Apologies that it's been a couple weeks since I've checked in. So many exciting things happening. I spoke at a national gathering of tutor/mentor thinkers... I continue to produce the 2010 Tutor/Mentor Jam - a music benefit this August at Darkroom (details coming very soon)... I demoed the video game kids made with me at Cabrini Connections Tech Club, where I volunteer each week... and I'm pumping out maps as fast as I can, to help our local leaders and thinkers visualize the data they need to continue building support for our students... all with a backdrop of escalating crime and a suffering economy. Click on the map below to see for yourself.
As the school year ends, I bask in the good vibes received at the Tutor/Mentor Conference from all the people there who told me they use my maps to help their programs fight crime, workforce woes, underprepared students, and other social side-effects of poverty... each of which eventually trickle into tax-payers' laps.
And I reflect back on the strides I've made this year building quality maps like the ones here - all on a non-profit budget and 20-hr week. (Don't forget - we can produce maps like these for you and your strategic needs. Contact me for pricing!)
The celebration ends there. As the blue map above shows, there simply are not enough programs in Chicagoland to help prepare the thousands of at-risk soon-to-be-adults that attend our overwhelmed school system.
And while we at Tutor/Mentor Connection struggle to scratch the surface of this problem, it's becoming more and more disheartening that the people I talk to - people who share these concerns and cheer us on, patting us on the back every day... just as quickly disappear back into their daily grind - ending their commitment to this shared cause with a high five, a handshake, and a "good luck!"
We need to do this together if we have any chance of success. Each of you who shudder at crime, graduation stats, and our growing taxes... each of you can help fight with us by spending a mere 5 minutes - either to cut a tax-deductible check yourself, or to shoot a quick email to those in your networks with the ability to put us in the ear of someone who can cut that check.
If you don't want to take Tangela Smith Marlow's word for it (a highly successful professional, mother, and alumnus of Cabrini Connections Tutor/Mentor Program, who proclaimed that the program had a "transformative impact" on her life just last week)...
You only have to look backward through this Mapping For Justice blog, Dan's blog, Nicole, El, and Bradley's blogs to find other case-studies and reports that explain why you and your overworked, overstressed, and overtaxed friends should care about mentoring at-risk youth - and how you can mobilize your network in support of our students and our collective future via tutor/mentor programs.