Wednesday, May 31, 2017

DigCiz - A Conversation about Digital Citizenship

Every day I journey through a network of blogs, Tweets and Facebook posts, looking for the nuggets of inspiration I find being shared by people I've met on-line over the past decade or longer.

This graphic was on a post by Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher from Western Massachusetts. I've pointed to Kevin's blog often in the past, and the #clmooc network where we first met in 2013.

Kevin's article introduces a month-long conversation about Digital Citizenship, using the hashtag of #digciz, and using cartoons like the one above.

I followed the link on Kevin's page, to this link, where I read about the event. Then read a blog article by Mia Zamora, introducing the event, and another by Bonnie Stewart, reflecting on the event. 


Mia's blog article showed a schedule for June 2017 and encouraged a #4wordstory on digital citizenship.

Bonnie's blog article expanded on this, with her own thoughts and ended by saying "Tell us your #4wordstories of what YOU want, using hashtag #digciz".   That's mine at the right.

In Kevin's graphic he said "What if...we all gave up our phones and devices for a month and reach out to solitary neighbors, host block parties, and hold discussion forums around the fire pit? Wouldn't that be cool?"

I guess that would be, but how do you define "who your neighbors are" or "what the boundaries of your neighborhood are?"

I lived on the North side of Chicago in the Rogers Park neighborhood from 1973 to 1988 then moved to Park Ridge, an affluent suburb just outside the city boundary, near O'Hare Airport, where I've lived since then.  I got involved with helping inner city kids living in the Cabrini Green area (Near North) in 1973 and have stayed involved with urban youth and their well-being for the past 43 years.

Thus my neighborhood, or community, is not defined by geography or where I live, but by what I care about and who I'm trying to help.  Chicago has more than 3 million people and the region has more than 11 million.  There's no logistical way to have a block party or a face-to-face meeting with more than a few of those people. Thus, I've been trying to bring this community together on-line since I learned about the Internet in 1998.

Thus "Who's Here? Who's Not?" is a primary focus, because if it's just you and a few friends talking about poverty and segregation in Chicago, or trying to help non-school tutor/mentor programs grow in all high poverty neighborhoods, you can't really have much impact.

This VILLAGE MAP emphasizes the need to engage people from many different sectors in on-going conversations, like those I've been having with a few of the people I've met on-line in the past 10 years, and like the #DigCiz activity seeks to bring together.

In my "Who's Here?Who's Not?" graphic I include a network analysis map created using the SocioViz tool.  I saw a similar map in this article on the #DigCiz site.

Using this and similar tools we might begin to answer that question and make efforts to reach out and try to engage those who are not yet "here" in the on-line conversation, or who we can only reach off-line.

When saying "Who's here? and Who's not?" we need to understand that less than 30% of the US population use Twitter and while more use Facebook (see report), the reality is that your posts only reach a small fraction of your followers, and an even smaller fraction of those around the world who might be interested in what you have to say.  That should be part of the discussion of  Digital Citizenship I think.

This graphic illustrates the goal of my work, and a portion of the Digital Citizenship I hope to inspire. Let's fill all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities and states with mentor-rich programs that help kids through school and into adult lives, reaching youth during the school day, right after school, or right after work when workplace volunteers may be more available for weekly tutor, mentor sessions.

Until more people are engaged in that discussion and working to make it a reality, much of the good things we'd like to see happen in the world are only going to be available to a few.

While I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences in Chicago every six months from May 1994-May 2015, I was never able to get more than a few of the non-school programs in my database to attend regularly or engage in capacity building discussions. And I was less successful in getting others who need to be in the discussion to participate.  I've been even less successful in connecting to Chicago programs and leader on-line even though I follow many on this Twitter list and on this Facebook list.  

So, instead of saying "join my discussion", I'm saying join in discussions hosted by others, with topics you might be interested in, such as Digital Citizenship.  I'll meet you there.

So, if you're reading, join in. Then, let's talk about "Who's here and Who's not."


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Enough is Enough. Do the Planning. Build the Network.

Hope everyone is enjoying this Memorial Day. I also hope you'll spend some time thinking about how your actions might lead to a world with less need to send men and women to fight on foriegn soil, or to fight in our own streets and neighborhoods.



