Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Creating year-round attention

I have used graphics for 20+  years to communicate ideas. Almost all related to what we need to do to build mentor-rich non-school, and school-based, support systems to help kids in high poverty areas move through school and into adult lives.

Because this blog has a vertical structure (you only see the most recent on the home page), some graphics don't get as much attention as they should. Here's an example.

We did the planning for the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and launched it with a first Chicago tutor/mentor programs survey in January 1994.  Over the next few years we developed a year-round series of events intended to draw attention, volunteers and donors directly to the youth programs we were learning about in our surveys, while drawing those programs together to learn from each other.  

View this video to see animation showing  year-round strategy, created by intern in late 2000s.

We published our list of programs in a printed directory each year from 1995 to 2003 and have shared the list on-line since 1998. You can find it now at this link

We started using maps of Chicago in 1993 to show where non-school tutor/mentor programs were most needed, based on poverty, poorly performing (and poorly funded) schools, etc. We plotted locations of existing programs on these maps. I've posted more than 250 articles demonstrating how maps can be used and created an entire blog focused on uses of maps. 

Conferences in May and November, a city-wide volunteer recruitment campaign in August/September, a Tutor/Mentor Week in November were events my team organized.  We drew upon the January National Mentoring Month publicity to try to build renewed attention to tutor/mentor programs in February, when many were looking to replace volunteers who had dropped out over the holidays.  We had other goals but they never were able to be developed.

Visit this page to read more about these activities. 

We're now in the Back-to-School volunteer-recruitment period and this morning I looked at this blog to see when I last used this graphic.  It was last November, in this article

It's an important concept because it emphasizes the role anyone can take to draw attention to youth serving programs in their community.  I'll share this on Twitter because while there are countless politicians calling for your votes, and your dollars, I don't see many (if any) using their Tweets to draw volunteers to youth serving programs in the districts they want to represent.

Maybe this can encourage a few to add this message to their posts. 

While I no longer organize conferences or a site-based volunteer-recruitment campaign, I still host a library and encourage youth programs, volunteers, youth, business, donors and others to draw ideas from it that they use to help kids in poverty move safely from birth to work.  Furthermore, I share history of events I organized, such as the recruitment campaign, and the tutor/mentor conferences, with the goal that others in Chicago and other cities will create their own versions of these, and their own year-round calendar of youth support events.

You can find me on each of these social media platforms

And, you can help me cover the costs of keeping this information available to you and others around the world by visiting this page and making a small contribution. 

Thank you for reading and sharing my articles. 

If you scroll back to articles from past years are there some graphics that I used in the past that you think I should emphasize with a new post?  Let me know. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Expanding role of volunteers

Over the past two years I've watched a series of Racism and the Economy webinars hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks.  I viewed the July 2022 webinar yesterday and called attention to it with this post on Twitter.

In this Tweet I pointed to articles on this blog where I pointed to previous Federal Reserve Bank events. I hope you'll find time to look at these.

I became a volunteer in a tutor/mentor program in Chicago in 1973 and the leader of that program in 1975. I continued leading programs for the next 35 years.

During that time I've learned more and more about the challenges kids in high poverty areas face and that too few others are on the same learning path.  My learning was motivated by my personal involvement. Thus, my actions have aimed at getting more people like me involved in organized tutor/mentor programs, then pointing them to materials that help them better understand America's history of racism and inequality, reinforced by intentional policy choices.  

The only way to create change is to get many, many more people personally involved.  Thus, making more and better tutor/mentor programs available through Chicago and in other places, would increase the pool of volunteers, and potential activist.  That's been my focus for the past 28 years. 

To support my learning, and the volunteers in the program I led (more than 4000 from 1975 to 1992), I started building a library in the 1970s. When we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 we dramatically expanded that library, and made it available to leaders of any tutor/mentor program in Chicago.   

In 1998 we started putting the library and our ideas on the Internet, where they have been available for the past 24 years to people throughout the world.  

I use concept maps to show information in the library as well as strategies for helping programs grow in more places.  One section aggregates links to websites and articles with information similar to what was presented in the Federal Reserve Bank webinars. 

School is starting and all tutor/mentor programs are seeking volunteers. See my list of Chicago area programs at this link.  If churches, businesses, media, sports, etc. use their media to point potential volunteers to lists like mine we help volunteers connect with programs in every part of a city.  Do this in addition to pointing to your favorite programs.

Getting volunteers involved is only the first step. Keeping them involved, helping them become effective tutors and/or mentors is an on-going step.  Growing their understanding of issues and turning them into activist is a step further. 

Here are blog articles I encourage you to read:

Volunteer Growth. Helping Kids Through School: How Can We Do this Better?  click here

Mentor Role in a Larger Strategy - click here 

There are many, many more related articles on this blog. I hope you'll make it a consistent part of your personal learning and you will encourage others to do the same.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and hope you'll connect with me on one or more of these platforms.  

I also have a "Fund T/MI" page where you can use PayPal to send me a contribution to help keep these resources freely available to you and others. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Visual Thinking. Are You Asking?

Below are some images that I've created over the past decade to focus attention on the planning needed to make mentor-rich youth supports available to K-16 youth in every high poverty area of Chicago and other places.  Click on each image to enlarge and read what is shown.  

Three elements in this graphic. The "mentoring kids to careers" shows need for 12 years of continuous support. The "challenges" map in the middle shows barriers that need to be removed.  The map of Chicago emphasizes the need to use maps to show where kids need extra help, the availability of existing programs, and the flow of resources, etc.

