Monday, May 16, 2022

Kids not living in high poverty need mentors, too

If you've followed my work for any length of time you see how my focus has been on helping kids living in high poverty areas connect with adult volunteers in organized non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs.  Open the graphic at the left and you can see a 10-point strategy developed in 1993 that I have followed for over 20 years.

For the past few years as I've watched horrendous tragedy of youth using AR-15 rifles to murder groups of people, as in Buffalo this past weekend, I've begun think that there is another category of young people who need a lot of extra mentoring and adult support.


Since launching the first tutor/mentor survey in January 1994 I've tried to build a segmented understanding of existing tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, sorting by age-group served, type of program and location. 

At the right is a graphic showing a vision that I've had for many years, of creating a much more detailed understanding of what types of programs are available within a geographic area.  You can see this graphic in this blog article

Below is an updated version of the graphic.  


I've added another sub-category focusing on youth growing up surrounded by adults who have adopted anti democratic conspiracy theories, religious extremism, White Supremacy thinking, etc.  


At the left is a graphic that I include in a presentation titled "Defining Terms".  The graphic shows five categories of youth who could benefit from help provided by volunteers in organized, on-going, tutor, mentor and learning programs. The large light blue area in the middle, showing youth living in high poverty areas, has been where I've focused my efforts for more than 40 years.... helping kids in high poverty areas get extra support that aids them in the journey from birth-to-work.

I updated this graphic yesterday.  

I added a circle to show "all youth" need support of mentors and extra adults. This is similar to the graphic at the top of this article.  I included elements from the original graphic, showing youth with special needs and youth living in high poverty areas.

However, I added two more shaded areas. One focuses on children of the super-rich, who grow up living in a far different reality and level of experiences than do most other kids.  Can they empathize with the challenges other kids face, and use their wealth,  power and influence to help society overcome these challenges?

The second shaded area is more troubling. This includes all youth who are growing up surrounded by adults who have adopted anti democratic conspiracy theories, religious extremism, White Supremacy thinking, disinformation from FOX News and other sources, etc.   The terrorist who murdered 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket was clearly influenced by such an environment.

In an organized, non-school tutor, mentor and learning program youth can connect with a wide range of adults and experiences.  Not all programs have this design, and few offer all of the possible learning opportunities that might attract kids and keep them coming back every week for many years.

But that's the goal I've shared for 20+ years.
Now I think we need to be finding ways to reach kids who don't live in poverty (without reducing our on-going efforts to provide more and better programs and support to kids who DO live in poverty areas).  

I don't even know where to start.  

Well, I do, really,  I need to find a place where someone is collecting articles and research about this and also aggregating links to organizations working to combat the formal and informal grooming that is turning so many young people into disenchanted, destructive human beings. 

The graphic below shows categories in the Tutor/Mentor web library at https://tutormentorexchange.net/resource-links.  I can add another category but I'm not sure what to name it yet.  


I'll share this article on my social media posts and look for suggestions and recommended links from my network.  I don't intend to make this the primary focus of the library, but hope to be able to point to others who do make this the primary focus of their work.  

This page shows links to my social media pages, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  I look forward to connecting with you there. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

View the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC Video Library

Over the past 35 years many videos were created showing the work done at tutor/mentor programs I led in Chicago and sharing the ideas and strategies of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I launched in 1993.

While you can find these on YouTube I've created an archive of these on my main website

There are two pages with videos I created, interviews that I was part of, and videos from the conferences I organized in Chicago between 1994 and 2015.  

There is also one page with projects done by Interns. 


I had been hosting these on a different site, which I'm no longer able to edit. Thus, by building new pages on my main site I can add new videos as more are created.


Most of the videos that I'm pointing to focus on the Tutor/Mentor Connection part of the two-part Cabrini Connections - Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy that I led from 1993 to 2011.  In this panel I point to a Vimeo site with 49 videos focusing on Cabrini Connections.  There's also a YouTube channel for Cabrini Connections/TMC.

While I've piloted my strategies in Chicago I feel that any major city in the world, where there are pockets of concentrated poverty, could apply the ideas in these videos to their own community.


That means students from middle school, high school and/or colleges could be creating their own versions of these presentations, using maps of their own city and pointing to youth programs that already operate in those places.  They could also use any of the blog articles I've posted since 2005 as content for their own blogs and videos. 

By doing so students build creative communications skills and learn roles leaders need to take over, and over, for many years in order to help kids born  in poverty move from birth-to-work, or to solve any of the other complex problems facing our world.

