Edition: September 2013
Issue No. 124

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Issues of the month

* Tutor/Mentor Conference, Monday, Nov. 4 - registration open
* What portals do volunteers and donors use to find your tutor/mentor program?
* Do you think of your program as a "distribution point" for learning?
* Once you have volunteers, how do you support them?
* President's Message - Has anyone figured out a way to make this work?

issue 01
Tutor/Mentor Conference - Nov. 4 in Chicago. Register now!

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

The November 4 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference will be held at the Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building, 77 W. Jackson.

See list of workshop presenters at http://www.tutormentorconference.org/speakers.asp

Registration page link

Conference Objectives:

  • Draw leaders, volunteers, and stakeholders from more than 150 agencies together for networking and information sharing. Read this blog article to expand your network-building abilities.

  • Draw business and philanthropy partners into ongoing learning and partnership with tutor/mentor leaders

  • Provide a vision for comprehensive, long-term mentoring that leads youth to careers
  • Build trust and relationships among stakeholders to generate partnerships and information sharing during the months between each conference.
  • Build awareness of online learning and networking resources and motivate a growing number of participants to use these tools for capacity improvement

Each conference seeks to offer workshops on planning, evaluation, recruitment, training, marketing, and other topics relevant to tutoring/mentoring youth at different ages.

Visit http://www.tutormentorconference.org to find photos, videos, maps and more information showing history and goals of past conferences.

Help support the conference.
  If you've been part of a past conference, or have benefited from being part of a tutor/mentor program, please take a look at this page and add your support. http://www.tutormentorconference.org/40th-TutorMentorConference.htm



What on-line sites do volunteers, donors and youth use to find your program?

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

Below are some on-line portals where volunteers are encouraged to seek out volunteer opportunities. We'd like to motivate donors to use these places, too.  Do you have your organization listed in all of these sites?

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

* Volunteer Match - 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

issue 02
Do you think of your tutor/mentor program as a distribution point for learning?

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC


What ways do you visualize the strategies of your tutor/mentor program? What do you look for on a program's web site, if you're a potential volunteer or donor, or want to enroll a student?

The graphic above is one of many that have been created over 20 years to illustrate the idea of a tutor/mentor program as a place where many forms of learning can be available. A site based program can include volunteers from arts, video, writing, technology and other backgrounds, who share their own career experiences with youth who are part of such programs. Below are some web sites to visit that might stimulate your thinking about this.


Shoppers Guide - what should be shown on your web site - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-ShoppersGuide

Role talent volunteers can take in helping mentor-rich programs reach youth in more places - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-VirtualCorpOffice


Strategy visualizations done by interns. Youth in many programs and schools could do these. http://www.tutormentorconference.org/InternsVideos2013.htm

issue 03
Once you have volunteers matched with youth, how do you support them?


Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

This mural shows youth and volunteers who have been involved in a single Chicago tutor/mentor program for one up to 40 years. Using the Internet, many alumni are still connected to each other in their adult lives. At the Cabrini Connections program in Chicago, which I led from 1993-2011, we had a calendar of events that we repeated every year, which you can see at http://tutormentorinstitute.wikidot.com/annual-calendar-of-activities


We sent an email newsletter to volunteers every week to inform them of what to expect that week, and to provide information we wanted them to pass on to the teens they work with. We also provided links to homework help resources that were available on-line, which you can find at http://tinyurl.com/TMC-Homework-Resources


Then we had veteran volunteers act as coordinators at the weekly tutor/mentor sessions to help teens and volunteers build relationships and find information as they were seeking it. If you have your volunteer-support strategy on a web site, please share it on our Linked in page, or Facebook page, so we can share it with others.


Image created by Tutor/Mentor Connection

Think of volunteer involvement as a service-learning loop. As volunteers connect with kids, they learn why they are needed, and ways to help tutor/mentor programs offer their services.

