Monday, August 21, 2017

Analysis of Philadelphia using maps

Here's an article in the NextCity.org site showing changes over the past five years in different Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Getting people to look at this, talk about it and act in ways that help struggling neighborhoods grow while continuing the success of other neighborhoods is a challenge for people throughout the city, not just city leaders.

I don't think this set of maps includes an overlay showing youth serving organizations and/or other needed services like I've tried to provide with the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator.  All it would take would be a dedicated group of people, including funders, to make that happen.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Violence on doorstep of Church in Austin neighborhood

While social media rages against the violence in Virginia, my Monday Chicago Tribune reminded me of another act of violence that took place yesterday in Chicago, when two men were gunned down right in front of the Friendship Baptist Church in Chicago.

I have written often on this and the Tutor/Mentor blog about violence in the Austin neighborhood, using maps to encourage businesses, universities, faith groups and others to work collectively to build a first-grade to careers support system that provide hope and opportunity and competes against gangs and their influence

The daily newspapers provide just one more reminder of problems that won't go away unless many more people give time, talent, dollars and votes over many years to address the root-causes of these problems.

That's true for racism, fanaticism, fascism and other problems we face in America and the world.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals - World Bank

Image from World Bank web site
This graphic is found on a web site that hosts an Atlas of Sustainable Development goals. Here's the description on the web site:

 "The Atlas is built around World Development Indicators 2017 - the World Bank's compilation of statistics from over 200 economies about global development and the quality of people's lives.  For each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, selected indicators have been identified and visualized to analyze trends and challenges, and to stimulate discussion on measurement issues. You can browse the Atlas online, or download it as a PDF." 

 There is a load of data here, and will take many hours to review and get to know the information. What I'm interested in seeing is how people use the data to tell on-going stories that build the public will needed to invest in future solutions so that over time the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved, in every country, including the USA.

 If you're seeing some good stories using this data I invite you to share links using the comment section of this blog.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Role of Facilitators - See Blog Talk Radio Interview

In the 4-part strategy that I've shared often on this blog, step  3 focuses on facilitation, or helping other people find, understand and apply the information on my web sites.

I use my articles to help people understand ideas and information they can use to help build and sustain volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach kids in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

I point to work interns have done in past years to help people understand ideas I share on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

On Monday, August 7, 2017,  Valerie Leonard, a Chicago community organizer, who I have come to know over the past 15 years, interviewed me for her Blog Talk Radio show.  You can see the interview below.



By hosting this show, and inviting me to be a guest, Valerie is modeling a facilitation role that needs to be duplicated by people in many groups to draw people to articles and ideas that I and other people share and help them build their own understanding and use of the ideas.


This graphic illustrates what I'm saying. There are many different groups who could be taking a deeper, more strategic, and on-going role to help improve the quality of life for people in different parts of Chicago or in other parts of the US and the world.

You don't need to have a deep understanding of any of the stuff I post or write about. You can invite a group of people into a room, project the image or article on a screen, the ask people to share what they are understanding.

You don't even need to be in the same room, at the same time. Connect on the Internet.

This past month the Connected Learning #clmooc group has been encouraging people to "make" visualizations that express their ideas. Take a look at their web site and see the activities they have been doing and the way they share and connect with each other on several social media platforms.

The #clmooc organizers are educators from different parts of the world who meet on-line to plan each year's activities.

Go ahead and get started. Invite some people to come together. Pick any of the articles I've posted over the past 10 years or that you find in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

If you're taking this role, send me a link and I'll join in when I can, and share  your videos and Tweets as I receive them.  It's another example of what I mean when I say "It takes a village to raise a child."

One role in the village is information net-worker, facilitator, trainer, etc.

If you want to make a contribution to help me do this work, visit this page and use the PayPal button.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New report details Chicago’s racial, ethnic disparities

Browsing Linkedin feed today and saw link to UIC press release titled "New report details Chicago’s racial, ethnic disparities".  Opened link to full report, which is in an eBook format.

 “A Tale of Three Cities: The State of Racial Justice in Chicago,”
I've pointed to articles like this for many years and supported the growth of volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs as a strategy to engage people from different parts of the Chicago region with people living in high poverty, segregated neighborhoods.  Read more articles on this blog, or visit the Tutor/Mentor blog or the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site.  Use this concept map to guild you to different research sections of the Tutor/Mentor web library. 


Nothing will change unless people form learning circles in business, faith groups, colleges, high schools and other places and begin reading these articles and looking for ways you can get involved with youth and families who are different from your own.

Visit this link to browse my list of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs where you might get involved. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mapping Collaboration - Who's Here? Who's Not.

