Sunday, April 21, 2024

What If Leaders Had Used Maps This Way?

Below is a page from the 1997 NEWSLINK, the printed newsletter of the Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, which I formed in late 1992.  

The headline is "No General Would Go to Battle Without a Map".  It's aimed at corporate CEOs.

In the top map inset is a 1997quote from Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley.  It says, "I look forward to a time when businesses, churches and leaders throughout this city will each stake out an area in a particular community and pledge to take an active responsibility for the education and well-being of all the young people in that area."

The bottom map shows hospitals in Chicago.  The heading next to it says, "Channel marketing:  Encourage "look-alike" groups (health, law, arts, science) to expand outreach programs in neighborhoods where they operate, with afterschool programs serving as distribution centers for these efforts"

In the text it says "Healthcare groups with "prevention" programs aimed at changing behaviors before they come to the health care provider as problems could partner with existing programs. Staff and volunteers could be role models to help youth hear healthcare "prevention" messages, modify behavior, and sustain changes until they become a habit. At the same time health groups are a source of mentors, job shadowing, careers, professional resources and even safe place for youth and adults to meet."

In the inset the text says:

While everyone can't be a one-on-one mentor, different groups have special skills that could help tutor/mentor programs be more effective.

While the map shows how hospitals could adopt neighborhoods, what if the alumni groups of Chicago's business schools (Northwestern, Chicago, DePaul, Loyola) made it their mission to have teams of business/marketing experts at each afterschool program in the city to help ALL programs build effective long-term business plans.


I've been encouraging businesses to adopt strategies like this for more than 25 years.  You can read the full NEWSLINK issue at this link

Visit this page and view visual essays that I've created since the 1990s to share similar ideas and strategies. 

While we mailed our print newsletters to nearly 7,000 people by 1997, too few people have ever seen the ideas I've been sharing.  

That means they are "NEW" to everyone who has not seen them.  Which means anyone can begin to add these ideas to their own leadership and maybe ten years from now the WHAT IF will be LOOK AT WHAT WE DID!

If these ideas have value to you, please visit this page and make a small contribution to help me pay the bills and keep this resource available to you and the world.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Maps and Map-Stories from past 30 years

This is a story that appeared in the Chicago SunTimes in November 1994. It talks about my leaving my corporate advertising job to lead a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago.

The two photos show me with a 7th grade student, who is now a college graduate with two kids in college. We're still connected on Facebook.

The second is a map of Chicago, with high poverty areas highlighted, and known volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs shown.

While we launched the site-based Cabrini Connections program in January 1993, we spent all of 1993 planning a second program, aimed at building greater attention and a better flow of volunteers and dollars to EVERY volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago, including our own. 

We named that Tutor/Mentor Connection and launched our first survey to learn about existing programs in January 1994.  

Why maps?

In late 1992 as I was forming the new program I told a librarian at the United Way/Crusade of Mercy about our intent to learn about every tutor/mentor program in Chicago. She asked, "How will you share that information?"

I told her I had not yet figured that out and she went into the library and came back with a magazine that describe Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and how that could be used to plot locations of programs on a map of Chicago.  

I was immediately sold on the ideas and have spent the last 30 years trying to do that.

The first challenge was learning about GIS technology and building the capacity to create maps. That was solved in 1993 when Metro Chicago Information Systems offered to produce maps for us (for a fee).  They produced maps for us through 1995. We launched our own capacity in 1996 (see below). 

How were maps used?  

One strategy was to publish our list of programs in a directory, which we began to do in May 1994.  We updated that annually and continued publishing it until 2002.  Then we moved the data to an online Program Locator, which was used until 2018 when the site went off line.  View 1995 Directory.

A second strategy was to create map-stories following negative news in the Chicago SunTimes or Chicago Tribune.  Below is one example.

Our aim was to show where something "bad" happened, and was given significant attention in local media. Our goal was to tell "The Rest of the Story", showing the level of poverty and number of poorly performing schools in that area, which were contributing factors to what happened.  

We added locations of tutor/mentor programs in the area, if there were any.  Then we also added layers showing assets, such as churches, business, colleges and/or hospitals, who shared the geography, thus should be strategically involved in helping tutor/mentor programs grow, and helping those programs constantly improve what they were doing to help kids through school and into jobs and careers.