If you create new versions, just point to where you got your ideas, and send me a link so I can help you draw attention to them.

Thank you to those who make small contributions to help fund my work and keep these sites alive on the Internet. If you'd like to help, visit this page



Thursday, May 05, 2022

Data visualization - public health resources

I have been using maps since 1993 to focus attention and resources on neighborhoods with high poverty, where kids and families need extra support. In the photo at the left I'm pointing to a 1994 Chicago Tribune article talking about "240,000 City kids at risk." 

I started collecting research articles and "how to" information in the 1970s and accelerated that work when we formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.  In 1998 we started putting the library and our ideas on the Internet and the library has grown much larger since then.  

It's intended to be information anyone can use to reach those "city kids at risk" with programs and services that help them move through school and into adult lives with jobs that enable them to raise their own kids free of poverty.  

While I started using maps in 1993 the use of maps and data visualizations really did not gain much traction until the mid 2000s when newer technologies were made available.  Since then there are many on-line resources where  you can find uses of maps.  I point to many from this section and this section of the tutor/mentor library. 

I add new links regularly.  

One way that I highlight what's in the library is through the use of concept maps created using cMapTools. This week I learned about some new public health data visualization platforms, so I added them to the library, and to two of my concept maps.

This first map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/TMI-MappingData

This concept map shows a variety of data visualization platforms, related to poverty, inequality, education and public health.  At the bottom of each node is a small box. If you put your mouse over it you will see one or more links that will open to the website once you click on them.  

This second concept map focuses more specifically on public health and the Social Determinants of Health.  Find it at https://tinyurl.com/TMI-PublicHealth-Hope


You'll notice that this concept map focuses on "HOPE" as a powerful medicine.  Much of the research that I've read points to the truth of this.  In areas where people live without hope, there are high incidences of poor health, violence, crime, depression, etc.  Just providing "hope" and "opportunity" changes those conditions.

In both of the concept maps there is a node titled "Public Health Data Resources".  I added it this week after reviewing work done by a company called RS21, which is a "data science company that uses artificial intelligence, data engineering, user experience design, and modern software developments to empower organizations to make data-driven decisions that positively impact the world."  

That's pretty much the purpose of the web library I've built since 1993. 

Below is a map created using the Urban Health Vulnerability Index, created by the RS21 Health Lab


This version shows Chicago. You can search for many other cities on the platform.  I'm showing hospitals as an overlay. You can zoom in and look closely at any part of the city or surrounding suburbs.

The next platform is called "Zoom in by Humana", which was also created by the RS21 Health Lab. 


This also has data for multiple cities. I'm showing San Antonio here, which was the example used in this video. The description starts at the 28.49 minute segment (if you don't want to watch the entire video). I also wrote about it in this blog article

I'm highlighting the video because of how well the speaker describes ways to use the data visualization. 

My goal with articles like this is to not only show you some useful data visualization platforms, but to motivate thousands of people to use them to create map stories that build public awareness, motivation and draw needed resources directly to specific parts of Chicago or other cities.  

At the left is one example from the 1990s. When we saw the headline about a youth being killed, we plotted the address on a map. We added information about non-school tutor/mentor programs in the area, and then added a list of programs along with assets in the same area (businesses, hospitals, universities, etc.) who should be helping tutor/mentor programs grow.

Below is another map-story from the 1990s.


Since 2005 I've included maps in several hundred articles.  In this article you can find newer examples. In this article I show more. 

In this article I show more uses of maps in stories.   

These are examples that I encourage others to duplicate in their own stories. 


In the Urban Health Vulnerability Index map hospitals in Chicago are shown, distributed in different locations throughout the region.  In the graphic at the right I show a few of the colleges and universities in the region.  

Each hospital and/or university could have on-going strategies that help pull kids from the neighborhood to college and into jobs and careers.

In this and other articles I have been encouraging high schools and colleges to create student led Tutor/Mentor Connection-type programs where students are collecting this information and sharing it via their own blog articles, videos, PhD projects, and social media.  

If such programs had been in place since 2000 there would be hundreds of blogs like mine, calling on more people to give time, talent, dollars and votes, to build programs in areas where the data visualizations show great need.

Unfortunately, I don't know any who are doing this.  When I talk to leaders of companies like RS21 I encourage them to take a role in teaching people to tell stories using their data visualizations.  Hopefully some will take this role. There might be a lot more HOPE in some of the areas which continue to be areas of high poverty and high violence. 

I keep looking for others who are using maps in stories, with the same goal of helping mentor-rich youth programs grow in high poverty areas. If you're doing this, share the link in the comments, or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.  If I see it I'll add it to my list of blog articles.