On this blog I show many examples of how maps can be used to show areas where people need extra help, based on indicators like poverty, segregation, wealth inequalities, violence, poorly performing schools, etc. I also demonstrate how data on existing youth programs can be collected and plotted on maps, in an on-going effort to help programs get the talent, dollars and ideas each needs to constantly improve and become the best they can be.

In the map below I show participation in the 2017 Connected Learning on-line community, which you can find on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

view map

If you look at the on-line spaces where #clmooc participants are connecting you'll see a wide range of interaction around ideas and around "making things" like music, postcards, coloring books, etc.  

I'm interested in this because I've been trying to connect people who are involved in helping youth in high poverty areas get comprehensive support systems that help them from first grade all the way to first jobs, over a 20+ year period of support.  

While I've attended Chicago conferences hosted by big foundations, universities and/or businesses, with as many as 500 or more people in the room, I don't feel that these really are interactive, where people in attendance are connecting deeply with speakers and other participants the way people in the #clmooc are doing. 

I've found very few building participation maps as part of their on-going strategies.

Thus, I share the map and the idea in stories on this blog, and on the Tutor/Mentor blog.  I can't make this type of engagement happen through my own limited efforts. However, by shining the spotlight on the #clmooc group and sharing this attention on social media, I can try to inspire and influence others to help make this happen.

Nov. 1998 conference map
I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences in Chicago from May 1994 to May 2015 and created some maps to show participation.  I've also created concept maps, to show the range of talent and networks I was trying to attract to the conferences, and to help me help tutor/mentor programs grow throughout the region. 

You can see from viewing my maps that too few people from business, philanthropy, media, politics, universities and faith groups were attending the conferences I was hosting.  You can also see, from viewing the #clmooc participation maps from the past three years, that too few people from Chicago or other urban areas are participating in their efforts. 

You can change that by visiting the #clmooc site, joining the group, and adding your name to the map.

While participation ( or non-participation) in the Tutor/Mentor Conferences could be the topic of many discussions, my goal with this article is to encourage others to think about mapping participation in events they host (on-line and face-2-face) to show "who needs to be involved and interacting with each other" and "who is already involved"  

Duplicate the #clmooc.  Look at the image shown in this Tweet. Imagine many people from throughout the Chicago region, and the world, interacting and sharing ideas about who needs to be involved in on-going efforts intended to build and sustain needed youth and family service and jobs programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago or other parts of the country, or the world.

Interested in helping? This could be an on-going project hosted by a college group, or even a high school service learning course.  Tweet me @tutormentorteam or post a comment to this article if you're interested in exploring this idea.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Interactive map showing home price data

WBEZ91.5 Chicago is doing some of the best research and mapping that I see in the Chicago region so I encourage you to visit their web site, Facebook page and other links and find ways to  use these tools in  your own communications.

Here's map/article that shows home prices in metro areas around the US.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Why I Created Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. Why I Still Lead it.

I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago in 1975 while holding a full time retail advertising job at the Montgomery Ward corporate headquarters in Chicago.  I used many of my advertising skills to support a volunteer based that grew from 100 to 300 between 1975 and 1992, then to support fund raising in the years since then.

Over the years I saw many media stories talking about violence in Chicago, and editorials saying "we need to do something" but no strategies similar to how the corporate office supports hundreds of stores located all over the country.

In late 1992 while forming a new non profit to serve 7th-to-12th grade kids who were aging out of the original program, I and the six other volunteers who were helping me, decided to fill the leadership void that I'd seen over the previous 17 years. We created the Tutor/Mentor Connection, to help volunteer-based programs like the one I had led, and the new one I was forming, get the resources needed to grow in all high poverty neighborhoods of the Chicago region.  All of the ideas and information on my blogs and web sites, created since 1993, focus on that goal.

I signed up to take part in the summer 2017 Connected Learning #clmooc group activities, and added myself to their member map today. I first joined this group in 2013 and over the past four years I've developed some strong idea-sharing relationships with people from different parts of the country and the world as a result.

Village cMap
I’ve been trying for the past 20 years to build this type of learning community, connecting all of those who are concerned with the gap between rich and poor in America, the education system, workforce diversity, social justice, violence, public health, and a number of other reasons to be involved. Some people talk about the "village" it takes to raise kids. I write about it and try to bring members of the village together.

As I wrote above, I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in 1975 (see history) while I held a full time job with the Montgomery Ward company. While our program grew to include over 300 pairs of youth and volunteers by 1990, funding was not an issue because all of the leaders were volunteers.

