inside sitting at a computer rather than out on the street where something terrible happened. 

In my ZOOM call today I encouraged people to enlist students as story tellers, and as network builders.  This article shows how students could follow negative news with "The Rest of the Story", generating more consistent attention and public awareness and drawing volunteers and donors into neighborhoods where these stories were taking place.  This blog includes stories showing work interns did with Tutor/Mentor Connection for many years.   Websites throughout the world could be hosting work like this, done by local youth, pointing to their own communities.

When I sat with my friends at O-net and talked about ideas, it was with an urgency of putting these ideas to work to help more kids in cities like Chicago have safe places where they can gather to learn, be mentored, have access to computers and the world around them. The reality is that while we talk of great ideas, we are losing kids to the streets and to poverty. 

Maybe I cannot convince the media to consistently tell the rest of the story when they write their stories about individual tragedies or triumphs, but maybe I can enlist a few technologist at O-Net to help me create a map gallery that would show where negative news happens and where volunteers and donors are needed. If hundreds of friends at communities like o-net were to take on the same goal, we might create a much larger public involvement and flow of resources to every place in the world where good people are trying to do good work to help people who need extra help. 

Actually, this  has happened. Just not often enough, or with multiple year sustained commitments.  At the right is a map gallery built by Jim Corey, a volunteer from Wisconsin, who I met in one of these on-line forums in the early 2000s.  This link points to a newer map gallery, built in 2009 by Mike Trakin, who I was able to hire at a part-time map maker from 2008-2010, with donations from HSBC North America and an anonymous 2007 donor who gave the T/MC $50,000 to rebuild our mapping capacity. 

Neither of these is now active, due to losing funding support in 2009 due to the financial melt-down, then the separation of the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 2011 from the non-profit where it was given birth in 1993. 

This concept map shows four actions that I've been taking daily for the past 28 years.  It involves 1) collecting information; 2) creating public awareness to attract more people to the information; 3) helping people understand the information; then 4) motivating them to use the information in one or more specific places to help solve a complex problem, such as helping kids in poverty move through school and into jobs and careers.  

It also shows help I've needed every year since creating the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011.  

I think this 4-part strategy should be duplicated in every city, state and country, to support local problem solving focused on any issue. 

Interested in knowing more?  Can you help?  Let's connect.  I'm on social media at these sites

Thursday, July 01, 2021

A picture is worth 1000 words

In the 1990s I used wall space at the tutoring program headquarters to show strategies for helping kids in poverty connect with adult volunteers in on-going non-school tutor/mentor programs.  I often led potential volunteers and donors through this information, and heard many comment, "I see that he's excited about this, but I don't understand what he's talking about."

So I began to use desktop publishing, then Power Point, to create visualizations, and visual essays, to share my thinking.  I started putting these on this page in the late 1990s and began putting them on and in 2011.  I also enlisted interns to help communicate these through videos.

I consider these "teaching" and "planning" tools. Anyone can pull up one of my presentations and start a conversation asking, "How does this apply to us?" or "How can we use this idea to help kids in our area?"

Below are three examples, one from each platform.  This is one posted on, which is now owned by  This used to be free, but now people are being asked to subscribe.  

This is from the collection on  There's a duplication between this and I started posting to both because of the different presentation formats and because one was free to users.  

Building Learning Circles I... by Daniel F. Bassill

 This is a YouTube video created by me several years ago.   


 You can see my collection of videos on this page.

All of these can be remade, over-and-over, by students, volunteers and/or professionals. Substitute a map showing your geography, instead of Chicago, or showing a community area within Chicago, to focus the ideas on other places.  Just give an attribution link, showing where the idea originated, and send me a link so I can help you draw attention to it.

Maybe you will be the one who captures the attention and imagination of thousands of others who need to be giving time, talent, votes and/or dollars to help kids living in every high poverty area of the USA, and the world, grow through school and into adult lives free of poverty.

Thank you for reading and sharing my stories.