Thursday, September 28, 2023

Borrow ideas from my visualizations

I've been updating my visual essays for the past two months and now include statements calling on other cities to adopt the strategies I've piloted since 1993 in Chicago. 

Below is a "War on Poverty" essay, which shows planning steps needed to assure that every K-12 youth living in a high poverty area has access to well-organized, mentor-rich, non-school, tutor, mentor and learning programs.

Planning Cycle - War on Po... by Daniel F. Bassill

Below is one of the slides from this presentation.

In my blog articles, social media posts, and essays I encourage leaders from Chicago and other places to share these presentations and use maps the way I demonstrate, to focus attention and resources on areas with high poverty and to do the planning necessary to fill every poverty area with high quality, long-term, tutor, mentor and learning programs.  Voters should reward political leaders who do this.

Another presentation uses the Total Quality Mentoring graphic that I created in the 1990s to show donors how the tutor/mentor program I was leading connected inner-city teens to a wide range of workplace adults and learning opportunities.

Every spoke on the wheel of this graphic could represent youth and adult leaders who were sharing this blog article with people in their work, family, religious, alumni and social networks.

I created the essay below to explain this Total Quality Mentoring idea.

Total Quality Mentoring (TQ... by Daniel F. Bassill

In many of my updates I've added the map shown below, which shows that many cities in the USA have areas of concentrated poverty.  These are places that could be using my archives to build their own Tutor/Mentor Connection-type strategies.  

You can view this map and find a link to the article if you visit this MappingforJustice page

You can find links to almost all of my PDF essays on this page.  

I'd love to find posts on social media showing teachers, leaders, students, etc. sharing these ideas with people they know.  You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Mastodon (see links here).

I want to thank Joanne Telser-Frère of  Literacy Chicago, for reading my monthly newsletter, then sending me information about programs having moved to new locations, so I could update my map showing volunteer based youth tutor, mentor programs in the Chicago region.  I can't keep my information up-to-date without such help.

Thanks for reading. Please share.  Furthermore, if you can help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC please visit this page.


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Updating my Visual Essays

I started a retail adverting career at the Montgomery Ward Corporate Headquarters in Chicago in 1973. Every work day for the next 17 years I focused on visually communicating the sales promotions, merchandise and services offered to customers near 400 stores located in 40 states.  I think that's part of where my commitment to visual thinking comes from.

I was recruited to be a volunteer in the company-sponsored, employee-led, tutor/mentor programs in the fall of 1973 and selected to be its leader in the summer of 1975.  In the following years I applied many of my retail advertising lessons to how I communicated to volunteers and donors.  I'm still connected to Leo Hall, who I was matched with in 1973 when he was in 4th grade. 

Below is a graphic I created in 1986 to show the organizational chart of the tutoring program. 

I share this as a transition to how I've been using visual essays for the past 25+ years to communicate strategies of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in 1993, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, which I formed in 2011.

From August 1993 to mid 1999 we had offices on the 20th floor of the Montgomery Ward Corporate Office building, where we operated the Cabrini Connections Tutor/Mentor Program and from where we organized and led the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

I  used one entire wall to share our four part strategy and often would walk volunteers and potential donors and partners through that information.  Unfortunately, I often heard many say "He's really excited, but I don't know what he's talking about."   

That prompted me to start using desktop publishing and PowerPoint to create visualizations that I could share to communicate strategies.  I've been updating the collection for the past month and below are two that I finished updating this week.

A Role for Intermediaries and Consultants -

A Role for Intermediaries a... by Daniel F. Bassill

Collective Effort Required to Support Youth Mentoring Programs

Collective Effort Required ... by Daniel F. Bassill

These are just two of more than 60 essays that you can find on this page of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website. 

In 2011 I started putting these on because I was not getting a visit count from just embedding the PDF on my website.  In 2012 I began putting them on, too, because it had a different viewing format, and did not charge a fee to view the PDFs. bought Slideshare a couple of years ago, so it now charges a fee, too.  However, what I've learned is that while I can update new versions to, and keep the visit history and URL address, on Slideshare I need to upload a new version, and delete the old one.  That breaks all the links to the PDF that I've embedded in past blog articles.  If you open an article and the presentation is not appearing, that's the reason.