However, in 1990 when I converted this program to a 501-c-3 non profit and needed to raise money to pay salaries for myself and others to stay involved, the funding of non profits began to become a real issue. Over the years I’ve aggregated a wide range of personal frustration on the challenges small non profits face in finding consistent operating funds, and I’ve built a library of articles that show how others think on this topic.

I illustrate my thinking visually so let me show some maps that I think many of you will find interesting, and useful.

This is a map showing nearly 400 foundation (corporate and private) in the Chicago region and Eastern part of the United States who I put on my mailing list between 1993 and 2005.

Every year I send copies of my printed newsletters to these people, showing why tutor/mentor programs were needed and what I was doing as a direct service provider, and as leader of the intermediary Tutor/Mentor Connection.

The green icons on the map are foundations that funded my organization at least one time. Few funded me more than 2-3 years in a row. Some, like Montgomery Ward, funded me for seven consecutive years, then went out of business, and thus were not able to continue their support. None of the grants was larger than $50,000 and most were in the $1,000 to $10,000 per year range. Some were for general operating expenses, which I could use flexibly to build the organization, while many focused specifically on activities of the Cabrini Connections direct service program or the Tutor/Mentor Connection. In total I raised more than $6 million between 1993 and 2011, with a peak of $500,000 in 2000. This money split with 40% funding the Cabrini Connections direct service program, 40% the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and 20% funding operating and fundraising expenses. With no multi-year commitments, each year since about 1998 I started from zero in raising $300 to $400,000 from a wide range of donors.


This map shows a close up of the Chicago region so you can get a better sense of how many foundations I was reaching out to.

My organization never had more than 3 or 4 people on staff, and never had a full time professional development officer. I was CEO, chief innovator, chief marketing officer, newsletter writer, grant writer, janitor. Yet every year I was challenged to write letters of introduction, letters of inquiry, grant requests, grant reports, each with different requirements and different questions.

Yet we all were focused on helping expand the network of non-school hours support for inner city kids. By 1998 I was using web sites to show the work I was doing and what I was trying to do.

This map shows the Chicago LOOP area.

When I begin using maps I started following media stories about kids being killed in Chicago with maps showing where this was happening, and with links showing what tutor/mentor programs were operating in those areas, and what knowledge was available to community leaders, business and foundations, etc., so they would work to build programs that would provide more mentoring, tutoring and learning opportunities in more places.
In 2008 the T/MC created a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator with maps that show where tutor/mentor programs are needed, and other maps showing banks, hospitals, universities and faith groups who are spread in different parts of the city, and who could be supporting the growth of programs in each of these areas.

I keep asking myself, "Why haven’t leaders in these foundations use my maps, or similar directories, to adopt neighborhoods, then adopt tutor/mentor programs in those neighborhoods and make long-term commitments to help each program become the best in the world by borrowing ideas from each other and using a constant flow of operating/innovation dollars and volunteer talent to implement these ideas?"   No good answers to that question.

Here’s an interactive version of the map of foundations. You can enlarge the map and zoom in and see the name and location of each. Some no longer exist since this list was last updated in 2005. 

With more than 200 youth serving organizations in Chicago offering various forms of tutoring, mentoring and non-school support, we can have 200 development officers and/or Executive Directors reaching through this list to find foundations who will give them funds each year, which is a tremendous redundancy.

Or we can build strategies that educate and motivate donors and business partners to reach out and build proactive support systems for tutor/mentor programs in neighborhoods that need such programs.

I'm no longer hosting the May and November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences, due to lack of funding. However, these could be started again, or we could build an on-line conversation, similar to the CLMOOC community, if partners and sponsors stepped forward to help.

This and other articles show why I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. I still lead it, through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC because no one else has created a similar 4-part strategy with the same aim at supporting the growth of mentor-rich non-school learning programs in all of the high poverty areas of Chicago.

We can do both. We can do better.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

ESRI solution templates for local government

ESRI has created a set of map templates that local governments can use to tackle the Opioid Epidemic and other public health issues. They are shown on this page.

This same set of tools, or ones similar to it, could be used to identify existing non-school tutor/mentor programs in a geographic region and draw support to each of them. That's what Tutor/Mentor Connection has been trying to do with GIS maps since 1994. I've never had the talent and resources that companies like ESRI have to do this work.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Example of using maps to connect communities & reach more places

Since 2013 I've participated in several on-line events and some have used Google maps to show participant locations.  

I started creating maps to show participation in Tutor/Mentor Conferences in the mid 2000s.

Thus, I was pleased to find this interactive map on the Our Revolution political organizing web site.


You can zoom into the map, to the zip code level, and click on the icons to find out what group this represents and how to get connected.

