Edition: April 2013
Issue No. 118



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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 Volunteerism - National Volunteer Week
* Review Speakers, Workshop Topics - June 7 Tutor/Mentor Conference
* $50 Million in new funding for Chicago anti-violence- what does it buy?
* Do your research. Form a Learning Circle
* President's Message - Connecting Networks


issue 01

National Volunteer Week Topic - What Tutor/Mentor Programs are Available?

Congratulations, Sean and AJ.
I received a phone call this week from Allen Tyson, who has been a volunteer tutor in Chicago since the early 1970s. I first met him in 1974 when we both were with the Montgomery Ward program.  Allen wanted to tell me that Sean, who he has worked with for the past 6 years, has been accepted to Iowa University. Two other boys in Sean's class at the Cabrini Connections program have also been accepted to college. Here's a story profiling Sean and AJ, written in 2009.


Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

Every April the nation celebrates the work millions of volunteers do to help their communities. This year's National Volunteer Week will be celebrated from April 21 to April 27.  As we head to this celebration, I want to encourage tutor/mentor programs to share stories of their student and volunteer milestones on their own blogs and web sites, and on master lists that enable more people from throughout a community to find these stories and build their own commitment to support these programs on an on-going basis. 

Collect this information.
As you host Volunteer Week celebrations in your neighborhood, business or community, can you also form community research and discussion groups that build a community-wide understanding of what neighborhoods are most in need of non-school tutor/mentor programs and why programs need to operate in out-of-school time frames, not just during the school day? Use the Maps in the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator Map Gallery to help you in this analysis.

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

Build Program Support Advertising Campaigns
If you collect this type of information between April and August and share it on one or more web sites you can also organize communications campaigns starting in August that help recruit volunteers, youth and donors to support existing programs along with other community and business partners who will identify gaps in service where new programs might be needed. 

Use these search tools to locate volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs in Chicago and other communities. Reach out and get to know these programs. Compare them to others in Chicago and around the country. Look for ways to help each program become a "world class" organization.

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

* VolunteerMatch - 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


Registration Open: Next Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago will be on Friday, June 7, 2013 at the Metcalfe Federal Building.

The June 7 conference has an exciting roster of workshops. View the speaker page to see who we expect to present and what they will be talking about. http://www.tutormentorconference.org/speakers.asp


Some of topics to be presented:

* Nonprofit Communicators Workshop: Websites and Newsletters that Work
* Impacting Academic Achievement by Building Scholastic Long-term Learners

* Building Strong Programs: How to Leverage Evaluation to Strengthen Program Practices

* Volunteer Recruitment & Screening

* Mentoring Urban Youth

* Building Muscle on your Board - Recruiting, Retention and Evaluation
* The Two Year Waits: Today's Crisis in Male Mentoring

* Turning Foundation/Corporate Funders into Investors

The full workshop schedule is on this agenda page .  Registration is now open. Please spread the word and help build participation.  Group rates and $20 scholarships are available. Just ask.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) was created in 1993, so we're now entering our 20th year. The first conference was hosted in May 1994. Following conferences have been held every six months since then. This has been a grassroots affair made possible by all speakers volunteering time to share ideas. 


See photos from the November 2012 conference and from past conferences


NAMING RIGHTS: Did you notice that the conference photos invite a company and/or individual to become a lead sponsor, with their name associated with the conference?  Do you know someone who wants to have  this role? 

issue 02


$50 Million in new corporate funding for Chicago anti-violence programs


Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC


What type of programs will give Chicago funders the result they want:


More youth stay in school, are safe in non-school hours, graduate and move to college and 21st century jobs.


Chicago corporations are being asked to raise $50 million to support violence prevention programs.  Are they also being asked to engage talent, technology and jobs to support the operations of these programs? Read more.




In each issue of this newsletter I've shared information that non profits, educators, business leaders and policy makers could use to support the growth of mentor-rich, non-school learning centers in high poverty neighborhoods.  With new attention and new funding, I've provided a list of links to articles that I encourage planners to read as they begin to allocate these dollars.


Good to Great Thinking - it takes several years for a start up organization to grow to be a great organization, with trust and participation from neighborhood youth, community wide volunteers, and a network of donors. Read more.


What indicators would you want to see on a youth program web site to give you confidence that they are doing work that should be supported by volunteers, donors and investors? Read more


What are the steps to starting and sustaining a mentor-rich youth program?  Read more


What is the planning calendar programs might use to support year-to-year growth and improvement? Read more


What are the challenges faced by small and medium size non profits that need to be overcome? For instance, this spring Compass Point and the Non Profit Finance Fund released this report showing challenges facing non profit sector organizations. Under Developed: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising - http://www.compasspoint.org/underdeveloped  See more articles showing challenges facing non profit organizations:http://tinyurl.com/TMILibrary-ChallengesFacingNPO


Who else is doing similar work and how do you connect and learn from them? While we hope non profits are benchmarking their work compared to similar organizations, are businesses, hospitals, philanthropists doing the same? Read more about benchmarking.