At the same time we created maps like these, showing businesses, faith groups, universities, etc. who had locations in many parts of the Chicago area, thus could be supporting volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in many places, not just a few favored, high-profile, programs.

The goal has been to have good and constantly improving programs in EVERY high poverty area, not just in a few places.

Over the past few months I've been creating archives in my Google drive folder and now you can look at all of the maps and map stories we've created, as well as the media stories our strategies generated.

Map stories created since 1993 - open this link

From 2008 to early 2011 we were able to hire a part time GIS expert to create maps using donated ESRI ArcView GIS software. View his collection.

The collections below show maps used in blog articles, visual presentations, social media, etc.  Many of these maps were NOT created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection or Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  Some were created using the interactive map-based program locator that was created in 2008 - open this link

As we found ways to create maps and map-stories we created an on-going event strategy that generated media stories.  Below is a folder that shows several hundred articles.

Finding talent to do the annual survey, create and maintain a database, and then create our maps was always a challenge. Drawing attention to the maps was an equally large challenge.  That's why I began to reach out to universities in 1993 to try to form partnerships that would lead to students, faculty and alumni duplicating the work my small organization was piloting.

Last Friday I posted an article on the Tutor/Mentor Blog, featuring a PDF presentation showing my "30-year history of reaching out to universities".  Below are three pages from that presentation

Students from Northern Illinois University set up a GIS map-making capacity at our Cabrini Connections office in 1995.  One student worked for us part time in 1996 and 1997 to create maps for us, then continued as a volunteer.

Vamshee Bhupathiraju, a graduate student at IIT, came to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection in 2003 through a technology grant.  He created the on-line program locator, which was launched in 2004.  This was the source of data used in the interactive Chicago Program Locator built in 2008 by a team from India. 

Students from Indiana University created a map in 2016, showing participation in every Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference from May 1994 to May 2014.

These were significant contributions.  These are just 3 pages out of 50 that I share in this presentation. They show what's possible. I hope you'll take a look. 

I'm sharing my archives because I believe other people could do what I've been trying to do, and do it better.  And because I'm now 77 and need others to continue this work.

My maps show that non-school, volunteer-based, tutor, mentor and learning programs are needed in many parts of the Chicago region, but in many cities around the country (and probably the world). 

Too few people ever saw the maps I'm sharing because I never had millions of dollars for advertising and was not a Taylor Swift type of celebrity who could draw people to complex ideas on a regular basis. 

Universities have the talent, and responsibility, to do this work.  However, unless major donors step forward to provide on-going, decades-long, funding, none will do this for as long as I have and none will ever be able to publish an archive like I've shared here, showing 30 years of maps and map stories.

Ten or fifteen years from now archives like mine could be available on university websites in many cities.  It only takes "two or three people on a campus to launch a Tutor/Mentor Connection", and a major donor!

I'll be sharing more of my archives in coming weeks, primarily in articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog.  My goal is that a few people will be motivated to dig deeply into this information. I'm sure there's a book that could be written, showing strategies leaders can use to help end poverty by helping more kids through school and into jobs and careers.

Thanks for reading this. Please share it.

I'm on Twitter (x), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms. You can find links on this page.

If you are able to make a small contribution to help me keep doing this work, visit this page.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

University of Michigan Poverty Solutions Data Maps

I've followed the University of Michigan Poverty Solutions account on Twitter (X) for a few years and have a viewed some of their live presentations. Below are screenshots from two resources I found on their site today.

Michigan  Poverty and Well-Being Map - open link

Multidimensional Index of Deep Disadvantage - open link

Both maps are interactive, meaning you can zoom in to small sections of the country, or the state. And you can click on an area and get data showing the level of poverty and/or disadvantage in that area. I encourage you to spend time learning to use these in your own advocacy.

I've added links to the University of Michigan Poverty Solutions site in this section of the Tutor/Mentor library. Take time to get to know these resources. Share them with your community. 

As I prepared to write this post I scrolled through this blog, looking at articles I had tagged "datamaps".

I encourage you to do the same.  You'll see many other interactive data platforms and maps. 

In many articles you'll see how I've used maps to call attention to areas where kids and families need extra help. Here's one example

There are a lot of resources mapping poverty but I don't find enough people using the maps the way I have been since 1994, to draw volunteers, donors and business investment into these areas and keep it there for many years.   