I've posted articles about the #onthetable event hosted the past four years by the Chicago Community Trust and suggested that they create a map like this to show people hosting their informal meetings and another to show locations of participants, as part of an evaluation process and also as part of an organizing effort intended, as Our Revolution does, to keep people working with each other to understand and solve problems important to the Chicago region, or the nation.

If you've examples of maps being used this way feel free to post a link in the comment section.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

U.S. Census Bureau - Learn to Use Its Data

This is a screen shot from a page on the ChicagoReporter.org web site, which makes U.S. Census Bureau data easily available.

This was just one of many resources that I learned about during last night's Chicago City Data User Group (#CCDUG) meeting at the Microsoft headquarters in Chicago.

Other resources were shared by participants in the MeetUP, using the #CCDUG  hashtag. Browse this thread and you can find more links.

I posted to Twitter my own long-term vision of sharing map-based data with this type of sophistication.

A couple of other links that were shared are:

The Space Informatics Lab (SIL) at the University of Cincinnati - click here

Census Explorer - click here

Census Business Builder - Regional Analysis Version - click here

Census Business Builder - Small Business Addition - click here

Below is a pdf created in 2009 to show how to use the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator to create map stories. The program locator is now out of date and needs updating. Imagine what I could do if I had the talent and resources to apply some of the mapping tools shown above to the work I've been trying to do since 1993.


If you can imagine this, and you understand the need and opportunity, and you have either the talent or the dollars, why don't you reach out and offer your help?  This can apply to any city in the world, so you can be located in any city and work with me via Skype or other on-line tools.  Let's connect.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Building a "Fellowship" on the Web.

Last week I posted this article, with a TED talk presented by Steve Whitla, based in the UK.  Today Steve sent me a Tweet, pointing me to a thoughtful article he'd written, in response to my article. He focused on the three challenges I'd offered in my article, and expanded on them from his own perspective.

I  hope you'll take time to read it.

1)  Challenges of Making Maps - Steve recognizes a truth that I've understood for many years.  In the past I've had people question the value of the maps I've created, saying people in poor areas don't have access to the technology to view the maps. I said, "I know.  I'm trying to reach the people who don't live in poor areas who have the resources to make technology and access to my maps available to people in poor neighborhoods, and who will help me collect the data, build the maps, and train people to use them."  In Steve's article these would be the "Gentry" who supported map-making in the middle ages.

2) The Challenge of Motivating Growing Numbers of People to look at the maps.  I love the reference to Bilbo, from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I've read the series several times.  My graphic above draws from another fantasy series, the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. In both books a small group of people band together to save the world.  In both books the 'hero' was a reluctant 'hero'.  I never sought the role I'm in. It grew on me over many years.   In Steve's article, he focuses on the 5% of people in an organization who might already be interested in an idea.  My efforts have focused on the same 5%, or even 1%, of people in the world who might be interested in the work I'm doing. That's like looking for a needle in the universe!  Yet, that's how I connected with Steve.

I created this concept map to show the different skills and networks I'm trying to bring into my fellowship.  I first used the Wheel of Time graphic in 2011, in this article.

3) The Role of Network Builder, Facilitator and Teacher.  In Steve's article he writes "If we're all looking a the same map, then we have a much more meaningful conversation."  That's what I think, too, but it takes us back to Challenge 1 and Challenge 2.

I've used this pyramid graphic often since the mid 1990s, such as in this article.  I've created a library of concept maps, that support the GIS maps. Steve's blog is full of visualizations.  If more people spend time trying to understand these, when we get together we are closer to a common frame of reference.

In my case, I feel that we all want kids to go safely through school and enter jobs and careers as contributing members of society. However, if someone is not doing the work at the bottom of the pyramid, of creating a map-based information system, it's hard to have a 'meaningful conversation' about actions each of us needs to take to make that support system available in all places where kids need extra help.

If people are not motivated to spend time looking at these articles, and our maps, our meetings lack the common understanding and frame of reference needed. Back to Challenge 2.

Final Challenge - Remaining Neutral - Steve added this since I did not mention it in my original article.  I think that if the data on the maps is accurate, anyone can use the map to develop strategies that support a common vision.  In articles on this blog I point to many data platforms, not just the interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and maps the Tutor/Mentor Connection has created. Keeping the maps updated and accurate goes back to Challenge 1, which is finding the talent and resources to do this.

Another Challenge - Overcoming "Not Invented Here".  Over the 24 years that I've been doing this work, too many have started their own "fellowships", drawing support from political, business and civic leaders. Too few, like almost none, have reached out to say "What can I learn from your experiences? Or, "How can I help you?"   Here's one of several articles that focus on this challenge.

