Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dig into Idea Library I've Built Since 1994

While I've created more than 1000 blog articles since 2005, I started putting strategy ideas into printed newsletters in 1994 as we were launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in Chicago.  I began to turn words into pictures and create strategy visualizations about the same time. Then in 1998 I created a Tutor/Mentor Institute page on one of my web sites to share these ideas.


Visit this page and browse through this collection. Since they are on-line, you can gather a group, project these on a screen, and discuss ways you can apply the ideas in your own neighborhood, city or country.

Then, visit this page and see how interns from universities in the US and Asia have created their own interpretations of my articles and presentations.  This is work students from any place could be doing.  Take a look. Browse the ideas. Engage your students and community.

All of these could be done better, with more creativity and greater impact.  If you'd like to volunteer time, talent and dollars and work directly with me to update these, just introduce yourself on one of these social media sites.

If you want to go ahead and create your own version of any of these, go ahead. Just put in a link to where the ideas originated.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Violence, Racism, Nazis - Don't just voice your anger.

While social media reacted with a mountain of posts about the White Supremacist, Nazi, KKK- led march in Chancellorsville, VA, young men and women continued to be shot and killed in Chicago neighborhoods.   Responses to both are inadequate.

I've been using maps as part of an on-going public education strategy, for 23 years to focus attention on places where people suffer, due to poverty, violence, inadequate schools, etc and have created far too many focused on the Austin neighborhood on the West side of Chicago.  I updated this map today, showing where two men were gunned down on Sunday morning, right in front of the Friendship Baptist Church in the Austin neighborhood.

Since I had created several map views of Austin for past articles, all I did this time was pull up a previously created map and add a circle to show where the church is located and add a small screen shot showing how this story was featured in today's Chicago Tribune.

The name of the church sounded familiar so I looked at a map I had created a few years ago to show some churches that were providing mentoring to youth.  The Friendship Baptist Church is number at the bottom of this map.

I did a presentation at one of these churches a few years ago, sharing the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web resources and inviting each church to set up a study group to dig into the ideas I'm sharing and apply them to build strong tutor, mentor learning strategies at each church, and in other locations, throughout the Austin neighborhood.

One map I've shared often shows transit routes bringing people from affluent suburbs surrounding Chicago to where they work in the downtown area. Every day thousands of people past right by the Friendship Baptist Church, but I doubt that many are stopping to offer time, talent and dollars to help youth in the neighborhood move through school and into jobs.

Here's another graphic from my library. This could be used to show the design of a mentor-rich program, indicating that volunteers and learning experiences come from many different sources.

However, it could also show that at each spoke on the wheel there are groups of people leading others into the information I've been sharing for 24 years, to look for more information about why people are killing each other, and ways to build a system of supports that leads to different outcomes.

Here's another map that the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) created nearly ten years ago, showing the 7th Congressional District, which includes the Austin neighborhood.  We created several versions of this (see pdf) showing businesses, faith groups, hospitals and universities, along with the transit route connecting rich and poor from Chicago's West suburbs to the downtown area.

The goal was that elected leaders pull people together to help build and sustain mentor-rich programs in all poverty neighborhoods of their district.  That's still a goal.

If you're reading this and want to take action, maybe start by pulling up some of the past articles I've written about the Austin neighborhood. Click here.  Then systematically browse through other articles, category by category, and bring together a group of friends, family, co-workers, etc. and begin to talk about ways you might implement some of the ideas.

I'd be happy to act as a friend and consultant to help you set up a learning community and begin to mobilize more consistent flow of resources to support the growth of needed programs and services in these neighborhoods.

At the same time I encourage you to review the 4-part strategy that I've described in articles like these, and see how this applies to other problems we need to better  understand and combat with more consistent flows of time, talent and dollars.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mentoring Kids Through School and Into Adult Lives

This montage shows youth and adults from a tutor/mentor program I launched in January 1992 and led through mid 2011. Some of those kids were in 7th grade when they joined us, and had been part of the 2nd to 6th grade program I led from 1975-1992 before joining us. Many now are out of college, in jobs and raising their own kids and some of us are connected on social media. Many of the volunteers stayed with the program 3 to 10 years with one serving more than 20. One of those alumni posted this message on Facebook today:
"those times spent at tutoring made me the woman I am today"
So when I talk about "mentoring kids through school and into adult lives" I'm talking about the commitment a few people make to helping kids from the time they join a program until they are out of school and in adult lives.