That's the only solution I know of.  It comes down to building and sustaining public attention and public will.  

I took this photo many years ago, as a reminder of what I needed to do daily, and what others also need to be doing.

I'm on many social media platforms. See links on this page. I hope you'll connect and post links to map-stories you are creating.

I also hope you'll visit my "Support Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC" page and make a contribution to help me continue to maintain this library and share it daily with the rest of the world. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Persistent Poverty in America

My Twitter feed brought a new report to my attention this week. It's titled "Persistently poor, left-behind and chronically disconnected" and was written by Kenan Fikri who I've been following for a while.  (I'll use Persistent Poverty to refer to this report in the rest of this article.)

The map below was what caught my attention.  It shows areas of concentrated poverty in six Ohio cities.

For the past 30 years I've used maps to focus attention on areas of concentrated poverty in Chicago. In this set of MappingforJustice blog articles, I show other cities with the same challenges.  In the 1990s a book titled American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass written by Douglas S. Massey,  addressed this same issue.

Below are a few passages from the Persistent Poverty article that I highlighted. (click to enlarge). Go to the report to read this in context.

The abstract shows a focus on social networks and social capital and says "these problems tend not to resolve themselves naturally".    The second shows that hidden in affluent Cook County are several clusters of persistent poverty census tracts.  Two with over 200,000 residents."

This is not a new problem. This 1994 Chicago Tribune front page pointed to some of the same high poverty areas as are shown in the Persistent Poverty report. 

I formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago in 1993 (and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011)  to try to help volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in these areas as a strategy for expanding the networks of adults from beyond poverty areas who were helping kids through school.  I point volunteers and donors to these programs, through lists that I host on this page

In the Persistent Poverty report, one strategy was to expand networks of support and bridging social capital. 

This paragraph highlights the difference between "bonding" social capital which consists of strong ties between family, neighborhoods and/or church groups.  These are present in many high poverty communities.  What's not present are large doses of "bridging" social capital, which connect youth and families to people and opportunities and solutions beyond the place where they live.  

I've been writing about social capital on the Tutor/Mentor blog for many years. Add these articles to your research. 

The graphic below was created in the 1990s to show the design of the tutor/mentor program I led. It's a strategy designed to expand "bridging" social capital for K-12 youth and families in every high poverty area of Chicago and other cities with areas of concentrated poverty. 

The hub on this graphic represents a youth, a family, a school or a neighborhood. It shows a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program as a place that draws workplace volunteers from many different backgrounds to serve as one-on-one and group tutors/mentors to youth living in high poverty places of Chicago.  The timeline in the middle of the hub emphasizes the 20-plus years it takes to help each youth through school and into jobs where they can earn enough to raise their own kids free from poverty's challenges.  

The strategy I've emphasized has been to enlist leaders from every industry to use their own media, visibility and resources to draw volunteers and donors to tutor/mentor programs in all parts of a city, not just to one, or two, high profile programs. 

These two PDFs show this goal - Total Quality Mentoring  click here

Role of Leaders - click here

I've focused on cities because the geographic size makes it difficult for workplace volunteers to meet with kids during the school day, or right after school, because of the distance between work and program locations.  The after work and weekend hours are times when that volunteers is more able to stop at a neighborhood program and make an on-going commitment.

However, there are not enough long-term programs and there is inconsistent funding to build and sustain such programs.  Here's one of many articles where I focus on funding.  No solution will come without addressing the flow of dollars to these places!

However, as the map from the Persistent Poverty report shows, the problem of long-term poverty is not limited to cities and urban areas.

These two paragraphs emphasize the different history of places across the US and the lack of simple solutions.

Below is another graphic from my collection.  

It emphasizes the role each person can take to be part of a solution. If you've read this far, that means YOU!

Read the report. Here's the link again.

Update: I asked if there is an interactive map showing the Persistent Poverty data. There is. Follow the link in this post from Twitter (x): Using the interactive map you can zoom into the Chicago area, or any other place with high concentrations of poverty.  Look at it. Create your own map stories.

Then, share it with people in your network, so they read it and begin to think about roles they might take in helping more people become involved in efforts that make mentor-rich programs available in all of the high poverty areas shown on these maps.

