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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Using Maps to Plan More Effective War on Poverty and Global Terrorism
By nsbyrer @ 4:33 PM :: 3471 Views :: Article Rating :: Planning
 
To media, foundation leaders, philanthropists, CEOs, faith leaders, polititians, deep thinkers, etc.

Since 1993 the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) has been attempting to build a GIS mapping capacity and to make it an available tool for any leader to use in developing strategies that help kids living in urban poverty get the resources they need to help them succeed in school and life. While some have responded positively to this, we're still a voice in the wilderness and depend mostly o­n volunteers to do our work.


I'd like to frame this use of GIS mapping in a larger context and with a different spokesperson. I'd like to introduce you to Thomas P.M. Barnett, a strategic planner who has worked in national security affairs since the end of the Cold War and has operated his own consulting practice (Barnett Consulting) since 1998. Professor Barnett wrote an article for Esquire magazine in 2003, entitled "The Pentagon's New Map," in which he described what he believes is the new security environment that the U.S. finds itself in today. His recent book of the same title more deeply explores his thoughts o­n the matter. I find this thinking innovative and challenging and encourage you to visit his web site, read the articles, and stimulate your own thinking. http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/published/published_index.htm

Leadership and New Solutions Needed: PBS Commentator Judy Muller says both presidential candidates have forgotten about the issue of crime in this election. She believes the recent gang-related murder in Los Angeles of a 14-year-old boy riding his bicycle in broad daylight should remind Americans that there's a war going o­n in our own cities. Listen to this commentary, or order a transcript at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4115988

Tsunami Relief Supported by GIS Maps.  While the T/MC seeks to use GIS to mobilize and distribute needed resources to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in inner-city neighborhoods, GIS is being used effectively to draw resources to the thousands of communities devestated by the 2004 Tsunmai.  Read this article in the ESRI Arc News to see this application of GIS technology:  http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/spring05articles/gis-supports.html

While President and Congress have created "Leave No Child Behind" legislation, they have not provided maps and charts like these to illustrate where children are being left behind or where social service organizations, such as tutor/mentor programs, are in the battle against poverty and need reinforcements. They are making the same mistakes the Deptartment of Defense is making in not using maps, information and innovation, to find new ways to reach all of the kids who live in poverty with all of the help they need to grow up and be productive citizens, not future terrorist. Furthermore, they have not provided a strategy to deliver programs and resources into each neighborhood where kids need more help.

On this web site and in the links provided below, the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) is publishing maps that call attention to the needs of children and youth living in poverty, surrounded by poorly performing schools, and living in daily terror of street violence, abuse, and with little hope for a future.

I?m committed to trying to change the future for these children and youth. I lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC).  I have led a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program for more than 30 years. At Cabrini Connections (http://www.cabriniconnections.net ) we connects youth with adult mentors in ways that help the youth expand experiences, aspirations, motivation and skills to succeed in life. The adult volunteer often learns as much or more. Many come from environments far removed from poverty or racism. Each week that they are in a tutor/mentor program they learn first hand what some of the challenges of poverty are. They also learn diversity by working side by side with volunteers from many different backgrounds.

While public and private leaders occasionally draw attention to the plight of inner city kids, few do it with the day to day focus that any CEO gives to building his/her business. Few apply advertising strategies the way retail stores to draw customers to their businesses. Yet, without this daily call to action, how can we expect to cut through the clutter of every-day life and attract volunteers, donors, leaders and youth to tutor/mentor programs where the goal is prevention and development, not prisons, publicity or terror.

We've searched the Internet to locate other organizations who use GIS maps, charts and public awareness to draw attention to all neighborhoods in a city where tutor/mentor programs and other adult support systems are most needed. We find few examples that offer as much as you'll find o­n the T/MC web sites. Yet we've also struggled to find donors and business partners to support the T/MC and its web sites.

I urge you to look at the maps that I?ve posted at http://msg.uc.iupui.edu/TMC/html/modules.php?name=UpDownload&req=viewdownload&cid=6

You will see a set of six maps that show poverty areas in Chicago, schools o­n the November State Board of Education warning list, and tutor/mentor programs. We?ve broken the maps down by the time of day the service is available and the age group served. Our maps show many more programs available during the 3-5 time frame when most workplace volunteers are not able to participate in comprehensive tutor/mentor programs. Our maps show fewer programs for high school youth, which is a contributing factor to the high dropout rate of teens.

You'll also see new maps that show the concentration of poverty in Chicago and its suburbs based o­n the 2000 census, and based o­n the 1999 census. It shows little change and this means that our leaders have done little o­n a consistent basis to build better ways to help kids finish school, find jobs, and start careers.

I encourage you to reflect o­n this information. I encourage you to visit the other sections of our web sites. You'll see a Program Locator database that you can search to find tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and the suburbs. You'll see a section with links to tutor/mentor programs. You'll see a library of links that connect you with thousands of web sites around the world where you can borrow good ideas to help kids in your own community.

If Chicago, or any other major city, is to surround youth with adult support systems that mentor kids to careers, provide safety in non-school hours, and compete with gangs for the hearts and minds of kids, programs must be in place near where these kids live.

If that is to happen, we must first dramatically increase the number of people visiting our web sites and looking at this information.

During 2005, 2006 and beyond, you will have many occasions to write or reflect about this issue. I hope that at the end of each day many of you will look in a mirror, and ask yourself, "What did I do today to help others find and reflect o­n this information?". If you just take that role we'll increase the army of adults needed to help innercity kids in Chicago and throughout the nation.

I hope you?ll draw from this information for your own strategies and outreach. Every time you think of using some of your time, talent, money or clout, I encourage you to use this information to distribute resources into every poverty neighborhood, and around every poorly performing school.

You?ll be providing part of the solution to this problem.

Thank you. If you?d like to visit my office and see maps we?ve not yet been able to put o­n the Internet, please call me at 312-492-9614

Daniel F. Bassill
President
Cabrini Connections
Tutor/Mentor Connection
800 W. Huron
Chicago, Il. 60622


Note: Read about the Tutor/Mentor Connection's GIS strategy.  Join the GIS discussion forum and become a partner in our effort to create an interactive GIS that teaches volunteers, donors and business partners to choose where to deliver help based o­n where the need is greatests, what organizations are in those areas, and where the company does business.
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