The first half of 2016 is behind us and the rest of the year, and our lives, is in front of us. What will we do with that time to help America and the world overcome the complex challenges we face?
In this article I’m going to describe a role anyone, from middle school student to senior citizen, can take on a daily basis. I hope you’ll read it and share with your network.
First, my work focuses on helping volunteers from different business and life backgrounds connect with economically disadvantaged young people, in well-organized, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs. While these can operate at schools, I point to the non-school hours as a time frame where volunteers might make longer commitments.
This article is part of a 4-part strategy, described here. This can be applied to any cause, not just youth tutoring/mentoring.
The graphic below illustrates the need for year-round planning, and the long-term work required to help a youth grow from first grade, to first job.
In my role as a leader of a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program, from 1975-2011, I saw myself as an intermediary. I recruited youth and volunteers, provided training and learning materials, and helped them stay connected for one or more years. Some stated connected for many years. I’m still connected to the boy I started tutoring in 1973, when he was in 4th grade.
In my role as leader of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in 1993, and continue to lead via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, I’m still a facilitator, but trying to help volunteers and donors connect with more 200 Chicago area youth serving organizations (see list and map).
At the same time I’m trying to motivate leaders, volunteers and donors to connect with each other, share ideas, borrow best practices, and constantly improve their impact on youth and volunteers. This graphic illustrates that facilitation role and motivation to influence both sides of the solution.
I held retail advertising roles with the Montgomery Ward company from 1973-1990 and understood the power of advertising to educate and attract customers to the 400 different stores we operated in 40 states. While I was developing my skills as a program leader I saw how inconsistent media, business or government was in maintaining consistent attention and a flow of talent and operating dollars to the different tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago.
Thus, when I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection, a key part of the strategy was to increase the number of stories that drew attention to tutoring/mentoring programs throughout the region. This 1994 Chicago Tribune article shows a commitment that I’ve sustained for over 20 years.
We’re just entering July. Over the next six weeks if you share this article and others in this blog and from the Tutor/Mentor Institute web site, you have time to develop a communications strategy from your church, business, political office, sports team, or recording company, that talks about how youth in high poverty neighborhoods need more non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs to help them stay focused on school and on college and careers. You can point to sections of my Chicago youth programs list, or create your own list.