August 2023 T/MI News

August 2023 - Issue 224

Tutor Mentor Institute LLC newsletter heading with blue background

Recruiting volunteers for tutor/mentor programs is only the first part of a long-term journey

With school starting soon volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs are all recruiting volunteers. However, that's only the start of this journey. Programs need to provide training and on-going support.


This month's newsletter points to resources programs, volunteers and students can use throughout the coming year.

The ideas and resources shared in this monthly newsletter point to a library of resources that can be used by anyone, in Chicago, or around the world, to help mentor-rich youth programs thrive in all of the neighborhoods where they are most needed.


Encourage others in your city to find and use these resources!

Visit Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC Website

Recruitment is just the start of a volunteer's tutor/mentor journey

Every August from 1975 to 2010 I led an effort to recruit volunteers for the volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs I led in Chicago. In 1993 we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection to help other programs in the Chicago region attract volunteers and donors. I still maintain a list of programs that people can use to find volunteer opportunities. View that list at this link.


What I learned in over 35 years was that recruiting a volunteer was just the first step. We had to provide orientation and training materials and on-going support in order to keep volunteers with our program and our students for one or more years.


I share these resources below. I hope you'll connect with me on social media and share your own strategies for recruiting, training, supporting and retaining volunteers.

What resources do you use for training volunteers?

This concept map show resources that you can find in the Tutor/Mentor library. You can use them to develop training materials. You can use them to motivate volunteers and students to do on-going learning, which is a much more efficient use of staff time in a small nonprofit organization.


At the bottom of each node on my concept maps are small boxes. Put your mouse on these and you'll see links, either to external websites, or to other concept maps.

Homework Help and Learning Resources

View this concept map at this link.


Anyone could earn a PhD by using the free resources on the Internet for constant learning over a period of years. The Tutor/Mentor Connection has aggregated links to a wide range of educational websites that can be used by students, volunteers, parents and teachers.


The challenge for leaders of tutor/mentor programs is to motivate volunteers to browse these resources so they know what's there and can lead their students to useful sites, WHEN the student is looking for extra help. Over time, the student should know where to find these resources when they need them, without much help from others.


I'd love to hear stories from readers about successes they are having of motivating students and volunteers to use on-line tutoring and learning resources.

The longer your volunteer stays involved,
the greater her impact will be

View this concept map at this link


I led two different tutor/mentor programs between 1975 and 2011. The first served 2nd to 6th grade kids. I joined as a volunteer tutor/mentor in 1973 and became its volunteer leader in 1975. I stayed in that role through 1990 when we converted it into a non-profit. I led the non-profit as Executive Director until October 1992. The program had started in 1965, so when I joined it already was recruiting close to 100 volunteers and students at the start of the school year. However, half of those dropped out before the end of the year. Under my leadership this changed. By 1990 we had 300 pairs of kids/volunteers and we were growing from the beginning to the end of the year. 10% of volunteers had served 5 to 15 consecutive years.


I started the second program in Jan 1993, to help kids who aged out of the first program after 6th grade move through high school. We started with 7 volunteer and 5 teens and by 1998 we enrolled more than 80 teens and 100 volunteers. Due to space limitations we stayed at this number through 2010.


During these years I learned how important it was to support volunteers so they would stay and grow in their knowledge and experience. That made them more effective tutors and mentors and turned many into leaders and resource generators.


The concept map above, and the one I point to below, show the cycle of support we provided which led to keeping our volunteers longer.


Here's a second concept map that shows the "volunteer growth cycle".


In PDF essays on this page I share strategies I learned over 35 years for starting and sustaining a tutor/mentor program.


What's your volunteer support strategy look like? Do you share ideas like this on your website, or a blog?

Volunteers need to do more than just be a tutor or mentor

View this concept map at this link


While a tutor or mentor can have a huge impact on the choices a youth makes and his/her ability to move through school and into future jobs and careers, the kids we serve in organized tutor/mentor programs often live in high poverty, racially segregated neighborhoods where they and their families, and their schools face many different challenges. Some of those are shown on the map above.


Thus, as volunteers connect with kids we need to educate them about these challenges and send them back to their family, college, workplace and/or faith group as evangelists who educate others and draw reinforcements to tutor/mentor programs, and to efforts intended to reduce the barriers kids face.