In leading a single program I was constantly looking for ideas, thinking "what are all the things I need to know and do?"  Those things extended to running an effective organization and raising needed funds every year, not just recruiting kids and volunteers and providing a safe space for them to meet.

As we created the single tutor/mentor program in 1993 we also responded to a larger need. No one had a master data base of non-school tutor/mentor programs serving Chicago, thus, no one was leading a business-type marketing campaign intended to help every program in the city get the resources and ideas each program needs to constantly improve what they do while staying connected to kids and volunteers.

Furthermore, no one was mapping this information to identify neighborhoods with no programs, or without programs serving specific age groups.  Thus, we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection to fill this void. We launched a first Chicago programs survey in January 1994 and started producing maps showing locations of programs at the same time.

As we built a database of programs, we also began to expand the library of research and ideas that I had started collecting in 1975 when I first started leading a tutor/mentor program in Chicago.  That library went on the internet in 1998 and has constantly expanded since then.

It contains answers to "what are all the things we need to know and do" and it's free and available to people from anywhere in the world.

I've been sharing what the Tutor/Mentor Connection is and what it offers, in many ways, for many years, in an effort to recruit leaders, partners and a few benefactors to support this work in Chicago and grow it in other cities.  In 2011 I created a space on Debategraph for this message.  Last week I used Thinglink to highlight the information on the Debategraph site.

Take a look.  Click on each circle and a pop-up opens with information related to that spoke of the wheel, with a link directly to that page on the Debategraph site.

I learned about Thinglink from educators I've met over the past five years on Twitter, Google-Plus and Facebook, who are part of a Connected Learning #clmooc community.  The type of on-going interaction and idea sharing that this group models is something I've tried to create for the non-school community, including donors, researchers, policy makers, volunteers and students.

It's one of many mountains I've tried to climb over the past 24 years with too few resources and too little help.  However, by sharing this information, I hope it inspires others to try to build a support system like the T/MC in their own community.  

Since mid 2011 I've continued to support the T/MC through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  It's the same mission, just a different tax structure. Still has the same lack of resources to do all that needs to be done.  Click here if you'd like to offer some help.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sharing ideas using Thinglink

Last week I created this blog post, pointing to a new report, by the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC that focuses on the State of Racial Justice in Chicago . Below is the same image, with embedded links,  using Thinglink. I learned about this from my #clmooc educator network.

Click on any of the nodes and you'll find an article related to that graphic. Read the article and more like it.  Share with people in your own network so more people will get involved and we can increase public will and the number who care.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Role of Facilitators - See Blog Talk Radio Interview

In the 4-part strategy that I've shared often on this blog, step  3 focuses on facilitation, or helping other people find, understand and apply the information on my web sites.

I use my articles to help people understand ideas and information they can use to help build and sustain volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach kids in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

I point to work interns have done in past years to help people understand ideas I share on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

Today Valerie Leonard, a Chicago community organizer, who I have come to know over the past 15 years, interviewed me for her Blog Talk Radio show.  You can see the interview below.

By hosting this show, and inviting me to be a guest, Valerie is modeling a facilitation role that needs to be duplicated by people in many groups to draw people to articles and ideas that I and other people share and help them build their own understanding and use of the ideas.

This graphic illustrates what I'm saying. There are many different groups who could be taking a deeper, more strategic, and on-going role to help improve the quality of life for people in different parts of Chicago or in other parts of the US and the world.

You don't need to have a deep understanding of any of the stuff I post or write about. You can invite a group of people into a room, project the image or article on a screen, the ask people to share what they are understanding.

You don't even need to be in the same room, at the same time. Connect on the Internet.

This past month the Connected Learning #clmooc group has been encouraging people to "make" visualizations that express their ideas. Take a look at their web site and see the activities they have been doing and the way they share and connect with each other on several social media platforms.

The #clmooc organizers are educators from different parts of the world who meet on-line to plan each year's activities.

