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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
ANNUAL CALENDAR
By nsbyrer @ 4:18 PM :: 3039 Views :: Article Rating
 
Since it was launched in January 1994, the T/MC has developed a calendar of events and a media plan to promote the need for tutoring and mentoring in poverty neighborhoods throughout Chicago. Each event o­n this calendar provides direct support to hundreds of tutor/mentor programs, and builds public awareness for every tutor/mentor program in the Chicago region. Furthermore, each event builds momentum and participation of tutor/mentor program partners to the next event

The Volunteer Recruitment Campaign in August/September leads to training, recognition and fund raising efforts  in November, which leads to winter efforts to sustain volunteer interest and convert volunteers into leaders of individual programs. A year-end "best practice" conference is a celebration of another year's work. It's also a reminder that kids are o­nly a year closer to graduation or careers, and programs need to repeat service in the following school year.  By sharing what works, and building resources for innovation and operations, each program can use summer planning to launch the cycle again the following August and September.This is a process improvement cycle. Instead of starting over each year, programs get better each year and new programs form to fill voids in neighborhoods without programs.A year-round, rolling calendar such as this also provides visibility and awareness that grows from event-to-event and year-to-year. It draws new volunteers to existing programs, reinforces students and volunteers who already participate, challenges every program to constantly move forward and improve, and reminds sponsors that operating dollars are critical to the long- term success of any program.In 2005 and 2006, this calendar of events will repeat. We invite you to participate. Furthermore, we invite you to share your own strategies, using the discussion forum in this portal, so that we might learn from you, as we help you learn from us and othersAugust/September- Annual Citywide Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment Campaign begins. Public awareness efforts include listings of tutor/ mentor programs o­n Chicago Access TV, in company mailings, in store displays, and with radio/TV Public Service AnnouncementsSeptember/October Volunteer Recruitment Fairs at various locations throughout the Chicago region. Special Events, such as the Cabrini Connections Arts Festival, draw added attention to tutor/mentor programs.November- Fall Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference and eConference creates public awareness that influences year-end fund raising for Tutor/Mentor Programs.  Between 1994 and 2001 the T/MC and the Chicago Bar Foundation  hosted an Annual Tutor/Mentor Week Campaign during November, which was a public awareness effort focused o­n recruiting volunteers and donors for tutor/mentor programs; January- National Mentoring Month - The publicity from the national campaign draws traffic to the T/MC web site, where volunteers can learn more about the various types of volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs in Chicago, and find contact information for programs where they may choose to volunteer or make a financial donation.  The Chicago National Mentoring Month is coordinated by Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. February/March- T/MC seeks partners to create an event and public awareness during this period. Such an event would help recruit replacements for volunteers who have dropped out of programs and would help convert other volunteers into leaders who help tutor/mentor programs improve from year to year.May- The Spring Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference and eConference celebrates the work all volunteers, students and programs  have done during the year. It also encourages programs to share strategies that have worked for them and which other programs might use to improe their own programs as the cycle begins again in the following school year.June-July -Programs that use a process improvement strategy have learned from what works or does not work in their own program, and what is working in other programs. This leads to innovation and constant improvement as programs grow from year to year.This cycle repeats every year as youth grow from o­ne grade to the next and then to high school graduation, jobs and careers. 

Note: Programs that have a steady source of flexible revenue can use this process to constantly improve the impact they have o­n youth and adults. Very few programs have such a source of revenue, which is why the T/MC invites programs to work together to innovate new ways to draw funds to all volunteer based tutor/mentor programs, rather than just a few.
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