Monday, March 27, 2023

What is a Tutor/Mentor Learning Network?

I've used this graphic for many years to visualize the role of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (T/MI) (2011-present) in connecting "people who can  help" with information they can use to support actions where they "help" people and organizations in places where maps show help is most needed.

In reviewing posts about Starting a new T/MC or About T/MI I saw that I've not included the presentation below, describing a Tutor/Mentor Learning Network.  

Tutor/Mentor Institute - Le... by Daniel F. Bassill

On page 12 of this presentation I show the graphic at the right.

I've been building a library of "everything we can know" since the early 1990s, which is the "information people can use" that I referred to above.

In this graphic I refer to "hubs" which are websites hosted by other people that are comprehensive resources focused on specific topics.  I don't need to host "everything" about a topic on my website if I can point to someone else who does.  Thus, today I added a link in the Prevention Resources section of my library to an organization called Start Your Recovery, which is a substance abuse resource. 

Many of the websites that I point to are "hubs" like this. 

On page 13 I show the graphic at the left.  If "hubs" link to each other more information is available through the network of libraries. 

Unfortunately, many of the people who I've added to my library, and/or who have asked to be added, do not have a section of resources where they point to my site, nor do they follow me on social media. 

That's true for the Start Your Recovery site, too. However, they do include an extensive directory, pointing to resources for substance abuse knowledge and recovery.  

On page 16 I show the graphic at the right.   If everyone in my library, including "hubs" like Start Your Recovery, were pointing to myself and each other in our websites and our social media and newsletters, we could increase attention and funding for each of us.

On page 23 of this presentation I show that my goal is that the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) strategy be embedded in one, or many, universities, where student/faculty and alumni manpower can do the work much better than my small organization has the capacity to do.

The presentation below shows this "Invitation to Universities".

Take time to review these. Set up a learning group in your university network, your business or your community to read these presentations and consider how you'd adopt the ideas, and how a major donor might provide the seed money.

You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Mastodon (see links here). I want to help people adopt these ideas and carry them forward, using the library and history I've established over the past 30 years as a building block.

As I share this information and seek leaders who will adopt and support this strategy in more places, I still rely on a small group of donors to help me pay the bills to continue operating the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

Please visit this page and consider sending a contribution. 

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Talking about social capital

I was invited to participate in a chat on Twitter this week, hosted by the Christensen Institute, using the hashtags #SoCapChat_CI  and #EconomicMobility.  Their goal was "to help connect the people/organizations who are discussing social capital and economic mobility".  Click on the links and scroll through the Tweets that were posted and you'll gain an understanding of what was discussed. 

As I participated, I shared ideas from my own collection of social capital articles on this blog. Below is one example. During the chat I posted a Tweet to my friends at @NodeXL and asked if they would create a graph showing participation.  Below was the result. You can view the graph as this link

This graph shows that 116 Twitter users participated in the chat. If you zoom in you can see who these people are and who they connected with. 

I think expanding networks of adults supporting youth in high poverty areas is important and that organized, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are one strategy for doing this. I created the graphic below in the 1990s to visualize the type of support network that such programs might provide.

Unfortunately too few people who lead youth programs include the idea of expanding social capital in the information they share on their websites.  Too few youth program representatives were in this week's chat, and too few donors, policy-makers and/or business representatives were participating.  

Hopefully a chat like this will be repeated every few months and more people from the ecosystem will show up on NodeXL maps.  I'll try to help make that happen.

Below is one of my concept maps, showing intermediaries who support youth serving programs in Chicago. 

Each node on the top half of this concept map includes links to the organizations shown.  I follow all of them on social media and participate in virtual events that they host.  I try to generate deeper conversations, such as one I had yesterday with a team from Northwestern and the Chicago STEM Co-op.  

Ideally there would be on-going chats hosted by these groups on Twitter and NodeXL type maps would show participation of multiple organizations from my concept map in each of these chats.  In addition, while many are now hosting face-to-face meetings, I urge them to add virtual components.  One reason is that COVID is not over for many of us. A second, is that I feel each participant in a virtual meeting has a closer connection to the speakers and to other participants.  In a room of 100 or more that is not happening. 

Chicago will have a new Mayor after the April election.  I've been sharing posts on Twitter, inviting the two candidates to look at strategies I've been sharing and incorporate those ideas in their own plans. 

