Friday, February 25, 2022

Shout Out to ...

Below is a graphic I've used for many years to show the role intermediaries can play to connect "people who can help" to "places where help is needed".  In my work those places are high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities, and "those who need help" includes organized non-school tutor/mentor programs and the volunteers, donors, staff, parents and youth who support them.

I've been doing this work for nearly 30 years, having formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, but with uneven and limited resources each year due to inconsistencies of funding caused in part by the bust in 2000, Montgomery Ward going out of business, the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, the financial markets collapse in 2008 and my split in 2011 from the non-profit where this all started 30 years ago.  The greater difficulty has been due to challenges facing all non profits which I point to in this section of my library and in articles like these

Thus, my voice is like a "whisper in the wilderness".  

Below I want to recognize a few with much higher public visibility who are doing some really great things.

Chicago Community Trust - 

Under the leadership of Helene Gayle, since 2017, the Trust has focused its efforts on confronting the racial and ethnic wealth gap. Browse the website, and Twitter and Facebook pages, to see a constant stream of information intending to mobilize "those who can help" and point them to "where they can help".  

Open the link above and view the maps shared in the PDF on the Field Foundation website. The foundation is using these to guide its grant making.  I hope other foundations are looking at this and doing the same.  The map of Chicago does not change, regardless of who is looking at it. Thus, if visible leaders are pointing "people who can help" to these maps, they are also pointing them to "places where help is needed".

This week Hope Chicago (@HopeChicagoEdu on Twitter) announced the names of five Chicago high schools where every graduating student, and some of their parents, will receive full scholarships to colleges within Illinois.  They aim to add schools to this list every year, thus doing much to assure that kids in high poverty neighborhoods are getting through college once they enroll.

Below is a graphic on the Hope Chicago website showing their five step strategy of helping students achieve a "debt-free college education".  

I'm particularly pleased with point 4, which says "Engage existing providers by forging partnerships with community providers and universities to support our scholars and get every one of them over the finish line."  

I'm also pleased to see this page that shows models in other cities that HOPE Chicago is learning from, such as Kalamazoo's Promise.  

Hopefully this means they will use my maps and list of non-school tutor/mentor programs to identify existing programs to partner with and to help form new programs in areas where too few exist. Furthermore, my hope is that they will enlist businesses and colleges to be strategic in how they support youth serving organizations and schools in every high poverty neighborhood.

I share plenty of ideas on this blog, the website and the MappingforJustice blog. 

If these organizations point to maps and graphics like this "birth to work" arrow, on a weekly basis, they can inspire long term funding and employee involvement in many places.

To&Through Project at the University of Chicago -   

I've highlighted the work of the To&Through Project in previous articles. I get their monthly newsletter and follow their Twitter account. I've participated in some of their ZOOM events.  There is a load of information intended to help Chicago students "to and through" college.  In the maps above I show the new group of middle schools added to their Middle Grades Network.  I also show my map of Chicago tutor and/or mentor programs. 

I've circled the three areas where the To&Through Project schools are located. On the West side of Chicago there are several existing programs that could be partners with the middle schools, but in the other two areas, there are almost none (at least based on my list). 

I had to create these graphics myself. My hope is that at some point in the future I'll see similar graphics on the websites and blogs of these and other leaders in Chicago, who will be each filling the "YOU" role of drawing "people who can help" to information they can use that makes them smarter and more consistent in supporting schools and non-school programs in high poverty areas who are trying to help kids through school and into adult lives and jobs.

I point to these organizations in the monthly Tutor/Mentor eNews along with others who are doing good work and share resources on their websites.  You can subscribe, or read it on my website. 

If you're reading this, thank you. Please go a step further and share my articles with people you know and encourage them to do the same.  Take a further step and create your own articles, borrowing from what I've written, that share your own thinking of ways to help kids in high poverty areas of Chicago and other places move through school. 

