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Riots in Chicago Led to Formation of many Non-School Tutor/Mentor Programs.
However, no comprehensive strategy developed to make such programs available in all high poverty neighborhoods.
April 2015 - Issue #141                                     Sharing ideas, connecting adults and youth, since 1993
In This Issue
May Tutor/Mentor Conference
Be Part of Solution

The ideas shared in this monthly newsletter can be used by resource providers, political leaders, non profit leaders, volunteers and youth to help mentor-rich programs thrive in all of the neighborhoods where they are most needed.

If the newsletter does not format correctly in your email, or if you want to see this newsletter graphics and maps click this link:   


Share this with others who want to help youth in your city. 

Comprehensive Plan Needed - 1993 Article

The newspaper story below says "Poverty in Chicago is greater than it was 20 years earlier because the city has no comprehensive battle plan." This was a 1993 article. The city still has no battle plan to make comprehensive birth-to-work programs available in all of the high poverty neighborhoods of the city. Such a plan would need to address the flow of operating resources, talent and ideas to every neighborhood.
(see image in blog article


In the mid 1960s race riots in Chicago prompted the Chicago Housing Authority to reach out to businesses and faith groups to form non-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programs. Many of those who responded no longer exist, due, in part, to the challenges of providing continuous funding and talent.
The riots in Ferguson, Baltimore and who knows where next, emphasize the need for comprehensive responses that engage all sectors of metropolitan areas of Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, Houston, New York and other cities.   


This is a graphic that outlines seven stages of planning that will lead to the  comprehensive , on-going actions that communities need to take to address the root causes of poverty with a wide range of age-appropriate programs and services. ( see video)
Step 7, is one that the Tutor/Mentor Connection has focused on since being created in 1993. We need to innovate ways to build and sustain an on-going public education and commitment building/sustaining process...without the massive amounts of advertising dollars available to business and political leaders.
The ideas I share in this monthly newsletter, and on my web sites, are intended to support what people and organizations do to help such programs grow in cities across America. 


The Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences were created as part of an on-going effort to draw more attention and support to all of the existing tutor/mentor programs in Chicago.
Year Round Strategy
Your participation in the next conference, on Friday, May 8, helps build visibility for volunteer-based non-school tutoring/mentoring and learning programs as part of the solution.  It's an opportunity for well organized programs to share ideas with emerging programs. It's an opportunity for people in neighborhoods to form learning groups that dig deeper into ideas and research that helps build a more comprehensive system of responses.
The next conference is Friday, May 8 at the Metcalfe Federal Building.  Show your support by registering and attending. Add your support by pointing to the conference on your Twitter and Facebook pages.

See Agenda:  click here

Speaker Bios: click here


Fees have been lowered to encourage participation. Group rates still available.  

Look at conference participation
Since 2010 I've been trying to map conference participation using network analysis and GIS mapping.  Visit this blog to see participation maps for 2008 and 2009.  Visit this page to see a 2015 project with Indiana University.  

Other organizations hosting events in Chicago on same dates as Tutor/Mentor Conference.  One of the challenges of building a comprehensive strategy is that there are a fragmented network of leaders organizing their own events to focus attention on parts of the problem.  As Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC pilots uses of maps to show event participation, we aim to make the process available to others, or influence how they map their own event participation.
Read more about network building on this article. See how this is critically important to building and sustaining long-term comprehensive responses to the race, poverty and inequality issues facing cities and states. Find more articles like this on the Tutor/Mentor Blog.


Questions? Please contact Dan Bassill at

You can be part of the solution!

common needs  

Every youth serving organization in Chicago (and other cities) requires a constant flow of dollars and volunteers to sustain on-going work.


Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC maintains a list of Chicago non-school tutoring and/or mentoring programs, organized by sections of the city and suburbs.  Click here.


We've created a list of organizations with Facebook pages. Click here.

Here's how you make a difference.  
Browse these lists. Get to know one or more programs.  "Like" and "follow" one or more programs on Facebook. Give them "shout outs" on Twitter and other Social Media. Encourage friends, co-workers, others to do the same. Do this weekly. Read more. 


Quarterly events

This is a role "third party" volunteers can take. If you want to help youth in poverty, help them get the attention, volunteers, talent and dollars each program needs.


At key times each year, use #hashtags that focus on what's trending at that time of year, such as #volunteer_recruitment as school starts in the fall.


This is a low cost, personal responsibility response, to the stories you're reading in today's newspaper. It's a first step to greater involvement.


This is a strategy that is needed in every city with large pockets of concentrated poverty. If you don't have a master list of tutor/mentor programs, you can start this strategy by searching for youth organizations in your zip code, using sites like


However, if you're not mapping locations of programs, and breaking the information down by type of program and age group served, you need to support someone who will take this role.


Contact Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and we'll share what we've learned in trying to do this work for the past 20 years.


President's Message.  


If you agree that making extra adult support available to help youth in high poverty areas move through school and into adult lives....


One of the companies that responded to the Chicago Housing Authority call for help in the mid 1960s was the Montgomery Ward Corporation in Chicago. Employee volunteers launched an after work tutoring program that began to meet elementary school kids living in the Cabrini Green neighborhood of Chicago. While starting with a few employees, the program grew and in 1970 moved its weekly meetings to the Montgomery Ward headquarters building at 600 W. Chicago Avenue.
I joined that program as a volunteer in 1973, having joined the company as a retail advertising copywriter earlier that year. In 1975 I became the volunteer leader. At that time we were starting each school year with 100 pairs of kids/volunteers, with 90% being employees of Montgomery Ward.  Over the next 15 years as my advertising career grew, so did the tutoring program. By 1990 it was hosting 300 pairs of youth/volunteers at three weekly sessions. 90% came from companies throughout the Chicago region. 10% had volunteered 5 to 25 consecutive years.


When I started leading the Wards program in 1975 I had no experience doing this. However, I began inviting leaders of other programs to gather and share ideas, and I began to collect articles from a wide range of sources. I learned how to lead a tutor/mentor program as a result of this process.



My advertising work with Montgomery Ward showed me the importance of spending money every week to educate customers and draw them to our stores.

My work with the Wards Tutoring Program showed me that leaders need to communicate regularly to volunteers to build their involvement. However, volunteers don't have a lot of time, or talent, to do this.

During the 1975-1992 period media stories highlighted the crisis of poverty, race and inequality with occasional front page stories, like these.

However, these were not done with a purpose of motivating readers to become supporters existing non-school tutor/mentor and learning programs in poverty neighborhoods. After a few days stories move to other topics. Advertising has to be consistent, repeated often, and reach a wide range of potential customers (volunteers, donors, parents, etc.).

The Tutor/Mentor Connection was created in 1993 to fill this void. I encourage you to view this 1998 PDF showing a plan that had developed between 1993 and 1997.  It invited business and leadership support...but for many reasons was not able to get this consistently.

The Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC was created in 2011 to continue to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy in Chicago, and to help it grow in other cities.

The riots in Baltimore and St. Louis show that a comprehensive battle plan is needed. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Start with the ideas I share in this newsletter and on my web sites.

If you'd like to connect with me, just reach out via one of the social media links below.  

If you can provide financial support to help me continue this effort, please visit this page





Daniel F. Bassill 

Daniel Bassill

Tutor/Mentor Connection
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC 

(Photo above is me in 1973 with my mentee, Leo Hall. We're still connected 50 years later.)


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