Sunday, June 25, 2023

Where are non-school youth development programs most needed?

The Heartland Alliance released its latest data tables last week.  I wonder who in Chicago is using this information to understand where youth need extra help in the non-school hours, based on levels of poverty in their community area?  

Here's an example of the data available on their site

Below is the same table, along with maps that I created from other sources. The first one shows the North Lawndale area of Chicago. 

This second one shows the Albany Park community area.

I used data provided from the Heartland Alliance in 2011 and again in 2018 to create the presentation shown below.  It includes maps for each Chicago community area, with the total number of kids age 6 to 17 and the number who fall into the poverty level.

In the above graphic for the North Lawndale area I used a map showing shootings that had been published by the Chicago SunTimes, along with a map from the Program Locator (no longer available) that my organization created in 2008.

View the presentation below to see more examples of maps being used to help determine where non-school programs are needed, where existing programs are located, and where more are needed.

In early June I posted this article, asking who is doing research about youth program availability.  The two SlideShare presentations are examples of the type of analysis that needs to be done ... with much greater depth and professionalism than what I've been able to create.

Between 1993 and 2011 I operated as a non-profit organization and while funds were inconsistent we were able to pilot a process of collecting information about volunteer-based  youth tutor/mentor programs and segment that by age group served, type of program, and location.  We shared that via an on-line search table (created in 2004 and updated in 2008) which I show below.   

Since 2011 I've not been able to update or continue to develop this and now it's only available via the Internet Archive.  Had I been able to continue development we would have expanded the type of programs were were looking for, to include arts, technology and youth development categories.  

Furthermore, we would have built a fund-raising page, that would attract donors to different neighborhoods of Chicago, where websites of existing programs would provide information enabling volunteers, parents and donors to choose who to support.  I feel that creating the funding page was important because for a small organization one of the most difficult challenges of doing this work was collecting the data and keeping it up-to-date.  Having the site raise money for your organization would be a strong motivator for keeping data updated. 

Combining the fund raising feature with the maps of each community area was a strategy intended to drive resources to EVERY high poverty area of Chicago, not just the most visible areas, or the most well-known programs.

I described this fund raising strateg on this page.

The value.

Building a segmented, searchable, list of non-school youth serving programs would be a valuable resource for Chicago or any city. Helping those programs attract operating dollars and volunteers would help each program operate and constantly improve.

However, without the demographic information such as provided by the Heartland Alliance (and others that I show on this concept map), leaders, volunteers and donors don't know where programs are most needed.    Without providing the number of kids within a community area who live below the poverty line, it's impossible to gauge weather or not enough kids in each grade level are being served by existing programs.  Without segmenting the program list by type of program we might see a density of icons on a map, but still be not providing needed services in many places.

Finding a way to gather this data and use if for analysis is a huge challenge.

My hope is that philanthropists will fund work in Chicago and other cities that builds on the work my organization started in 1993 and that is shared in articles on this blog that extend back to 2008, and articles showing uses of maps that I share on the Tutor/Mentor blog, started in 2005.

Enough is Enough.

We continue to be reminded by daily media stories of the results from not having the type of support systems for too many youth that might offer hope and opportunity and serve as a disincentive for gangs, crime and violence.  

Tutor/Mentor programs are not quick fixes. Yet if leaders had embraced the strategies the Tutor/Mentor Connection was piloting in the 1990s and sustained them for the past 25 years, I feel that a lot fewer young people would be lost. 

What can you do?

If you've read this far, thank you.  As the graphic at the left illustrates, we're all able to access these articles via our computer and phones.  Start skimming through my archives. Share what you read with people in your network.  Help find the leaders and philanthropists needed to build this research capacity.

Create a new portal, available FREE via open source code, so that it can be adopted and used everywhere.   Create communities on social media where people creating and using these portals, and who are building tutor/mentor programs, can connect and learn from each other and build the public will needed to generate the flow of resources essential not only to support the platforms, but to support the thousands of youth tutor, mentor and learning programs that are needed in high poverty areas around the country.

If I can share this via a blog article, you can too!

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Mastodon (see links here). Please follow me and introduce me to your friends. 

If you can help Fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC with a small contribution, please visit this page

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Who is doing research about youth program availability?