I created this Enough is Enough message in 2007. The video above is from this 2007 blog article.

I repeated it again in this 2008 article. Then again in this 2010 article.  Again in this 2012 article.

Again in 2015 article.

Chicago Sun-Times 1992
Again with this 2016 article.

Anyone who looks at a media story like this can dig up one of these "Enough is Enough" articles and share it with friends, family, co-workers, faith network, college and more.

Until more people take these steps we'll keep seeing these stories.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Who Needs to Be Involved Helping Kids to Careers? The Village.

Since 2005 I've been using concept maps to communicate ideas, and one that I point to frequently, in articles like this, focuses on the "village" of people who need to take greater, on-going roles in helping kids to careers.

I've used this "birth to work" arrow in many graphics and articles since the mid 1990s to illustrate the different types of age-specific supports that need to be available to kids in high poverty areas from pre-school till they are entering jobs and careers.

In the original village map I was attempting to show two ideas and that kept confusing me, and probably others. One idea was "why" kids in poverty need extra help. The other was "who" should be taking responsibility beyond parents and schools.

Today I created a new village  map to show "who", which  you can see below, and at this link.
This shows different industries in every city. They each share some common reasons for wanting kids to come out of school prepared to be good workers, leaders and citizens. They each also have specialized reasons, such as worker shortages in key industries. They also each model different skills that kids could learn from employee mentors and company sponsored jobs and internships. They each could be using company resources and employee talent to help schools and non-school organizations help kids in high poverty areas.

Below is a  map showing a commitment I have made, via the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993 - now) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-now).  See the map here.

Note: Concept Maps are Layers of Information. Click on 'right' box at bottom of nodes to open other maps.
If a city, or a nation, is truly committed to helping all youth, including those born in poverty or with disabilities, move safely through school and into adult jobs, careers and responsibilities, then many leaders need to adopt this vision, and show their commitment by putting a version of this map on their own business, personal, religious and/or political web site.

Customers and voters should demand to see this.

If you know of leaders doing this, and who support one or more of the strategies shown on this map, that will lead to achieving these goals, send me the link and I'll point to it from my maps and web site.

If you want to help me continue to share ideas like this and update the  maps as needed, click this link and make a contribution. I'm not a 501-c-3 so consider your support an investment in a shared vision.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Increasing Talent Involved in Helping Youth

I created the graphic below over the weekend, to illustrate a strategy I've followed for the past 40 years, which is engaging the talent of a diverse base of volunteers to help inner-city kids move through school and into adult lives free of poverty.


The graphic has several elements so I'll show them each separately.  If you've followed this blog for very long, you may have seen them in the past.


People ask "what kind of tutoring or mentoring" do I do.  I respond that I'm trying to create non-school, volunteer-based support systems that reach kids when they are  young and stay connected as kids grow through school and into adult lives.  The graphic at the left illustrates this goal.

I've aggregates several similar graphics on this Pinterest.com board.  The share a common vision that could be adopted and owned by people from many sectors of a community.  In this concept map I show many of the supports kids need at each age level. Volunteers who connect with youth via organized non-school programs are people who can help make those supports available.

If you look at the lower left corner of the "Mentoring Kids to Career" graphic you'll see a small map of Chicago. A larger version is at the right.   I've been using maps since 1994 to show where kids need extra support offered by tutor/mentor programs, based on indicators such as high poverty, poorly performing schools and/or urban violence.  I've also been building a database of non-school tutor/mentor programs, and showing them as overlays on the map, so people could locate and support existing programs, while helping new ones form where more are needed.

This Chicago tutor/mentor program locator was created in 2008 and needs much updating now, but illustrates the way maps can be used.

This graphic is from this pdf and asks a question that I started asking in 1975 when I became leader of the tutor/mentor program at the Montgomery Ward headquarters in Chicago, and which was the main purpose of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in 1993.

What will it take to assure that all youth born or living in high poverty today are entering careers by age 25?  What role does mentoring have? What can we learn from others?