Go ahead and get started. Invite some people to come together. Pick any of the articles I've posted over the past 10 years or that you find in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

If you're taking this role, send me a link and I'll join in when I can, and share  your videos and Tweets as I receive them.  It's another example of what I mean when I say "It takes a village to raise a child."
One role in the village is information networker, facilitator, trainer, etc.

Thanks Valerie for hosting me today.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

State of Racial Justice in Chicago - Who Cares?

My friends in the Connected Learning #clmooc are focusing on doodling this week and I'm seeing lots of creativity.  Visit the G+ page or follow on Twitter and see all the ways educators from around the world are connecting with each other.

Over the past few days I did not spend as much time with the #clmooc group as in earlier weeks because I was reading this report by the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC that focuses on the State of Racial Justice in Chicago.  As I read I began to scratch out some ideas, and you can see my graphic below.

The report looks at the problem of racial justice from five different lenses which I've shown as spokes surrounding the UIC hub. With each section statistics are presented in a very clear format (very depressing, too). A list of citations is included at the end of each section.  I agree with the choices but the report could have also looked at the easy access to guns, or the impact of climate change, and done more to dig deeper into intentional racism. The section on housing touches on some of this.

Each problem by itself is a huge challenge. However, taken together they present a wicked, complex problem which has persisted for many years and seems to be growing with the new President.

I added four other spokes to the hub.  1) other issues 2) a link to my own research map, which points to sections of my web library with additional information related to these issues; and 3) a hope that all of the citations referred to in the report be aggregated on line using cmaps like I use.  A 4th spoke asks that the movements mentioned in the final section of the report be collected on line, as I've collected youth intermediaries on this map.

I also put a time line through the middle of the map. These problems have been with us for 50 years and longer. I mentioned a 1993 Chicago SunTimes article that I wrote about here, which talked about poverty being the same then as it was 20  years ago.  Below this I put in a box showing the 4-part strategy that the Tutor/Mentor Connection started in 1993.  To the right of the hub, I asked if UIC and others would adopt the 4-part strategy in 2017 so in 2037 we might see more change than we've seen in the past 20 years.

I listed the four steps in the 4-part strategy across the bottom of the graphic and referred to an "information flow" cMap that I use to show how I've been sharing this information since 1993 in an effort to support the learning, innovation and actions of  users throughout Chicagoland and in other cities and states.

At the top I talk about getting the village involved, building public will and focusing on all areas where people need help with the major heading of INCREASING WHO CARES.

That's what this graphic focuses on. How can the ideas we share reach millions of people and influence actions that change the future?

I plan to convert my graphic to a concept map and I'll share it on social media and in this collection of cMaps. I'll share the graphic I created today with my #clmooc friends.  My hope is that some of them use their creativity to help share the information in the UIC report, using their own doodles and creations.  For instance, the five sections in the report could be highlighted, using a Lumen5 video, or a GIF or other a poetic rendition, put to music.

While the report focuses on Chicago it shows that other cities face the same problems and have greater frequency of some of the problems for which Chicago has a nasty national news reputation.  That means the graphics people create can be intended to attract viewers from their own cities and states, not just Chicago.

Who knows. In a month or a year there could be a set of makes in the CLMOOC Make Bank focused on this single graphic and these issues. And, in 20 years maybe we can see evidence that a lot more people care and are more involved in solutions to these problems.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The world needs knowledge catalysts - like Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

I hope you'll visit this link and read the article titled "The world needs knowledge catalysts", by Harold Jarche.

I've  used a lot of printed (and on-line) space for the past 23  years to try to communicate the value of work the Tutor/Mentor Connection started in 1993 and that I've continued to support via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC since 2011.

Browse the list of tags on the left and you'll find many categories that focus on uses of knowledge for innovation, problem solving, and helping mentor-rich youth programs grow in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

Last week I used this graphic in an article explaining the four-part problem solving strategy I've piloted since 1993. Step 1 of the strategy focuses on collecting and organizing information anyone can use to help tutor/mentor programs grow in more places, and to help programs have a constantly improving impact on youth and volunteers who participate, and the communities where they operate.

I created this "race to be the best" presentation several years ago to visualize how I was trying to collect information showing what youth organizations and resource providers were doing in Chicago, and in different parts of the world, so that other people would be inspired, or motivated, by those ideas and would try to use them to help youth in other places.