If you are discussing these ideas in a small group, connect with others by attending workshops at the June or November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences or by connecting in on-line forums, Facebook, Linked in, etc. to share your strategies.  If you're not from Chicago, here is a list of conferences hosted in other parts of the country. http://tinyurl.com/other-conferences 




issue 03


Dialog and Deliberation - Engage Your Community, Co-Workers, Faith Group


Until more people from beyond poverty are engaging in on-going service and learning, connecting with youth and families who live in poverty, and with research and ideas showing potential solutions, too few people will be passionately engaged in building and sustaining efforts that offer more equal and sustained paths out of poverty in all the places of Chicago or any other city where this inequality exists.

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

The Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at UIC is "exploring how the University can help broaden and deepen the engagement of Chicago-area residents in public policy and community issues—particularly at the neighborhood, city, and county levels—through the use of dialogue and deliberative processes." Read more.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection has been interested in on-line learning communities since the early 2000s. During Jan-March 2013 an Education Technology and Media MOOC (see  http://www.etmooc.org) connected more than 1600 learners from North America).

The Tutor/Mentor Connection library links to more than 2000 organizations and articles that volunteers, students, leaders, donors, policy makers, business leaders, etc. from Chicago and other cities can use to support their own efforts to close the gaps between rich and poor, improve workforce readiness, reduce inner city violence, etc.

If we can encourage groups from many sectors to engage in on-going dialog, deliberation, brainstorming and collective action, we can share ideas that can be applied in any neighborhood where kids need extra help.

Youth can take important roles in this process.
his page shows visualization and video projects done by teens, volunteers and interns working with Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago since 2005. Projects like these could be created by youth in schools and non-school programs in any city. They could be used to draw adults together, create shared understanding, and to build strategies that draw needed resources into neighborhoods that create and sustain constantly improving, evidence based, tutoring, mentoring and learning programs.

One role youth in Chicago can take is to  help collect and maintain information about area tutor/mentor programs, which is shared via the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator .  Read how youth can be part of this information collection process. 



president's message

Connecting networks is our goal. We can do more working for common purpose.

by Daniel F. Bassill

This graphic shows intermediary organizations in Chicago and Illinois who focus on the well-being of youth. I want to help them connect more frequently with each other.

Images created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC    See this image at http://tinyurl.com/ChicagoYouthNetworks

The Pope, Bono, Pallotta and Data.
I wrote a blog article with this title during Easter week, showing how important it is to build a database showing the different tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, and also showing the intermediaries, business, philanthropic and research groups who are working to improve the well-being of young people.  This map is one that shows different intermediary organizations I've identified. I'm sure there are more.  Most nodes provide a link to the web site of that organization, so you can connect from this map to others doing similar work.  If on their site they had a map of their network, and they included a link back to this map, we'd be connecting people in our networks to each other.

Every time I host a Tutor/Mentor Conference I invite representatives of these organizations to participate and use the conference space to further their own agendas. The next conference is June 7. If you're reading this I hope you'll help extend this invitation so more will participate.

Collecting this Information is and On-Going Process
Some nodes need to be developed. For instance I have nodes for faith networks, university and business networks, philanthropy networks, etc. I don't know all of the organizations in these sectors with programs and strategies designed to help youth in one or more neighborhoods.  Maybe YOU do.  If we can learn who in these sectors is already mobilizing people and resources to support youth mentoring, tutoring, arts, technology and other types of non-school learning in high poverty areas, we can connect these groups to each other, and to the organizations we do know who are doing this work.  

This data collection and mapping needs ownership in universities and well funded research organizations so the information can be collected effectively and updated regularly.  However, it also needs a wide range of champions, in business, religion, media, politics, and individual youth serving organizations, who find ways every day to point people in their networks to the information, while helping them also apply the information in actions that support the growth and on-going operations of mentor-rich programs serving K-16 youth in every part of the Chicago region (or your own city).
See articles related to this topic:

Role of leaders - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-RoleOfLeaders  

Community Information Collection - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Information-Collection

Tipping points - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-TippingPoint

I've built a library with research articles and blogs where writers show the cost of poverty, the skills gaps, the drop out crisis, etc. Instead of creating this research myself my goal has been to find and re-circulate articles written by people with far more skills and research talent than myself.   Motivating more people to read these articles and become personally involved in providing resources to support solutions is a goal that young people and adults from many sectors can adopt and lead. You can find this library at  http://tinyurl.com/TMC-Library

Are you already having this conversation? Where? If you post in spaces I host you can attract the people in my network to your space. I can do the same.  Share  your ideas with me on Twitter @tutormentorteam or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TutorMentorInstitute


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. 

Good luck to everyone as they launch a new school 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/

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