This question needs to be asked and answered in thousands of places, in Chicago and around the world.  What makes the ideas I share unique is that I've been trying to motivate resource providers, policy makers, business, faith and media leaders to form learning circles where they ask the question and take much greater responsibility for making constantly improving tutor, mentor and learning programs available in more places throughout the Chicago region and in other cities and states.  This page provides ideas leaders in different sectors could use.  Many of the articles I've written since 2005 focus on leadership.


To support the efforts of anyone looking for ways to be involved I've been building a web library since 1998, which was a normal library prior to that. This graphic illustrates the range of information available in the library. This PDF shows the graphic as part of a "tutor/mentor learning network".

Last week I created this video, which shows the goal of many people becoming involved in on-going efforts to help youth in high poverty areas have the support systems needed, which are naturally available to kids in more affluent areas, to help them move through school and into adult lives free of poverty.

For a growing number of people to be involved, and stay involved, many people have to take on the role I've taken for the past 40 years, which is a daily effort to reach out to those I know and to invite them to look at the information I've been collecting, then begin to build their own understanding and involvement.

Here's another pdf that shows this goal.

How can we do this better?

This was the headline on the graphic at the top of this article.  As we ask what are "all the things" we need to know, we need to talk about building a flow of talent, technology, ideas and operating dollars to every high poverty neighborhood to support a full range of needed youth and family supports.

Doing it better means getting more talent involved in this effort. That includes students, the elderly, the disabled, and people from around the world.  Anyone can look at my articles and the PDFs I share and re-do these with their own creativity and talent and point the message at their own city if they don't live in Chicago.  Think of these as "open source" learning for helping reduce poverty an inequality in the world.

In the video I describe this as on-going learning, just as reading and understanding scripture is a life-long journey.  I hope you'll take some time to read this, visit the links I point to, then turn around and invite others to do the same.

Update 5/27/19 - this article about strategic planning, on the "From Poverty to Power" blog is relevant to what I wrote above.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Reflection on #onthetable2017 - thanks to #clmooc friends

On Monday I wrote this blog article, encouraging participants in Tuesday's #onthetable2017 event to look for ways to support existing organizations and help them become great instead of just creating new solutions.  Then yesterday my #clmooc friend Terry Elliott, shared a video he had created, turning a blog article by Simon Ensor, into a video.

I decided to test the tool, converting my blog article. The video below is the result.



For several years I've used my blog articles and social media to encourage people working with youth in non-school programs and schools to take time to follow some of the people I'm following and see ideas and activities that they might include in their own work with the youth and volunteers in their programs.

In addition, I've hoped programs would share work they are doing on their own web sites and blogs, and connect with each other on social media, so they could be learning from each other, and constantly improving how they help kids and volunteers connect.

Between yesterday when I first saw Terry's video on Twitter, and today when I was able to publish the one I created, Kevin Hodgson, another #clmooc friend, posted this Tweet, with his own video.



Imagine if youth and volunteers from dozens of tutor/mentor programs were engaging in this type of activity.  The only cost is the time invested in the learning and creating.

My articles focus on strategies that help mentor-rich non-school tutor, mentor programs be available in more high poverty neighborhoods. It's within such programs that this type of creative learning and networking with others can be incubated. The connections youth and volunteers make, to other people, and a world wide library of ideas, can last a lifetime.

I've more than 1000 articles on this blog. I invite anyone with the interest to take one or more, and convert them to videos using the Lumen5.com site.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Billionaires Asking for Your Donations.

In Illinois we have three very wealthy men seeking to be elected to the Governor's role in 2018.  At least one has the support of other very wealthy people, having just received a $20 million campaign contribution from one.

I've been getting email messages from two of these candidates, asking me for donations.  Why should I help them when they have not helped me in past years when I asked for their support?  What have they done with their wealth that would make me want to vote for one over another?

I included this graphic in this 2014 article inviting billionaires to adopt high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and its suburbs.


What might that involve?

The first commitment would be to adopt the ideas in this strategy map, putting a version of this on your personal, company or campaign website, with your name in the blue box.

This means you, or someone on your staff, would open every link and look at all the maps, and embrace all of the strategies. You'd talk about them in blogs, just like I do.

The second commitment would be to devote $1 or $2 million a year to make general operating gifts to help every youth serving organization in the areas you have adopted build strong leadership and strong organizational infrastructure.  Take the intermediary role I describe in this blog article.