Thus, while I will keep updating the presentations on Slideshare, I will  probably point to the articles on more often in the future.

As I've updated these PDFs I've also personalized them to show that I'm the author of all of these essays, and now the sole person supporting the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (without any salary since 2011).  

I believe that every city with areas of concentrated poverty could use a map-based strategy like the Tutor/Mentor Connection so I invite people to look at the PDFs, decide if the strategy could be used in their own city, than create and share their own versions.

I say "don't reinvent the wheel".  Use what I 've learned over the past 30 years to jump-start your own efforts.

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Mastodon and I'll be happy to guide you through the library and discuss ways a university might take ownership of my archives, and support the growth of local tutor/mentor programs and intermediaries through the work of students, faculty and alumni.

In the meantime, to keep me going, and paying the bills, please visit this page and send a small contribution. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Recruiting Volunteers Continues

We launched the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago with a program survey in January 1994.  Using this we created our first list of tutor/mentor programs, hosted a first Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in May 1994 and published our first printed Directory, also in May 1994.

In August/September 1995 we used our list and Directory to organize a Chicagoland Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment Campaign, intending to draw volunteers to all of the programs in our lists.  Below is a T/MC Report newsletter from 1996, reporting on that year's recruitment campaign. 

I'm still trying to help Chicago area youth tutor, mentor and learning programs attract volunteers and I invite others to help me.  Below are a few programs who are sharing their stories on social media.

This is Tutoring Chicago on Instagram. Visit their website

This is Polished Pebbles on Twitter. Visit their website.

This is Chicago Youth Programs on Instagram. Visit their website

This is Link Unlimited on Facebook. Visit their website.

This is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America on Twitter. Visit the BBBS Chicago website

This is Mercy Home on Twitter. Visit their website.

These are not the only youth programs sharing their stories on social media. Some of the programs shown above post on multiple platforms.  Too many programs don't post much on social media at all. 

I've created lists showing programs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  You can browse these lists, and follow any of the programs that interest you (or follow all of them).  I don't yet have a list for programs posting information on LinkedIn, but many do. So far I've not found any programs using Mastodon. 

Below is my map showing volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in the Chicago area.

Find the map and my complete list of programs on this page.  All you need to do is visit some of the websites, then create a JPG image from a page on one or two sites, then post that with a website link on any of your social media sites.

As more people take that role we'll all be helping K-12 kids in Chicago and other cities get the extra help they need to succeed in school and move on to adult live, jobs and careers.

Please help me keep my lists updated. If you find broken links, or know of programs that are no longer operating, or that should be on my lists, send the information to me.  

Please connect with me on any of the social media platforms that I point to at this link.

And, if you can help with a contribution to Fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, please visit this page

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

This is what I was doing in 2001

In the archive section on this blog I've been sharing links to versions of my websites from 2001 and on.  My first website was actually created around 1998 by a volunteer from the Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program that I started in late 1992 and led through mid 2011.

Yesterday I looked at early versions of the website, which is now the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site.  Below are some interesting pages.

This is one page from the 2001 website was hosted on the ChicagoTribune platform.  The bottom paragraph describes the "Internet-Based Learning Network" that we had started building in the late 1990s. 

I had shared that 2001 site in an earlier post which you can view at this link. 

Cabrini Connections was a site-based tutor/mentor program that connected 7th to 12th grade inner-city Chicago teens with workplace volunteers.  As we formed that program late 1992 we began building a strategy to support similar programs in all high poverty areas of the Chicago region. We named that the Tutor/Mentor Connection and launched it in January 1994.  

Our main website was launched in 1998 and used as the name. In August 2000 as we were launching the annual citywide volunteer recruitment campaign, that site stopped working. A volunteer from the University of Kansas created a second site to share our list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs.  That was named

While the main site began working again within a few weeks, I've continued to use the site because it enabled me to share PDF essays that I had been creating.

Below is one of the earliest versions of the site, from April 2001.  

The three links in the top green box (left side) point to  OHATS T/MC,  T/MC Knowledge Center, and T/MC GIS mapping samples.  The second two point to external websites where the T/MC strategy was supported.  At the bottom left is a link to the Tutor/Mentor Connection main website, which, unfortunately does not open.