I have been sharing these ideas since the mid 90s.  Maybe in the coming months and years we will see evidence that staff from the new mayor are looking at this blog and borrowing the ideas.

One piece of evidence would be chats about "how to help kids in Chicago" on Twitter, with NodeXL maps showing participation from a broad section of city leaders and citizens.

I'm available to help mentor that process.  Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Mastodon (or all of them). See links here

If you want to help me continue this work, visit this page and use PayPal to send a small contribution.

Thank you for reading. 

7-19-2023 update - read this new research report about mentoring, social capital and philanthropy. Download report at this site

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Habitat for Humanity and LinkedIn

I was invited by LinkedIn to join a conversation led by Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, who wrote about how he translates a bold mission into action. In the LinkedIn interview, Jonathan shared tips about how to combine the urgency of field work with a careful strategic focus on societal issues. 

LinkedIn's message to me was:  'If you also are trying to change individual lives – and society – at the same time, it would be great to include your story in the conversation, too. Check out the active discussion around this post and then add your perspective."

I started to do that then found that there was not enough space. So I'm posting my comments here.

I first connected with Habitat for Humanity in the 1990s. I felt that they had a great opportunity to educate the people who were building houses and providing funding about the greater issues that caused there to be a need for the organization in the first place.

Below is a map story that my organization created.

Since houses are built following plans laid out in blueprints, I felt that organizations like this would be unique in their ability to help people think of "all the things that need to be done, in the proper sequence" to help reduce the poverty surrounding so many people.

People who entered this work as carpenters and home builders could become disciples who turned around and got more people involved in other work that needed to be done. Imagine if that had been happening across the country for the past 30 years.

I led volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago from 1975 to 2011 and created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to help similar programs grow in all high poverty areas, and constantly improve how they help kids through school and into adult lives free of poverty. In the programs I led I shared a library of information I had been collecting, in an effort to educate our volunteers and turn them into evangelists for tutoring/mentor programs.

Thus, my suggestion to Habitat for Humanity was based on my own leadership efforts for the previous 20 years. 

In 1993 we started building a list of nearly 150 Chicago tutor/mentor programs and connecting them to us and each other via conferences and newsletters that library became available to every program, along with the goal that each was educating their volunteers so more people were focusing on all the work needed to help kids to careers.

As the Internet became a tool our library expanded and so did the number of people potentially using that information.  

In early 2000s I posted a list of eLearning goals on this page of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website.  Imagine if thousands of nonprofits who focus on youth, education, poverty, inequality, etc. were all contributing ideas to concept maps like the one below, which represents a blueprint leaders could follow in every part of the country.

Creating a library and drawing users to it is a huge challenge, in a single organization, and across organizations.  Below is a 4-part strategy that I launched in 1993 and have followed since then.

Step 1 focuses on collecting information about a problem and potential solutions.  Step 2 focuses on building public awareness and drawing people to the information being collected. Step 3 focuses on helping people understand the information and ways to apply what they are learning.  Step 4 uses maps to focus actions on all high poverty areas within any geographic region, instead of just a few high profile places. 

I think any organization can adopt this strategy, and help innovate ways to build a larger, and larger, collection of people who give time, talent, dollars .... and votes, to build the systems needed in every high poverty zip code to "change individual lives, and society, at the same time".

However, it's 2023 and as a nation we're not even close to the type of connected ecosystem that I envisioned in the late 1990s and when I posted our eLearning goals.  Thus, there's still much, much more that needs to be done.

Maybe LinkedIn can help make that happen. 

Thanks for reading.

I hope to connect with you on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Mastodon. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Creating more luck for kids in high poverty areas

St. Patrick's Day is coming so I'm reposting a few past articles where I talk about creating better luck, and brighter futures, for kids born or living in high poverty areas of Chicago and other places.

Here's an article I posted in 2019 saying "We Need a Lot More Good Luck in the World Today".  That was before Covid! 

I wrote this article in 2018, with the headline of "Solving Complex Problems. Do the Homework. Make your own Luck". 

In 2017 the headline of this article was "Hard Work, Creative Thinking Brings Good Fortune"

The first time I used this graphic was in this 2014 article with the headline of "Change Fortune for Youth in High Poverty".  