3-7-2024 update - Here's another article using the EIG dashboards to understand t his data:

Then visit this section of the Tutor/Mentor library and read additional reports about poverty, race and inequality in America, that I've been collecting for more than 20 years. 

In last Sunday's Super Bowl a group spent millions of dollars to purchase ads talking about Jesus.   I wish someone were spending the same money talking about the research I've been pointing to and mobilizing people to be volunteers, leaders and donors supporting youth tutor, mentor and learning programs in all high poverty areas of big cities across the country. 

And building a similar research library showing the different challenges of rural areas, reservations, and other places where solutions may be different than for big cities. Then, drawing readers and planners to that resource so they develop solutions.

And that they do it consistently for the next two decades.

What do you think?  Connect with me on social media. (see links here)

Help me pay the bills. Make a contribution to Fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. click here

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Explore STEM Visualizations for Stakeholder Conversations

Today I explored a robust data visualization site created by Argonne Labs in partnership with Northwestern University’s Digital Youth Network. The home page of the website is shown below. 

Click on any of the green circles and you'll open data tables for nine communities on Chicago’s south side, cataloguing STEM assets from Kindergarten to career. 

The nine focus communities are shown in the map on the home page.  Open this link and you'll find an interactive version.  Below are some map views that I created in just a few minutes.

Click on the "layers" tab and you will see a menu of choices for what you want to show on your map.  For instance.

This view shows community organizations in the area who offer various forms of STEM learning opportunities.  The orange circles show census data for each census tract in the nine community areas.

In the map view above I've clicked on an icon for the Chicago Youth Programs site at 5350 S. Prairie Ave.  You can see program information in the text box to the left of the map.  This is an organization I've know for many years and is also included in my list of Chicago area volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs.

Below is a map view where I've clicked on the orange circle for the census tract with the Chicago Youth Programs location.  I asked for information showing the number of youth under age 18 in the area. The map shows 678 kids out of a population of 2152 in that census tract.

The next map view shows businesses, or potential employers, in the nine community areas.  Put your curser over any black dot and find information showing who that business is. Zoom in to see what businesses are in different census tracts. 

There is a lot to explore.  Here's an article about the platform, posted in the Block Club Chicago publication.

My question is, "How will it be used to make STEM learning and career opportunities available to youth through out the area?"  

I've met in the past two years with the people who created this platform and encouraged them to dig into the history of the Tutor/Mentor Connection and the tools and strategies we piloted from 1993 to 2011 to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow in the Chicago region.  This Mapping for Justice blog is a textbook for anyone who wants to use it that way. Just read some of the "strategy" articles. 

I started building a list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs in 1993 and at the same time began learning ways to use GIS mapping to show where the programs were located and where more were needed. We published our first Directory in May 1994 at the same time as we hosted our first networking conference.  We used the directory to launch citywide volunteer recruitment campaigns in August 1995.

In 2004 an intern from India built the first on-line Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which was a searchable database shown below.  We had organized our annual survey in 1994 to learn who offers volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, where they were located, what age group they served, and what type of tutoring and/or mentoring did they offer, as well as what time of day did they offer services.

The search fields on the Program Locator enabled people to search for specific programs based on the categories of our survey.  This worked like most search engines. If you had an idea of what you were looking for, and where, the platform helped you narrow your search and find tutor/mentor program information in that area.

In 2008 a team from India built a new version of the Program Locator. The home page is shown below. This works differently from Google. It starts with a map of a specific area, then shows layers of information, including our data on Chicago tutor, mentor programs.

At the left you can see layers of information that can be displayed on the map.  These layers included our data about Chicago tutor/mentor programs, but also included poverty data, poorly performing schools, and assets (businesses, faith groups, colleges, hospitals) etc.

Thus, you could create a map showing the entire city.

Or you could zoom in and create a map view showing a portion of the city.  

You could add text to the map to focus on specific organizations in various community areas.

You could follow news stories with map stories. On your map you could not only show existing tutor/mentor programs, but you could add layers showing businesses, hospitals, faith groups, universities who share the same geography and who should be innovative and strategic in helping mentor-rich non-school programs grow in the area. For each part of the city the mix of programs and assets is different.

The Program Locator is now only available as an archive.  However, you can see some of the features in this PDF essay.