Think of the carrot as a good idea. If we can give attention to good ideas and promising practices and to enlightened donors and business partners on a regular basis, we can stimulate constant improvement because we influence the flow of resources and how people use those resources.

I created this presentation more than a decade ago to show how I was trying to share the information we were collecting in a learning network that includes people from Chicago and people from other cities and states.

While I was able to raise more than $3 million over 18 years to fund the growth and operations of the Tutor/Mentor Connection,  the flow was inconsistent, and never enough to do every thing I was trying to do in a big city like Chicago. Furthermore, I was never able to keep more than a few donors for multiple years. Even the strongest multi-year supporters, like the Montgomery Ward Corporation and HSBC North America went out of business, or stopped funding due to their own business situations.

Thus, I'm looking for sponsors, partners and donors in 2017 the same way I was looking for them in 1993...yet I don't have a non profit structure or team of volunteers helping me and I'm 70 so I'm looking for people who will carry this work forward into the future, not just people who will help me keep it going for another few years.

If  you read the Jarche article and look at the work I'm doing, and value my role as a "knowledge catalyst" then help me share this information and do this work.  If you want to make a contribution, visit this page and use the PayPal button.

If you want to explore other ways to help, read this "do-over" article and introduce yourself with a comment, or via Twitter, or via email at tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Four part strategy - to help k-12 youth in all high poverty areas

All of the articles I've posted since starting this blog in 2005, and shared in the Tutor/Mentor Institute library since 1998, have focused on supporting non-school tutor/mentor and learning programs that connect with youth in elementary or middle school, then stay connected to help those youth through high school and into adult lives and jobs.

What are all the things we need to know and do to make effective, on-going volunteer-based programs available in hundreds of locations of a big city like Chicago?  I started asking that question in 1975 when I became the volunteer leader of a single program.  While starting a new site-based program serving Cabrini-Green teens, I and six other volunteers, created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to build a library, sharing my experiences, along with those of others in Chicago and around the country. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, or starting from scratch, anyone should be able to borrow ideas from work already being done in different places.

We launched the T/MC with four strategies which are shown in this concept map.  These need to be taking place within each individual tutor/mentor program, and at each resource provider, as well as in intermediary organizations.

Click this link to see the map.  Let's look at this in more detail.

The graphics below show each section of this map.

Step 1.  I've been collecting information about existing tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and showing that on maps since 1994, with the goal that volunteers, donors and leaders would use the maps to find programs in different neighborhoods that they could join and/or support, and that they could use to see where more programs are needed.  In addition, I've built a huge library of links to articles showing where and why these programs are needed along with ideas programs could use to build stronger organizations and that volunteers can use to be more effective tutors and mentors and advocates for strong programs.

When you go to the concept map you'll see small boxes at the bottom of each element of the map. The box on the left points to external web sites and the box on the right points to additional concept maps.  Thus under the Step 1 node you can find five additional concept maps that provide greater levels of detail and point into sections of the web library.

In this library you'll find links to youth serving organizations throughout the country as well as articles about philanthropy, fund raising and volunteer recruitment and training.

Step 2.  No mater how good the information in Step 1 is, it has little value if too few people are finding and using it. Thus, step two focuses on creating a daily frequency and reach of stories that talk about tutoring and/or mentoring and encourage people to visit the web library then search for programs they can support.  This page shows a list of newspaper stories generated as part of this step. This concept map shows some of the web spaces where we share this information.

Since the Tutor/Mentor Connection never had much money for advertising or public relations support, the strategies intend to recruit many leaders who will help create this public awareness, using their own visibility and communications tools.

Step 3.  With so much information available there is a need to help people understand and apply the information collected in Step 1.  This article and many that I've posted in the past are examples of how I do this, and how others could take the same role.  I hosted a Tutor/Mentor conference in Chicago every six months from 1994 through May 2015 to bring people together to learn from each other. I use social media daily to share information from the library, and to draw greater attention to tutor/mentor programs on my list.

The leadership strategies on this page show how this information facilitation role can happen at colleges, hospitals and businesses.  

Visit this page and see how interns from many colleges have created blog articles, videos and visualizations to help people understand Tutor/Mentor Connection strategies.

View this concept map and see how others are using their own blogs to help people understand and use information collected in Step 1.

