Edition: Jan 2014
Issue No. 127

Instructions for removing yourself from this list are included at the bottom of this email.
NOTE: throughout this newsletter we use a Tiny URL to shorten long web site addresses so the links do not break.

Issues of the month

* Celebrate Mentoring - January National Mentoring Month
* Use Maps to Help Make Tutor/Mentor Programs Available in more places.
* Collaboration Goals for 2014
* Idea Library - support for leaders and volunteers
* President's Message - Building Community Collaboration/Collective Effort

issue 01
National Mentoring Month Activities - Engage Your Youth and Volunteers

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

While the goal of our mentoring is to connect with young people and help them build their own skills and ability to solve problems in a complex society, the goal of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, formed in 1993, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC  formed in 2011, is to mentor adults --- program leaders, board members, volunteers, businesses, policy makers and philanthropists, etc. ---  so they are learning from each other and innovating better ways to support the growth and on-going operation of mentor-rich programs in thousands of locations.

Use National Mentoring Month events to bring your community together
  • January 13, 2014:  MENTOR Releases National Mentoring Report - The Mentor Effect. Read the report and discuss with your community.

  • January 20, 2014:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
  • January 30-31: 2014:  National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC. Join LiveStream events ($20 fee).
    Connect on Twitter using #2014NMS

Visit http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org/ for additional information.

While these events focus specifically on volunteer-based mentoring, every organization who engages youth in volunteer based TUTORING and mentoring can engage their youth and volunteers in similar activities on the same dates. 

Use Maps to Help Make Tutor/Mentor Programs Available in More Places

I've put a variety of maps on my blogs and web sites with a goal that leaders would use maps to make sure mentor-rich non-school programs are available to youth in more of the high poverty areas. 
 These two articles illustrate uses of these maps and roles of company teams to support the growth of programs in more places.

*  Community Area maps 2013 - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-communityareamaps

Virtual Corporate office - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-VirtualCorpOffice

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

Below are some on-line portals where volunteers are encouraged to seek out volunteer opportunities. We'd like to motivate donors to use these places, too.
 Do you have your organization listed in all of these sites?

* MENTOR resources and referral service - http://www.mentoring.org/program_resources  
* ServeIllinois -    http://www.serve.illinois.gov/

* Volunteer Match - http://www.volunteermatch.org
* Additional on-line volunteer search web sites


In the Chicago region, use the Map-Based Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and Links library to help locate programs in specific zip codes. Our aim is to help programs grow and thrive in all parts of the region where they are needed.

* Chicago Program Links - http://tinyurl.com/ChiTM-Program-Links
* Chicago Map-Based Tutor/Mentor Program Locator - http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net

issue 02
Collaboration Goals for 2014 - Shared Efforts to Build Capacity

While we focus on tutoring, mentoring, arts, social, emotional learning, etc. our goal really is to help young people overcome challenges in their lives and move through school and into adult roles with as few detours as possible. Bringing volunteers, donors, board members, program leaders, policy makers, etc. together to share ideas, innovate solutions, etc. is extremely difficult.

One emerging strategy is the use of cMOOCs - a form of online learning.  This section of the Tutor/Mentor Library has links to articles about MOOCs.   To experience a MOOC for yourself, you can join this Deeper Learning MOOC that starts Jan 20 and runs through March 2014. There is no cost.

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC


If a city has a directory listing most of the non-school, volunteer based tutor/mentor programs, as we do for Chicago, anyone can organize events at key times in the year which build visibility and draw volunteers and donors to the web sites of every organization.

The graphic above illustrates that if high profile leaders talk about the benefits of tutoring/mentoring at key times every year, they can help mobilize the volunteers and donors needed at every program in a city.  Below are some web sites to visit that might stimulate your thinking about this.

Collaboration Goals -

Year-Round Strategy -


Shoppers Guide - what should be shown on your web site - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-ShoppersGuide

Role talent volunteers can take in helping mentor-rich programs reach youth in more places - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-VirtualCorpOffice



The next Chicago Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference will be held on May 19, 2014. Visit the web site to read about past conferences and find a way to be involved in 2014. Workshop proposals are now being accepted.  Http://www.tutormentorconference.org


issue 03
You can draw from an on-line library of ideas to innovate your own solutions



Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

Think of volunteer involvement as a service-learning loop. As volunteers connect with kids, they learn why they are needed, and ways to help tutor/mentor programs offer their services.

This graphic is an animation created by an intern working with Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago. It illustrates the growth of a volunteer as they participate in a tutor/mentor program. www.tutormentorexchange.net/images/flash/rebuild_real.swf .

