Thursday, July 27, 2023

Demise of Twitter. Rise of Blogs?

If you search this blog for "Twitter" you'll find numerous examples, dating back to before 2013, where I've embedded Tweets or used links to Twitter accounts, like, my @tutormentorteam, to draw readers to the people and ideas I've found on that platform.

If you've visited my account you'll see an extensive use of lists, to help me narrow my focus on who I'm learning from, and to help others find tutor/mentor programs in Chicago.  Below is one example.

This is my Twitter list of Chicago tutor, mentor and learning programs. 

Now, with the recent degrading of Twitter, including changing the name to X, that platfom is losing its value. Perhaps it will go away, like so many past platforms like YahooGroups, Google+, etc. 

In my worst dreams, all the links I've embedded in this blog that point to Twitter will no longer work. Those posts won't even be available in the Internet archive.  What a tragic loss of knowledge, for me, and for millions of others who have used Twitter as a resource. 

I hope it does not happen. But ....

Maybe blogs will rise to greater importance.  

With that in mind, here are some resources.  First, is the library of blogs that I've been building since the mid 2000s.  You can find my lists on this page

Next, take a look at my lists of blogs on  This link points to #clmooc network blogs that I follow.  You can see on the graphic that I have many categories. is valuable because it shows the latest article posted by each blogger, along with past articles.  I check this at least once a week to see latest blog articles from some of the people I first met on Twitter.  There is a small monthly fee to use this site, but it's an archive that I value. 

You know, I  might have paid the $8 monthly fee Musk was demanding if it weren't done in such a hard-handed manner.  

I'm not the only one collecting links to blog articles. I recently pointed to this list, curated by Kevin Hodgson, an educator from Western Massachusetts.

Here's another platform that is sharing links to educator bloggers. This was created by Susan Spellman, an educator from Western Canada, for the #ETMOOC2 learning group.

In my library, and on my page I have sub-lists of blogs by tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and beyond.  I have consistently encouraged the use of blogs by non-profit youth-serving organizations, but too few still do this.  Furthermore, of those who do use blogs, they mostly are using them to share fundraising information. Too few write about the challenges they face or the strategies they use to help connect kids and volunteers in on-going relationship.

Many of the blogs I included in my library and on contain links to other blogs. Below if an example.  This blog is written by Terry Elliott, an educator from Kentucky, who I met on Twitter.  I'm honored to be included on his lists. 

I do the same on this blog.  Look on the left side below the tags and you'll find a list of links to other sites I host, and to some of the blogs I follow.  If you write a blog, you can do this, too.

I've used concept maps since 2005 to show information in my library and to share strategies for helping build and sustain long-term, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs. 

Below is a concept map showing other organizations in Chicago who serve as intermediaries, like the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, helping groups of youth-serving organizations.

Open the links under each node and visit the website of the organization. Look around. You may find a blog by the organization, but do you see a section showing links to blogs by members of their network (the organizations they are supporting?)  

That's not happening. But with your encouragement, it could.

I'm still using Twitter, but I also use LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Mastodon, YouTube and other social media platforms. You can find links to my sites on this page.

Since I started using these platforms in the late 2000s their value has declined. When I started using LinkedIn I joined many groups, and started my own. There was a lot of interaction.  Now, while I'm still part of these groups, I visit them much less often.  

Facebook as had the same trajectory. What started out as a great way to connect and share ideas has become far less than that.  It's still a great place to connect with distant family, college friends and alumni of the tutor/mentor programs I led, but it does not have the same range of interactions as I found on Twitter.

Note. I do not buy advertising on these platforms, which is why my reach is so low. I don't have the money to do that.

So, with Twitter declining in value, maybe it's time to try to give renewed attention to sharing and exchanging ideas via blogs.  

Thanks for reading. Please subscribe to this blog and share it with your network.  Add a link to my blogs in your own library. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

New Research on Mentoring Shows Funding Challenges

This week I received a new report from MENTOR, titled "Opportunities to Invest in Long-Term Social Capital for Our Youth: A Philanthropic Agenda."  You can download the report from this page. 

Below is a passage from the report's introduction:

I highlighted the part that said "A striking data point from the study's survey showed that most funders want to invest in long-term positive changes (71%), yet none expected outcomes to take five to ten years.  Instead, the majority of funders said they expected to see outcomes in just one to two years."