I started this blog in 2005.  Since St. Patrick was a religious symbol, here's an article I wrote in 2005 about making religion relevant. 

We need that in 2023 much, much more than we did in 2005, which is saying an awful lot about how times have changed.

I ended my St. Patrick's Day articles with a link that would help change my own luck, and ability to keep posting these articles. You can help. Visit this page and use PayPal to send a contribution to help fund Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Building Future Youth Program Leaders - ChatGPT article

On March 20, 2019 I wrote this article about the role universities could take in growing future leaders, and supporters, of youth tutor/mentor programs. The title was "Tipping Point - Growing and Supporting Future Leaders"

A couple of weeks ago during a ZOOM reunion with educators I'd met via the #ETMOOC event held in January 2013 we started talking about ChatGPT, which is an artificial intelligence tool used for writing articles.  We decided to create a mini MOOC to explore this and help each other learn to use it.

I've never used ChatGPT before but I looked at this video and decided to give it a test today. 

My interest is in how I, or others, could use Chat GPT to rewrite my past blog articles, making them more readable, and more interesting.  I used the March 20, 2019 article. After a few prompts, below was the result:

Begin ChatGPT version - 

Tutor/mentor programs are essential to helping young people from underserved communities succeed in school and prepare for successful careers. Universities have a critical role to play in building future leaders for these programs and fostering support from businesses and philanthropists to help them grow in more places.

While it's important to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to build and lead mentor-rich youth-serving organizations, it's also essential to recognize that only a few graduates from each university will become leaders and staff in these programs. Most will go on to careers in business, entertainment, medicine, and other fields. However, universities can still play a vital role in supporting these graduates to be proactive in providing ongoing funding to support the few who do become directly involved with tutor/mentor programs.

To achieve this vision, universities could offer a comprehensive four to six-year master's or PhD program, starting in the freshman year of college, designed to train students to become effective tutors and mentors and to build and lead successful youth-serving organizations. This program could include coursework in education, psychology, social work, leadership, grant writing, fundraising, and program management, essential for building and sustaining successful tutor/mentor programs.

Students could participate in on-going practical learning, serving in existing programs and reaching youth as young as elementary school. This service could be tied to coursework being studied on campus at different points over their college career. The program could also offer opportunities for students to connect with local tutor/mentor programs, as well as networking events with business and community leaders who are passionate about education and youth development.

Additionally, universities could provide ongoing post-graduation support to both the few graduates who become directly involved with tutor/mentor programs and the majority who go into other fields. By training all graduates to be proactive in providing ongoing funding and support for these programs, universities can help to create a sustainable network of programs that can make a real difference in the lives of young people.

By investing in the development of future leaders who are committed to this cause and supporting ongoing funding and support for these programs, universities can help to build a strong and sustainable network of programs that can make a real difference in the lives of young people. By working together, we can create a future in which all young people have access to the resources and support they need to succeed in school and in life.

---- end ChatGPT version ----

I think this is a pretty good summary of what I've been trying to say to universities through articles in this section, and in this section, of this blog. 

Students in high school and college who are exploring artificial intelligence writing tools such as ChatGPT, could do what I did today and pick out articles on this blog and explore ways to rewrite them to help share the ideas with people at their schools and in their communities.

I've only begun my exploration. One thing that ChatGPT did not do was pick up the many images I've embedded in my articles or the links I embed to other articles or other websites.  That might be possible, but I don't know (and I'm only using the FREE version). 

I'm creating an archive to show my exploration and once I have a few articles I'll share it via my Google Drive so others can see how I asked multiple questions and looked at multiple revisions.  

Below is a graphic created by an intern from South Korea, vis IIT in Chicago,  in 2013.

View the graphic on this page and find more articles showing intern work on this blog. These show work interns did between 2006 and 2015 to build and share understanding of ideas I've shared since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.

A blog like this could be at every university and high school in the country (or the world) sharing work students have done to communicate these ideas, using any tool available to them, including ChatGPT.

The key point in all of my articles is that this work needs to be on-going, for multiple decades, and reaching youth in EVERY high poverty area of Chicago and other places.  Strategies that support on-going involvement are needed in every city and they need to last beyond the term of any Mayor, Governor or President.

If you're already doing this please share links to your work.