Youth in many programs could be creating presentations like this, as part of their own learning and as part of leadership efforts. If you're doing work like this consider sharing it in one of the Chicago tutor/mentor conferences, or in an on-line forum.  Seem more visualizations like this - click here.

As you provide information to your volunteers and supporters, here are on-line resources that you can use:

* Research on education, drop out crisis, social capital -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-ResearchLinks
* Fund Raising - Understanding Challenges -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Library-FundingIssues 
* Blogs on learning, MOOCs, Fund Raising -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Library-Blog-list
* Collaboration, innovation, visualization, mapping -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-ProcessImp-Collaboration
* Mentoring, tutoring beyond Chicago -   http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Library-Mentoring 
* Training resources for tutors, mentors - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-MentorTraining   
* Homework help; learning ideas -
* Equal Justice, Poverty Law, Gangs, etc.  - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Justice-Poverty-Law

president's message

Building community collaboration or collective effort - learn from experts

by Daniel F. Bassill

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

A long-term volunteer-based tutor/mentor program is a form of collective effort

Finding ways to connect the many different stakeholders in a community in an on-going effort that helps youth in every neighborhood have high quality learning experiences during the school day and the non-school hours, and keeping these programs going and constantly improving over many years is a huge challenge.  Having led a volunteer based tutor/mentor program in Chicago since 1975, I feel that each  program is a form of collective effort and that there is much that can be learned from leaders who have supported such programs for many years.

I started leading a tutor/mentor program in 1975 while holding a full time advertising job. At that time the program already had 100 pairs of youth and volunteers participating weekly. By 1990 there were 300 pairs. I and all the other leaders were volunteers with full time jobs.

Thus, the only way we could support such a large group was to

a) create a library of information that anyone could use;
b) create a social climate where volunteers learned from each other and provides support to each other;
c) use weekly advertising (in 1970s this was the duplicating machine) to draw attention to information in the library;
d) create a support team that would help volunteers and youth access the information in the library and to answer questions as they rose

Between 1976 and 1992 I began to build a network of peers who were also leading tutor/mentor programs in Chicago. The ideas we shared in our own program became ideas we learned from leaders in other programs.

In 1993 we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection and a more formal collection of information about existing non-school tutor/mentor programs in Chicago. In 1994 we started hosting a conference to draw leaders from those programs together to share with each other. At the same time we started a partnership with the Lend A Hand Program at the Chicago Bar Foundation, to help recruit volunteers and donors from Chicago's legal community to support tutor/mentor programs throughout the city.  In 1995 we began to share the list of programs as part of an August/September Chicagoland volunteer recruitment campaign, intended to draw volunteers to every program.

In 1998 this information began to be shared on the Internet on the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute web sites.  More than 1 million visits to these sites have been recorded since 1998.

In one section of the site I've collected several dozen articles on collaboration and community building. The web sites and articles in this section can be the focus of study groups, youth learning teams, businesses, philanthropy and anyone who wants to bring people together to support the growth of learning, mentoring and jobs opportunities for ALL youth in their community.  See

This effort has faced numerous challenges including the financial crises of 2000-2012, two wars, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, lost of major benefactors, changes in leadership, lack of support from city leaders, yet the ideas and resources are still on-line and available to any who would use them to build a better support system for youth in Chicago or in other cities.

Through participation in MOOC, various social media platforms, one on one meetings, and the conferences I host in Chicago, I keep looking for ways to expand the information available, increase the number of people looking at it, help more people understand how to apply it, and thus stimulate actions that provide time, talent and needed operating dollars to every organization working to help youth connect with tutors, mentors and extra learning.  

Thank you! You read to the bottom of the page.  If you do this every month you are truly dedicated.  I'd like to hear from you. Email me at tutormentor2@earthlink.net or join one of the forums I've pointed to. 

If you can provide dollars, talent, or both, to support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC please visit this page to learn more.



Best wishes to all in 2014.  Good luck to everyone as they launch a new year of tutoring and mentoring. 


Daniel F. Bassill, D.H.L

Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
and Tutor/Mentor Connection


Read the blogs at :

Connect in these locations:
on Twitter - http://twitter.com/tutormentorteam

* Linked in group on volunteering - http://tinyurl.com/TMC-LinkedIn-Volunteering
* Tutor/Mentor Institute on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/TutorMentorInstitute
* Tutor/Mentor Connection forum at http://tutormentorconnection.ning.com
* On Slide Share - http://www.slideshare.net/tutormentor
* On Scribd.com - http://www.scribd.com/daniel-f-bassill-7291
* On Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/tutormentor/

Read past newsletters