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May-June 2024 eNews

May-June 2024 - Issue 231

Tutor Mentor Institute LLC newsletter heading with blue background

End of one tutor/mentor year.
Beginning of next.

During May and June volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs that operate on a school year calendar will be holding year-end celebrations with students and volunteers. Follow these programs on social media, or visit their websites. Celebrate with them.


As this happens, leaders are already collecting ideas and making plans to operate through the summer and launch their programs again with volunteer recruitment campaigns in the fall.

Use the ideas and resources shared in this monthly newsletter to help you build and sustain mentor-rich, school and non-school, tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach K-12 youth in all areas of persistent poverty. These resources can be used by anyone, in Chicago, or around the world.


Please share this so others in your city can find and use these resources!

Visit Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC Website

Why Do I Do What I Do? View this Logic Model.

I led two different volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs from 1975 to 2011. I joined the first one as a volunteer in 1973, matched with a 4th grade boy named Leo Hall. Over the years I've seen how valuable the connections we enabled were to the kids and the volunteers.


I'm now connected to many alumni, including Leo, and seeing them post stories of their own life journey, and of their own kids finishing high school and college. Just last week one alum posted information on Facebook showing that she had graduated from Howard and pursued a master's in electrical engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.


I see similar stories from other organized tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and around the country. That's where my motivation comes from, and is the logic I show in this graphic.


The first panel, on the left, says "connecting youth with adult tutors and mentors and extra learning is a good thing to do (as I and others have learned from our own experiences). The middle panel says "A 'tutor/mentor' program is a place where many volunteers with different backgrounds can connect with hard-to-reach youth." In big cities where poverty is measured in miles, it's difficult for volunteers from diverse backgrounds to leave work during the day and come to schools on a weekly basis. However, if such programs are available during after-work hours, many volunteers will participate.


Which leads to the third panel. This show a map of Chicago, with high poverty areas highlighted. The text says "Helping 'tutor/mentor' programs reach youth in all parts of a city should be the goal of leaders from many sectors." It ends saying "Building marketing, advertising, resource development, talent sources and leadership strategies in every industry, faith group, political and media sector supports the growth of tutor/mentor programs in more place."


Making this happen in Chicago and other cities has been my goal for 30 years, but still is not a reality. Finding others to share this goal has also been difficult, but that's the purpose of this newsletter and my posts on social media.


Read more about the "Logic Model" in these articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog.

Changes to Constant Contact email address. Due to a new policy, all email coming from services like Constant Contact will have a different format. This may cause email to go into your spam box. That means the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it will now be different.

This is the address that will be on the email for this newsletter. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

How Many Tutor/Mentor Programs are needed in Chicago?

I've been trying to ask, and answer, this question for nearly 30 years. "How many tutor/mentor programs are needed in Chicago?" First, we need to know how many already exist, and how many kids and volunteers are involved. Second we need to know how many kids live in areas of persistent poverty. The Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in 1993, launched its first survey in January 1994 and updated that information annually through 2010. We plotted the location of programs on maps and were able to sort by age-group served (elementary, middle and high school) and type of program (pure mentoring, pure tutoring, combination tutor/mentor).


The only time a survey was done to determine the number of youth in these programs was in 1997, by the Associated Colleges of Illinois, in partnership with the Tutor/Mentor Connection. The maps above were included in this report.


Sadly, far too few people ever saw that report because we had no means of mass distribution and I've never had funding to repeat it every few years, or to ask additional questions about the number of volunteers involved and what their backgrounds were.


I asked the "How many" question in this blog article. I invite new leaders to come forward and rebuild this effort in Chicago and launch it in other cities. If you know people already doing this type of survey, please share the links on social media.

Support Tutor/Mentor Programs with Year-Round Marketing Campaigns

I started building a list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs and inviting them to meet and share ideas back in 1975 when I first started leading the program at Montgomery Ward's corporate headquarters in Chicago.


My goal was to find ideas that I could use in my own leadership. Over time I learned how others benefitted the same way. We begin to develop joint volunteer training efforts that reduced the work of each program and increased the value to our volunteers. This led to forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.


Our first formal survey in January 1994 was responded to by 120 organizations. We used that, and our existing database, to invite people to come together for a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in May 1994.


We also published our list in our first printed Directory and shared that at the conference. We enlisted a public relations agency to help us get news coverage, which led to media stories about the conference. 70 people attended in May 1994 and response was so positive, that we organized another in November 1994. 200 people attended!