That might include $50,000 a year to help me rebuild the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, described here. I received a $50k gift from an anonymous donor to rebuild my GIS capacity in late 2007. Unfortunately that was not repeated each year after and funding from a major corporation ceased when they were a victim of the financial meltdown of the late 2000s. Thus, the site is now out-of-date.

You'd also support the 4 part strategy shown on this map,  Step 2 of this shows the need for constant advertising and public education and enlistment of others from business, universities, faith groups, media, entertainment, etc. to share your leadership commitment.

I wrote this letter to the family of one of the candidates in 1999.  Imagine where we'd be today if that had resulted in support for the Tutor/Mentor Connection for the past 17 years and adoption and leadership of the ideas I've been sharing.

I'd want to see this strategy visualized on the candidate's web site, and where it says "donate" or "volunteer" people would be pointed to web sites where they could chose non profits to support with donations and volunteer efforts, not just the candidate's campaign fund.

I know this is a bit idealistic, but.....

I'd vote for that person. 

Maybe one of the people who are writing $1 million to $20 million dollar checks to get someone elected to the Governor's office would write a $250k check each year for the next 10 years to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection on one or more college campuses. 

Update - 5-27-17 - What are foundations and wealthy  elite philanthropists doing to counter actions of new administration? See article.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Instead of new projects, why not help old projects be great?

Tomorrow will be the 4th annual #OnTheTable event, hosted by the Chicago Community Trust.  I have written about this for the past three years. Here's last year's article.

As you prepare for the event I encourage you to read this article:

How many of you have read the Jim Collins book titled "Good to Great and the Social Sectors"?

Here are some links to blog articles where the writers summarize this book

Notes from reading Good to Great:  http://ericswanson.blogspot.com/2006/02/good-to-great-and-social-sector.html

Good to Great: Lessons for the Social Sector - click here

I’ve applied Good to Great concepts in the leadership of the tutor/mentor programs I led from 1990 -2011 and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (and before that in my leadership of the Montgomery Ward/Cabrini Green Tutoring Program) since 1977 when I learned about Total Quality Management (TQM) while working as an Advertising Manager at Wards.

The key to constant improvement, is a commitment of leadership, and for members of the organization to constantly look for ways to improve. I describe my own approach to this in the Operating Philosophy, posted on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site.

However, I'm convinced that the only way non profits can become great, and remain great for many years, is if they can develop consistent revenue streams that enable them to hire and retain talented people, and that give these people time during the work day for expanding their network and learning from others, reflecting, and innovating new ways to improve from year-to-year.

Thus, I've constantly worked to teach volunteers, Directors, friends, and leaders of the programs I've led, and from other Chicago area tutor/mentor programs, to take on roles where they become agents, and advocates, for tutor/mentor programs.

Here' are a few articles that you might consider, as you think of helping youth in Chicago.

Tipping Points - what are some of the actions that might make a system-wide difference?

Re-Thinking Philanthropy and Funding - click here to see article with this graphic.

If we can stabilize the flow of talent, dollars and ideas into youth serving programs in all high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities, we can help every organization become great, and stay great.

That will result in more youth through school and into jobs and careers, which is the focus of this Forbes magazine article.

Here's a final link to consider. It is titled, "Helping urban youth move through school. What do we need to know."

This is not a short term process, or something you can learn in a few hours. Just as faith leaders ask you to spend a few minutes in reading and reflection every day, I ask the same.

I've posted more than 1000 articles on this blog that focus on learning, collaboration, marketing and on-going actions that help fill high poverty neighborhoods with great programs helping youth through school and into adult lives. Dig in to the articles and links I point to in my blogs and web library and engage others in on-going conversations.

As you talk with others during this round of #onthetable, I hope some of you begin to map out actions and strategies that participants can use to mobilize others, form learning communities, and develop  year-round actions that also grow to become great in what they do to provide the needed flow of resources required to win the war against poverty, inequality, injustice, etc. that plague our communities.

I'll be Tweeting my participation in two conversations and what I see on my Twitter feed, from my @tutormentorteam account. http://www.twitter.com/tutormentorteam I hope to meet some of you there.