As you see other foundations, businesses, colleges, and NPOs doing outstanding work be sure to share what you're seeing on social media and through your own blogs. Together we can turn a "whisper" into a "roar". 

Visit this page to find links to my social media spaces and visit this page to make a contribution to help me pay the bills. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Navigate the Tutor/Mentor Resource Library

Last week I started an article with this "birth-to-work" graphic, then shared concept maps that are intended to guide learners through the library I've built since the 1990s.

Below are a couple more concept maps intended to support this learning journey.

The first is a hack of the Monopoly game.  I mixed the letters to create YOM-POLOM (Youth Organizations Need Purposeful Ongoing Leadership and Operating Money).  

Open the concept map and zoom in to view the individual squares, and the links that take you from any square to a specific part of the Tutor/Mentor library.  I introduced this game board in this 2015 article

The second concept map shows sections of the Tutor/Mentor library.  

I created these using cMapTools and encourage others to create and share their own versions focusing on their own cities if they are not in the Chicago region.

The information from these concept maps and others in my collection is intended to support what people in business, philanthropy, religion, education, media, entertainment and other sectors do to help make well-organized, mentor-rich, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs available to K-12 youth in more high poverty areas, and to help those programs constantly learn from each other so that all can do more to help kids move from birth-to-work and lives free of concentrated poverty.

I've been writing this blog since 2005 and have hosted a website since around 1998. I started creating visualizations to help people understand the strategies I was piloting and have shared these in printed newsletters, blogs, social media, Pinterest, etc. for almost 30 years. 

They all invite people to gather and learn from the ideas I'm sharing with one goal:  "How can we do t his better?"  

As we start a new week, in the second month of a new year, I keep looking for others who are asking the same questions and who use web platforms, maps and visualizations to draw others into this conversation and to encourage on-going actions that help youth programs reach more kids with constantly growing impact. 

You can find my social media platforms in this link.  I look forward to connecting to you and your own ideas and efforts. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Birth-to-Work Goal and Use of Knowledge Base

I'm going to show four graphics from my collection in this article.  I hope you'll take time to dig through the links.

1) This graphic shows three time frames when we can connect with kids and the number of years we need to be doing this. 

It shows a group of kids and an adult volunteer who were part of a tutor/mentor program I led in Chicago in the 1990s and myself with one of those kids in 2010 when she came back as a guest speaker at our end-of-year dinner. I'm connected to almost all of these former students and the volunteer on Facebook and now see them posting stories of their own kids finishing high school and going to college.  That's the generational impact possible from well-organized volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs who build and sustain long-term connections with kids.

I focus on the after-five PM timeframe because in big cities like Chicago, that's when workplace volunteers are more able to meet with kids in community locations on a weekly, on-going basis. 

2) This next graphic includes a Birth-to-Work arrow that I've used in many past articles and in a variety of graphics. I show many in this Pinterest collection.  

This graphic includes a map of Chicago, showing high poverty areas were kids need mentoring-based support during school and non-school hours, from pre-school through high school and beyond.  Click on the image to enlarge and look at some of the types of activities that could be made available to kids at different age levels.  If you were to stand the arrow on end, like a tall building, it would emphasize how these supports are needed consistently for 10-20 years, in every neighborhood with high levels of poverty, meaning too few people to model the wide range of career choices kids have, and to help them through school and into those opportunities. Volunteers in organized tutor/mentor programs can help make some of these learning opportunities available, even if they are not available in local schools. 

I started building a library in the 1970s to support the volunteers in the tutor/mentor program I led at the Montgomery Ward Headquarters in Chicago. When we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 we systematically expanded that library and made it available to program leaders throughout Chicago (before the internet) and then to volunteers, donors, policy-makers and program leaders throughout the world (starting in 1998, with the Internet). 

3) This concept map shows how we created events throughout the year to draw users to the information, and how we hoped the information would be used.