This graphic is an animation created by an intern working with Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago. It illustrates the growth of a volunteer as they participate in a tutor/mentor program.www.tutormentorexchange.net/images/flash/rebuild_real.swf . Youth in many programs could be creating presentations like this, as part of their own learning and as part of leadership efforts. If you're doing work like this consider sharing it in one of the Chicago tutor/mentor conferences, or in an on-line forum.

As you provide information to your volunteers and supporters, here are on-line resources that you can use:

* Research on education, drop out crisis, social capital -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-ResearchLinks
* Fund Raising - Understanding Challenges -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Library-FundingIssues 
* Blogs on learning, MOOCs, Fund Raising -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Library-Blog-list
* Collaboration, innovation, visualization, mapping -  http://tinyurl.com/TMI-ProcessImp-Collaboration
* Mentoring, tutoring beyond Chicago -   http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Library-Mentoring 
* Training resources for tutors, mentors - http://tinyurl.com/TMI-MentorTraining   
* Process improvement, innovation, creativity articles -


president's message

Has anyone figured out a way to make this work? And how to pay for it?

by Daniel F. Bassill


See more visualizations
like this at





Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC



Everyone knows the story of how Thomas Edison experimented over and over before he created a working light bulb. Few think of how he then had to create an industry to distribute energy so light bulbs could be in homes across America.

I think that non-school programs are constantly experimenting to find ways to motivate youth and volunteers to participate regularly, then to influence student aspirations and motivations so that the youth begins to take responsibility for his/her own learning and the volunteer, the student's teachers and parents, and everyone else become coaches and facilitators to help learners find knowledge and opportunities as they grow up and go through life.

In high poverty areas of big cities kids have to deal with many social and economic issues that are not common to youth in more affluent areas, including constant shootings and gang violence, a high number of adults who have not finished high school and/or have been in the prison pipeline. Thus, the experiments and innovations needed to help youth become learners despite these influences, require even greater creativity.

While some people may be finding ways to solve these challenges, they are faced with an equally complex problem as they do this innovating. They must find the operating dollars and resources needed to stay in the business of tutoring/mentoring in a non-school environment.  While public schools are tax payer funded and may be budget-challenged every year, most non-school programs are non profits who must find consistent donor support in an environment when few donors make long-term commitments to provide the flexible operating dollars essential to a program's operations.

Thus, without consistent funding, many people don't stay involved with the tutor/mentor business for multiple years and when they leave, the knowledge and experiences they built are lost. In the research and innovation world having this type of a brain drain would would severely hamper the creativity and innovation of people like Edison.

Image created by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

Have you listened to Dan Pallotta's TED talk? Here's the link. http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html

Here's one of several articles I've written, encouraging more people to form discussion groups around this topic, with a focus on building a stronger support infrastructure for volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs operating in big cities like Chicago. http://tutormentor.blogspot.com/2013/08/pallotta-ted-talk-discussion-solutions.html

The information the Tutor/Mentor Connection has aggregated over the past 20 years is intended to support leaders from many different public and private sector organizations as they bring people together to innovate new ways of supporting organizations needed in many places for many years.   I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to provide a new structure to help the Tutor/Mentor Connection continue in Chicago and to help similar intermediaries grow in other cities.

The conferences and on-line forums listed below are places that I host we people can connect, share ideas, build relationships, and innovate better ways to support youth serving organization growth in more places. I hope you'll participate in the next conference in Chicago on November 4. See http://www.tutormentorconference.org

However, I know many others are also organizing groups to build support for birth to work strategies, or strategies that engage youth in arts, technology, entrepreneurship, etc. This concept map shows more than two dozen other networks I keep trying to connect with.  http://tinyurl.com/ChicagoYouthNetworks

f you're hosting such a group, I'd be happy to join in your conversations, just as I invite you to be part of mine.

If we can create new ways of connecting people, ideas, resources and young people, we can find better ways to support youth and volunteers who become involved in tutor/mentor programs and other needed forms of learning and mentoring..

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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