How to Use Chicago Tutor/Me... by Daniel F. Bassill

One of the challenges of the STEM project is building public awareness and drawing people to the platform, then teaching them to create stories on a regular basis that draw even more people to the platform and motivate them to take actions that help kids in the area have access to mentor-rich STEM learning programs that provide on-going support as kids move from 1st grade through high school, college/tech school and into jobs and careers.

Since my organization did not have advertising dollars we developed a "Rest of the Story" strategy that followed media stories with maps that showed the neighborhood and pointed to tutor/mentor programs in the area (if any) and described the need for more programs.  Below is a mid 1990s example.

The STEM project leaders could duplicate this and other strategies that I've piloted over the past 30 years.  They are all on-line and available to anyone motivated to look.  They might even add some features and functionality to their platform based on what I have done, or tried to do. 

The Tutor/Mentor Blog is an even broader text book than the Mapping For Justice blog.  Think of the sections below as chapters, or courses in a learning curriculum.  

Public awareness - click here

Using maps - click here

Media strategies - click here

Follow up to violence - click here

Mentor role in larger strategy - click here

Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website - click here

The challenge: Too much information.  

View this graphic in this article.  The ideas I share and websites I point to are a vast information ecosystem. It's like a university library or the library of different religious groups.  It can't be learned in a day. It needs to be part of on-going learning.

For that to happen major donors, perhaps MacKenzie Scott, need to provide money to fund programs within high schools and college that provide advance degrees for people who spend 10-20 years learning and applying these ideas.

Thanks for reading. Please share these ideas with leaders in Chicago and other cities.  Maybe you know one of these donors, or are one yourself.

Connect with me on social media platforms and share your own strategies and maps. Help build the network. Help the STEM network grow and reach more people. 

Finally, consider a year-end contribution to help me continue this work in 2024. Visit this page to use the PayPal.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Maptitude tools using GIS for regional economic planning

Below is a map view showing three cities in Oregon, using a mapping product from Maptitude.

This map is part of an article on LinkedIn titled "How to use GIS to look at changes in employment patterns".   

In the introduction the writer says "This article explores how to use GIS (geographic information software) in local or regional economics. Many times, local or regional governments, economic geographers or regional economists are asked to look at changes in employment patterns over a specific period within a particular geography (e.g., a city, township, or county) or between several geographies where a comparative analysis is required."

This is a detailed article with step-by-step instructions for building a map-view like shown above.  You may not feel comfortable doing this work yourself, but if you understand the potential, you can share the article with others who might be able to fund this type of work in your community. 

In my June 25, 2023 article titled "Where are non-school youth development programs most needed?" and in many other articles on this blog, I've encouraged the use of GIS software to do an analysis of community areas, similar to what is described in the Maptitude article, but different in purpose. 

Here are just a few articles I encourage you to read. 
In this article I show the concept map below. 

This concept map shows layers of data that need to be collected and mapped to not only show where tutor/mentor programs are most needed, based on indicators like poverty concentrations, poorly performing schools, violence, etc., but also to show assets (businesses, colleges, hospitals, faith groups, etc) who share the same geography and who should be leading efforts to make mentor-rich youth programs available to more K-12 kids.

This 1994 Chicago SunTimes article shows me with a student from the tutor/mentor program I led at that time. In the background is a map of Chicago, with high poverty areas highlighted.  I've been trying to harness this technology for nearly 30 years!

I've never been a GIS expert myself, thus always depended on volunteers or paid staff to make maps, and map stories for me.  Since these resources were inconsistently available, I never have been able to do the type of analysis described on the Maptitude site.  

Yet, I keep pointing to maps as tools that leaders in Chicago and other cities should be using.

Youth in non-school tutor/mentor programs, high schools and/or colleges could be learning to do this type of analysis and then sharing map stories to mobilize more people to become strategically involved in helping reach K-12 youth with on-going programs that expand their networks of "who they know" while helping them through school and into adult lives.

In these articles I outline a "Rest of the Story" strategy that young people, supported by professional mentors, could be leading. 

Please share my articles and help recruit people to do this work.  If you know groups who already do this, share their website and blog addresses in the comment section and introduce them to me on social media.

Thank you for reading.  Visit this page to find my social media platforms.

Visit this page to make a contribution to help me continue to share these ideas.