Read the map starting in the  upper left, with the box that says "T/MC Research (Info IN)". Across the top we show ways we share the information on an on-going basis since 1993. The columns from left to right show the type of information that's in the library and "formal" and "informal" uses of the information.  It's all intended to help well-organized volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs be available to K-12 kids in more places.  That means it has to be used by donors, policy-makers, business, media, universities and more who need to take proactive, and on-going roles, to help tutor/mentor programs have the resources and talent needed to constantly improve. 

Access the library at this link

I started reaching out to leaders of other tutor/mentor programs in Chicago in 1974 and continued through the 1980s. I was looking for ideas to support my own efforts. This began to turn into a networking effort where each program was learning from the others. 

From my retail advertising jobs I knew how we created weekly advertising intended to draw customers to our 400 stores in 40 states, and how other corporate office teams worked to help each store have the staff and merchandise needed to serve those customers and keep them coming back.

I applied this in my leadership of a single program, and applied this strategy via the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present).  Since I did not have many dollars for advertising I created a strategy of quarterly annual events that would draw media attention and focused on ways business, universities and others could use their own human capital and dollars to help programs grow in different places.

4) I created this concept map to help people understand the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Follow the path from the left side of the concept map, downward, to understand the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Follow the path at the right, starting with "as a result of our efforts" to see ways others can use the information and ideas we've been collecting and sharing.  As you go through this learning path, begin executing the strategy, by using your own media to draw attention to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago or in other places.  

Here's a video, created in 2015 by an intern from South Korea, to guide people through this concept map.  It is an example of how anyone reading my articles can create and share their own interpretation. 

I share these graphics and articles from my blogs on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook (find links here) and website and monthly eMail newsletter. 

Maintaining this library and my outreach is an on-going effort.  I keep inviting others to do the same.  

Unfortunately, the problems that we were addressing in the 1970s are still present as we move through 2022. Thus, the work I've been doing needs to continue. 

I just turned 75 so it becomes more and more important that a university or institution reach out and take ownership of my archives, blogs, websites, etc.  Student, faculty and alumni talent can do much more than I to update, analyze and share the information and draw attention and resources to area youth programs.

They can rebuild the sites that are now only archives and innovate new efforts to build public will and draw attention through the maps to EVERY neighborhood that needs Birth-to-Work support for its kids.  Reach out to me if you're interested in taking this role, or helping me find someone who will.

There were only 4 graphics in this article. There are more than 100 on this and other blogs. Take your time reading and thinking about what I'm sharing. Invite others to join you.  Create your own versions and share your interpretations, as my intern from South Korea did. 

Thanks for reading and sharing. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Super Bowl. Olympics. What's Involved?

Like almost everyone else around the country I'm going to be watching the Super Bowl football game tomorrow.  Many are also watching the Winter Olympics. 

Thus, I want to draw your attention to the infrastructure that is needed to build great teams.
Then I want to ask you to think of ways volunteers in business, civic and alumni groups, sports, entertainment and faith groups, etc. can take on roles of fans and team owners to build and sustain great tutor/mentor programs in every high poverty area of Chicago and other cities.

Below is a graphic I've been trying to develop for many years.

The team on the field consists of youth and volunteers who are connected via the efforts of the staff and leaders of organized tutoring, mentoring and learning programs. Youth in poverty face many obstacles, thus the defensive line in this graphic represents some of those obstacles. However, organized tutor/mentor programs in high poverty neighborhoods also face many challenges.

Unless we as a city can overcome these challenges
(visualized in this concept map) there will be too few great tutor/mentor programs in the many Chicago area neighborhoods where they are needed. Or in neighborhoods of other cities where NFL, NBA and other pro sports teams operate.

In this graphic, the fans in the stands are people who work in business, attend faith services weekly, attend local colleges, etc. These are the people who support great sports teams by their attendance, by watching on TV, or listening on the radio. They support sport teams, and sponsors, by the way they purchase sports apparel, and the way they talk about their teams on a daily basis. These are people who could be volunteering time, talent and dollars to support tutor/mentor programs.

