Use the ideas and resources shared monthly to help youth in your zip code have opportunities to participate in well-organized, mentor-rich, non-school programs.

October-November 2016 - Issue 152

Building and Sustaining Strong, Mentor-Rich Youth Serving Organizations. Where Do You Find Your Ideas?

The ideas shared in this monthly newsletter can be used by youth organization leaders, resource providers, political leaders, universities, volunteers and youth to help mentor-rich programs thrive in all of the neighborhoods where they are most needed.

While I try to send this only once a month, I write blog articles weekly. In the sections below I post links to a few of the articles published in the past month. Spend a little time each week reading the articles and following the links. Use in group discussions with people who are concerned about the same issues. Create a blog like this sharing your own ideas.

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Participation in a Volunteer-Based Tutor and/or Mentoring Program is an Adult Form of Service Learning.
Every time a volunteer and youth connect, each is learning something about the other.


Now that most volunteer-based tutor and mentor programs have started the 2016-17 school year, every program is focusing its efforts on providing the support, training and learning opportunities that help build strong relationships and sustain on-going involvement.

Do you think of this as a form of adult service learning?

The above graphic was first created by an intern from Hong Kong in 2007 then updated by an intern from South Korea in 2011. It shows the weekly journey to and from a tutor/mentor program session. In the middle of the loop, is where well-organized programs can provide ideas and support that

a) helps the volunteer and student have a more positive interaction; and
b) encourages the volunteer and student to tell friends, family, co-workers about the program so more people get involved.

Programs who do this well and continue doing it for many years build a strong network of support, and probably have a more significant impact on the lives of youth and volunteers.

See the video---here

In 2010 a student from the University of Michigan School of Information created a second animation during a one-week Winter Break. This shows how volunteers who are well-supported and stay involved multiple years, do much more to help the student they work with, and the program where they volunteer. See it here.(note: when you open the presentation, click on the numbers to hear recording)

Note: Both of these were created prior to 2011 when I was leading the Cabrini Connections program as well as the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

In the following sections of this month's newsletter I'm going to focus on adult LEARNING...or ways to engage program staff, volunteers and donors in on-going learning that leads to stronger programs in more places.

At the same time, I want to repeat this list of resource sections from the Tutor/Mentor web library, which is available to volunteers, students, parents teachers and program staff.

If you know of great resources that you'd like to share and have me add to the web library, just email the link to me using the email shown below.

What does this have to do with challenges we face?

I've always been somewhat of an introvert.I studied history in college, then spent three years in the US Army, in the Intelligence branch. In both disciplines I learned to collect information to support decisions and actions.

When I became a volunteer tutor in 1973 I had no previous experience, so I began to seek out ideas to support my weekly meetings with Leo, a 4th grade boy from the Cabrini Green area.When I became the leader of the program at Montgomery Ward in Chicago, I began to seek out other programs to learn from their experiences. When the Internet became available to me in the mid 1990s, I began to seek out ideas from throughout the world. I applied those ideas, to my own efforts and to helping other programs in Chicago and in other cities.

"Springsteen, Vivaldi, Coast Guard, Avengers" is the title of this article, posted on my blog, in early October.It shows just one small journey of learning, which I communicated using this concept map.

This demonstrates three habits. One, I spend time daily browsing through my collection of web sites, to see what others are writing about. Two, I spend time creating visualizations that map my journey, so others can follow and learn from the same places I'm learning. Three, I share what I'm learning via my blog articles, concept maps and social media.

Many of the people I'm connecting with are educators and the conversations focus on ways to stimulate student curiosity, learning habits, and help them be more successful in school and life.I think people involved with youth in the non-school hours have the same goals, thus could be learning ideas from the same people.

Here's an example. This graphic is from a video, on a Middleweb blog written by Kevin Hodgson, a middle school teacher I met during the #clmooc. The design process he's describing could be applied in schools and in non-school organizations. it can also be applied by adults to solving social, environmental and health problems in the US and abroad.

One of those problems is making mentor-rich non-school programs available to k-12 youth in all high poverty neighborhoods. A second is motivating volunteers, leaders and donors to read blogs like Kevin's and to apply the ideas to their own work.