I've used the graphic below for many years to show that kids in middle school require four to six years of continuous support just to finish high school and another four to six to get through college. Even then, if they don't have people in their network who can help open doors to jobs, that degree may not be enough to help them reach their full potential.

The kids in the photo on the left were part of the Cabrini Connections program in the mid 1990s. We operated in the third time frame, after 5pm, when workplace volunteers were more consistently available to serve as tutors and mentors and program leaders.  The photo at the right is one of the teens shown on the left, who was the graduation speaker in 2010.  I'm connected to her and many other alumni on Facebook, and thrilled to see many of them with advanced college degrees and many showing photos of their own kids finishing high school and college.

I could not have convinced donors in the mid 1990s that this was the long-term outcome we wanted. Thus we struggled each year to patch together the funds needed to operate.  Ultimately, this was the fundamental reason I left Cabrini Connections in 2011 and formed the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to try to continue supporting the city-wide strategies of the T/MC. 

If you read the MENTOR report you'll see that many other programs, in 2023, are struggling the same way.

This entire blog, written since 2005, and the website, launched in 1998, offer ways to change how programs are funded, and how this can lead to constantly improving non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach kids in more high poverty areas....which is where long-term, mentor-rich programs are most needed.

This graphic was created by an intern from South Korea nearly 10 years ago, who was prompted by a similar graphic in articles like this from 2009.  

The goal is that groups of people gather regularly, like people in faith groups do, or people in high school or college classes, or in business, to look for ways to solve problems, using information that I and others aggregate in web libraries and share in articles like this.

Below is a graphic showing part of a Tutor/Mentor blog article written in 2009, 25 years after the murder of Ben Wilson in Chicago.

I highlighted "We are still having this conversation 25 years after the death of Ben Wilson because the writers ..... don't focus on ways to build a consistent flow of operating dollars to help constantly improving youth serving programs be in all the neighborhoods where kids need this help, for dozens of years, not just for one workshop, or for one intensive intervention...."

That's just about what the MENTOR report was saying.  

So what can you do? Form a learning circle, just as the graphic above suggests.  Read something every week, then talk about what it means and how the ideas might apply where you are, and based on who you are.  

Every one of my articles has tags at the bottom, which you can see at the left side of this blog.  You can use these to focus your discussions.

Or you can go to my Wakelet page and look at collections of blog articles. 

Or, you can visit this Tumblr site and look at the articles I've posted there, which represent most of the key ideas I've been sharing.

As you do your learning share your understanding and ideas with your own graphics, concept maps, videos, etc.  

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. and share your work with me so I can learn from you and share your ideas with my own network.

The MENTOR research shows the challenges and a path forward.  It's not a new path, because I and others have pointed to these challenges for many years.

The question is, will you say ENOUGH, and begin to take actions so we're not having this conversation again in 25 years? 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Role YOU can take. Read. Share.

I've been writing this blog since 2005 as part of a strategy launched in 1993 to help kids living in high poverty areas have access to well-organized, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that operate in the non-school  hours.

The articles are intended for program leaders, volunteers, policy makers, resource providers, business, volunteers and virtually anyone who is concerned about poverty, inequality, workforce development and/or democracy.

search on Google for "tutor mentor" and any of these words.

This graphic shows the tags on the left side of this blog, with the larger size type representing more articles with that tag. This was created in 2016 so there are a few more categories in the tag list now, but if you browse the list you'll find them.  Just open any of the tags, then scroll through the articles.

As a shortcut to help you find a few articles that provide a broad overview of what I'm writing about, visit this Tumblr site, where I've archived about a dozen articles pulled from this blog.

I've also created a few boards on my Wakelet accout that also help you focus on specific topics.

I don't expect anyone to read every article in a day, or a year. However, if you follow current articles and browse past articles from time-to-time you'll begin to understand the ideas I'm sharing and hopefully, you'll want to share them via your own blog, meetings, social media, etc.

What I do hope is that some of you will write your own reviews and share this information via your own communications channels.

In this concept map I point to some people who have done that. I'd love to add more.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week. 

If you value this work please visit this page and use the PayPal button to send me some financial support.  

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Communicating long-term strategies

We created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and launched a survey in January 1994 to determine who was offering various forms of organized volunteer-based tutor and/or mentor programs in the city of Chicago.  We published that in a printed Directory in May 1994 as we hosted our first Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference.

Our goal was to help programs attract greater public attention and a greater flow of resources to support their efforts.  Our goal also was to enable programs to learn from each other, so every program was constantly improving their impact on kids and volunteers.