In the sky-boxes are team owners, boosters, investors and others who pay millions of dollars to make great teams the professional level, and at the major college level. Unless we find investors like this to support the growth of great tutor/mentor teams in more places, there will be too few, and there will be few who have long-term commitments to building great teams.

This next graphic shows the role of intermediaries. The articles I write and graphics I create are limited by the talent I have to do this work. The number of people who see these is limited by my own lack of personal visibility and advertising dollars. Thus, if we want more great teams we need more people doing what I do, taking on an intermediary role to help connect people they know with ideas and with programs where they can help implement these ideas.

I send out a monthly email newsletter, with graphics like these, and with links to different sections of my web library. This section points to almost 200 Chicago area youth serving organizations who need support from fans and owners to be world class at what they do.

The goal is that people use the information I'm aggregating to expand the range of ideas they have to support actions they take to help great tutor/mentor teams be available in more places. Volunteers from different places could help create a better design for this newsletter, could write articles, and could create their own versions to circulate this information to their own network of family, friends, co-workers, etc. 

Since most of my library points to Chicago youth programs, every city needs someone duplicating my efforts and building their own library of local programs, maps and research.  

Below is an animation that illustrates a role athletes could take on a regular basis to mobilize fans and owners to support constantly improving youth programs in high poverty areas.

This animation, and other videos in my library, could be re-produced in many ways, with hundreds of different athletes, celebrities, etc. giving the message.

This isn't something that happens once a year, like the Super Bowl, or NBA AllStar game, or every 2 years like an Olympics. But if it is given the same attention, the result will be better support of hundreds, or thousands of different youth serving organizations operating in Chicago and other cities.

And ultimately, that will provide more of the support youth need to move through school and into adult lives and careers.

I'm on Twitter @tutormentorteam, which is where I'll be commenting during tomorrow's Super Bowl, and every day after that.  Join me. Follow me. Share your own game plan in blogs like mine. Feel free to use my articles for your own game plan and play book. As you share your own strategies, I and others will borrow from you.

Thanks for reading. Let's go out and help great youth tutor/mentor programs grow in more places.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Connecting seniors with K-12 youth - program design

Today I read an article from the Churchill Fellows blog about "harnessing the assets of the older people in our communities, including those living in long-term care and those living with dementia, and supporting them to build deep relationships with children and young people who are experiencing poverty and disadvantage."

This article outlines strategies for doing this,  including "overcoming silos to make the most out of resources".

This is something I've thought about for a long time. Senior citizens have been volunteers in tutor/mentor programs I led in Chicago between 1975 and 2011, but there's never been a strategy that would connect seniors systematically in youth tutor/mentor programs throughout Chicago.

Below is a guest article I wrote for the AARP magazine in 2002.

I've followed the Churchill Fellows program for more than 20 years and hosted three different fellows between 1998 and 2006.  One was Clair Kime, who wrote this article summarizing her visit with myself and other tutor/mentor leaders in Chicago, Boston and New York in 2005.

AARP does encourage senior citizens to volunteer with youth, through programs like Experience Corps. However, I don't see a map-based strategy that connects seniors with youth the way the Churchill Fellows article envisions.  

When I say "map based" I mean leaders in different sectors should be innovating ways to make mentor-rich non-school tutor and/or mentor programs available in every high poverty area, for  many years.  

Such programs need a mix of volunteers working directly with youth, and working with program leaders to operate the program, raise needed funds, and build constant improvement.  Seniors have many work-backgrounds and a range of talents and could not only support individual programs, but lead city-wide efforts.

As you're doing your planning, take a look at the Churchill Fellowship article and think of ways you can involve seniors in many of the ways they describe. 

I'm on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Let's connect and talk about these ideas. Find links here.