Thanks for reading.  Please share. I'll look forward to connecting with you.  

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Using Internet Archive to Find Broken Links

One of the most frustrating elements of the Internet is that links to sites I pointed to in past years (from 2005 on) are now broken. Thus, if you look at articles I posted in the 2000s on this blog, you will be frustrated to find not-working links in many places.

Here's what I do to overcome that problem.  

First, when I find a broken link, I look at the root of the links. That's the first part, which I've underlined in the example below.  

www.tutormentorexchange.net is the root.  I remove the rest of the link and see if the original root site is still working.


If the site still works, and has a search field, I enter the name of the website or article and see if it's on the site, but in another place.  If it is I update my blog article or web library with the new link, so it is there for the next person who looks at the article.

If I can't find the article on the original website, I put the article name in a Google search, and see if it is available in another place.  If I can find it then I replace the old link with a new one.

However, I'm often not able to find the article.  That's when I visit the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/web/ 


At the top of the home page you'll see the image below:

Enter the ULR of the broken link then click on the "browse history" button.  Below you can see the result of my search for https://tutormentorexchange.net/mapping-the-programs

Your search will reveal any history available in the Internet archive, or, tell you that no history exists. For the web address I input, you can see along the middle bar that there are many results, dating back to 2009.  In the calendar below the middle timeline, archive dates are shown.

If you put your mouse over a highlighted date on the calendar, then click the link provided, the archived page will open.  You can see my archived page for March 23, 2022.


In the circled area at the top of the page, in your browser address line, you'll find the location of this page in the web archive.  For this page it is: https://web.archive.org/web/20220323074928/https://tutormentorexchange.net/mapping-the-programs

That is the address you put in your blog article and/or library as the archived location of the page with the broken link.

What's interesting is that you can look at this page at different points in time.  This page has been saved 79 times since 2009.  Click on any of the black bars and the page saved for that date will appear.  


I clicked on a 2009 page and was able to look at the version of the site from that date.


Let's look at another website.  I used http://www.tutormentorconnection.org as my primary website address since the late 1990s when my first site was launched.  That site was taken off line in January 2022, so is now only available in the Internet Archive.  Below you can see the result when I entered that URL in the search bar.


The site has been saved 450 times since 2000.  Thus, if I open November 4, 2021 you'll see the site as it was just before shutting down. 


However, if you open the site from October 2007, this is what you'll find.

Below is the home page from August 2004, the year before the tech team at IUPUI rebuilt the website. 

I'm only showing the home pages. For most of these sites you can open interior pages and see most of what was on the site at that time.

Here's one more valuable feature of the Internet Archive.  You can add new links to it.  Here's an example.  

At https://www.vialogues.com/vialogues/play/34104 you can find one of several videos that I put on the Vialogues site in past years.  Earlier this year I learned that the site will stop working in the near future.


To preserve these video conversations I went back to the Wayback Machine.  In the image below you can see a "save page now" box.  I entered the Vialogues address for the video above.


Below is the search result.  I've circled the date of the archive, which was March 18, 2022, and the new URL for finding the page. 


This is the saved page.  The new URL is in the browser line at the top of the page. 


I put five of my videos in the Internet Archive so now they will remain available as long at the Archive is available.  This blog and other websites that hold information that I've collected over the past 25 years are all available on the Internet Archive.  That means future social engineers, historians and community builders will be able to find this information well beyond my lifetime and the active life of the sites I still maintain.  I hope they use it to build Tutor/Mentor Connection type strategies in every major city in the world that support a wide range of Birth-to-Work volunteer-based youth learning programs. 

The Internet Archive is a non-profit and needs donations to remain available. It's one of the sites I make a small annual contribution to. 

It's pretty interesting, and a valuable resource for finding and replacing broken links on a website or blog.  I hope you find this introduction useful.


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Steps Leaders Can Take

As news spread yesterday of Elon Musk buying Twitter I posted this concept map asking "what would happen if Elon Musk adopted this strategy?"


Then, last night, I had a nightmare that repeats often.  "How would I explain the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute in ways a leader like Musk might quickly understand?  It took me 45 years to develop my own understanding. I suspect the attention span of busy CEOs would be less than a few minutes."

Then I thought of a "Role of Leaders" essay that I created in the mid 2000s.  The graphic below is from page 2.  It asks "What will it take to assure that all youth in every poverty area of Chicago (and other places) are entering careers by age 25?  How can you and your industry help?"