Read - mentor role in larger strategy


Read - virtual corporate office


View - race poverty links in library

Your volunteers can be your most important fund raisers

This spring I received a report from MENTOR, titled "Opportunities to Invest in Long-Term Social Capital for our Youth: A Philanthropic Agenda". I point to that report in this blog article.


In that article I also used the graphic shown above. It's one I've used for many years to emphasize the need for long-term funding of general operations of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs. In the opening paragraphs of the MENTOR report the authors wrote:


"A striking data point from the study's survey showed that most funders want to invest in long-term positive changes (71%), yet none expected outcomes to take five or ten years. Instead, the majority of funders said they expected to see outcomes in just one to two years."


This was probably my greatest frustration when leading a tutor/mentor program. Donors wanted short term, measurable impact. Yet relationships take time to develop and kids need 6 years just to go from 7th grade through high school graduation. They need another 4-6 years to finish college or vocational school and be starting a job. We had to believe this would happen, even though we had no evidence.


Yet, now on Facebook I am connected to many alumni of the programs I led and see them posting stories of college degrees for themselves and high school and college degrees for their kids. That was the hope.


Funders were not supporting us consistently, which made the work much more difficult. The MENTOR report shows this is still happening,.


Read more: "Want to make a Difference? Re-Think Philanthropy" - click here


Use these additional resources in your planning and networking. See latest additions to the Tutor/Mentor Library at this link.

Recent Tutor/Mentor Blog articles:



The Role YOU can take - click here


Communicating Long-Term Strategies - click here


Helping Youth in High Poverty Areas - click here


Using Resource Links to Tell Stories and Create Change - click here


Where Are Non-School Youth Development Programs Most Needed? click here


Tutor/Mentor Programs need time and resources to become great - click here


Building a Segmented Understanding of Youth Serving Programs - click here


Learn about Artificial Intelligence tools you can use in your school or non-school program. Follow the links in these #ETMOOC blog articles and in these ChatGPT articles.




Bookmark these Tutor/Mentor Resources


* Resource Library - click here


* Strategy PDFs by Tutor/Mentor - click here


* Concept Map library - click here


* Work done by interns - click here


* Political Action resources - click here


* Featured collections on Wakeletclick here


* Tutor/Mentor Institute Videos - click here


* About T/MI articles on blog - click here


* History of T/MC - T/MI articles - click here


* Chicago Youth Serving Organizations in Intermediary Roles - click here to view a concept map showing many organizations working to help improve the lives of Chicago area youth. Follow the links.

Resources & Announcements. These sites regularly update the information they share so visit them often.


* Chicago Mentoring Collaborative - click here


* National Mentoring Resource Center - click here


* Chicago Learning Exchange - click here


* Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative - click here Learn about Landscape Surveys - click here


* STEMM Opportunity Alliance - click here


* University of Chicago Civic Engagement news - click here


* Connect Illinois Digital Equity Coalition - click here


* MyChiMyFuture - Chicago youth programs map and directory. click here; visit the website - click here


* To & Through Project website - click here: Follow on Twitter - @UChiToThrough


* Center for Effective Philanthropy - click here


* Forefront -Illinois' statewide association of nonprofits, foundations and advisors. click here


* Chicago Public Schools locator map - click here


* Chicago Health Atlas - click here


* Thrive Chicago collaboration - click here

* Incarceration Reform Resource Center - click here


* AfterSchool Alliance - resource center - click here


* Proven Tutoring - click here


* ChiHackNight - remote civic technology meet-up; every Tuesday in Chicago - see weekly agenda

About this newsletter.


While I try to send this only once a month, I write blog articles weekly. Throughout the newsletter I post links to a few of the articles published in the past month or earlier. I encourage you to spend a little time each week reading these articles and following the links. Use the ideas and presentations in group discussions with other people who are concerned about the same issues.

View current and past newsletters at this link.

Encourage friends, family, co-workers to sign up to receive this newsletter. Click here.

(If you subscribe, don't forget to respond to the confirmation email).

Thank you for reading. Connect with me and share links to resources, on any of the social media platforms shown below.

Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
Serving Chicago area since 1993

Thank you for reading. And thank you to those who help fund the
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Connect with Dan (tutormentor) on one of these social media platforms.

Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, c/o Merchandise Mart PO Box 3303, Chicago, Il. 60654 Phone. Skype #dbassill; FAX 312-787-7713; email: | Powered by OpenSource!