Step 4.   The result of better information (Step 1) and more people looking at it (Step 2) and more people understanding how to apply the information (Step 3) should lead to more people seeking out tutor/mentor programs in different neighborhoods to offer their time, talent and dollars to help programs constantly improve what they do to help kids connect with volunteers and learning opportunities and move more safely through school and into adult lives.

This is where the maps play an important role.  By mapping locations of concentrated poverty and other indicators showing where people need more hope, our goal is that more support flows to programs serving youth in every part of the Chicago region, not just to high profile neighborhoods or high profile organizations.

In some cases this means supporting well designed programs. However, in other cases it may mean trying to help programs become better than what they are today.

If you're not in Chicago you can use everything in this strategy. You'd only need to build your own directory of local programs, maps and indicators of need. 

This cycle repeats from year to  year.  As we help programs grow, and help them show their program design, strategies and successes on their web sites (see shoppers guide pdf),  we're also updating the information available in Step 1. Furthermore we're constantly adding new links to the web library, and almost every link we point to is also adding new information to their web sites.

Each year we need more leaders to make a commitment to helping kids in poverty areas move through school and into  jobs, using this four part strategy to achieve that goal.  As we succeed we provide continuous flexible funding and a flow of volunteer talent that helps every program, not just a few.

And that means we reach more k-12 youth, with better on-going support.

What can you do?

This article shows steps you can take.  Form a study circle in your business, faith group, high school, alumni or social group and read articles like this, or from the Tutor/Mentor library, on a regular basis, then discuss ways you and your group can use your own talent and resources to help programs in one or more parts of the region become the very best in the world at helping kids move through school and into jobs and adult lives.

Here's a short video showing these steps.

And here's a pdf presentation showing the four part strategy.  I also showed the four steps in this article.  Finally, below is another concept map visualizing help needed on every one of these steps, if we're going to have the impact we need to have, helping thousands of k-12 youth in  Chicago and its suburbs, and helping youth in similar cities around the country.

Read about the Tutor/Mentor Connection do-over.  Look at this PDF and see the value of the information being collected.  If you want to help with a contribution, visit this link.

If you want to offer your talent, become a sponsor, or support this effort in other ways please introduce yourself with a comment below, or email me at tutormentor2 at earthlink dot net.

Click here to see where you can find me on social media.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mapping collaboration - #clmooc

I encourage you to skip over to the MappingforJustice blog and see a story I wrote today about the Connected Learning #clmooc group, which has members located in all parts of the US and the world.

In today's issue of the BlackStar Project newsletter, Phil Jackson offers 12 reasons why the billions of dollars spent on anti-violence and anti-poverty programs are not having as much impact as we hope. He points to a WBEZ radio interview where Phil and Chip Mitchell, WBEZ’s West Side reporter, discuss Chicago's anti-violence efforts.

If Chicago is ever going have a comprehensive prevention and intervention strategy, reaching into all high poverty neighborhoods, many, many more people will need to be involved in order to build the public commitment needed to make comprehensive programs available, and keep them in place for a decade or longer.

Using maps to know who is already involved and to see who needs to be involved should be a fundamental strategy that is used in many places.

If you'd like my help and ideas let's set a time to talk.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Combating Chicago Violence - Influencing Actions

Yesterday I viewed an archive of an anti-violence discussion hosted by the City Club of Chicago.  I posted some of my ideas to the Twitter feed, such as this Tweet, and this Tweet.

I'm more convinced than ever that if we want to address the root causes of violence and poverty in Chicago we need comprehensive, long-term solutions that influence what people beyond poverty neighborhoods do, using their time, talent, dollars, jobs and votes.

I created this graphic several years ago to illustrate this idea.  You can see it described in this article, this pdf presentation, and this video.

Making change happen is a process.   In my articles I use maps, showing high poverty areas throughout Chicago, with the goal that groups of people from many sectors will join in a learning and planning process that begins to fill each area with a range of needed services that help young people move through school and into jobs and careers free from poverty.  The map below visualizes this process.

 Planning Cycle:   http://tinyurl.com/TMI-PlanningCycle-cmap
Making change happen is a long-term process, thus recruiting leaders who will fuel that process with dollars, talent, visibility and network building skills is essential to support the planning process and build and sustain the public will needed in such efforts.