However, what fascinated me yesterday when I started looking at this archive was the first link, to OHATS T/MC.

We had received a small grant in 2000 to build an on-line documentation system (Organizational History and Tracking System), based on work being done at the University of Kansas. Open the page, or enlarge the image, to read more about what OHATS TMC was designed to do.

The link on the left side to "enter new information" opens this screen below. 

Open the link, or click the image to enlarge, and you can see the data-entry page and the type of information we were attempting to collect.  

Then click the "view latest T/MC Accomplishments" to see some of the information that had been collected, using the form shown above. 

From 2000 to 2004 we built use of this from by staff, board members and other tutor/mentor program leaders.  View this PDF showing a summary of documented actions from September 2000 to March 2002.  Then view this video about OHATS.   After 2004 use dropped because the site had little protection from spammers.  Often when I went to show someone the site, it opened to spammed messages.  Thus, use declined.

Then in late 2006 a volunteer from India offered to rebuild the site.  This is a view of the new version of OHATS, built in 2007 by his team from India.

The rebuilt site was fantastic, but other than myself, few people used it (due to the bad experience with the first version).  You can find this version on the Internet Archive (click here), but the graphics no longer can be seen since they were created using Flash Animation.  Then in 2018 Flash stopped working, and the site began having problems opening.  It's been off line since 2019.

Thus, until I found the 2001 version I could not easily show people what we were trying to build, or guide them to building their own version.  The team from India that rebuilt OHATS in 2008 used the 2001 website and 2002 PDF report to guide their development of the new site.

You can, too!

I did a little more searching of older versions of the site and this is from 2003. You can see how I had began to embed my PDF essays into the site.

In this page from the 2003 site you can see how I continued to support volunteer recruitment for all tutor, mentor and learning programs in the Chicago region.

Looking a few years further here is the site in 2008.

It was in 2008-9 that the current site was built.   

In 2011 when I created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, following the split from the original Cabrini Connections nonprofit, I decided to use the site as my primary website. I've been updating that site continually.  In hindsight, I should have named my new organization the Tutor/Mentor Exchange, LLC to avoid some of the confusion I'm sure I've created.

During all of this time I also maintained a site. Below you can see the homepage of the site built in 2006 by a team from IUPUI in Indianapolis.

In 2011 that site was updated with a new home page, which you can see below.

In this site I embedded PDF essays on the home page, the Chicago Program Links page and the web library page.  This site was hosted by a volunteer from the technology department at IUPUI from 2006 until it had to be taken off line in 2020.  Since then, I've pointed the URL to the site, so when you enter the address the TMI site opens.  This makes the old site difficult to find, even in the Internet Archive.

In describing these websites I'm also showing how volunteer talent was used to build and maintain the sites. My organization never had grant funding for this.  In fact, in 2009 a professional website design firm looked at all of our websites and created a set of designs for an upgraded version that would have created a unified message across all the sites.

We could not find the money to do the rebuild. 

I'm sharing all these sites and the past articles I've written with the goal of inspiring people in Chicago and other cities to engage students, volunteers and donors to build new, and better versions, of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, based on my archives and history.

Every city in the world has areas of concentrated poverty where people have unequal opportunity.  A Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy focuses daily attention on these areas and seeks to draw volunteers and donors to youth serving organizations to help them constantly improve their impact on the lives of kids in those areas and the volunteers who come to help them.

I hope you'll dig into these archives, and that you'll share these posts in your network. 

Thanks for reading. Please connect with me on one of these social media platforms

If you want to help me fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, visit this page. Your help would be greatly appreciated. 

Friday, September 08, 2023

How Many Tutor/Mentor Programs are Needed in Chicago?

 In 1994 when we were launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago, this Chicago Tribune front page showed 240,000 kids "at risk" because they were in "poverty's grip". 

The map in the Tribune article showed high poverty levels on the West and South sides of Chicago.  

This information has fueled my efforts to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow in these areas for the past 30 years.  I've continued to look for data and maps that showed this information at the neighborhood level and showed the number of kids enrolled in volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs.

The only time I was able to get close to this information was in 1997 when the Associated Colleges of Illinois used our data to determine how many kids were enrolled in exiting programs.