This further emphasizes "mentoring kids to careers" is a long-term goal. It's not enough to have a great program serving kids at one grade level, or in one neighborhood. 

Think through the entire process.  Stories about violence or poverty lead us to want to connect kids with tutors and/or mentors. However, to reach kids in high poverty areas of big cities for many years we need organized programs.  Many are needed. Maps can show this. So  how do we generate the flow of resources to build and sustain great programs in more places? 

Tipping points. Are you thinking of how many talented, dedicated, informed people are needed to staff the many tutor/mentor programs needed in big cities like Chicago. Or in rural areas and reservations? Are you also thinking of ways to educate people in business, philanthropy and/or politics so they become more proactive in providing the operating resources each program needs?   This needs to be a degree program at one or more universities.  

Visualize the planning process.  At the right is the goal of helping kids in all high poverty areas get the support they need to move from birth-to-work. At the left is a reminder that we need to influence leaders and build public will to provide operating resources to support needed programs for many years.

YOU can make a difference.  Be the YOU in this graphic. As you look at my articles and visuals find ways to share these with your family, co-workers, friends and wider network. 

These images have been used in past blog articles along with hundreds of others.  You can find some collections of images on my Pinterest page.   

Maybe the easiest way to find specific images is to do a search on Google using "tutor/mentor" plus any word on this Tag cloud.

Then look at the images page.  Many will be ones that I have created ( or interns working with me have created) and used in blog articles or PPT essays.  

Below is a presentation showing some of the graphics I've created. 

As you look at my visuals I encourage you to copy those you like into Power Point, then share them with others. Or create your own versions. Share them with me and others on one of these social media platforms. 

If you know of other websites and/or blogs where people are sharing visualizations like I do, especially focused on helping kids in poverty areas, please share them with me.  Ideally there will be at least one person or group in every city doing exactly what I've been doing.

Want to help?  Visit my "fund T/MI" page and send a small contribution.  

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Past week on Twitter

While I use LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram I feel that I find the best ideas and engage the most on Twitter.  Below are some threads from the past week.

I've pinned this Tweet to my profile so it is viewed often (I hope). 

Here's another where I emphasize the planning process.
In this Tweet I focus on the funding every tutor/mentor programs needs. People share information with me. I reTweet so others see it.   Here's another. I wish I had Twitter in the 1990s when I started creating these visualizations. I don't just focus on posts I've made. This is from an education who I met via the #clmooc network. A few people post long threads (a series of Tweets) on important topics.  I urge you to follow these people and subscribe to their accounts if you can.  Here's another example of a Tread on Twitter.  This is another long thread that covers a very important topic. There's much, much more for you to find on Twitter. Join me and follow Tweets and reTweets I post from @tutormentorteam.

Thank you for reading today.  

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Mapping Social Capital

Today I watched a panel of social capital researchers, featuring Robert D. Putnam, Richard Reeves, Raj Petty and others who were sharing their thoughts on new research exploring the relationship between social capital & economic mobility.   Here's a Tweet with a clip from the discussion.

I'll post the link to the full video as soon as it's available. If you visit #SocialCapital on Twitter, and look at Tweets posted today, you'll understand more about what was discussed than what I am sharing in this article. 

During the presentation this Social Capital Atlas was described.  I've posted a few screenshots below.

This dashboard shows information about economic connectedness, cohesiveness and civic engagement for every county, every zip code, every high school and every college in the nation.  Just choose the category you want to view from the menu bar at the top left.

It's an interactive platform, so you can zoom into areas as small as a zip code and get data related to that specific zip code.

When you choose high schools, or colleges, you get a  map view like below, which shows high school in Chicago.  The different colors represent high or low levels of connectedness, cohesiveness or civic engagement. Click on an icon to get information for a specific school.  

This information is not new to me.  I've followed Robert D. Putnam since the early 2000s and wrote this article in 2015 and this article on this blog in 2018.  And, in 2019 I pointed to Raj Chetty in this article.
In 2018 I posted this article on the MappingforJustice blog, pointing to an Opportunity Atlas website, which is also a product of Opportunity Insights. However, the Social Capital Atlas is brand new. 

My goal is that people use these websites to create stories for blogs, Tweets, Instagram, videos, etc. that draw more attention to the inequalities in America, and more motivation to provide the time, talent and dollars to close these gaps, in EVERY zip code. 

Here's an article where I demonstrate using multiple platforms in one story. 

Here's an article where I combine maps from two platforms. One is based on my own database of Chicago youth tutor and/or mentor programs. 

Last week I posted this article showing my 30 years of using maps to try to draw attention and resources to high poverty areas of Chicago, to help youth tutor/mentor programs grow and have a greater impact on the lives of young people. 

Here's an article from last April, titled "Maps, Time, Social Capital" which uses the graphic shown below.

Click the social capital tag at the left and scroll through the articles. Visit this section of the Tutor/Mentor library to find more articles about social capital. Use this concept map to locate other data platforms that you can use in  your stories. 

Share these articles and help mobilizer more people who will work to close the opportunity and racial gaps that divide Americans from each other. Learn to use maps in stories, the way I've demonstrated, as part of a call-to-action that draws resources directly to the zip codes and community areas where help is most needed.

Thanks for reading. Please use these resources and connect with me on one of these platforms

Finally, please consider a small contribution to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and my ability to keep aggregating information and sharing these ideas. 

8-17-2022 update - here's a blog article from Brookings.edu that summarizes the information in the webinar. It's titled: "Seven Key Takeaways from Chetty's New Research on Friendship and Economic Mobility".  click here to read.