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Holiday giving Help Mobilize Year-End Support For Youth Tutoring and/or Mentoring Programs in Your Community.

While volunteer-based tutoring and mentoring programs depend on volunteer support, they also require a foundation of financial support to provide high quality, on-going, support to youth and volunteers.  During the last four weeks of the year every program will be sending out holiday appeals. People in business, faith groups, colleges, social groups, etc. can help them attract donors by creating a graphic like this and putting it on web sites, blogs, company newsletters, social media, etc. with a link to web sites that include a list of youth serving organizations in your community and by pointing to this list with a "Do Something to Help" message on a weekly basis throughout the holiday season.

Good Luck to all Organizations Registered to Raise Money on December 2. Read more about the Illinois Gives Big! campaign.  See this list of youth serving organizations.

January is  National Mentoring Month.  Visit this link to learn more about activities planned nationally. Use social media to connect with Illinois tutoring and/or mentoring organizations.

Below are some on-line portals donors and volunteers from throughout the country can use during December to learn about programs near where they live or work. 


* MENTOR resources and referral service -   
* ServeIllinois -  

* Volunteer Match - 

In the Chicago region, use the Map-Based Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and Links library to help locate programs in specific zip codes. If you are part of a program that is not listed email so you can be added.


* Chicago Program Links -
* Chicago Map-Based Tutor/Mentor Program Locator - 

42th Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference held in Chicago on Friday, Nov. 7th.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to host a workshop in the November 7th Tutor/Mentor Conference and to all who participated. The agenda and speaker bios  will be available through January. The next conference will be held on May 8, 2015 at the same location. See photos from this and past conferences.


Each conference seeks to offer workshops on planning, evaluation, recruitment, training, marketing, and other topics relevant to tutoring/mentoring youth at different ages.    

Visit to learn how you can be part of the May 8, 2015 conference.   



Use these resources to continue your learning

Dan Bassill, founder of Tutor/Mentor Connection began building a library of resources while leading a single tutor/mentor program in Chicago in the 1970s. Since 1993 this library has grown, and it is shared to help others build and sustain their own programs in Chicago and other cities. 
Resources for volunteers, youth and program organizers

Resources for fund raising, volunteer recruitment  

Ideas for helping Volunteer-Based Tutor/Mentor Programs Reach Youth in All High Poverty Neighborhoods  

Add to this library.  Register and log in at and submit resources you find valuable. Add your blog to the blog list and add your tutor/mentor program to the Chicago Programs or National Programs list.


Are You Looking Ahead to the start of the 2015-16 school year?
Planning ahead offers more ways to engage volunteers.

While you've just started the 2014-15 school year and ar focused on holiday fund raising and parties, now is a good time to begin thinking of ways you'd make your program even better as you start the next school year.

Most volunteer-based organizations have limited staff, thus their ability to engage the talents of volunteers is one way to expand their capacity to help the young people in their programs. Busy volunteers can't respond easily to last minute appeals for help, but can help if they have more flexibility to budget how they use their time and talent.

Below are some articles and web site resources that you and your leaders might review to strengthen your planning process and volunteer involvement in your organization.


Building New Adults Helping Youth Through School and Into Jobs -Who is leading this discussion? 

In Chicago nearly 400,000 youth are in the public school system and more than half live in high poverty neighborhoods. In the suburbs a growing number of youth live in high poverty areas.

This graphic is one of many that have been created to illustrate the need for long-term, comprehensive strategies that help youth move from pre-school through high school, then through post high school education and into jobs and careers.  You can see this and many others on and find links to on-line stories where graphics like this have been used. Search on Google for "tutor mentor" then look at the "images" feature. See additional graphics and how they are used in blogs. Do the same to communicate your own ideas. 

A year ago Dan Pallotta delivered an inspiring TED talk illustrating the need for funding to support talent, advertising, investment, innovation and infrastructure in non profit organizations.  Without more people working to show the infrastructure needed to support high-quality, on-going mentoring and tutoring, too few programs will be available in most cities to serve all of the youth who might benefit from such programs.

Anyone can be actively involved in building networks of people who are reviewing the web sites I point to and getting together in small groups to reflect, talk about the ideas, then take actions that help support non-school learning programs in their community.

Here are a couple of articles that illustrate this potential:
  If you've found places where this discussion is taking place, or if you're interested in facilitating this discussion within the world of youth serving organizations, please send an invitation for myself and others from my network to join with you.

Connect On-Line


Below are sites where Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute connect with others and share ideas from our own experiences, and an extensive web library. 