I've written a couple of articles in the past inviting wealthy philanthropists to support this process, such as this one.

Then, in my Facebook feed yesterday, I saw this article about John Arnold, who created The John Arnold Foundation (TJAF) in the mid 2000s.  If I read the article correctly, TJAF does its own research and seeks out projects it wants to support.  

I've occasionally had donors find me as a result of their own internet search.  One of those resulted in a $50k anonymous donation in late 2007 that enabled me to build the interactive Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator in 2008-09.  

Unfortunately that did not result in repeat donations which ultimately led to the need to create the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to try to keep the program locator and other resources of the Tutor/Mentor Connection available to Chicago and other cities.  I've not been able to update the program locator since 2013.

But, this is not about me.
View TQM pdf

It's about filling high poverty neighborhoods with programs that bring a wide range of needed support to youth and families, which if supported continuously for many years, will help reduce violence, income disparities and poverty by helping more young people move to jobs and careers.

I'm not just writing theory. I've continued to maintain a list of Chicago non-school tutor and mentor programs, which I started building in 1993*, which is available at this link.  The donor who gave my organization $50k in 2007 also gave a similar amount to two other Chicago tutor/mentor programs, using my data about programs to find and investigate programs that were later funded.

School is starting again soon. Multi millionaires are running for Governor of Illinois. Many others are active in all sorts of philanthropy. Do your research. Get to know the programs on my list. Let the web site of an organization be its proposal. Reach out with offers of help to programs in many neighborhoods, not just to a few high profile programs.  If you're not in Chicago and no one is maintaining a list of programs, then you can help someone start a T/MC type organization in your own community. 

As you're doing your research, read this article, which I posted earlier this week. Take a visible role and motivate other leaders to duplicate your own efforts. 

*I actually started building a list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs in 1975 when I started leading a local program and was searching for ideas that I could borrow to support my own efforts. By building a list, and a library, I began to share ideas that anyone could use to help make mentor-rich programs available in more places.  I've been doing this for over 40 years.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Helping Youth - A Shared Vision Needed

Below is a concept map that I've shared since 2005 showing a commitment I feel needs to be made by many leaders, if we're ever going to build the comprehensive system of supports kids living in high poverty areas need to move more safely and successfully through school  and into adult lives.

open concept map - http://tinyurl.com/tmc-strategy-map

I've listened to leaders for the past 30 years who talk about helping kids, but have not found any using maps or visualizations the way architects and engineers use blueprints to create a shared vision of work that needs to be done.

In 2011 when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was elected for his first term, I created this video, imagining him talking and guiding people through the ideas shown on this map. I put the video on Vialogues recently with some comments to update it, and invite others to re-do this with more polish and professionalism than what I had done.  It really is of pretty poor quality. Ugh.

I created three close ups, to provide a script for what people might say in such a video.

Look at the left hand side:  Follow the lines connecting the nodes on the map, which start at the top with "my goal is".

Then, look at the right hand side, showing that the strategy recruits workplace volunteers, to support comprehensive k-12 programs, that reach youth in high poverty neighborhoods with a range of needed supports.

Look back at the top of the graphic.  The vision is achieved by following a four-part strategy, shown by another concept map. The vision is also achieved by recruiting other leaders to also adopt the strategy.

The words are there.  This strategy applies in any city where there are inequalities and wealth gaps, with areas of people living in concentrated, segregated poverty.  That means youth or adults from any city could look at these maps and my original video, then create new versions with their Mayor, local celebrities and sports stars, CEOs, faith leaders, and community activists sharing the same message and the same commitment.

If enough people make this commitment, and renew it from year-to-year for the next decade or two, we might begin to have more mentor rich learning programs in high poverty areas with the on-going support each needs to hire and retain talented staff, who can attract kids and volunteers, and keep them involved as the kids move from elementary school, through middle school and high school, then on toward jobs and adult lives.

School is starting soon. It wold be a great time for this video to appear on social media, with leaders showing their commitment to the strategy by saying "be a volunteer" and pointing to directories of youth serving programs in their communities, which were created as part of step 1 of the four part strategy.