One more. It seems to me that Steve is writing about challenges within organizations, where there are many different power bases and hidden agendas. I'm writing about the challenge of mobilizing people from many different organizations and sectors of society - the village of people who need to take roles in raising kids and helping them move to productive adult lives.  They also have power bases and hidden agendas. They don't have the structure, and pay check, provided by corporations, which offer some motivation for people to work together.

That makes this even more difficult.


I can't express how pleased I was that Steve took time to read my original article and reflect on it on his blog. I've encouraged others to do the same, and created this concept map as a way to connect those people and their articles with each other.  I added a link to Steve's blog today.   In some ways, the people I point to are "companions" who I've been able to attract and connect in my own on-going efforts to have a positive impact on the world I live in.

I invite other readers to join us.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Interactive Diversity Map

This is screenshot showing Chicago area, which I created using the interactive diversity map found at this site.   This article describes how the map was created.

Use for your own analysis of diversity and segregation in different parts of the US.  Create your own story maps.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Understanding Value of Maps and Systems Thinking

Today on Twitter one of my new followers was Steve Whitla, who's based in Oxford, England. Before I follow back I always look at the types of Tweets someone is posting.  At the top of Steve's page was a TED talk video, talking about the value of maps and systems thinking. I've pasted it below and hope you'll look at it.



As I watched this I saw much that resonates with work I've been doing for past 25 years

Below is one graphic that I've created that I thought of as I watched this talk. You can see an explanation of this graphic in this article.


As I listened to the TED talk, I saw three distinct challenges.

First is the work of collecting information and creating maps.  On the right side of my graphic is a map of Chicago, with overlays showing where poverty is concentrated. I have been building additional overlays showing where non-school tutor/mentor programs are located, with a goal of helping all of them get the resources needed to help kids through school. You can find many stories on this and the Tutor/Mentor blog that include maps that focus on this goal.

There's a significant cost involved in collecting the data for my maps, and keeping it current, and in making maps, or hosting maps on platforms like the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator.  As you watch the TED talk, keep in mind the work and cost involved in creating the mapping platforms that are described. I've never found much money, or consistent talent, to support my own efforts. That's a major barrier to this work.

 Second is the work of motivating growing numbers of people to look at the maps, and use them in the type of reflection and analysis that is described in the TED talk.  On the far left of my graphic is a node that focuses on "building public will".

Step two in the 4-part strategy of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which was developed in 1993, focused on building public awareness. Finding ways to do this without advertising and public relations dollars is a huge challenge.  While the Internet offered a low-cost way to share ideas with the world back in 1998, it's now dominated by people with dollars to buy attention, or by people who have high visibility, and do crazy things, to attract attention.

Yet, if we don't get enough people interested in looking at this information, and using time, talent and dollars, to support the work of individual tutor/mentor programs, as well as those who collect the information and create the maps, we won't have much success in making good programs available to more kids.

Third is the role of network-builder, facilitator, mentor and teacher. That's the role Steve was taking in his TED talk, and the role I take with my web sites, blog articles, Tweets, and other social media activities.  Someone, or many someones, needs to be making an effort daily to connect people with the maps and information available and help them understand how to use it, and how to apply it to their own life experience and opportunities.

I often compare my maps to "blueprints" that are used by contractors to build buildings.  At every stage of the building process, work needs to be done by people with different skills.  They all need to be paid, or they normally won't do the work and the building does not get built. They also all need to have a certain level of skills, or the building won't stand, even if it does get built.

In solving social and environmental problems facing the world we need blueprints, as Steve is suggesting in his TED talk, and we need resources to support all three stages of this process.

I've been sharing ideas and graphics like this in articles at http://tutormentor.blogspot.com since 2005 and at  http://www.tutormentorexchange.net since 1998. I look forward to connecting with others who are interested in these ideas.

UPDATE:  Here's an article about how traffic accidents are killing 1.25m people per year, and costing 3% of global GDP. The same systems thinking approaches that would apply to helping kids have greater support systems applies to this issue.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

South Shore Neighborhood Focus of Today's Tribune

Today's Chicago Tribune devoted two full pages to the changes taking place in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, and of how the violence is causing many young African American families to move out of the city, and often out of Illinois.

I've been using maps to focus attention and draw resources to high poverty neighborhoods since launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago in 1994.  This map was created in 2009, following a shooting in the South Shore area and was included in this article, I hope you'll read it. I hope local leaders will also read it, and other articles I've shared in this and the Tutor/Mentor blog.

The ideas still apply.

At the right is a page from a 1990s edition of the Tutor/Mentor Connection printed newsletter. (see it and others here). I've been sharing ideas like this for more than 20 years, yet with too little support from business, political leaders, faith leaders and peers.