Monday, February 07, 2022

Mentoring Connections - Over Many Years

If you've read many of my articles you know I advocate for the growth of long-term volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach youth in high poverty neighborhoods. My passion comes from leading such a program from 1975 to 2011 and from the many long-term connections I've been part of. 

Below are a few photos that illustrate this.

Me and Leo Hall - 1973 till 2022 - Leo and I were matched in 1973 when he was in 4th grade. We've stayed connected since then. We're now connected on Facebook.  View past articles where I've talked about Leo and myself.  Leo's now looking for a Kidney donor. If you think you can help reach out to me on Facebook. 

Allen Tyson and Victor Dawson - 1975 till 2022.  Below is a set of photos that Victor posted on Facebook last week.  The three on the right are from the year-end yearbooks that I created every year from 1974 to 1991.  

Allen has actually been involved a year or two longer than myself.  He has had a series of mentees, including Victor's siblings, over the past 50 years.  Here are a few articles where you can read about Allen and past mentees.  

Chris Dowdle and Tangela Smith Marlow - late 1980s till 2022. Below is a Facebook interaction in February 2021 between Chris and Tangela.  They met in the original program at Montgomery Ward, then joined Cabrini Connections in 1993 when Tangela aged out of the original program. Chris's husband, Ray Dowdle, with the long-term board president of Cabrini Connections. 

Alberta Duff and Cindy Hene.  1980s till 2022.  This is part of a Facebook conversation started by Alberta in 2021.  She asked if I knew who her past tutor was before the Cabrini Connections program.  I looked in yearbooks from the late 1980s and found the photo of her and Cindy, then looked for Cindy on Facebook. I then re-connected them.

View the yearbook archive.

Victor has had several of the yearbooks from past years and a couple of years ago I shared this link where anyone can find the entire collection from 1976 to 1991. Visit this page and you can find links to newsletters from 1993-2003 from the Cabrini Connections - Tutor/Mentor Connection, as well as annual reports from those years. 

When Victor posted some photos of him and his Cabrini-Green friends and family recently I skimmed through them and did not recognize any faces after so many years. So I suggested he look at the old yearbooks and put pictures from the past with those of the present.  He did that.

I also suggested that others look up their former tutors.  Kimberly Smith found photos of herself with two of her former tutors and posted them the the Facebook conversation.

Tramaine Ford accepted the invitation too,  and posted the photos below to Facebook. He received responses from Carrie Clifford and Gloria Harrison, who he met when they launched the Innervisions Youth Productions video creation group at Cabrini Connections in 1997.  

These are just a few of the connections taking place today, in 2022, that were started through the tutor/mentor programs I led from 1973 to 2011.  They show that the work we did in past years to help build and sustain these relationships are still paying dividends today.  

I'm connected to each of these former students and many others on Facebook and delighted when I see them posting stories telling of the success of their own kids.  I'm also saddened when I hear of tragedies that continue to plague others.

There are very few organized tutor/mentor programs in Chicago that have longer histories than 20 or 30  years, but there are some.  The program I led at Montgomery Ward is now Tutoring Chicago and can probably offer many stories of these on-going connections.  The Chicago Lights program at 4th Presbyterian Church and the Custer Tutoring Program in Austin are also long-term programs. 

Each green icon on this map is the location of one of the tutor and/or mentor programs on a list I host. Find the map and list at this link.  Browse through the list, look at the websites, identify other long-term programs and/or unique mentoring models, then share stories of these programs with your friends, family and co-workers. Help each program attract the resources needed to build long-term connections. 

Create your own map stories.

I've plotted the location of Chicago area tutor and/or mentor programs on maps since 1993 and created overlays showing indicators of where programs are most needed, such as high poverty, poorly performing schools and/or incidents of violence.  

Use this information to create your own map-stories that draw attention, volunteers and donors to programs in different parts of Chicago.  Browse the list of map-based articles on this blog, or the MappingforJustice blog to see how I've embedded maps in stories. 

Increasing attention. Sharing information.