I'm still doing that in 2023.

Below are two Tweets that I posted over the past few days.

The first points to the Chicago Scholars website.

 The second points to the Chicago Youth Programs, Inc. website.
In each I'm highlighting how the organization is sharing a multi-year youth support strategy.  They each do it differently, and they each start their support at different ages in a child's life. But, their websites provide plenty of reasons for a parent to want to get their child enrolled, for a volunteer to join, and for a donor to provide the operating dollars each program needs annually to continue these services.

While we did the planning to start the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 we launched our own Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program in January 1993. We communicated our Success Steps strategy via printed material in the 1990s then via websites until I left the organization in 2011. This PDF shows that strategy.

I have not published a printed Directory since 2003. Instead we built an on-line search page in 2004 and a map-based directory in 2008 (both now only available as archives) and supported these with this list of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs.   

Chicago Scholars and Chicago Youth Programs are both on these lists, along with more than 200 other youth serving programs operating in the Chicago region and many more operating around the USA and abroad.

I keep sharing this information with the goal that schools and youth serving organizations will use it as a resource to build and sustain k-12 tutor/mentor and learning programs in more high poverty areas.

Furthermore, it's my goal that teams from these same school and non-school programs spend time looking at websites of these organizations to find others who are doing a good job of communicating their strategies and who have developed long-term support programs. 

As they discover these examples they can then share them with social media posts and blog articles, just as I am doing.  

That will result in drawing greater attention to every program, encouraging constant improvement, and influencing what donors do to provide the operating dollars necessary for programs to become great, then stay great, over a period of many years. 

Young people (and adults) who take this role are learning to be the YOU in this graphic.  They will learn that it takes a constant effort to mobilize attention and draw people together to help youth tutor/mentor programs grow in all the places where they are most needed. 

These lessons apply to any problem solving, not just to building youth-serving programs.

I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Mastodon, Instagram (not yet Threads).  See links on this page.  Let's connect.

Thanks for reading. I hope you'll share this article.

That's me in this picture, with Leo, who I was matched with in 1973.  Leo called me a few days ago to ask what I knew about ChatGPT!  That's an example of long-term connections made possible by a multi-year, volunteer-based tutor/mentor program.  

Chicago and other place need more programs like Chicago Scholars, Chicago Youth Programs, etc. and the ones I led for 35 years.  

Monday, July 10, 2023

Resources to help you help kids

A few years ago I created a blog article with links to all the various resources that I've been sharing for the past 20+ years. I shared this article in these two Twitter posts. Here's the second Take time to browse the article and learn what's there. Then bookmark the site and use as an on-going reference.

Tomorrow I'll be sending out my July 2023 Tutor/Mentor eNews.  It focuses on summer planning that leads to better youth programs in the fall.  The resources in my blog article can be used in any place where leaders want to do more to help kids through school and into adult lives. 

All of the links I point to in my library represent pieces of a huge ecosystem of people and organizations and ideas that need to be connected in on-going idea-sharing, relationship-building, mutual-support, etc. that leads to more creative and effective ways to reach kids in high poverty areas with on-going support that leads them through school and into adult lives, with jobs that enable them to live where ever they want, and raise their own kids free of poverty. 

Here's one article that talks about building this ecosystem.  And, here's an article that describes the learning goals of such an ecosystem. 

I'm now 76 and every day I'm thinking about who might take ownership of this library, my archives, and the vision I've piloted over the past 25+ years.  Universities would be ideal places because of a constant flow of new students into their learning ecosystem who say for four to eight years then move on into society where (hopefully) they apply what they learned for the rest of their lives.

This article shows that vision. Please share it with people who might fund such a program at one or more universities.  

Thanks for reading. If you share my articles you're already taking a leadership role.  Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mastodon (not yet on Threads).  

If you're able, please consider a small contribution to help me fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. Visit this page

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Helping Youth in High Poverty Areas

The first half of 2023 is behind us and the rest of the year, and our lives, is in front of us. What will we do with that time to help America and the world overcome the complex challenges we face?

In this article I'm going to describe a role anyone, from middle school student to senior citizen, can take on a daily basis. I hope you'll read it and share with your network.

First, my work focuses on helping volunteers from different business and life backgrounds connect with economically disadvantaged young people, in well-organized, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs. While these can operate at schools, I point to the non-school hours as  a time frame where volunteers might make longer commitments.