The answer to my problem is that I don't need to teach people everything about the Tutor/Mentor Connection. I need to convince them to show their commitment by providing leadership, following the steps shown in this strategy essay.

Here's the full essay.  Bring a group together and discuss this with them. 

Make the commitment and appoint a "get it done" person to lead your company's effort. Start a research project, and start a communications campaign. At the end of the year recap what you did, what you learned from your work, and that of others, and launch planning that repeats your efforts the next  year.

Continue this for 10-20 years and you and people in your company will know more about what I've been trying to do than I do.

And, maybe, you'll have more impact.

This applies to colleges and high schools, too.  Create a student/alumni learning group that applies the same steps.  

Here's one article where I describe how universities could take the lead in helping youth in areas surrounding the university move through school, through college, and into jobs and careers. 

The article includes an outline of steps that could be taken at any university, or even at high schools.

I end the presentation with this slide, saying "it only takes two or three people on campus to launch a Tutor/Mentor Connection."

Well, what if Elon Musk or MacKenzie Scott, or some other billionaire, were to provide money for such a program to grow on a college campus?  And keep it growing for many years.

That would create a generation of new leaders who operate youth tutor/mentor programs, lead schools in high poverty areas, lead companies and universities, and hold political positions in every city and state.  And they all constantly network and learn from each other. They all work to generate a flow of operating resources that reaches every place within the ecosystem of people and organizations working to solve this problem. 

They all contribute to web libraries that anyone can use to constantly improve their own efforts.

View graphic in this "tipping point" article.


The answer to my nightmare is that I don't need to teach people everything that I've learned. I just need to motivate them to put one foot forward toward decades of learning and leadership. 

Who's taking this role?

Thanks for reading my articles. Please share.  I'm still on Twitter, and on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms. See links here


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Is Public Education in a State of Crisis?


Often in past years I shared articles from the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools via articles on the TutorMentorConnection.org site. That's an archive now so I'm not able to add new articles there.  Thus, from time-to-time I will share on these blogs.  Below is there eMail from April 21, 2022.

----- begin -----

From the Center for MH & Student/Learning Supports at UCLA 


Is public education in a state of crisis?

We note that a great many folks are stressing that public education is in a state of crisis. (Google the matter for a sample of what the media are saying.) And most of the statements are better examples of problem-naming than problem-solving.

At the same time, Secretary Cardona notes: “We are at the doorstep of a new chapter in American education.” And he has some things he is asking to happen to make things better. However, who will make it happen is not clear from what he says.

How are most of you perceiving the current state of public education?

And if you think public education is in crisis, what do you think would turn things around?

Our view is that the key mechanisms for stimulating the magnitude of fundamental and transformative changes needed reside at the state level. Such changes require sophisticated and unified policy actions by state legislators, chief state school officers, and boards of education, with support from a wide range of public education leaders and stakeholders.

We suggest that three fundamental changes in state education policies are needed to counter the factors threatening public education and the inequities experienced by so many schools, students, and families. These changes involve

 (1) increasing school budgets so that are competitive enough to attract and maintain a high quality professional work force (i.e., teachers, student/learning support staff, administrators),

 (2) transforming the policy framework for school improvement and accountability to include a primary focus on establishing a unified, comprehensive, and equitable system of student/learning supports that weaves together available school, home, and community resources,

 (3) supporting the establishment of structured school-community collaboratives designed to facilitate the weaving together of school, home, and community resources (e.g., collaboratives that bring together the resources of complexes of schools, a broad range of family representative, and a wide range of community stakeholders to work on unifying mutually beneficial efforts and blending resources).

These and related matters are detailed in

 > Improving School Improvement 

 > Addressing Barriers to Learning: In the Classroom and Schoolwide

 > Embedding Mental Health as Schools Change
   Access at http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/improving_school_improvement.html

 >Improving Teacher Retention, Performance, and Student Outcomes    http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/newteach.pdf

Finally, it would help if the many advocates for specific initiatives temporarily moved their lobbying efforts to deal with an agenda that addresses a big picture for school improvement policy and practice. The reality is that they currently are competing for the same sparse resources, and the winners are pursuing initiatives that cannot have more than a marginal impact in countering the factors threatening public education.
 ___________________

We don't have email addresses for all who we hope will read this, so please share this with your colleagues. And as always, we ask that you share with us whatever you think others might find relevant. Send to Linda Taylor at Ltaylor@ucla.edu

------------------------- end ---------------------

Visit the http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu and get to know the many resources in their web library.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

April Newsletter. What if....

I sent out my monthly newsletter today.  You can read it here.  


