Monday, February 20, 2023

What Youth Programs Exist in Your Area?

My small non-profit published it's first Directory of youth tutor and/or mentor programs serving Chicago in May 1994.  The goal was to help volunteers and donors find and support existing programs and to provide a source of information leaders could use to determine where more programs were needed, based on what already existed, and the population of kids in poverty in different zip codes.

We continued to publish the printed directory until 2003, but started putting the information on the Internet in 1998.  Since 2004 all the information I've shared has been on our websites.

Read more about the Directory and Program Locator - click here

The survey we used to collect information about programs segmented responses by a) type of program - pure tutoring, pure mentoring, combination of on-going tutor/mentor supports; b) age group served - elementary school, middles school, high school; c) time of day services offered - school day, after school, after 5pm & weekends; and d) address.

With this information people could search specific areas for programs serving specific age groups.  Unfortunately the websites we built in the 2000s to share this information are now only viewable as archives.  I'm only able to share my list of programs through the map shown above (see this site) and this list on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website. 

Furthermore, I'm not the only one collecting information about youth programs serving Chicago and Illinois.  Here are a few others.

Peace Hub Chicago map - click here

Use the tables at the left to narrow your search. Click on the red icons to get contact information and website address.  Under services you can search for "tutoring" or "mentoring".  

ACT NOW! Afterschool for Children and Teens - maps entire state - click here

You can refine your search for grade levels served and type of programming offered.  Click on the icon for program information.

MyChiMyFuture - Programs Map 

This is the Mayor's initiative, aimed at helping youth find out-of-school time programs they can participate in.  There are many ways to narrow your search, however, for some reason I don't see a category for mentoring.  Many of the resources shown are libraries and park district facilities.  I'm not sure how many community based organizations are on this map.

If Chicago gets a new Mayor in 2023 will that Mayor continue to support this initiative? I hope so. 

These are just three directories that I'm aware of. I'm building a list at this location, so you can visit and see directories for Chicago and for other cities and states, too. 

What I don't see yet....

I don't see blog articles or social media posts using these on-line directories to focus attention on areas with high poverty, poorly performing schools or acts of violence.

I don't see blog articles or social media posts using these platforms to do an analysis of type of programs, age group served and number of youth in specific areas who need these services.

Furthermore, I don't see an on-going, multi-year attempt to draw volunteers and donors through these platforms to individual programs where they offer support for operations and constant improvement.

I  urge you to browse articles in the maps, media and violence categories on this blog to see examples of how I've used the program locator directories the Tutor/Mentor Connection created to draw attention and resources to programs in specific parts of Chicago.

Read these "Rest-of-the-Story" articles to see how young people could be creating regular stories using maps and intended to help tutor/mentor programs grow in more places, helping more kids through school and into adult lives. 

Raising kids continues to be a two decade effort and in some places parents and schools need extra support that can be offered by well-organized non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs.  

Helping existing programs sustain their efforts and helping new programs grow where more are needed is something many people need to be doing, in Chicago and in other cities and states. It's not something one person can make happen.

Thanks for reading.   Please connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, LinkedIn and other platforms.  

Share these ideas. Create your own versions, with maps of your community if you're not in Chicago.  

Finally, if you can help fund my work, please visit this page and send a contribution. 

12/28/2023 update - On the Mapping for Justice blog I posted this article, showing a STEM Opportunity Mapping project focused on nine Chicago South-side neighborhoods.

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