The appeal for financial support of the T/MC that was included in our 2009 article was not answered and since 2011 I've not had anyone on staff to create maps like this, or to update the interactive tutor/mentor program locator, which can also be used to create story maps.

As the Chicago media remind us daily, the problems that prompted me to create the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 (and launching in January 1994) are still with us in 2017.  I'm just a lot older, and a lot poorer, and am now leading this effort via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, which is also not generating nearly the revenue needed to support this work in all the ways I describe in my past articles.

Thus, a month ago I posted an article about a "do-over",  inviting others to adopt and share ownership of the T/MC, using their own talents to lead it for the next 20 years...hopefully with greater impact and success than I've been able to provide.

I hope you'll take a look and share this with others who might respond to the invitation.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Example of How Maps Can Be Used

Chicago SunTimes, 1994
This 1994 Chicago SunTimes illustrates how I was trying to use GIS maps to fill high poverty inner city neighborhoods with mentor-rich, non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs.

I was introduced to GIS mapping in early 1993 by a volunteer from IBM who was working on a project with the city of Chicago. I attended presentations where the maps were projected on a large screen, and were interactive, meaning the people leading the conversation could build greater understanding of what the map was showing than you could get just looking at a map in a book. In the last decade there have been a few TV police shows using maps this way.

Last night I toured the Electronic Data Visualization lab at  UIC. We met in a classroom where one entire wall was made up of computer screen panels. You could project a single image to fill the entire wall, or you could have mutiple screens open at the same time. Then I experienced the 3-D CAVE where you could walk "inside" a map or a diagram, along with many others, to get a better understanding of what was being discussed.

I've never had the money to apply any of this to my own efforts. So when I see stuff like this, I feel like a "kid in a candy store". I drool with envy.

Well, I just had another similar experience.  The image below is from an ESRI story map, showing food insecurity (hunger) in the Washington, DC area.  I hope you'll open the map and read through the analysis. As you do, imagine the thinking and collaboration implied in this process.


Here's one PDF showing how I have been trying to use maps.  Here's another.  Read articles on this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor Blog and you'll see many more. Then imagine being able to put this into story maps like the DC folks have done, and to be able to bring people into a technology center like at Microsoft or UIC and lead a conversation, using the maps, focused on generating the public will and resource flow needed to support the growth and on-going operations of mentor-rich non-school, youth-serving programs which are expanding the network of adults helping kids go from first grade through high school and into adult lives with a job and a career free of poverty.

In the image I'm showing above, the red and yellow dots are partners who help distribute food to those who need it in the DC area.  What I don't see on the story map is a discussion of funding. Not the funding of the Capital Area Food Bank, and this mapping project, but the funding of all of the organizations who need to be involved in this food distribution network.  How are all of these organizations supported? Do they each have the money, talent, technology and resources needed to do this work as well as it needs to be done.  Are there other potential food distribution and education partners, such as non-school programs, which could be another layer of information. Who are the businesses, faith groups, colleges and hospitals who could be involved, or who are already involved?

Those are additional layers of information, conversation and analysis that could go into what is already a fantastic use of GIS technology and data visualization.

In the 1990s I met with folks at the Chicago Food Depository and we talked of their use of maps and my goal for using maps, however, this never led to any of the types of collaboration that might have happened if I had been able to bring more resources, or civic leadership, to the table with me.

It's not too late. The newspapers keep reminding us that we need better strategies to reach youth with alternatives to gangs and violence.

If you can imagine this, can you help me build a team of people, and find the money, to build such a capacity and use it in Chicago and other cities?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mapping Philanthropy - Look at US Deep South States

Here's an effective use of maps as part of a story of philanthropy, or a lack of, in the deep South. It's titled

Where in the World is Big Philanthropy? Not in the Deep South

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Chicago Hack Night Celebrates 5 Years - Why I Participate

Last year I wrote this article to show why I attend weekly Chicago Hack Night meetings, which are "Chicago's weekly event to build, share &learn about civic tech".

In a couple of weeks #chihacknight is celebrating five years of weekly meetings and participants have been encouraged to write about why they participate.

I shared reasons for why I participate in last year's article. These have not changed. I attend for the weekly presentations, which expose me to new ideas, and to build relationships with people working in this arena.  However, most of my networking and learning is done in the Slack channel where members interact daily.

I've been able to reach out to forge stronger relationships around area's I'm deeply interested in, such as mapping and public engagement.  However, what's really valuable to me is the daily sharing of articles that I would not be aware of if I were not visiting Slack and following the conversation thread.

For instance, today, I saw a mention of an article titled "What 100K can do for civic journalism in Chicago."  I read the article, then reached out through the City Bureau web site and Twitter feed to introduce the "Rest of the Story" media strategy that I've used since 1993 to draw more frequent attention to neighborhoods where media stories cover bad news, but don't draw resources to help change that to good news.

