Use the ideas and resources shared monthly to help youth in your zip code have opportunities to participate in well-organized, mentor-rich, non-school programs.

July - August 2017 - Issue 160
Who is Helping Volunteer-Based K-12 Tutor/Mentor Programs Grow?  
The ideas shared in this monthly newsletter can be used by youth organization leaders, resource providers, political leaders, universities, volunteers and youth to help mentor-rich programs thrive in all of the neighborhoods where they are most needed.
While I try to send this only once a month, I write blog articles weekly. In the sections below I post links to a few of the articles published in the past month or earlier.  I encourage you to spend a little time each week reading these articles and following the links. Use the ideas and presentations in group discussions with other people who are concerned about the same issues.
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Almost anyone can help mobilize volunteers and donors to support youth tutor and mentor organizations.  Who is helping? 
With school starting in another three to five weeks every tutor/mentor program will be looking for volunteers. 
Supporting Youth Tutor/Mentor Programs Throughout City - read article
During the 35 years I led a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago my July was spent putting the final touches on my August and September volunteer and student recruitment campaigns.   While beginning a new program aimed at helping teens in one neighborhood, I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993 to help every tutor/mentor program in Chicago attract volunteers, and donors, not just my own program.

This graphic is one that illustrates the intermediary role the T/MC has taken. It's also a role that I hope people in businesses, faith groups, social and alumni groups, media, entertainment, sports and politics will take.

Q: Who are "Those who need help?" 
A:  Any organization that involves volunteers in organized tutor, mentor and learning intended to help k-12 youth succeed in school and in life.

Since 1994, the T/MC has maintained a list of non-school tutor/mentor programs operating throughout Chicago (see list).  The T/MC goal has been to educate volunteers and donors to become shoppers, who seek out youth tutor/mentor programs,  based on where programs are located, and what programs show on their web sites and social media pages.

That means it's important for organizations to keep their web sites and social media pages updated, with stories showing what they do, why they do it, who they serve, how long they have operated, and what help they need. This Shoppers Guide offers some suggestions.
Not all programs are equally good at telling their story. Thus, there's an opportunity for volunteers with communications, marketing, technology and public education backgrounds to help programs do this work.  You might not have time to be a one-on-one tutor or mentor, but your talent might enable hundreds of people to take that role.

Below are a few links to articles that expand on this topic. I encourage you to read these and start a conversation within your organization about how to implement some of these.
* Helping urban youth: A shared vision needed - click here
* Planning needed to fight war on poverty - click here

* What are candidates for Illinois Governor promising? - click here
If you're writing articles like these and sharing them on a blog, please send your web address to so I can add you to the T/MC web library.

Role of Organized Tutor/Mentor Programs in Connecting Rich and Poor Neighborhoods of Chicago region
A growing number of articles are using maps to show the geographic separation of rich and poor in the Chicago region. 
See blog article with map shown above - click here

This image was in a July article posted in Crain's Chicago Business, under the headline "Rich neighborhood, Poor Neighborhood".  Maps can show where people in an urban or rural area need extra help. They can also focus attention and support on organizations already operating in these areas.  

For this to work, people need to be creating stories that draw attention to the maps and motivate actions such as volunteering,  donating, voting, etc.  Youth can learn to create and tell these stories, building marketable skills for themselves, and building support for existing youth serving organizations in different areas.  Read more in this T/MC blog article 
Browse these articles on the MappingforJustice blog to see more map stories showing the geographic inequality in Chicago.   
Learning from others is on-going.

The graphic at the right shows some of the types of learning and mentoring that takes place in different youth serving organizations in Chicago and around the country. 

If a youth-serving organization has a computer lab, an arts, writing and/or video creation program, or involves volunteer tutors from different Chicago area businesses, they are connecting people who don't live in poverty with youth and families who do.

