Friday, January 06, 2023

Using Maps - in my Dreams

A few times last year I wrote about how often I have vivid dreams that replay conversations about tutor/mentor programs that I had, or wish I had had.

Last night I dreamed about how maps can be used in planning, to help fill high poverty areas with mentor-rich tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach k-12 kids during non-school hours.

I've been using maps for this purpose since 1993, as indicated by this 1994 Chicago SunTimes article. 

In last night's dream I was showing uses of data platforms which I had been trying to build until 2009 (I ran out of money with the financial sector meltdown, then when I split from the non-profit organizations that I had created and led since 1992). 

The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator (described in this Wiki page) is no longer active, but is available as an archive.  Last spring I met a company called RS21 via Twitter and watched a video where they described uses of the type of data platform I was trying to create.  I wrote about it in this article. The graphic below is part of the RS21 presentation. 

While the RS21 data platform has a lot of potential, it still does not have all the layers of information that was included on the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator.  And it's not yet widely used.  In this MappingforJustice article I describe our intended uses of data maps and show the layers of information that need to be available. 

In my dream I was showing people how they could zoom into a location on a map, such as the address of a school, then look at the indicators in the area around the school that show reasons for student success or lack of success.  Then I showed how they could add information to their map, such as assets (businesses, universities, hospitals, etc) within the map area, as well as existing youth tutor/mentor programs.  

Then, I showed them a concept map visualizing the range of talent and networks who need to be part of the planning process and described how network analysis tools could help them learn "who was there, and who was missing". 

Then, I woke up.

As you can see from my links in this article, this is not a new topic, nor a new dream.  It's something I've tried to influence others to build and use for nearly 30 years.

At the right is a map-story that was created in the mid 1990s that includes all of the elements we built into the Program Locator in 2008-9 and that I'm describing in this article.  The maps show the location where a 15-year old girl was killed in Chicago and demographics of the surrounding area.  They show tutor or mentor programs in the area and a list of assets who could be working together to help fill the area with a wide range of youth serving programs.

It's sad that so few people ever saw these maps and that no one really adopted this strategy in Chicago.  Maybe that's why I keep dreaming about making this happen. 

Or writing about it on this blog.  

In the concept map below I visualize a planning process that engages all sectors and uses maps to focus attention on specific areas. You can find it in this article.

At the right is a map, and at the left are steps that focus on building public involvement and support and influencing leaders in business, media, philanthropy, politics, faith groups, universities and other sectors to make a strategic, and long-term, commitment to helping all kids born of living in poverty today be starting jobs/careers by their mid 20s.  

I'm only able to keep sharing these ideas through this blog, my email newsletter and website and social media because a few people have made contributions to my "Fund T/MI" campaign.

I hope you'll join them in 2023. 

Thanks for reading and adding these ideas to your own dreams.  I'm on many social media sites, so please connect with me. 

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