I shared this 2014 blog article following a shooting in Rodgers Park, which encourages students from local high schools to tell the story via their own writing, videos and social media.

Another example. During the weekly meetings I learned about how one group wanted to create a web portal to help volunteers find places to do service in Chicago. On the Slack channel I learned more about this, and visited the GitHub page to offer my own ideas on this project.

A third example. Another link posted on the Slack channel today was one that pointed to this web site, encouraging Chance the Rapper to run for Mayor of Chicago, and encouraging non-voters to get involved. I visited the site and was really impressed with the creative way it presented this information. So, I looked them up on Twitter and said "great job". I also shared a set of articles I've written with Chicago's Mayor as the focus, and said "You, and people like you, could do these 10,000 times better than I do."  Below is a response to my Tweet.

Often I add links to some of the articles and web sites I find through the Slack conversation to the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library,  making the ideas available to myself in the future, while making them also available to anyone else who ever visits my library.

I've been using maps since 1993 to draw volunteers, donors, talent and ideas to youth serving organizations in high poverty neighborhoods so that there would be a wide range of mentor-rich programs working to help young people grow up safely and enter their adult lives with a network of people helping them....just like what's available to kids in more affluent areas of Chicago and other cities.

The mapping I do has been largely supported by volunteers, so there are many who attend ChiHackNight who could help me do this, and do this better.  Many of the visualizations I show were created by interns, borrowing from ideas I launched in blog articles like this. There are many who could do this better than I do, such as the creators of the Chance4Mayor site. The stories I write here and on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC blog. need to be written by many people, using their own talent, technology and resources, and communicated daily, reaching people in all parts of the Chicago region, motivating on-going, long-term, actions that result in more help for those living in poverty and distressed situations.

For forty years I've learned from the ideas and work being done by others and I've applied this learning to my own efforts. I'm really happy to have ChiHackNight as part of my network and appreciate the dedication and commitment of the organizers who have made these weekly meetings happen for the past five years.

Let's go for 10!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Follow up to negative news about violence, poverty

From Chicago Tribune, 3-12-17
In the 4-part strategy created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to support the growth of mentor-rich non-school programs in Chicago's high poverty neighborhoods, step 2 focuses on building public awareness and drawing needed resources to the youth organizations already operating in these areas.

Since T/MC had no money for advertising, other ways needed to be created to build on-going public awareness. The "Rest of the Story" strategy was invented for this purpose.  You can find examples of this in many past articles on this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor blog.

Following is an example.  The graphic above shows an article on the front page of the March 12 Chicago Tribune, telling the story of one young man living in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. The second part of the graphic is a set of statistics that was included with the article. The Tribune devoted 2 full inside pages to this story, and a commentary on page 2 of today's (March 13) paper.

Only briefly were non-school programs mentioned on Sunday.  No discussion was in the paper about what programs are available, are there enough, how to help them grow, etc. Thus, in a "Rest of the Story" article that would be the focus.

Here's a page from a 2011 presentation that shows the number of kids, age 6-17, below poverty line, in different community areas of Chicago. North Lawndale is at the bottom of the map, and has 4717 kids.  This map was created using the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, created in 2008, but not updated since 2010, due to my lacking the funds or talent. Yet, it's still a usable tool. Click on green stars to see contact information and web sites of youth orgs in the directory.

T/MC surveys used in the 1990s to collect program information intended to create a more sophisticated understanding of program availability. Thus, on this search page, you're able to sort by type of program (pure mentoring, pure tutoring, or combination tutor/mentor) and by age group served (elementary, middle school and high school).  Using the map layers feature on the Interactive map, leaders could quickly see that there are too few programs serving older youth (and all youth, really) and a poor distribution of existing programs in many of the high poverty areas of the city.  I don't find this type of analysis anywhere on the Internet (If you know of others doing this, please share the link in the comments below).


Here's a more updated map and list of Chicago programs showing the North Lawndale area. Click on each icon to find the name of the organization.

My goal since 1993 has been to create a map platform that could be used to better understand the location and availability of non-school tutor/mentor programs in Chicago so leaders could help existing programs grow, and create new programs where needed, using the same strategies that corporate offices of large retail organizations use to make high performing stores available near potential customers.  I've never had the resources or partners to do this as well as it needed to be done. The service is still needed, in 2017, in Chicago, and in other cities.

In the asset map section of the Program Locator you can create map overlays showing banks, colleges, faith groups, etc. in different areas, such as North Lawndale.  At the right I'm pointing to another web site that enables users to see businesses in different parts of the city. In this case it is showing banks.