I've been sending out a newsletter, in print or email version, since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago in 1993.

At the right you can see the first page of the Jan/Feb 1996 newsletter, featuring a photo of Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and leaders of the Chicago Fire Department.  This was taken at the November 1995 Tutor/Mentor Conference, held at the Fire Department Academy.  Vallas was the keynote speaker. 

Below is a photo of former President Barack Obama, from 1999 when he was a speaker at another Tutor/Mentor Conference held in Chicago.  See it on page 5 of this newsletter

You can find archives of past newsletters on this page.  

Here's another Chicago leader. When Arne Duncan was CEO of Chicago Public Schools he gave small grants to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection and spoke at the volunteer recruitment campaign kickoff in 2001. You can see this image in a 2016 blog article I wrote. 

If you search for Arne Duncan, Barack Obama or Paul Vallas on this blog you'll find many articles where I've pointed to them. 

There's a common theme. I point to information people can use to help build and sustain volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in high poverty areas of Chicago.  I point to research showing where and why such programs are needed.  I point to articles showing how current fund raising practices don't do enough to support long-term programs.  And I encourage people to use the information. Or if they pointed to maps the way I've done in more than 250 articles.

Below are recent Tweets featuring Obama, Duncan and Vallas.

Now imagine how much more they might have accomplished over the past 25 years if they had been the authors of the newsletters I wrote, and the articles on this and the MappingforJustice blog.  Of if they had consistently read the articles and then encouraged people they influence to also read them and apply the ideas.

Would more people have been investing in programs reaching K-12 youth in high poverty neighborhoods, helping kids through school and into jobs and careers?


Would more people "who can help" be responding to their appeals, and reaching out to offer time, talent and dollars to support school and non-school youth tutor, mentor, learning and jobs programs in every high poverty area of Chicago?  Would this strategy have been duplicated in other cities and countries?


We will never know because they did not take that role, nor has anyone else of influence, celebrity status and power.  

Well, it's never too late. Start now. Maybe in 2040 we'll see less poverty and violence, less structural racism and inequality, because of what our leaders, and others, do consistently, every week, for the next 20 years.  

This blog will remain available, either at this address, or in the Internet archive

The www.tutormentorexchange.net will also remain available via the Internet archive

Thanks for reading. Please share. And let's connect on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.  


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Sharing Ideas With Nigeria

Yesterday I had the honor of talking with Aliyu B. Solomon, who lives in Abuja, Nigeria, which is the capital city of that country.  Here's the link to the recording of our talk.  

Here's the link to the slides that I shared while talking.  In this document you can see the questions I was asked to address along with some responses. 

We first connected via the Tutor/Mentor Connection Ning site in the late 2000s. A few years later we re-connected on Twitter, where we've done most of our interactions since then.  Yesterday was the first time we've actually talked to each other, which reinforces my belief in how people from around the world, or around your city, can connect and build strong relationships via the Internet. 

Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa at over 203 million in 2018 and is projected to grow to about 401.31 million by 2050.   I've circled Abuja, where Aliyu B. Solomon lives.  It's the second largest city in the country, with Lagos, on the coast, being the largest.  See details here.

As with any large country there are substantial areas in each major city with high poverty, and there is much poverty in rural areas. In the interview I talked of the importance of building an information library similar to the Tutor/Mentor library, with a research section that collected information about poverty and inequality, and a programs section, that shows existing efforts to help kids through school and in to jobs. 

If you visit this group on the TutorMentorConnection Ning site you'll see that I've been encouraging people from Africa to take this role for many years. 

Anyone who views this interview is encouraged to form a group and begin studying the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategies, launched in 1993.  Then begin to build a library, pointing to these strategies, my web library and to information you can find related to poverty, inequality, school-to-work and tutor/mentor programs in your own city and country.

As you and others collect this information, or look at different parts of my website, write blog articles showing what you are seeing and what it means to you and your city. Share these and let them be conversation starters among people in your group, and others who will join you.  View the work interns did while working with me between 2004 and 2015 and duplicate their efforts. 

At the right is a concept map showing actions and key events from 1965 to now, which led to the growth of tutor/mentor programs I led in Chicago, and to the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present).   See the 1992-present map at this link. 

Hopefully in 50 years many cities will have a timeline full of intentional actions like these. 

Thank you Aliyu B. Solomon, for inviting me to mentor you and your friends.  I look forward to similar conversations in the future with you and others.

I did not charge a fee for this conversation and don't charge others who ask me for help. I do have a page where I ask people to make contributions to help me continue to do this work.