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  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. 

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