Linking ideas, programs and people to help urban youth since 1993.
February2016                                                                                                           Issue 145


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.

There's a lot of information so I try to send this only once a month. Spend a little time each week reading the articles and following the links. Use in group discussions with people who are concerned about the same issues.


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Is your planning process focused on building multi-year support for youth!  Are youth involved in program design?

In this monthly newsletter I focus on the planning and collaboration needed to help non-school, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs become available to more youth living in high poverty neighborhoods. I also focus on sharing ideas (borrowing from each other) so that every program constantly enhances its ability to help the youth who joins while in elementary school, or middle school, or even high school, move more successfully toward graduation, post graduation continuing education, and then full employment and adult responsibilities.

The graphics used in the newsletter are also used in blog articles and illustrated presentations that can be found in different sections of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site.  The information is free, and is intended for daily learning, on an on-going basis.  

This link,, points to a section of the Tutor/Mentor Institute library with links to more than 200 Chicago area youth serving organizations, operated in different locations in the city and suburbs. They each need to be great at what they do to help kids.  If your organization is not on this list, use the email address below to send details. At this link, you can find other web platforms to use to find youth serving organizations in Chicago and other cities.

What is a Tutor/Mentor Program? Where are they Most Needed?
What can Volunteers & Donors do to Help Programs Grow? 

For the past 20 years the Tutor/Mentor Connection has collected and shared information that is intended to support the growth of volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs that reach urban youth during the non-school hours.  Being the leader of a single program myself, I began to use visualizations in the 1980s to describe program structure and design so that volunteers, donors, business partners and others might more easily understand what we were trying to do, and ways they might help.

In the years since then several hundred have been created, by myself, and often by interns working with me in Chicago.  Some have been converted into power point presentations and videos.

In the graphic above, left, I show a youth as the center of a 20 year effort aimed at helping that youth move through school and into adult roles.  The spokes represent naturally occurring influences in the lives of most kids in America, but not for kids living in high poverty neighborhoods. An organized tutor/mentor program can provide a structure to connect youth with volunteers, experiences, an opportunities if it is designed to do that.

The graphic at the right complements the one at the left. If a program design draws volunteers from different business backgrounds into the lives of young people, many of those volunteers will share their experiences with co-workers, friends and family, and help mobilize the resources the program needs to offer its services on an on-going basis.

View this presentation, describing the graphic on the left:

The graphic at the right is included in this presentation: 

Does Your Planning Cycle Look Like This? Does It Involved Youth and Volunteers?


Most of the Tutor/Mentor Institute blog articles include maps and visualizations that focus attention on strategies that make comprehensive programs available in more places.  Do a Google search for "tutor mentor" then look at the images. You'll see a wide range of graphics included in articles written since 2005.

Many of these ideas are communicated using a free cMap tool, or concept map.   You can see this map in this blog article.  From left to right what the map is showing is a place-based planning process that starts with creating maps that define the area a group is focusing on, which could be as small as a few blocks. Read more about this by visiting the link above. 


I include this planning graphic because it's a process that could include youth, volunteers and other stakeholders. If you encourage your youth and volunteers to create similar articles and presentations describing your own planning process they learn new skills, become more engaged, and help draw needed attention and resources to you.


Find more ideas to use in Tutor/Mentor Blogs and Web Library


Every week I post one or two blog articles and add new links to the tutor/mentor web libraries. In addition, I highlight ideas I see on social media, so that others who follow me are aware of the ideas and events I'm pointing at.  For instance.

Do you know about the Letters to the President 2.0 campaign that hopes to engage 10,000 or more students in writing letters, creating videos and exchanging ideas with each other?  Read about this and other ways to engage youth and volunteers here. 

How do you know who you're connecting with, or influencing, via  your social media or the events you organize. Read this article which maps Twitter conversation during last month's National Mentoring Summit, using NodeXL. See link

The Alternative Schools Network  hosted a public hearing in Chicago to highlight the crisis in youth employment. I wrote about it here, and included links to research and the ASN web site.

Have you ever used a yellow marker to highlight text you are reading? Read this article to find ideas for using web annotation tools to share your ideas, and engage students and volunteers in deeper learning.

I add links to the Tutor/Mentor web library every week. If you click here you can find the library. You can sort the links by most recent or search by topic.  In this blog article I provide links to sections of the web library, and to articles I point to over and over in my daily networking.

These are just a few of the ideas you can find if you visit the Tutor/Mentor Blog or MappingforJusticeblog once or twice a month.

Not a Face-to-Face Tutor/Mentor Conference; an E-Conference

I've hosted the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago every six months from May 1994 through May 2015.  Recently a volunteer from Indiana created a map showing organizations who have attended each of the past conferences.  Read about it and search the map. Click here.


I still don't have the money, or partners, to host a spring 2016 conference, but do want to continue to connect and exchange ideas using on-line forums.  I created this concept map to show some of the people I'm connecting with, and to demonstrate a way others could also show who they are connecting with. Your students could learn to build and update this map for you.

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