Since there are more than 4500 youth in the area who could benefit from non-school programs, and the map shows that many blocks have no programs, helping existing programs stay in business while helping new programs grow and reach more kids should be the focus of leaders in this area.  At the same time, helping programs learn from each other, and from programs around the world, so each is constantly improving it's ability to attract and retain youth and volunteer participation is also a goal. Several sections of the Tutor/Mentor library point to different types of youth serving programs that could be models for Chicago programs.


This information is intended to be used by groups of people in business, faith groups, media, colleges, non-profit networks, etc. to build strategies that fill the neighborhood with a wide range of birth-to-work youth support programs, supported by the different "assets" who are already located in the neighborhood.

There's a lot of information. Thus a learning process needs to be included as part of any support organization's strategy.

This is another map from the Program Locator, showing the North Lawndale community area, and showing faith groups and other assets. In this case, I've highlighted Ogden Ave, Roosevelt Road and the Eisenhower Expressway, which are three main roads bringing commuters from the suburbs through this neighborhood every day on their way to work.

Part of the effort to support the growth of youth programs in the area would be an on-going effort to motivate some of these people who "drive by poverty" to visit web sites and read blog articles like this, then join in efforts to help programs attract the ideas, talent and dollars each program needs to sustain it's efforts and constantly improve its impact.

I put these graphics in this SlideShare presentation so anyone could use this in an effort to mobilize and educate others. I've also drawn from a collection of strategy presentations in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library for this article.

On the Tutor/Mentor blog I've written a couple of articles recently inviting others to a "do over", using the ideas and strategies I've created since 1993 in a new organizational structure and effort that aims to have a much greater impact in the next 20 years than what I've had in the past 24 years.

I think many others could communicate ideas like this article better than I do. I invite you to "do it over", creating your own version, using your own talent, and reaching your own network of followers. Visit this page to see how interns working with me in Chicago have been doing this for many years.

It's not enough for the media to make us feel bad about young people living in poverty. They need to point us to information and strategies that motivate people who have the ability and resources to provide time, talent and dollars on an on-going basis to support the growth and long-term operations of needed birth-to-work support programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities.

If the media don't do this regularly, it's up to us.

That's the goal of telling "The Rest of the Story" every time the media uses its space to attract reader attention to the problem.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Finding Help for your NonProfit - Business Locator

I've been reviewing links in one section of the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library and found a site that allows you to map locations of different businesses in different geographic locations.

I created this map, showing banks in Chicago on the near SW side of the city.  If you were operating a youth program in this area, reaching out to these banks for volunteers, board members and donations would make sense, since they share the same geography and its problems and opportunities.

Using the site you can create maps showing a wide range of businesses, not just banks.

The site was not created as a resource for non profits, but instead to support small business development. However, I think creative non profit leaders could use it the way I've described.

Visit the site, click here, and make your own maps.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

500 Cities: Local Data for Better Health

From 500 Cities web site
This map shows 500 cities across the United States which are included in a new data hub created by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

You can use the interactive map to create your own map view, or look at PDF reports for each of the 500 cities. This link points to Chicago maps.

Looking at the maps you quickly see a correlation between poverty and poor health.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Race, Place and Jobs.

From PolicyLink.org
This image is from a PolicyLink report that I read today, that results from an analysis of 150 metro areas of the US.  The study shows a connection between where you live, race, and unemployment.  Chicago is not listed among the top 25 cities with the greatest unemployment.  See the PDF.

Read article.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Stroll Through History of GIS and Learn More About GIS Uses.

 This blog was launched in 2008 to share maps created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection, using ESRI GIS, as well as an on-line interactive map-directory built on a Google map platform. However, I've been trying to use GIS maps to point people to places where kids need extra help, and where volunteer-based, non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs are needed, since 1993.

Today I found a presentation that shows the history of GIS and some of it's present day applications. Click here to view.

1994 story 
While I've seen the potential of GIS since I was first being introduced to it in 1993 by a volunteer from IBM, I've never had the talent and resources to maximize its potential. Since 2011, I've operated as Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and I've not been able to update my map making, but  have continued to show platforms created by others, which can be used to make map stories focusing attention on poverty in Chicago and other cities.

Here are three presentations showing my goal in using maps:

Violence in Chicago. Where Will We Be in 10 Years? click here

No General Goes to War Without a Map. Click here

How to make your own map stories. Click here

These are three of more than 60 presentations on Scribd.com. Most include maps.

If you have a GIS capacity and want to take ownership of the work I've started, to carry it forward into future years, I'd like to connect with you.  Introduce yourself with a comment, or via Twitter or Facebook.