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.

Oct. - Nov. 2017 - Issue 163
The school year has started. Are you already thinking about next year?  
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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What are some of the things you're thinking about?
Getting youth and volunteers to show up each week and providing activities to support them is top-of-mind, but is that all? 
The concept map above is part of a recent blog article - click here

In hundreds of school and non-school locations, volunteer tutors and mentors are meeting weekly with k-12 youth.  They are supported by people with many years of experience, and some who are involved with tutoring, mentoring and non-school programs for the first time.

I maintain a list of Chicago area non-school tutor and mentor programs, which you can find here.  

I also have been using maps to show where programs are most needed, based on high levels of poverty, and where existing programs are located. See example.
I encourage parents, volunteers and donors to look at the web sites of individual programs, to see what services they offer, where they are located, and why they are needed, etc. Anyone can use this information to help them make choices for where to get involved or give support.  The information on web sites is also useful for programs to learn from each other.
Most youth program web sites in the Chicago tutor/mentor program library are bulletin boards announcing that they offer different types of youth programming, and showing how people can get involved.  Some do this better than others.  
I point to nearly 200 youth serving organizations, yet only a few provide information and resources showing why they are needed and providing tips & resources for volunteers.  
* Cluster Tutoring - tips for learning
* Tutoring Chicago - handbook and resource guide on website
* 826Chi points to extra resources in two pdfs on this page
* By the Hand Club - provides data to show need for their programs (which shows why similar programs are also needed) - click here
* Polished Pebbles - shows reasons program is needed - click here
* WITS Chicago - uses blog to provide information - click here
* The Black Star Project - extensive resources showing why people should get involved. - click here
Through this newsletter and my blog articles I'm constantly encouraging youth programs to provide more of this type of information on their web sites. I created this Shoppers Guide  PDF to offer a set of suggestions for what donors, volunteers and parents should be looking for on every tutor and mentor program web site.

Help programs tell their stories:
One role that volunteers from marketing, PR, advertising and technology companies, or local universities, could take would be to help every program have a web site that provides more information to their own supporters as well as to others who are doing similar work in different places.
If you operate a Chicago area tutor and/or mentor program that's not on my list, or if you share resources and tips for tutors and mentors on your site and want me to highlight it, send details to so I can add you to the T/MC web library.
Resources Volunteers and Students can Use
Since the school year is just starting these resources can be useful for volunteers and staff in any tutor and mentor program in Chicago or beyond.
Learn about homework help section and other resources available in the Tutor/Mentor web library. click here.  When you open the concept map on this page, click each of the nodes and you'll find a vast library of ideas.
If you are active on Twitter you might have seen notices about an international campaign intended to involve students from around the world in achieving  the United Nation's 17 Global Sustainability Goals.  Goal Number 1 is to "end poverty in all its forms, everywhere". That includes Chicago and the USA.  Read more about this at this link.
Youth in non-school programs, and schools, can become involved in local and global issues as part of their own learning and development. 

Here's one article about engaging youth in social change.
In this section of the Tutor/Mentor web library are many web sites with ideas that might inspire youth and volunteers and program staff. click here

A starting point for involvement could be students browsing these articles then writing reports to share what they find, and to recommend activities that they and peers in their own school or non-school programs could be doing.  
Is your organization a "learning" organization?
The Internet offers a vast deposit of knowledge, but is of little value if people don't dig into it on an on-going basis to see what they can find.
You can find a description of these graphics in this article
The graphic above is an enlarged version of the bottom section of the graphic at the left. In the yellow highlighted box at the top I show outcomes I think we all want:  

More youth stay in school, are safe in non-school hours, graduate from high school, and move on to jobs, careers and adult responsibilities.
To achieve these outcomes we need to reduce the inequalities of opportunity in Chicago and the USA. Below are two resources.

I watched a Digital Divide movie this week, which highlighted how some kids don't have the same digital learning opportunities other kids have.   
A couple of years ago I read Dr. Robert Putnam's book, "Our Kids: the American Dream in Crisis."  This painted the same picture of inequality, based on where you live and the income of parent. 
On my concept map page you can find two maps that outline these programs. One is a Digital Divide maps. A second is "Our Kids" map. 
These are just two of many research articles you can find in this section of the Tutor/Mentor web library, showing why kids in poverty need extra support that volunteer tutors and mentors in organized non-school programs have the potential to help provide.
While most focus on the act of tutoring or mentoring, I focus on what volunteers can do beyond this, as part of an on-going effort to help kids move through school.  The concept map below shows supports kids need as they move from first grade through high school and toward jobs.  See map here


On this map I show that volunteers are extra adults who get involved in a child's life through an organized tutor or mentor program. Finding ways to keep those volunteers involved for multiple years, and motivating them to look at the information showing the extra support needed by youth, families and schools in high poverty neighborhoods, can turn many of these volunteers into activist who reach back into their own networks to get other people involved to help make more of these resources available.  

View Mentor Role in a Larger Youth Development Strategy PDF- click here

Share these ideas.

Last weekend a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts reviewed one of my presentations, then created a comic strip to share his understanding. You can see his comic strip here. Then, see how it's featured in the Tutor/Mentor blog.

One activity students and volunteers can take is to dig through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site and web library, and then create their own blogs, comics, videos, etc. to share what they find with others.
The work they do could be posted on the web sites and blogs of the organizations they are part of, as part of an effort to engage more of the organizations stakeholders in deeper learning and greater efforts so more kids move successfully through school and into adult lives.
Additional information and resources...
Below are just a few links from the Tutor/Mentor web library.  

* To&Through Project website. Find information showing progress of CPS freshmen to and through 4-year college. Find ways to help. click here
* Sign your middle school students up for January 2018 Chicago Future Cities design project - details here
* The Human Imprint - a huge geography resource - click here
* Understand Racism and Segregation using digital mapping - see article
* Teaching Tolerance - classroom resources - click here
* Civic Engagement - Illinois Governor candidates - click here
Additional resources to help Chicago area organizations and supporters connect, learn and work collectively to help build support systems for youth:
* #ILGive campaign is Nov. 28. Are you ready? click here

* Strengthening Chicago Youth  blog - click here
* Thrive Chicago events calendar - click here

* National Mentoring Summit - January 24-26, 2018 in Washington, DC - details

* Indiana Afterschool Network Out-of-School-Time Conference, April 9, 2018 - details
* Chicago Organizations in Intermediary Roles - click here
* See what's being discussed on Twitter - use Tutor/Mentor #hashtag map
*  View past Tutor/Mentor Newsletters - use for on-going learning - click here

*  List of links to sections of tutor/mentor library and ideas - 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

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