A few thoughts as we move into the second month of the fundraiser:
1. While greatly appreciated, you don't have to donate $25, $50, or the whole $5000... ANYTHING helps. If $5 is all you have to give to tutor/mentor programs and this mapping project, it will help move us toward our goal and be extremely appreciated.
2. Please continue to spread the word to friends in your network who have an interest in fighting poverty, and an interest in student advocacy. Have them contact me personally, or send them to this blog, via your personal social networks (like facebook)... this is something that is free and easy, and is extremely helpful!
3. Realizing that pictures might help tell the story of "How Do These Maps Help?"... here is a fun little sequence of pictures for you:
These three students work with me Tuesday Nights in "Tech Club" at Cabrini Connections Tutor/Mentor program. I volunteer, off the clock, and have gotten to know each of them really well. See if you can guess which 9th grader here is an aspiring rock star, which is writing a fantasy novel, and which has created a video game? They also continue to learn mapping skills, and with this skill, might one day advocate on their own behalf, due to the Mapping For Justice connection, which you can help support by contributing what you can to the fundraiser.
The news tells us of violence everyday, further stigmatizing neighborhoods where aforementioned novelists, musicians, game creators, and future community advocates live. The maps you help support tell "the rest of the story": It's a story of where community leadership needs to provide more mentor-to-career support for capable kids who might otherwise turn to the street for guidance.
Our maps help political and business leadership visualize the lack of tutoring/mentoring options for youth, and serve as a starting point for the formation of strategies and alliances that work to SOLVE THE PROBLEMS related to crime, poverty, and workforece development, not simply expose it. You might not have to dollars these guys do, but every little bit helps us continue to provide supporting maps.
You can also help us continue to produce maps and strategies that provide community assets, like faith-based groups, with new ways to help the poor and needy - either in their congregation, or in neighboring communities.
The maps you support are gaining the attention and recognition of important leaders. Don't let this momentum die! Just recently, this map was hung in President Obama's barbershop, and currently generates discussion, action, and heightened community awareness and involvement... pointing Hyde Park's citizens and community leadership (and maybe the President himself when he needs a trim) to existing tutor/mentor programs that need support through volunteers, student recruitment, supplies/talent, and funding.
But ultimately, it's YOU that can make a difference - big or small... our maps show YOU how you can find a program that helps students in Chicago near your home or communter stop... these students are YOUR future employees and neighbors... future participants in the Democratic process... future leaders with the innovative and creative minds needed to help think outside the box and address the national and local issues that affect us all.