Every time a volunteer connects with a youth he/she is learning and is informally telling others in her work/family/social network about the experience.  If programs can recruit more volunteers from different business backgrounds, and train them to systematically share what they do with other people, those volunteers become evangelists, helping others to understand the issues youth and families, and tutor/mentor programs, deal with every day. This can result in a growing number of people becoming involved with tutor and/or mentor programs throughout the region...and a growing number of people helping young people move safely through school and into adult lives. See how this graphic is described in this service learning Loop video.
These articles relate to that goal.  Read:
Urban Youth As Data Scientists and Network Builders - click  here

* Mentor Role in Larger Strategy - click here

* Virtual Corporate Office - click here

*  Recruiting Talent Volunteers - click here

Visit this page to see how interns have converted Tutor/Mentor strategy ideas into videos and other visualizations.  Youth and volunteers from many places are encouraged to do this.  Focus the ideas on your own community if you're not from the Chicago region.

The Birth to Work Pipeline is Clogged In Many Places. Don't Fix One Part and Not the Rest.
With so much attention focused on reducing violence in Chicago funding is focused on jobs programs for a narrow population and a few targeted areas.

Two new articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog focus on this problem.

July 2 - Make Sure Pipeline to Careers has Roots In Every Poverty Neighborhood - read

July 8 - WBEZ Cost Analysis for Jobs Program targeting 32,000 men, age 16 to 34, living in high violence neighborhoods of Chicago - read

These two articles, and many like it on the Tutor/Mentor blog call on Chicago leaders to build and sustain a comprehensive birth-to-work youth development strategy that reaches youth in every high poverty neighborhood of the Chicago region, rather than continue to roll out programs that target part of the problem, but ignore other parts that need equal attention.

Poverty growing in suburbs.
Recent articles, like this one, emphasize the growing number of people living in poverty in suburban areas of the US.

The map at the right was created in 2007 when the Tutor/Mentor Connection hosted its Leadership Conference in the South Suburbs of Chicago. Our goal then (see article) was to recruit support from suburban leaders to help build a tutor/mentor program network in areas of the Chicago suburbs with growing poverty.

New reports showing that the poverty population in the Chicago suburbs now is greater than in the city, but that there is less infrastructure in place to support these youth and families, just re-emphasize something that has been building for more than a decade.

If you're in a suburban area, what are you doing about it?  Here's a blog article that I shared with leaders in Cleveland. Read it and ask yourself the same questions. 

If you're in one of these communities, most of the links in the he Tutor/Mentor Connection web library and the strategies shared on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site are valuable resources available for your use.  What you'd need to add would be local data and lists of existing local non-school and school-based programs. Then you'd need to develop a communications strategy that draws people to the information and encourages them to support the growth of existing, or new programs.   Don't start from scratch.

Let's connect. I can mentor you in this process.

Other Resources for Summer Learning
Involve your volunteers, youth and donors and build your own learning network.  
All of the links this newsletter points to are part of Step 1 in the four part strategy created in 1993 and followed since then by the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present). Here's a new video that shows these four steps.    

How are you using Twitter? Are you?
In July 2017 I created a concept map with links to many of the #hashtag conversations where I've expanded my network and gathered new ideas that I share in Tutor/Mentor blog articles and in the Tutor/Mentor web library. 
I wrote about the map in this article. While many Chicago area tutor and/or mentor programs have Twitter accounts, I'm not finding many in these Twitter chats.     If you're participating in other chats that you find valuable, send a Tweet to @tutormentorteam with the  #hashtag and I'll join you there.


Additional resources to help Chicago area organizations and supporters connect, learn and work collectively to help build support systems for youth:
* Strengthening Chicago Youth  blog - click here
* Thrive Chicago events calendar - click here

* MENTOR Illinois - current newsletter

* August 2017 Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration - click here
* Chicago Organizations in Intermediary Roles - click here

* Sections of Tutor/Mentor web library are shown in this concept map.   
*  This blog article points to sub sections of the library and frequently used links - click here

Dan Bassill (that's me) is available to discuss any of these ideas with you, or others, via Skype, Google Hangouts or in person if you're in Chicago
Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
 Merchandise Mart PO Box 3303, Chicago, Il 60654 |

Read about a Tutor/Mentor Connection "do-over" - click here

Click here
if you want to help me do this work. 

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Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, Merchandise Mart PO Box 3303,  Chicago, IL 60654