Is this a Utopian Vision?
This is an article and set of graphics posted on the http://tutormentor.blogspot.com in March 2012. I hope that many of those who visit this web site begin to create your own maps and graphics to mobilize communities of support for young people in your own city, state or country.
This graphic represents the range of learning, mentoring and social/emotional support that most kids need to go through school and into jobs. Based on the research and articles
I've read over the past 35 years, kids living in high poverty areas don't have as many of these supports, so they have more challenges making it through school and into jobs and careers that enable them to raise their own kids outside of high poverty.
This graphic represents discussion groups growing in many different sectors, where people are looking at the same information, and looking at graphics like this. Each time they meet they are saying "What can I or my group do to help make these types of learning programs and opportunities available to more kids in high poverty areas."
Inthis Tutor/Mentor Connection forum, I point to an article where Gary Walker of Public/Private Ventures talks about "mentoring as part of a larger set of actions".
In the graphic above I show how volunteers who become part of tutor/mentor programs and build bonds with kids begin to treat those kids as if they were part of their own family, and thus begin to do much more to help them overcome obstacles of high poverty. In this forum I point to an article showing how mentors in Big Brothers/Big Sisters are concerned that they alone are not enough to help kids overcome poverty.
My dream is to help more groups begin to use the information I've aggregated, and which others have created, to learn more about poverty and how it challenges kids and schools, and to learn more about ways they and their companies, churches and universities could use time, talent and dollars to build and sustain long-term volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring and career-focused learning programs in more places.
There are already thousands of places around the country and in Chicago where people are talking about poverty, education, workforce development, etc. New ones keep starting every year. However, I can't find many of these using maps and graphics that illustrate a long-term birth to work vision, nor a goal of great programs in all poverty areas within a defined geographic area.
If you know of these please send the links or add them as comments to this article.
I could document that growth by visits to web sites (over 800,000 visitors recorded since I began to put info on line in 1998), social network analysis maps, or the increase in people participating in forums I host, or and increase in the number of links showing where such discussions are taking place. I can even show over 1500 actions taken since 2000 to achieve this vision. However, I need help to do this, both dollars, and talent.
Others could document the same information and we could aggregate our information in libraries that show the results of collective efforts. People could work with me to do this by introducing themselves and joining the groups on the Tutor/Mentor Connection forum or by joining me on Facebook or Linked In.
Is it unrealistic to hope that the number of groups using this information to support their own actions and involvement will grow? I don't think so.