Unfortunately, I don't find many places where non-school volunteers, staff, leaders, donors, etc. are sharing their ideas, talking with each other, in the same ways that some of these educators are doing.

Kevin's article is just one of hundreds of places where people are sharing ideas.

Finding, or making, the time to learn from others is the habit we want to instill in young people.The concept map above is one I created around 2007, illustrating a goal of helping young people, and volunteers, build habits of visiting our web sites, and others, to get and give information.

If such habits can be created we sustain connections to each other in years far beyond the few years a student or volunteer are active in a program, or attend a school. We make learning and sharing an on-going habit.

I think this can be good for all of us.

Recommended reading:

* Cubs Win!Let's Talk About building great youth support teams - click here

In the Tutor/Mentor web library I point to dozens of blogs and forums where people are talking about learning, and connecting with each other in organized learning communities. Browse these and make some your own resources.

Volunteers Bring Many Forms of Learning and Enrichment to Non-School Programs. Can We Expand on This?
While many businesses and corporations adopt "single programs" or schools, the city needs strategies that bring business volunteers and resources to all programs and every high needs neighborhood.

You can find this graphic in this Tutor/Mentor blog article.

I've been creating maps since 1994 to show where existing non-school tutoring/mentoring programs are located in Chicago and where more are needed.

This is my most updated map, created in January 2016. It shows locations of non-school youth serving programs in the Chicago region. (click here).

While I've been collecting this information, I've never had business or university partners helping, which means there are a wide range of questions about programs and supporters that have never been answered.

For instance, if you visit web sites of Chicago programs on my list, you'll find that they are each different in telling what they do and where they are located. While I've been sharing visualizations for nearly 20 years, few organizations use similar visualizations to show program design, long-term goals, etc.

Furthermore, it is even more difficult to find a database, directory or map, that shows business involvement in non-school programs or schools.Without better basic information it's difficult to build a master plan and on-going strategy that helps comprehensive, well-designed programs be available to k-12 youth in every high poverty neighborhood.

Are there on-line spaces where people talk about these ideas?

This is a map showing participants in a Connected Learning cMOOC, which was active in June and July 2016.You can find the map, along with a 2015 map, and see how people are interacting, at this link. You can even join in.

I've been connecting with educators in this type of format since 2012 and in other formats since 1998. I'm currently following another cMOOC, called The Innovator's Mindset (MOOC) #IMMOOC.Visit their Facebook page and see how participants are sharing ideas via blogs, Twitter posts, and FB messages.

While I host two lists on Facebook, pointing to Chicago area programs and intermediaries, and a few are active in posting stories about what they do, I don't see interaction among programs that is similar to those among educators.

Furthermore, I don't find places where donors, business partners, policy makers and media are talking about these issues with each other, or with program leaders...with the same on-going level of activity and sharing as I see in these MOOCs.


Share the responsibility for making these forums available.
I used this graphic in last month's newsletters to show how leaders from different sectors need to help non-school programs grow. It's the same set of leaders who need to help on-line learning communities grow.



Recommended Reading:

Nothing happens until someone reads these articles, then invites others to do the same. This is an on-going process, where many can take leadership roles.

You might be interested in....
These are just a few of the links available in the Tutor/Mentor web library

* Chicago STEM Pathways survey - Help create a deeper understanding of STEM basedyouth programming in Chicago - If you host such a program, please complete this survey

*Discover E (Engineering) web site - click here

*First Goal Foundation offers Ice Hockey and Skating program. Seeking participants. See

*Report on Illinois Poverty - Racism's Toll - new report from Social Impact Research Center - click here

* Student College Loan Forgiveness Program - learn more

* ILGIVE2016 - Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 - click here

* Strengthening Chicago Youth - training and events calendar - click here

* Thrive Chicago events calendar - click here

* Chicago and National conferences that repeat annually - click here

Dan Bassill (that's me) is available to discuss any of these ideas with you, or others, via Skype, Google Hangouts or in person if you're in Chicago.

Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
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