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Subject: Ways service learning volunteers can get involved

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08/29/2006 4:05 PM Alert 
I met on Feb. 17, 2006 with Rob Donahue of the Northwestern University Center for Talent Education. Rob and I are both participants in the K-12 Service Learning listserv, so we've gotten to know each other through the messages we've posted on line, and email we've sent to each other from time to time.

We've set up this discussion to continue exploring ways Northwestern University students might do service in support of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. The goal is to create a list of opportunities that students begin to use to choose service opportunities. If you're not from Northwestern, you're welcome to join the discussion and use the list to think of ways to engage your own students in this work.

Here's a couple of things Rob and I discussed to start the list. If you are doing a service learning project and want to volunteer to work in one of these areas, email and introduce yourself, or introduce yourself in this forum.

a) students review LINKS section on portal, one by one. If link is broken, report it using the "broken link" feature. If link works, review what the site offers, and write a review. Rate the value of the site from the perspective of a potential visitor who is part of a tutor/mentor program. Find the Contact US area, or the staff listing, and send an email introducing yourself, telling the group that they are linked on the T/MC site, and that we encourage them to be part of the next Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference. Since I'm writing in February, the next conference is May 2006.

b) help tell the story of tutoring/mentoring -- in this project, students in journalism, English, writing and/or web building classes, use the Program Locator and the LINKS sections to identify specific tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago area. The students volutneer to become short term journalist who will visit the program, interview students, volunteers, staff, parents, etc., and write "stories" that express the richness and uniqueness of each tutor/mentor program. These stories will be given to programs to use in their own newsletters and/or web sites, or to be used for nominating volunteers and youth for special recognition, such as the Jefferson Award for Public Service. However, service learning students are also encouraged to create blogs or web pages, where they post these stories. A network of such blogs could provide visibility to tutor/mentor programs the way the Non profit Blog exchange provides a range of information on non profit organizations.

c) GIS library volunteers - students who are studying geography and are learning to used Geographic Information Systems, might volunteer time to create map views for the T/MC that tell the story of where tutor/mentor programs are needed, why they are needed, and who is already doing this work in specific zip codes. Our ultimate goal is that one or more universities adopt the T/MC GIS Project as an on-going learning opportunity for their students, and work with the T/MC to create the interactive platform needed to support this work in Chicago and in other cities.

What are your ideas? What are ways volunteers can help build the infrastructure that support groups of tutor/mentor programs, or that might support one program, but be duplicated by other volunteers in hundreds of other programs?

12/13/2006 5:21 PM Alert 
The director of AOL developed software that allows ementoring from anywhere. It's available from We are looking into setting this up as a way to mentor the youths in the families we mentor. We have a faith-based, adult mentoring program that matches many individuals and families with mentoring teams, usually based in congregations.
We have tools for tracking, measuring progress, deciding on plan flow, etc.

12/14/2006 4:15 PM Alert 
Hi Denis, I think eMentoring has value, but cannot replace the benefits of face-to-face mentoring. One think I'd like you and people leading Service Learning programs to think about, is "how can you use the eMentoring tools to mentor and coach adults in business, churches, colleges, government, etc. to be more strategic and consistent in the way they support the growth of volunteer based tutor/mentor programs around the country.

While it may be difficult to build a relationship with a youth via ementoring, I think it is much easier to build relationships between adults, and to share information that can inspire changes in actions. Youth can learn to be the leaders and facilitators of such ementoring while they are going through high school and college, and as a result, have a much deeper understanding of this process, andtheir role as leaders, as the continue their involvement throughout their adult lives.

03/03/2008 5:36 PM Alert 
I encourage you to take a look at the Alternative Spring Break Intern Program offered by the School of Information at the University of  Michigan. Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection was a participant in February 2008.

One of the nice features is a career intern blog. which helps you learn more and interact with this program.

Information and knowledge management is such an important part of any organization, yet non profits seldome have money to devote to having someone on staff focused on this. Thus, building partnership with a university where student manpower can meet the non profit's needs, and the non profit can meet the teaching and learning needs of the university, offers a great fit.

While Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection has launched an intern partnership with the University of Michigan, we're also developing a similar internship with an Information Visualization class at the University of Indiana. Here you can review the syllabus for the class that we're going to be working with in Spring 2008.

As we recruit students from different universities, we hope to connect them to each other, and keep them involved as they return to the university, then become alumni.  This is a strategy for growing future leaders for tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and around the country.
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Forums > Capacity-Building & Collaboration > Service Learning and Tutor/Mentor Programs > Ways service learning volunteers can get involved

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