Enjoy your conversations!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Honoring Mothers. Today and Every Day

I searched my blog this morning to find articles I'd written specifically for Mother's Day, and found none. Then I took a look at articles I'd written at other holidays to see if any fit.

South Korea War Memorial Cemetery
Here's one I wrote in 2015 that talks about honoring heroes by how we live our futures.  I think we can honor our Mother's in the same way.

We honor our wives and build a future for our daughters and their children by our actions that make the world a better, safer, more equal place, for every Mother to give birth and raise their children.

Chicago Tribune, April 14, 2014


Here's another article that I wrote in December 2014. The headline was

Commitment to Chicago area youth. Need more leaders.

I've been collecting news stories about violence and poverty in Chicago for over 20 years. Many I've put into blog articles. Most sit in my archive waiting for a story or a writer. They all point to the failure of leaders to build a comprehensive, long-term response to the poverty and segregation in Chicago and other big cities.

Here's another, written in 2012, with the title of 

Connecting Grains of Sand into Castle on Beach


How many of you remember visits to the beach or ocean, or even the sand box in the local park, where your Mother sat with you as you built castles with your imagination as your blueprint.

Can you imagine a Chicago where the map shows very few indicators of poverty in any zip code and where the map also shows many indicators of opportunity?  Until we imagine this we won't have the will power to provide the on-going flow of time, talent and dollars needed to build it.

If you want to take the time, this link points to other articles I've posted at different holidays since I started writing this blog in 2005.  As I've often done, anyone can re-write these articles, put them in video, turn them into poems, in their own effort to connect people who can help with people who need help in places throughout the world.

I hope you're all set to enjoy this Mother's Day, and all the other holidays that come each year. As you do, visit my site and be reminded of the work we each need to do to make the blessings of hope, opportunity, freedom and Motherhood available to all.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Innovating at the World Wide Coffee Shop

Today in my Twitter feed my friend Simon Ensor, a university professor in France, who I met via the Connected Learning MOOC, #clmooc, posted this article, talking about how he was interacting with people throughout the world.  In the article was the TED talk that I'm showing below.  I hope you'll take time to view it.



In the TED talk the speaker, Steven Johnson,  talks about the English coffee house as a meeting place and spark for innovations that fed the Age of Enlightenment that stretched from 1715 to 1785. He finishes with a story about how a mid 1950s lunchtime conversation of two scientists led to GPS technology that we use every day to find a coffee shop near us.  In one part of the video he talks about how innovation is encouraged by allowing "those with hunches to connect with other people's hunches".

Don't know what I'm talking about? Watch the video. 

Simon's article talks about how difficult it is to engage in conversations with people who we pass in our daily lives and how he has been connecting with people like myself in on-going conversations via the Internet.

His article resonated with me, as many of them do.

I have a stack of business cards in front of me that I've collected over the past few months, and years, representing people I've met via various Chicago events. I've followed up with email and invited most to "have coffee and share ideas" with me, if they are interested.  Some do. Most don't. And even when we do meet, it's like a "one cup stand", not followed up with on-going connections that allow people to share "hunches" and connect with "other people's hunches" in ways that lead to new innovations in how we provide support to youth and families living in poverty, and how such on-going support might lesson the violence in our cities....while providing many other benefits.

I've been attending #ChiHackNight Tuesday evening sessions for a couple of years, and visit their Slack page daily to interact with participants.  Yesterday Isaw mention of this article from the SouthSideWeekly, which is reviewing a "Chicago at a Crossroads" event held recently to brainstorm solutions to violence in Chicago.

In it's critique of last week's event, the article said
The Times “live event,” coming nearly a year after the Memorial Day package, fell short in the same way its coverage did: its assemblage of voices offered no surprises and did little to push the fight against violence forward. After treating themselves to finger food in the venue lobby, its hundred-or-so well-dressed, mostly white attendees went home no closer to solving the gun violence crisis than they were when they arrived, and the perspectives presented on stage went more or less unchallenged. 
I've attended far too many events like this, with high profile talking heads on stage sharing ideas while several hundred in the audience listen. Maybe a few questions get asked. But there's no real interaction. And few event organizers create on-line spaces for participants and speakers to interact following the event.