We continued organizing the conference every six months until May 2015. We published the Director every year until 2003, then put it in an on-line program locator, which made the information available to more people. We used our list of programs to organize a first ever Chicagoland Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment Campaign in August/September 1995 and repeated that each year till 2003. After that we continued to call for volunteers every fall, but instead of organizing volunteer fairs in multiple locations, we pointed people to our on-line directories.


The result of repeating these events every year was more consistent media coverage. On this page you can see a list of print media stories. This became a year-round strategy and because it repeated it drew more attention to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago than was happening before we launched the Tutor/Mentor Connection.


Learn more about the Public Awareness strategy. click here


Do you have a similar on-going campaign in your city?

Visit this page to learn more about strategies you can build in your own community (and in Chicago) to draw more consistent attention and support to youth serving organizations.

Since 2011 I've not had the resources to keep the Program Locator available, or to repeat the surveys, but I still maintain a list of Chicago and national tutor, mentor and learning programs, which you can find at this link. I also continue to plot them on a map, which you can find at this link.


In two sections of the Tutor/Mentor library I point to other program directories, in Chicago and in other cities. Visit this page, and this page.

What I don't see with these is a year-round strategy aimed at drawing volunteers, parents and donors directly to the youth programs listed in their directories. If you are aware of such campaigns please share the links with me and others on social media.

What you can do to help end poverty

This was the fist newsletter of the Cabrini Connections-Tutor/Mentor Connection, sent in June 1993. You can now see it in this article.


I've now archived all of our past print and email newsletters. You can find links on this page.

I've also created an archive of all of our maps, maps stories and media stories. You can find links in this article.



Share these with leaders in your community. You can build an archive like this over the next 10 years and maybe do more of what's needed to help kids in high poverty areas.

Several Chicago Tutor/Mentor programs have been able to get their stories in the media. This article, by Kelly Fair, founder of Polished Pebbles, focuses on building "HOPE". 

This article on the Tutor/Mentor blog talks about HOPE as a powerful medicine.


Kelly's article talks about the need for business to support multiple programs, not just her own. That's a strategy we need to see from many program leaders.

Chicago Youth Programs is one of a few tutor/mentor programs who I see posting regularly on multiple social media platforms.


In this Tutor/Mentor article I show some others who I found recently on my social media pages. Others can write similar articles, drawing attention to programs in Chicago and other cities. Do it!

Tap into Manpower and Brainpower of Local Universities.


While I have had help from interns from many universities in Chicago and beyond, this was never part of a consistent strategy from any of these universities, aimed at helping more kids from high poverty areas come to their universities, then build lives in careers in the cities where they are located.


In one of the graphics above I show that the Tutor/Mentor Connection was born in a single Chicago tutor/mentor program in 1993 and was part of a two-part strategy until 2011. The media stories and public attention helped our own program grow! Thus, it could do the same for any youth program who wants to take the lead in duplicating what I started 30 years ago.


However, there's too much work that needs to be done. That's why I keep pointing to universities as potential leaders of a Tutor/Mentor Connection-type strategy, with funding from local and national benefactors.


This article on the Tutor/Mentor blog shows roles interns have taken over the past 30 years. These can be duplicated in dozens of cities for the same purposes.


Share this in your network and help find donors who will bring this strategy to colleges and the cities where they operate.

Below are resources to use. View latest links added to tutor/mentor library, click here

Recent Tutor/Mentor Blog articles that point to Tutor/Mentor Connection archived files:



10-year wish list from 2015 - not yet achieved - click here


Local-global thinking - competing for attention - click here


Retaining volunteers in Tutor/Mentor programs - click here


Building Social Capital - article from 1999 - click here


Commitment needed from top 100 CEOs - 1996 newsletter. - click here


What if political campaigns raise money for youth programs? - click here


What if leaders had used maps like this - click here




Bookmark these Tutor/Mentor Resources


* Chicago Volunteer-Based tutor, mentor program list - click here

* Resource Library - click here


* Strategy PDFs by Tutor/Mentor - click here


* Concept Map library - click here


* Work done by interns - click here


* Digital Divide resources - 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


* Create a New Tutor/Mentor Connection - click here

Resources & Announcements

* College Changes Everything Conference - July 18 - click here


* South Side STEM Asset maps - read about using maps - 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


* AfterSchool Alliance resources - click here



* Chicago Mentoring Collaborative - click here


* Chicago Public Schools locator map - click here


* Chicago Health Atlas - click here


* Proven Tutoring clearinghouse - click here


* Chicago Learning Exchange - click here


* Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative - click here


* Chicago Digital Equity Coalition - click here


* Illinois Broadband Lab - click here


* Incarceration Reform Resource Center - click here



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


* 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.

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.

Please 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. Please help fund the T/MI.

Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

Serving Chicago area since 1993

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