Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Focus on alumni

The national elections were yesterday and votes are still being counted.  It looks like Democrats and progressives will do better than expected. It's still not clear if they will maintain their majority in the House or Senate. Let's hope they do.

In the meantime we still need to do all we can to make organized, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs available to youth in every high poverty neighborhood of the country.

More than 4500 K-12 youth have been part of the tutor/mentor programs I led in Chicago between 1975 and 2011.  I'm connected to many on Facebook and keep encouraging them to become leaders of mentoring programs themselves and to take up the work I've been doing to help such programs grow in more places.

Here are three promising examples.

I wrote about Kaeaiya Holmes a few weeks ago.  Since then she's posted this article on her T.Js Angels T3 Services blog.   

In this article you can read about the I Am Her78 - An End to A New Beginning book, that she co-authored with Toi Dickson-Fuller, another student alumni (see below).  The book launch is November 19.  Here's a post on Facebook about the book.   

Here's where you can purchase the book.   Here's the link to the TJs Angeles T3 Services website. 

In the mid 1990s Toi Dickson-Fuller was also part of the tutor/mentor program I led in Chicago.  As you can see from this graphic she's become a published author and is co-author with Kaeaiya Holmes and a few other women on the I Am Her78 - An End to A New Beginning book.

In addition, Toi has launched a mentoring program in Chicago called I Am Her 78 Ministries, which you can learn about here

Kaeaiya and Toi are two of several dozen former students who I'm connected to, and still mentoring, via Facebook.

Tramaine Montel Ford is another alum from the 1990s.

Tramaine got his "acting bug" while part of the Cabrini Connections program's video club, which was started in the mid 1990s while he was in high school. Now he's in New York city and doing all sorts of great work.  At the right is a photo from this 2011 article, showing how Tramaine was a keynote speaker at the 2011 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference. 

Over the years since then we've had a few ZOOM calls and Facebook conversations where I've encourage him to use his communications skills to share the ideas I've been posting on this blog. 

While continuing his work in New York City, Tramaine is now also working with the 1 JAR Foundation, which honors the memory of 9 year old Janari Ricks (Tramaine's nephew), who was killed in Cabrini Green in 2020.   

Their programs offer mentorship and other resources intended to empower youth and children towards achieving a better future and contributing positively to society

The featured program of the foundation is an annual toy drive, which this year will be held on December 22.  Find details on the foundation's website.

Below is Tramine's Facebook page.    In this ensemble photo Tramaine is in the top row, far right.  

These are just three alumni who are beginning to do organized work to help younger kids have the same opportunities which were offered to them via the tutor/mentor programs I led.  

Here's another example of a former student supporting a tutor/mentor program - Isaiah Brooms. 

Isaiah was part of the tutoring program at Montgomery Ward while I led it in the late 1980s.  That program is now Tutoring Chicago and Isaiah supports if via fund raising efforts like this one on Facebook. 

Network Building

I share posts from this blog and my website regularly with all of these alumni and with many former volunteers, with the goal that they will begin to support existing programs and help new ones grow where more are needed.

Here's a May 2022 Facebook post from a former student, which is an example of the type of questions I hope more students and volunteers will be asking as a result of my social media network building.

At the same time, by hosting space on social media sites I'm trying to help these alumni connect with each other, with former volunteers, and with people in other tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other places.

Those who have been given much need to step forward and provide the same opportunities to future generations.

Thanks for reading.  Maybe there will be a few more positive election results to view by the time you look at this.  There's much work ahead.  

No comments: