By Daniel F. Bassill, President, Tutor/Mentor Institute and Advisory Director, I-Open
I-Open's home base is in Cleveland, Ohio USA and my goal of writing these articles has been to help I-Open, or others, form a team that would duplicate the Tutor/Mentor Connection* strategy, which I've piloted successfully in Chicago since 1993.
This model can be easily replicated and customized for your neighborhood if you live in Cleveland, Cincinnati or any other large Ohio city by combining what we know at the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and what collaborating Ohio educational consultants and volunteers from the I-Open network may know.
So, let's start with a few questions to see if there is a need.
- Who hosts a web library with information people in Cleveland could use to understand the many roots of poverty?
- Does this library focus on neighborhoods where poverty concentrations are highest?
- Does the library identify and support existing organizations that already are doing needed work?
Note: Remember that as you do your research to answer these questions, build a blog or web site to host and share what you are learning!
The FOUR-PART TUTOR/MENTOR CONNECTION STRATEGY
Step One: Build Network Brainpower
Editor's Note: Every strategic investment in Open Source Economic Development starts with connecting to our most competitive advantage, Brainpower (see: The Innovation Framework). The Tutor/Mentor strategy recommends doing just that by identifying existing sources of research investment and connecting them online for mutual benefit and scalability.
Collect And Share Quality Information
Click on the map (right) to open the link and browse the four sections of the T/MC library and see the wide range of information it contains. Much can already be used by leaders in Ohio cities, but key parts, such as a list of Chicago non-school tutor/mentor programs, focuses on Chicago, meaning someone needs to be aggregating similar data that is specific to Cleveland, Cincinnati and other cities.
A key part of this library would be maps that show census data and other indicators showing where youth and families need extra help. Two examples are shown left and at the top of this article. (Attribution: Mapping For Justice.)
Much of the information that needs to be collected is “market based” information.
- Who are the organizations working in different parts of a city to help reduce poverty or provide greater opportunity?
- Where are they located, what do they do? Who do they serve?
- How well do they show what they do on their web sites?
- What are the challenges they face?
- How can intermediaries and others help them overcome those challenges, so each organization is constantly improving it's impact?
- What leaders in business, faith groups, colleges, politics, or among nonprofit organizations, have adopted this commitment, and show a visualization like this on their web sites, to indicate their support?
- Is anyone using concept maps, wikis and/or web platforms to aggregate this information or create a navigation path so information that is known to a few people can be found and used by anyone interested in helping combat poverty and inequality in these cities?
I'm sure part of this information is hosted by various organizations, universities and city government agencies.
So, again: Who is using concept maps, wikis and/or web platforms to aggregate this information or create a navigation path so information that is known to a few people can be found and used by anyone interested in helping combat poverty and inequality in these cities?
Editor's Note: To translate Brainpower, every initiative must invest in the construction of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Networks (see The Innovation Framework).
These are relationship-based communication pathways, online and face-to-face, that translate and direct knowledge resources to those who seek them.
I come from a retail advertising background where we spent millions of dollars every year to draw customers to more than 400 stores located in 40 states. I've never had much money, but I've constantly looked for ways to draw attention more frequently to all of the information in the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library, including the list of programs that I've maintained since 1993 (Read the Virtual Corporate Office PDF at http://tinyurl.com/TMI-VirtualCorpOffice ). By creating web based libraries like the Tutor/Mentor Institute's, many can take intermediary roles designed to draw more attention and resources into high poverty neighborhoods, not just the people leading organizations in these neighborhoods.
Here's one way to do that:
This story follows a high visibility story in the local newspaper with a map showing where the story took place, and showing the need for tutor/mentor programs in that area.
It ends with a “call for involvement” supporting the growth of programs in that area, or in other areas of the city with similar levels of poverty.
I've created hundreds of maps like this since 1993 and have been sharing them on blogs since 2005. Imagine how much more impact we'd create if hundreds of people were creating similar map stories.
Is anyone in Ohio cities creating map stories, like these, with a goal of drawing attention and resources to existing organizations already operating in different neighborhoods of Ohio cities? Is anyone trying to teach young people in high schools, colleges and/or youth serving organizations to create such stories using existing data?
Build a list of web sites where this is happening. That's a start.
We need to develop a network of information facilitators, trainers and coaches who help people find information in the library, understand it, then learn how they can apply it personally, or through their business, college, social group, faith group, or political leadership.
I-Open takes on this role by sharing my articles on their blogs and by marketing the articles across I-Open social media accounts. Many more people need to do this, to amplify the ideas of intermediaries taking on a T/MC role in Ohio cities.
The Internet has made an unlimited amount of information available, but we've not found a way to put more hours into each day, so people could read and reflect more often. However, there are ways to overcome this.
If enough people take this role and needed resources flow more consistently into every poverty neighborhood, we begin to strengthen...and sustain... the human capital needed at the ground level, in every neighborhood, which enables people working in these organizations to be constantly learning ways to improve, share what they do with others, and constantly improve the impact of work that helps close gaps between rich and poor by providing more tools and economic mobility to people living in every high poverty neighborhood of a city, not just a few of those neighborhoods.
Go through Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web sites, with this check list (left), and check off your research findings.
This makes an excellent research project for students from local high schools or colleges.
If no one is taking the T/MC role in your city, let myself and a team of I-Open consultants help you build and sustain this structure to guarantee access to information by anyone, build a neighborhood's Brainpower, and accelerate a successful path from high school to career for all residents.
Investigative Inquiry Questions:
____ We already do that
____ We do it better than T/MC
____ or, We CAN do it, and do it better!
____ And, we share what we are doing, in the same ways T/MC does, so others can learn from us.
Daniel F. Bassill, D.H.L., Advisory Director, The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) and Founder and President, Tutor/Mentor Institute LLC & Tutor/Mentor Connection, and an Award-winning Advocate for Youth.
Daniel is sought by organizations striving to do what he has done for over 36 years: lead comprehensive, volunteer-based, non-school tutoring and mentoring programs serving inner-city children and youth. Follow @TutorMentorTeam and Learn More Here.
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