The map below was included in the report. The survey of 300 organizations showed that "fewer than 6% of Chicago's school-age population is reached by these tutor/mentor organizations". 

I included this map in a 1999 article I addressed to billionaires. Here's a link to a 2016 article that also includes the map.  Here's the link to the 1997 report

In 2011 I was able to get data from the Heartland Alliance that I used to show the number of kids, age 6 to 17, in each Chicago Community Area.  I was able to update that in 2018, and you can view that report below.

I wish there had been a program at a Chicago university that had been working with me and doing this research for the past 30 years, and using the data to guide public and private investment in high poverty areas.  There's been a ton of research, but none focused on increasing support for tutor/mentor programs or helping more grow where the data shows a need. 

So where are we in 2023?  Today I saw a post on Twitter that pointed me to an article by Chalkbeat Chicago.

This article shows that there has been a steady decline of low-income kids in many Chicago neighborhoods and that the percent of low income kids has declined significantly in some schools as more affluent families move into those neighborhoods. 

This article is full of percents, with no raw numbers or maps. So I did a search to determine how many students are currently enrolled in Chicago Public Schools.

I found this "Stats and Facts" page hosted by Chicago Public schools.  It shows 322, 106 students enrolled at the start of the 2022-23 school year, in 634 schools.  It also shows that 72.7 % are economically disadvantaged. 

I multiplied the total number of elementary school kids by 72.7% and show 132,772 low income kids. I multiplied the number of high school kids by the same percent and show 74,248 kids.  That totals 207,020 low income kids attending Chicago Public Schools.

This is significantly lower than the 240,000 number in the 1994 Chicago Tribune article, but it's still a huge number of kids who might benefit from well organized, non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs.

Over the past 10 years I've posted several articles inviting researchers to do market-research to provide information showing how many kids in different areas might benefit from tutor/mentor programs, and how many kids in those same areas were currently part of existing programs.

In one article I included maps like the one below.

In another article I included these two graphics

In another article I included this map of the United States, showing cities with high concentrations of poverty.

Each of these cities should have a research intermediary that borrows strategies piloted since 1993 by the Tutor/Mentor Connection, who collects and reports information that everyone else in that city can use to supply the resources needed to reach a higher percent of kids in high poverty areas with well-organized, mentor-rich, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs. 

Researchers in Chicago could use my lists of tutor, mentor and learning programs as a starting point in collecting data about "how many are served" and "in what locations". 

I've been sharing this message for nearly 30 years but far too few people have ever seen it, or have dug deep enough into the work I was doing to understand it, support it, and/or duplicate it in other cities.

Today's media reports just are another reminder that without a comprehensive system of support that provides excellent learning and teaching during the school-day hours, well organized enrichment in the after-school hours, and mentor-rich programs in the after 5pm, weekend and Internet hours, we'll reach too few kids with the long-term support many need.

Below is a graphic that I've shared often in my articles.

Be the YOU in this graphic. Share my articles with people in your own network.  Start a conversation. Get more people involved.  If you're part of a university, or a billionaire giving away a fortune, look for ways to embed the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy on a college campus.

Do it while I'm still alive to offer my help.

Thanks for reading. 

My social media links are on this page.   My FundT/MI page is here.  Help me if you can.

12/1/2023 update - Visit this section of the Tutor/Mentor library and find several dozen data platforms that you can use to understand where people need extra help. 

12/1/2023 update - view this concept map to see data platforms that you can use.

Friday, September 01, 2023

Building youth networks.

Below is a graphic I created in 1990s to show the range of adults from different backgrounds who were connecting with teens in the Chicago tutor/mentor program that I led from 1993 to 2011.

Note the pre-school through career timeline in the middle of the circle. This shows the multi-year support needed by kids living in high poverty areas, where too few of the people surrounding them work in the wide range of careers that more affluent kids are exposed to.  Note also the circle showing public school above the timeline and the 3pm-5pm and 5pm-8pm circles below the timeline. This shows that the 3-5pm non-school hours are the typical after-school program, needed in all areas where Mom and Dad have full-time jobs and kids need safe places during this time frame.

