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Making all kids "our kids". What's your strategy? As You End School Year, Build Momentum for 2015-16
March 2015 - Issue #140                      Sharing ideas, connecting adults and youth, since 1993
In This Issue
New Book, "Our Kids"
May Tutor/Mentor Conference
Year Round Strategy
Resources for Learning

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.

If the newsletter does not format correctly in your email, or if you want to see this newsletter graphics and maps click this link:   


Share this with others who want to help youth in your city. 

Making all kids, "our kids"
The photo at the right shows Sara Caldwell, who started tutoring in the late 1980s, with Isiah Brooms (r) her mentee at that time. Recently on Facebook I saw a post where they were giving "love" to each other, as a result of a 25 year connection.  
This spring Robert Putnam, of Harvard University, launched a new book, titled "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis".  He uses social capital arguments, and a lot of charts, to show how children of affluent parents, living in affluent communities have a growing number of advantages and opportunities while children in poor communities, surrounded by others like themselves, have fewer and fewer opportunities to climb the ladder to success.  
He advocates for mentoring as one strategy to help close the opportunity gap.


This photo was taken in at a year-end dinner held in the early 2000s. It shows youth and volunteers who, during the 1990s, had been part of a tutor/mentor program I led. The returned for that dinner. Many of them are still connected to myself, and each other, on social media...20 years following the time they joined the tutor/mentor program! That's what I mean by long-term mentoring. 
I attended an event on Tuesday and heard Dr. Putnam present his ideas. Read more about this below. If you're reading this today (Wednesday) and want to hear Dr. Putnam, he will be speaking tonight at 6pm at the Chicago Public Library, 400 S. State Street. Admission is free, but seating is on a first-come basis. 
The ideas I share in this monthly newsletter, and on my web sites, are intended to support what people and organizations do to help such programs grow in cities across America. 


What Does your Strategy, and Commitment, Look Like?  How Do you Share this?
When Robert Putnam writes, "Surround them (poor kids) with responsible, caring adults that will help them through life." I envision strategy maps like this being used to show commitment of leaders to making this a reality.
I've been using concept maps to share strategy for many years.  I encourage you to view this "strategy map" graphic in this article, then look at the other concept maps posted on this blog since October 25, 2014. 
Then view the two videos on this site, which were created by a 2015 intern from South Korea, to guild people through information on my web sites. 


As you head for the end of this school year, think of ways youth could help lead discussions, deeper learning, and planning, that leads to more comprehensive programs reaching youth in the coming school year--and in future years.    

Browse the systems thinking, planning and learning articles, like this, on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC blog. These show many types of concept mapping tools, and strategies to engage many people in deeper learning. As you apply these ideas, share what you're doing with me and others using Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

Want to close "Opportunity Gap?" Come to Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference In Chicago - May 8, 2015
If you're in the Chicago region, use the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference to expand your own network of people and ideas, and to engage your own community.  Workshops focus on the expertise programs need to sustain long-term mentoring efforts, while networking shares ideas that programs can borrow from each other.

Visit this page to see workshop presenters that I expect to participate. 
See articles written by 2014 conference participants.

View Conference Maps. These show that representatives of tutoring, mentoring and learning programs are participating, but we're not attracting participation from business, media, philanthropy, government and oth who need to be engaged directly with program staff and leaders so they know what they need to do to help programs grow. 
If you can encourage these people to attend the conference, or connect with me on social media, the ideas I share can be used to help tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in your own community. 


Be a Sponsor. Your contributions of $80 to $1000 help make these conferences possible. Please help. Read more.  


Questions? Please contact Dan Bassill at


While it's only March, Do You have a November/December Strategy to Attract Donors to your neighborhood?


Poverty is still concentrated in many neighborhoods shown on this 1994 map.  It is growing in Chicago's suburbs.


Visit the this section of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site to see how maps can be used to help build a distribution of resources to all of the areas with high poverty, poorly performing schools, and other indicators showing need for volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs operating in non-school hours..

Below you can see a graphic showing four times a year
when our collective efforts can help build public greater awareness and draw needed resources directly to the different tutoring and/or mentoring programs operating in the Chicago region.


Quarterly events This  is  an event cycle that repeats every year. You can read about this here .  If you build a year-round event strategy intended to grow support for youth tutoring, mentoring and learning programs in different neighborhoods, you don't need to start from scratch each year. You innovate improvements. You also give yourself a full year to build next  year's event, which enables busy volunteers to take a more meaningful role.


This is a strategy that is needed in every city with large pockets of concentrated poverty. If you already have a strategy in place, please connect with us in Chicago.

Resources for your Learning Community:  

"Data Tools for Change: The Child Opportunity Index" webinar held March 18, co-hosted by PolicyLink, PERE, and . View webinar at  visit site.


The Toolbox - this site shows a variety of visualization tools that can be used to build a case for support of youth serving organizations - see site


Resilient Latino Youth: In Their Own Words - New report from National Council of LaRaz. Includes youth from Gads Hill Center in Chicago. see report


Poverty moving to Chicago Suburbs. View map showing change from 1980 to 2010. see article


These and many other resources can be found in the web library at 



President's Message.  


Closing the "Opportunity Gap". How do we get from "Here to There"?



On Tuesday, March 24, I had the opportunity to join with other civic leaders in Chicago to hear Robert Putnam talk about his new book " Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis ".  He said, "The destiny of poor kids in America has broad implications for our economy, our democracy, and our values.  Everyone should be concerned." 
If you've been reading this newsletter, or following my blogs, you know he's preaching to the choir when he is talking to me. Thus, my question, is "How do we close this gap? How do we get from where we are in 2015 to where we want to be in 2030 and beyond?"


I wrote my own follow up to Tuesday's event and posted it here. I wrote a second follow up today. There were nearly 200 other people in the auditorium, and thousands more will read the book. I hope each will take time to post their own strategy for solving this problem.  If you do, send me a link and let's compare notes. Better yet, let's find ways to work together to increase the number of people from beyond poverty who adopt Putnam's goal of making these kids, "our kids".



There's a lot of information in this and every other monthly newsletter that I send. I hope you'll save it, and refer to it often in the coming month. You can also go to my archives to see this and past issues.

Thank you for reading. If you'd like to connect with me, just reach out via one of the social media links below. The graphic above illustrates my goal of collecting and sharing information that can be used to support programs working with youth in Chicago and other cities.

If you can provide financial support to help me continue this effort, please visit this page





Daniel F. Bassill 

Daniel Bassill

Tutor/Mentor Connection
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC 

(Photo above is me in 1973 with my mentee, Leo Hall. We're still connected 50 years later.)


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