Monday, January 16, 2023

Help Build Networks of Support for Youth in High Poverty Areas

Today and over the past weekend I've seen hundreds of posts about Dr. ML King Jr, like the one below. As you do service today, look for ways you can do service every day.  With that in mind I want to focus on efforts that expand the networks supporting kids in high poverty areas, which is a form of "bridging social capital".  

I've been using the graphic shown below for more than 20 years to visualize the range of adult support and learning that can be made available to youth via organized, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs.

The circle in the middle includes a pre school through work/career timeline. It shows public school support above the timeline and community support, through family, neighbors, faith groups and non-school programs below.  The spokes lead to the different sectors of the community, and the different career opportunities that might be modeled by volunteers who connect with youth via organized programs.  

I've been using maps since 1993 to focus attention on high poverty areas of Chicago, where organized tutor/mentor programs are most needed.  And, I've collected information about existing programs and plotted their locations, as overlays to the maps.  Then I've tried to draw attention to research showing where and why kids need extra help, so that more people would use their own time, talent and dollars to help tutor/mentor programs be available to more kids, and constantly improving, based on what they learn from their own efforts, and what they learn from others.

I share these ideas in the website and on my blogs.  As part of your service today, and throughout the year, spend time doing extra learning, and look for ways to apply the ideas in your own community. 

At the left are tags sorting articles by primary focus (although almost all focus on the overall goal of helping kids through school and into adult lives.")  Once a week click on a tab, then scroll through the articles to see what's included. As you do this share articles with your network and create a "study group" or "book club" so more people are reading these articles with you.

Over the course of a year, or several  years, you'll build a much broader and deeper understanding of actions that need to be taken in order to create the world Dr. King envisioned.  

The map below is from this article, which is one of many where I've focused on social capital.  It's an example of how maps can show where kids and families need extra help.  

Here's another article that invites you to "Dig Deeper into Social Capital Thinking."

The graphic below is from one article about "Total Quality Mentoring" which is a term I coined in the 1990s to convey the idea of on-going improvement based on learning from your own efforts, those of others, and by having consistent financial support for program operations. 

As you look at the first graphic I used in this article, then this one, think of the YOU being someone on each spoke, who shares information that gets more people from her industry, college, faith group, family, etc. involved in helping youth, by helping non-school and school-based programs grow in more places.

I'll close with two more posts from Twitter. 
This post encourages on-going service, which I what I also encourage.  "Today, tomorrow and every day, let's lift up his legacy"

Here's the second Tweet. From Vue Le. 
Follow the links and do deeper reading about what Dr. King said in the 1960s. 

Use the ideas I and others share to build an intentional strategy that expands social capital, opportunities, networks of support and the range of people who "open doors" for youth who have had too few people taking these roles for too many years.

Visit this page to view a list of Chicago youth tutor and/or mentor programs that you can support with time, talent and/or dollars. 

Thank you for reading.  I'll look forward to connecting with you on one of these social media platforms.

If you find value in these ideas please consider a small contribution to help Fund T/MI -  click here to learn more

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