Letter from President, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
HOW DO WE ENGAGE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN ACTIONS THAT HELP INNER CITY KIDS IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD?
I don't have the answer to that question, but I share my own ideas in a Tutor/Mentor Institute blog that I've been writing since 2005 and in visual presentations like this one. You can see more at this link.
My vision since first starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 has been to connect people who are already involved so we could share ideas and help overcome the challenges we face in building and sustaining long-term connections between volunteers, tutor/mentor programs and inner city young people.
I have been involved as a volunteer and leader of tutor/mentor programs for over
40 years. I believe that comprehensive, volunteer-based non-school
tutor/mentor programs are just as important for helping youth succeed
in school as are well trained principals, smaller class sizes and new
curriculums. I also believe that they expand the networks and social capital of
young people AND the adult volunteers who are involved. They are a strategy for
closing the gap between rich and poor by engaging volunteers from beyond poverty
who would never understand the challenges kids face without being part of a
Such programs should be available in every neighborhood with high poverty and poorly performing schools. Thus most people who have met me have seen me point to maps of Chicago, showing all of the places where volunteers and dollars are needed for good programs to operate, not just the place where I need these resources to operate my own program.
While I've hosted this conference 42 times since May 1994, others with more money, and greater name visibility, have also been bringing people together to find solutions to poverty, failing schools, urban violence, inequity, racism and workforce development challenges.
few are trying to show participation in their events, using SNA maps or
geographic maps. Few have on-line forums, or attendee lists, that
enable people who attend an event to stay connected after the event. Visit
this page and you can see maps I've created
showing participation in past conferences. Visit
this page to see the attendee list I've included since 2007. Visit
this blog to see how I've been trying to look at conference participation.
this blog to see work done in Jan-April 2015 by students participating in an
Information Visualization MOOC hosted by Indiana University.
Due to lack of funds I'm not going to host a traditional conference in May or November 2016. I'll plan to host this conference again in 2017. However, I'll still focus social media attention on tutor/mentor programs during the May, August, November and February time frames and I'll continue to try to draw volunteers and donors directly to tutor/mentor programs throughout the Chicago region, pointing people to this list that I've maintained since 1994.
I will continue to focus attention on mapping and visualization tools, as well as on-line learning and collaboration portals so that anyone who is bringing people together to find solutions to poverty is mapping their events to show who is participating, who still needs to be included, and who continues to participate from year to year. It's only when we have more of the "village" participating on an on-going basis that I feel we'll have the talent and resources needed to really help kids born in high poverty neighborhoods today be starting jobs/careers out of poverty in 25 to 30 years.
I hope this interests you and that you'll visit the pages I pointed to and pass this information on to others. If you'd like to connect, join me in this one-line forum or connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIN, Pinterest or Facebook. If you’d like to talk, call me on Skype at dbassill, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel F. Bassill, President, CEO of
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
and the Tutor/Mentor Connection