If you do this, please send me a link so I can share it.  If you want to act as a producer and/or sponsor and help me re-do my own versions of these videos and strategy presentations, I want to hear from you. I need your help.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Network Building - Using Twitter

Highsight - www.highsight.org
If you've read articles on this blog regularly, or are just visiting for the first time, my purpose is to help well-organized, volunteer-based tutor and mentor organizations grow in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities. That means I need to influence what resource providers, policy makers and other leaders do, as well as what volunteers and leaders of tutor/mentor programs do.

I do this by drawing attention to programs doing good work, such as Highsight, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall.  The image at the right is from their Winter2017 newsletter.

While I host this blog and a web library and share ideas on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site, I don't have a staff or any dollars for advertising (since 2011), so to learn about programs, I follow them on social media and look at their web sites, using this list of Chicago area programs, which I've maintained since 1994.

I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter regularly and feel that more useful research information is being shared regularly on my Twitter feed than what I see on my LinkedIn or Facebook feeds.  At the same time, by looking at the Facebook pages of local programs I'm able to stay informed by those who post regularly (not all do).  

Over the weekend I created a concept map to show conversations I have been following on Twitter, which are identified with a #hashtag.  Take a look.


With each node I've included a link which you can click and go to that Twitter feed.  I think that most people use #hashtags to draw people together for short term conversations, perhaps in support of a conference, meeting or on-line webinar.  I participate in these regularly, and actively share ideas from my own work while Tweeting and "liking" ideas posted by others. In every conversation I meet one or two new people who I follow, so I can see information they post regularly, or who follow me for the same purpose.

However, I also go back to these conversations regularly to see what people are talking about, and sharing with one of these #hashtags. By creating the concept map, I, or you, can easily click into several of these conversations any time you want.  I also use Tweetdeck, but it gets unmanageable if you're trying to keep track of as many conversations as I do.

Below is another map, showing on-line spaces where I've been connecting with others and sharing my own ideas. 

In both of these I included the graphic shown below, to illustrate the idea of our journey through time, or through social media, and how I purposefully try to attract others to follow me and the ideas I share on this blog, so more people are helping tutor/mentor programs grow in more places, and are helping each of those programs constantly find ways to expand their own influence.

I'm just one person, and thus my ability to attract others is limited. However, if many of us were trying to do this, we could build a growing army of followers and collaborators who work to help kids move through school and into careers.

Let me show this a bit differently.  One group that I've been connecting with since 2013 is composed of educators located throughout the United States and in other countries.  This is the Connected Learning group, using hashtag #clmooc.  

On any day you can click into the #clmooc link and follow the discussion thread to see what members are talking about. Or you can go to the group's web site, and find archives of past Twitter chats, a link to a G+ community, or announcements of upcoming activities. Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts, does a nice job summarizing a recent #clmooc chat on his blog.

This morning when I looked at my Twitter feed I found the post below, from Terry Elliott, a college professor from Western Kentucky.

If you click into the video you'll see that Terry created an analysis of my activity within the #clmooc Twitter universe during one recent week.  He was aided by Sarah  Honeychurch, who works at the University of Glasggow, in Scotland.  The analysis is done using #TAGS, a free tool made available by Martin Hawksey, who is also from Scotland.

I would not know of these tools if I were not regularly following this group on Twitter.

I created this graphic several years ago to illustrate how difficult it is to figure out ways to reach kids with the help and support the each need so that more are moving safely and successfully through K-12 education and into adult lives.  Reaching kids in high poverty neighborhoods with programs that provide this support for many years, is an even greater challenge.

That's why we need to be connecting and learning from each other and why I'm on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook daily.  It's why I go to meetings and conferences in Chicago (when they are free). It's why I've been building a web library and sharing ideas from it for over 20 years.

Unfortunately, only a small number of the people who are involved with Chicago's volunteer-based tutor and mentor programs are actively engaged on Twitter.  Only handful of the people in my Facebook and Linkedin "friends" lists are using Twitter. Very few of the volunteers and students who have been part of the tutoring programs I led from 1975-2011 are using Twitter, or are actively using Facebook and/or Linkedin.

Or, they are actively using these spaces but have not reached out to connect with me or invite me to connect with them.

Tomorrow starts a new week. I'll continue my journey through social media. I hope you'll join me in one of these spaces or in one or more of these Twitter #hashtag conversations.  I'll be updating the #hashtag map on a regular basis as I'm drawn into new conversations.