The 5pm-8pm timeframe is more unique to big cities where workplace volunteers are more able to become tutors and mentors in on-going programs. That was the timeframe when the programs I led operated. 

I did not realize until I read Dr. Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone book in the late 1990s that what we were doing was creating bridging social capital for our kids.  Around 2013 Putnam published another book, titled "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis" which I've written about often. 

In my graphic at the top of this article I show a hub and spoke design, where the hub represents a tutor/mentor program, or an individual youth. The spokes represent all the people who could be part of that youth's network, made possible by the family and community she is part of, or by the organized tutor/mentor program she is part of.

But how do we show this?  

At the left is another graphic that I've used for many years. In the mid 2000s I begin to learn about social network analysis, which is a tool for mapping connections between people and showing them in a visualization.  

Here are two articles written in the late 2000s where I introduce social network analysis, and one of it's pioneers, Valdis Krebs.  Click here and here

Yesterday I did a web search using the terms "tutor mentor push pull maps".  Below is a screen shot of the images from the top results on that search. Many of the images shown are from this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website. 

I often do searches like this to make sure my web content can be found if people are searching for terms that include "tutor mentor".  In this search I saw that there were some others who were mapping networks.

One was a mentoring network map from Lehigh University. 

The second was an Earth Sciences mentor network map.

Both of these graphics use a "hub and spoke" design, similar to mine.  Both are trying to teach people to "know their networks".   I encourage you to visit their websites and read more about their network mapping.  Learn from them and apply the ideas to your own program design. 

Here's another great resource.

In 2021 I connected with the Christensen Institute on Twitter and posted the graphic below in this blog article, titled "Digging Deeper into Social Capital Thinking".  

The Christensen Institute has a collection of articles on its website that focus on increasing social capital.  I also have a collection of links to social capital websites and research in the Tutor/Mentor library.  The more you know and understand these terms and how expanding social capital can be a strategy for creating opportunity while reducing violence, and improving workforce readiness, the more you might apply these ideas in your own work.  

So how are youth programs showing social capital in their program design and outcomes? Are they?

From posts I see and websites I review, I know many Chicago tutor/mentor programs are connecting inner-city kids with adults from diverse workplace backgrounds.  At the left is a post on Twitter from Chicago Youth Programs, Inc. Their website does a great job showing their long-term support for kids and families.  However, I don't see the term "social capital", although they certainly do help kids build their networks.

Furthermore, I don't know of many foundations funding youth programs based on their social capital-building designs.  I pointed to recent MENTOR research in this article, that shows how few foundations fund long-term operations. That's a problem. 

There's a lot to digest in this article. The two mentor network mapping sites that I point to above focus on adult-to-adult mentoring.  The Christensen Institute seems to focus on what schools can do to expand student networks.  

Thus, I don't see many using work of people like Valdis Krebs to figure ways to show how student networks expand over a period of years as a result of intentional program design, funded by committed philanthropic partners.

I'm still connected to Leo Hall, who I first met in 1973 when I was assigned to be his tutor/mentor.  He's one of many former students, volunteers and staff members whom I'm connected to on Facebook. 

I've dabbled with network analysis over the past 20 years.  In 2010 we set up this intern group on our Ning site, where our goal was to create a tool to map network growth.  That fizzled when I could not retain interns for more than a few months. 

In 2012 I created a network analysis map showing my Facebook followers. You can see the analysis in this PDF essay.   

I'd love to find student researchers who'd continue the network analysis work I point to above.  It's not something I can do on my own.

Are you doing this type of analysis?  How can we apply the network mapping graphics used in workplace mentoring to better understand the impact and program design of youth tutor/mentor programs?  How can we convince funders to provide operating dollars based on this information showing up on a youth program website?

Where are you connecting and talking about building social capital for youth in high poverty areas?  I host a list on Twitter that includes the people I've mentioned here.  I hope you'll connect.

Here's my list of Chicago youth tutor/mentor programs. Take a look. See which, if any, are building social capital through program design and which, if any, are writing about this in their blog, or strategy pages.  If you know these programs, connect them to articles like this on my blog.

Thanks for reading.  As usual, I encourage you to connect and follow me on social media and to visit this page and make a contribution to support my work.