The "It Takes a Village" concept map above shows my belief that people from all sectors need to be engaged in on-going efforts to reduce the poverty and isolation that feeds the violence we face in Chicago and other cities. In this article I expand on that idea.


The concept map at the right shows sections of the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library, which I started building even before I knew the Internet was a tool. I point to more than 2000 links, organized into four sections, with information and ideas anyone could use to build a deeper understanding of poverty, and to see work being done in some places that could be borrowed and applied in other places.  

Each link represents a group of people who I'd like to be meeting on an on-going basis in a "virtual" coffee shop of ideas and interaction.

When we think of the coffee house as a  meeting place, I feel there's just no realistic way that any of us can meet with more than a tiny fraction of people and ideas, if that's the only format available to us.  I've justified the time I spend on-line since 1998 by the fact that I can meet more people, and have deeper interactions over a period of years than is possible through face-to-face meetings.  We can not only connect with more people, but we can create gardens of ideas, such as our blogs and web libraries, that people from our immediate neighborhood and community, as well as people from around the world, can harvest for their own inspiration and application.

Unfortunately, the trade off is that I meet less often with people in Chicago who are part of this "village".

While I constantly say to people I've met in Chicago, "Let's do coffee and get to know each other", that just does not happen nearly as often as I'd like.  At the same time, while I have conversations with Simon in France, Terry in Kentucky, Kevin in Massachusetts and others from many other places, too few of the people working to help kids in Chicago are in these conversations.

It seems like Chicago is a hub for technology innovation but too many don't use this medium for networking, brainstorming and sharing ideas.  

I keep trying to change that. I'm inspired by people and ideas I keep meeting on-line.



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

List of Articles that I Point to Frequently

Last January I created a blog article with a list of links, pointing to articles and places within the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web library that I point to often, using Tiny URL links to shorten the link addresses. I refer to this frequently to grab link addresses to use in other articles, PPT presentations, Tweets, etc.

Yesterday I created a video to guild  people through that list. Take a look:



This is one of many videos that have been created over the past 12 years to share ideas that people can use to help well-organized, out-of-school-time volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs be available to K-12 youth in more high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

I hope you'll take a look and bookmark the page, so you can refer to these articles often.


Monday, May 08, 2017

#mondaymotivation - keeping attention focused

I posted the graphic below on Twitter a few moments ago, showing my on-going effort to help non-school, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs reach youth in all high poverty areas of big cities like Chicago.
With so much attention focused on local, national and global politics, war, terrorism, as well as sports and other types of entertainment, it's almost impossible to build consistent attention for actions needed to build and sustain mentor-rich school and non-school programs that reach kids in every high poverty neighborhood of big cities like Chicago.

Yet, when I get up every day, and start every week, that's my goal. I've more than 1000 articles posted on this blog since 2005 that show how I try to do this. In most of them I invite others to duplicate my efforts, and do what I do with their own time, talent and dollars.

This is a WE effort, not a ME alone effort. Join in.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Leaders Needed to Solve Complex Problems

If you look at the tag list to the left, you'll see that I've posted more than 400 articles since 2005 with "leadership" as part of the focus. Many include graphics like the one on the right, emphasizing the role of individuals.

With our state and national political process so much in disarray, it is even more important that private sector leaders step forward with their own time, talent and dollars.

This morning I posted an article on the MappingforJustice blog, which included this graphic, and this TED talk video.

In my comments I talked about how difficult it is to create the data platforms, and to draw attention to these ideas, and yet how important it is.

Since 1993, when I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection, a core part of the 4-part strategy focused on creating more frequent media stories, that would draw more attention to information about where tutor/mentor programs were needed, what good programs might look like, and ways volunteers and donors from business, hospitals, faith groups and universities might do to support them.

I had support from a PR firm from 1994-2002 and here's a list of media stories that we were able to generate.  It's far too small for the impact needed.

From the very beginning I saw  universities, and their students, faculty and alumni, as potential partners in the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection.  While I've had a variety of interactions and support, and hosted Tutor/Mentor Conferences on university campuses often from 1994 to 2015, I have not yet created an on-campus partnership that embraced the Tutor/Mentor Connection as a strategy to achieve strategic goals of the university.