I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences in Chicago every six months from May 1994 to May 2014 to help programs learn and share from each other, and to draw media and donor attention.  I've used my newsletters, blogs, social media and websites to encourage every program to constantly learn from each other, and to share their own stories of what works, what challenges they face, and how their students and volunteers are still connecting after many years.  

I've  used articles like this to encourage programs to share more information on their websites and to create and use blogs. I feel such information would provide more evidence that donors, volunteers and parents might use to choose programs to support or get involved with.

However, more people need to encourage this than myself, especially donors.   

Add your photos. Rebuild connections.

If you're part of the tutor/mentor programs I led I encourage you to go through the old yearbooks and find photos of yourself and your tutor or mentee, then share them on Facebook with myself and each other. In doing so you show the value of these programs and encourage donors to support existing programs that are doing similar work.  And, you help re-build and strengthen the ties that bind us. 

Are you part of other programs? Tell your own stories.

If you are connected to other tutor/mentor programs in Chicago or in other cities encourage them to share stories showing the connections that still exist between former students and volunteers, or the successes alumni are having because of the help the programs provided in the past. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to get the largest possible attention for your posts, and for these organizations. 

Together we can draw greater attention to programs that support long-term connections and help them attract the volunteers and donors needed to help those programs operate from year-to-year.

Thanks for reading.  

I hope you'll connect with me on one of these social media platforms. 

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Wealth inequality in Chicago and Cook County

I receive the Urban Institute eMail newsletter and today there was an article about a new interactive map that visualizes Chicago's wealth inequality across the region.  You can view the article at this link.

Slide the bar to the right and you see differences in median net worth and emergency savings. Slide it to the left and you see households of color.  It's clear that wealthy areas have fewer people of color. 

The article that accompanies the map offers some suggestions of how policymakers can help Chicagoans accumulate liquid wealth,  however  it ends saying "With Chicago's significant inequity and Illinois's poor finances, closing wealth gaps will require policies at the national, state and local levels, commitment from nonprofits, and changes from the private sector."

2/12/2022 update - here's a WBEZ article about the Wealth Gap, that goes into greater detail for the Chicago region. 

Here are a few articles that I've written that focus specifically on building public will to invest consistently over many years in strategies that help more kids in poverty areas move through school and into jobs and careers out of poverty. 

Actually, everything I have done via the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present) for the past 30 years has had this purpose. 

I have focused on helping workplace volunteers, from many different backgrounds, become involved in the lives of inner-city youth via organized, tutor and/or mentor programs.  As volunteers grow their involvement, the kids go from being "someone else's kids, to being their own kids" and as they learn about the root causes of poverty and the challenges kids face, many will return to their networks and bring reinforcements.

They will help build public will. 

 This article shows the volunteer growth cycle that can come from within an organized tutor/mentor program. 

This graphic shows how we need to influence policy makers, business, donors, and everyone who does not live in poverty, in order to build and sustain programs in high poverty areas that help people move from poverty to opportunity.  See it described in this article.  

I added the Urban Institute article to the "poverty and crime mapping" section of the Tutor/Mentor Library where there are many similar articles to draw from. Another section to look at is a set of "poverty, race, inequality" links. 

If you are troubled by the inequality we face then start reading these articles, and invite others to join you. Start a discussion group. Start thinking of ways to get more people involved. 

Here's something else for a few of you to look at. Getting enough people involved to actually create the changes that the Urban Institute recommends is an effort in community building, movement building and political activism.  Take a look at the article I point to in this Tweet, that talks about measuring the growth of a movement, as a tool for building further growth and achieving goals. 
I added links to these articles in the 'community building and collaboration' section of the Tutor/Mentor library, where they join more than 100 other articles. 

Write about this. Help build the movement.

If you're looking at these articles and writing about some of the ideas I share, as Daniel Delmanto, from Brazil, did in this article, please share your links and connect with me on one of these social media platforms.