This article is part of a 4-part strategy, described here. This can be applied to any cause, not just youth tutoring/mentoring.

The graphic below illustrates the need for year-round planning, and the long-term work required to help a youth grow from first grade, to first job.

In my role as a leader of a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program, from 1975-2011, I saw myself as an intermediary. I recruited youth and volunteers, provided training and learning materials, and helped them stay connected for one or more years. Some stayed connected for many years. I'm still connected to the boy I started tutoring in 1973, when he was in 4th grade and to many other students who were part of these programs.

Below is a 'thank you' I received in 2023 from a former student.  (click to enlarge)

This is what motivates me to continue urging others to help mentor-rich non-school programs grow in more places. 

In my role as leader of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in 1993, and continue to lead via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, I'm still a facilitator, but trying to help volunteers and donors connect with more than 200 Chicago area youth serving organizations (see list and map).

At the same time I'm trying to motivate leaders, volunteers and donors to connect with each other, share ideas, borrow best practices, and constantly improve their impact on youth and volunteers.  This graphic illustrates that facilitation role and motivation to influence both sides of the solution.

I held retail advertising roles with the Montgomery Ward company from 1973-1990 and understood the power of advertising to educate and attract customers to the 400 different stores we operated in 40 states.  While I was developing my skills as a tutor/mentor program leader from 1975 to 1990, I saw how inconsistent media, business or government was in maintaining consistent attention and a flow of talent and operating dollars to the different tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago.

Thus, when I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, a key part of the strategy was to increase the number of stories that drew attention to tutoring/mentoring programs throughout the region.  This 1994 Chicago Tribune article shows a commitment that I've sustained for the past 30 years.

This is one of many news articles generated from the T/MC strategy.  They all aim to draw people to information they can use to support their own learning about where and why volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are needed, and actions they and groups they are part of can take to support the growth of programs in different parts of the city, or throughout the city.

This graphic illustrates the goal of forming reading circles/study groups in business, universities, faith groups, schools, etc.  It includes maps, to emphasize the need to focus attention on all high poverty neighborhoods of the city and suburbs, not just a few.

From 1993 to 2000 T/MC built a year-round calendar of events, that could be supported by anyone, in an effort to draw on-going resources to existing youth serving organizations.  

If such a strategy enlists enough leaders, both high profile, and low profile, and continues for multiple years, more people will become involved, drawing and increasing flow of operating resources into every high poverty long as someone is maintaining a master-list of organizations operating in the region.

This year-round strategy is described in this pdf and in many others. Leadership strategies are shown here.  Since 2011 I've not had resources or partners to organize these events, and never had much support, even in the 1990s.  However, they remain a template, and strategy that needs to be adopted in Chicago and in other cities.

We're just entering July.
 Over the next six weeks if you share this article and others in this blog and from the Tutor/Mentor Institute web site, you have time to develop a communications strategy from your church, business, political office, sports team, or recording company, that talks about how youth in high poverty neighborhoods need more non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs to help them stay focused on school and on college and careers.  You can point to sections of my Chicago youth programs list, or create your own list.

This spring I participated in an on-line "Learning about AI and ChatGPT" MOOC for several weeks, which I wrote about in this article. Participants were encouraged to write blog articles, which are aggregated here.  They also were encouraged to participate in Twitter chats and interactions using #ETMOOC2 hashtag.

A version of this could be in place in Chicago by September, or by November, engaging people from the entire region in conversation about what tutor/mentor programs are available and what they do and where they are most needed, or where more are needed. They could be talking about innovative ways businesses are supporting programs with employee time, talent and dollars or ways faith groups are engaging their congregations in study groups.

By next July we could begin to see a citywide strategy moving into its second year, if just a few people read and apply these ideas over the next six weeks. Imagine what the future might look like if this strategy were in every major city, and continued for the next 30 years! 

Read more about ways you can make a difference:

* Unleash your personal power - click here.
* Rest of the Story strategy - click here
* Community Information Collection - click here

If you'd like to sponsor such a web site and forum, or support this strategy in any other way, let's connect. Here's a page showing some of my social media locations.

If you can help me continue to share this information please visit this page and make a small contribution. 

Or visit this page and see my vision for universities adopting the Tutor/Mentor Connection and updating it for the next few decades of work.  If you have the wealth, you could endow such a program on one or more college campuses. The strategy is needed in every urban area of the world.