One idea I've had on the drawing boards since the mid 1990s is called the BUSINESS SCHOOL CONNECTION.  I describe it in this Wiki page. Here's a paragraph summarizing the goal.
The Business School Connection is an concept strategy created by the Tutor Mentor Connection in the mid 1990s. It's goal is to create a link between business schools and tutor mentor organizations around the nation where business schools and their students use the skills they are learning in an on-going effort to increase visibility and raise operating dollars and volunteers to support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in the city where a business school is located, and in other parts of the country. The T/MC believes that MBA students have unique ways of thinking and valuable connections that can be used to channel monetary and in-kind resources to tutor mentor organizations.
Map from The Economist
The map at the right show major cities around the world. Every one of these cities has areas of concentrated poverty, and could apply the ideas of the Tutor/Mentor Connection and others who write about mapping and systems thinking.

Every one has several universities with business schools who could be participating in the BUSINESS SCHOOL CONNECTION

Look at the tag list at the left and you'll find articles focused on partnerships with universities, hospitals, business and faith groups and ways that many leaders can help support this strategy.

I've not found a sponsor, partner or university who would help make this idea a reality. However, without drawing on the manpower and talent of  universities, and students in business, marketing, arts, journalism and technology, we won't be able to build the information platforms needed, or build the on-going communications and learning systems that are also needed.

If you want to talk about this and explore ways to get involved, let's connect. Follow me on Twitter @tutormentorteam or connect on Facebook or Linkedin.



Monday, May 01, 2017

The Pope Shares Message on TED

Last week my Facebook feed shared this video of His Holiness Pope Francis giving a TED talk. I watched it. I hope you will, too.


At one point in the video he talks about the responsibility for each of us to take on the role of the Good Samaritan, to help others who are in need.

At another he talks about HOPE, as "a humble, hidden seed of life that within time will develop into a large tree".   And he says, "A single individual is enough for HOPE to exist, and that individual can be YOU."

If you've read any of the thousand-plus articles I've posted on this blog you will see that I use the word "hope" often, such as "I hope you'll read this and share it with others."

In my role as leader of the tutoring programs at Montgomery Ward, starting in 1975, and of the Tutor/Mentor Connection since 1993, I've been that lone leader inviting others to join with me to create brighter futures for kids living in poverty.  I created the image below to show a message I've repeated often since the 1970s.
I've seen the growing violence in America's cities and Chicago's neighborhoods since the 1970s and I've compared it to a snowball rolling down a mountain. At the top it is small, and would be easy to stop. However, as it rolls further downhill, it gains momentum and is almost impossible to stop. When it reaches the valleys and homes at the bottom of the mountain, it destroys everything in its paths, including the homes of the wealthy, along with the poor.

I've feared for many years that the growing sense of hopelessness growing among youth living in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities would turn into violence toward others in the wider community, just as it already is destroying lives within poverty communities. I've seen terrorism grow around the world, and seen small sparks here in the US, such as the Oklahoma City bombing. I've feared that we would reach a point where the work of volunteer tutors and mentors in non-school tutor/mentor programs would become too little, too late.

Thus, I've often told volunteers that we have two choices. You get in front of the snowball now, and try to stop it, and if no one else joins you, you'll probably be crushed by the on-coming avalanche.  Or you can wait until the snowball reaches the bottom of the mountain and you are certain to be destroyed, along with every thing you care for.

The first choice offers the opportunity, no matter how small it appears, that others will join you, and the snowball can be slowed, or even stopped.

The second choice offers no hope.  Unless others do this work for you.

As the Pope said in this TED talk, "Each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness."

And he said "How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries."

That's been my goal with many of my articles, such as this.


It's not easy being the first one to get in front of that snowball. This photo hung in my Grandma's house and after she died in the early 1970s, I  asked for it. I spend much time alone, imaineering a better way to support the many organizations that need to be in place throughout the country, thus, this photo resonates with me.

I used it in this article to show how I and many others are seeking help for the work we do.

I HOPE the Pope's message touches your heart and inspires you to reach out to offer your time, talent, dollars, leadership, advocacy and ideas in one, or more, of the many areas where you might make a difference.