* on Twitter -
* Linked in group on volunteering -  Build Support for Volunteer Based Tutor/Mentor Programs
* Tutor/Mentor Institute on Facebook - 
* Tutor/Mentor Connection forum at 
* On Slide Share - 
* On - 
* On Pinterest - 


Read the blogs at:   and      

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How To Sustain Focus on Solving Complex Problems?
from the President and Founder


If you were to look at my newsletter archive,  you'd see that the newsletters I write each month seem to repeat the same messages from year to year. That's because each year the same 12-month January-December cycle requires leadership to help youth and volunteers connect in tutor/mentor programs, while also helping program leaders find ideas and operating resources needed to support those volunteers.

I've included these two newspaper stories from the Chicago Tribune (1994) and Chicago Sun-Times (1992) to emphasize that the stories appearing in 2014 media are just continuations of problems that have been around for a long time. They remind me of my own commitment, which needs to be renewed on a regular basis.
Why has so little changed? Why have we not solved these? One reason is that people are focused on their own problems, as well as tragedies from around the world. I wrote a blog article in 2011 titled "Another War. Another Tsunami. Another Day." which expressed my frustration at how difficult it was to sustain a youth mentoring program, or an intermediary network like Tutor/Mentor Connection, when so many national, global, environmental, financial and personal obstacles made it difficult, or almost impossible, to continue to operate from day to day, and year-to year.

Another reason is that no one, including myself, has ever had the money needed to keep this issue in front of millions of people on a weekly basis, for many years, or to build and sustain learning and collaboration platforms that would engage all of those who need to be involved, for as long as it takes to build and sustain strategies that provide greater opportunity and hope to those who live in neighborhoods with high levels of poverty.

I've organized a Tutor/Mentor Conference in Chicago every six months since May 1994 to encourage people involved with volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs to connect with each other, exchange ideas, and build supportive relationships. However, they've also been intended to build attention for all tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, and draw volunteers and donors to each youth serving program in the Chicago region (see my list), just like the corporate advertising of big companies seeks to draw customers to every store they operate.  81 people participated in the most recent conference on November 7, 2014. While they may have benefited, this is far to small a gathering to impact the way youth and youth serving organizations throughout the region are supported.

Connecting people to on-line libraries expands the information they have to innovate solutions in their own communities and expands the range of people who might help them.  See what I mean by "Knowledge Based Problem Solving" 

The graphic at the right is from a PDF essay titled "Building a Network of Shared Purpose", which you can find here. While my collection of essays on have been viewed over 72,000 times in the past two years, that's not nearly enough to have an impact.

Until more youth and adults, in different sectors, and different cities, are creating similar visualizations, with similar goals, there won't be a consistent effort to make mentor-rich, non-school programs available in every high poverty neighborhood of any city.

A lot of money will be spent. However, that does not mean we are reaching youth in all places where they need help or that we're providing consistent, age-appropriate mentoring, tutoring and learning, that helps youth in thousands of neighborhoods move from first grade to first job.

Some programs will find enough funding and talent to operate in a few places. Most places won't  have the flow of resources and talent needed to build and sustain long-term programs.  

Information Overload? Too much? There is a lot of information. However, it's not intended to be learned in a day. It's a resource for on-going learning.  I encourage you to engage a team of youth and volunteers the way I've involved  interns  for the past 9 years.  Youth can spend time browsing sections of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and Tutor/Mentor Connection web sites, then create visualizations, videos and blogs to share what they learn with others in their organization. They can even do this as part of formal class assignments or community service requirements. 

As you involve  youth and volunteers in this process you also create new leaders who are more aware of ways to support the growth of youth serving programs in more places. 

There's much to do. We can't let the daily distractions keep us from trying to do it.

I've been invited to share this information

2015 Susan F. Berkowitz Award for Outstanding Service to Children. Application due 1/16/2015  See more.


The Chicago Metro Intergenerational Committee (CMIC) is in the process of identifying active intergenerational programs in the greater Chicagoland area. 


If your program meets the Generations United description of an intergenerational program that "   purposefully brings together people of different generations in ongoing, mutually beneficial, planned activities, designed to achieve specified program goals"  please complete this short survey. - and feel free to share with others you know who may be engaging in IG programming


collective action platform
Support Dan Bassill and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

Since 2011 the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC has continued the work started by the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which Dan Bassill and a small group of volunteers created in 1993. While I'm not operating as a 501-c-3 non profit structure, I am seeking your support for continuing this work. This newsletter, the conferences and the web  sites I point to are all part of what I asking for you to support. 

Please look at the pages below, as an option you can use to make a year-end contribution.

Web platform -

Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference Sponsor-

Dan Bassill - 68th Birthday -
Thank you for reading and Sharing this information.

Daniel F. Bassill, D.H.L.

Tutor/Mentor Connection
Institute, LLC

Merchandise Mart, PO Box 3303
Chicago, Il. 60654
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