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.

March - April 2017 - Issue 156
As One School Year Comes to Close Planning for Next Begins.
Apply what works. Learn from what did not work. Borrow ideas from others. Annual Process of Program Improvement.
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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If You Agree That Connecting Young People with Extra Adults and Learning Opportunities is a good idea....
Then making organized programs available to youth in high poverty areas where such opportunities are needed should be a strategy you focus on.  
This thinking is what has guided the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC since 1993. See this graphic in this blog article.
We all want the same positive outcomes for kids. However, making more non-school learning and mentoring programs available in every high poverty area of the Chicago region and other cities requires work shown at the bottom of this pyramid. 

In the following sections of this month's newsletter I'll focus on the bottom three steps of this graphic. When more people have a better understanding of needs and opportunities, their actions will increase the flow of resources to every high poverty neighborhood, to help organizations build constantly improving support systems for kids.  It's only when there are better programs in more places that we begin the long-term work of helping kids stay in school, stay safe in non-school hours, and move toward graduation and careers. 
Want to get started? Read "Steps to Start and Sustain a Tutor/Mentor Program". click here

What Does a Non-School Tutor/Mentor Program Look Like? How Do You Show Program Design?
Actually, non-school, volunteer-based programs have many different designs, which makes it difficult for a clear message that educates donors to support programs in every high poverty neighborhood.

See this graphic in blog article at this link 
I worked for the Montgomery Ward corporation from 1973-1990 and we had 400 stores located in 40 states. Each store had more than 60 different merchandise categories, each with a wide selection of items, appealing to many different consumers.
I think of non-school programs as a form of "retail store for hope and opportunity" with many forms of learning and mentoring intended to attract youth and adult participants. Many people keep asking me, "What kinds of tutoring or mentoring do you do?"  I keep trying to explain, we're trying to create a support system that expands the range of career opportunities kids might aspire to, and provides the support each youth needs over many years to pursue those opportunities. See article.
I created this graphic in the 1990s to visualize a program design that involved volunteers from different business background, offers a safe place to meet during non-school hours, and supports youth for multiple years.  I called this Total Quality Mentoring (TQM), implying that it's more than just "tutoring" or "mentoring". 


The graphic at the top of this section shows a wide range of mentoring and learning opportunities. So does this TQM graphic.  I created this PDF presentation to further explain this idea. 
I point to web sites of more than 200 Chicago non-school programs in this section of the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site. In other sections of the library I point to youth programs in other cities, or who don't have a volunteer tutor/mentor strategy. I encourage volunteers, board members and staff to spend time looking at what other programs are doing, with the goal of borrowing ideas that might work in your own programs.
Unfortunately, very few youth programs actually use visualizations to show program design, or include a set of links pointing to other organizations who they feel are ideal models to duplicate. Volunteers could help programs do this more often. 
These articles are part of a knowledge base that is available to anyone working to help youth. Read:
* Creating opportunity for urban youth: Resources - click here
* Helping urban youth move through school. What do we need to know? - click here

* Focus on the WHY and draw more people into your youth development efforts - click here
Nothing happens until someone reads these articles, then invites others to do the same. This is an on-going process, where many can take leadership roles.  
Community Organizing. Follow Negative News With Network Building Actions
Bringing people together, raising money, recruiting volunteers, etc. are activities that require constant communications and advertising....resources that few non-school programs or community organizers have.
Build a Rest of the Story strategy. Engage youth. 

The above story was from the Sunday, March 12, 2017 Chicago Tribune. I included the graphic in this blog article and again in this article.
This video shows work Interns have done to help communicate Tutor/Mentor Connection ideas.
Youth in area middle schools, high schools, colleges, faith groups and non-school programs could be creating stories and presentations that duplicate work I've been doing, and that interns have done, focusing on their own section of the city, as  part of their own learning, and as part of a strategy intended to bring more people together to help build and sustain needed non-school programs in different places.  

See more work by interns here.  Create a space on your own web site to share work young people are doing to help tutor/mentor programs grow in different places.

YOU do not need to be part of an existing nonprofit youth organization to take this role.
Imagine yourself as the red ball on this "ping pong" table. Every time you post an article, a Tweet or a video you are creating a chain reaction that can touch people throughout your neighborhood, your city and the world.  See this graphic in this "collaboration goals" presentation. 

Other resources to look at 
* Sports star reflects on violence in Chicago - click here
* Dig Deeper into Tutor/Mentor Connection articles and ideas - click here

When you look at my blog articles, think of how I have written similar stories every wee for more than 10 years. If many others do the same we might be able to capture more public and donor attention to support the work non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs do.  Read this article about a Tutor/Mentor Connection "do-over". 
Educate Business Leaders so They are More Proactive in Supporting Volunteer Involvement in Non-School Programs Located in Multiple Locations
The Tutor/Mentor web library includes articles for resource providers as well as program leaders and volunteers.  

See this concept map in article titled +R&D for Business Support of Tutor/Mentor Programs" - click here

There is a huge amount of information in this monthly newsletter, and on Tutor/Mentor blogs. It's not intended to be read and digested in a single sitting. It's intended to be part of on-going learning and process improvement.  Finding time to look at this information regularly, and share it with others, is a challenge. One solution is to recruit students to take on this learning as a "web quest" or online "scavenger hunt".  This image was part of an animation I created to encourage others to take this learning journey. Read more.

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
* 2017 #OnTheTable, May 16, 2017. click here
* August 2017 Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration - click here
* Chicago Organizations in Intermediary Roles - click here

* Tutor/Mentor Blog article with 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 |

What am I doing and Why Do I Keep Trying - click here

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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