 If you've read articles on this blog, going back to 2008, you'll see that the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present) have been trying to build a comprehensive, map-based, understanding of what non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor and learning programs exist in Chicago and where more are needed.  Over the past several years my capacity to do this work has been greatly reduced so I'm pleased to be able to point to others who seem to be filling this space.

Below is one slide from today's STEM Pathways Coop meeting, where Deanna Howlett of Northwestern University spoke to attendees about the Citywide State of STEM Landscape Survey.  

View the slides at this link.  Below is another slide from the presentation, showing the process intended to create understanding, and change, where change is needed.

I've shared ideas and strategies with those doing this research and participated in the meetings when they were on-line.  I look forward to more.

Today I did participate in an on-line webinar, hosted by, focused on Racial Equity.  Here's one Tweet that I shared during the event. 
Visit #BrookingsRacialEquity on Twitter and see my contributions and posts by others.   As I write this post and share my ideas on Twitter and other platforms I'm trying to model a practice that I wish thousands had been duplicating for the past 10 years.  

The Internet is a huge depository of information. But unless people are aggregating it in libraries like mine, or sites like, it will be difficult to organize learning communities that are needed to build understanding and public will necessary to impact public policy in America.   In addition to its blog and huge library of research articles you can find video archives of past webinars if you search in this section on the Brookings site. 

Share this information. Build learning circles.

You can be the YOU in this graphic by sharing my post and forwarding my Tweets, along with those of other people and organizations that I point to in my library and blog articles. 

Among many problems we face one big barrier is that there is "too much information".  We need people collecting the information, but we also need people evangelizing and trying to get growing number of people to look at the information that's been collected. Then we need even more people who are facilitating understanding and helping people connect and work together to implement solutions, in places where data maps show more people need extra help.  Colleges, public schools and faith based organizations have been doing this for centuries.  We need to duplicate that process and that requires some major benefactors who make long-term investments.

I've written several hundred articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog, that just focus on this "learning" process. Here's one.  

The Step 3 graphic above is part of this concept map, showing 4 strategies that I've followed since starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.  I invite others to build their own version and apply this in their own work.

Thanks for reading. I hope you'll borrow from what I share here, on the Tutor/Mentor Blog and on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website.  Create your own versions. Share your own maps and blog articles. Teach others to do the same.

You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Mastodon.  

If you want to help fund my work, visit this page and send a small contribution.

If you want to adopt this work and embed it in your university, I'd love to hear from you. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

American Inequality site shows problems and solutions

I've used this blog for the past 12 years to share links to data-mapping platforms that identify areas of high poverty and inequality.  I host these links in this section of the Tutor/Mentor library. 

This week I learned of a new resource, called American Inequality.  Below is a screenshot from one article on the site.

One feature that I like on this site is that it not only provides an interactive map that enables you to zoom into specific parts of the country to learn more, but in the article it shares solutions that could be implemented if more people mobilized public will to solve these problems.

I've been sharing some of the data-maps I find in the concept map shown below.  

In addition to sharing these resources on this blog I've been showing ways to incorporate maps into blog articles on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC blog.  

I learned about the American Inequality resource by participating in a ZOOM webinar hosted last night by the PBS News Hour Classroom.  During the webinar I asked "Who was teaching this?" and was told about a New American History site. I asked them to post the link on Twitter, which they did, as you can see below.
I visited the site and found this Mapping Inequality lesson plan. 

If you're an educator or an activist I encourage you to browse this site an see ways to teach others to tell these stories in creative, interesting and informative ways.

I keep looking for sections on each data-mapping site that show ways students and adults can create similar, on-going, map-stories, since that's the only way we'll build the public attention, and motivation, to do the work of solving the problems shown on the maps.  It seems to me that any of these platforms could be hosting a "teach this" resource list and including the New American History site. 

Share links in the comment section to sites where you feel this is being taught. 

Unfortunately, access to all of the articles and resources on the American Inequality site is not free. There is a subscription fee.  If you can afford to pay please do. If not, use the articles that are shared at no cost and share them with others. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you'll connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mastodon and/or Facebook. (see links here).

I don't charge a fee for anyone to use the resources on any of the blogs or websites I host, but there is a cost to me. If you can help with a small contribution, please visit this page

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

New data platform focuses on Financial Health and Wealth data

If you skim through this blog you'll see that I'm sharing links to tools that communities can use to better understand where youth and families need extra help to share in the opportunities of America.

Below is an image from the Urban Institute's new dashboard which was introduced via a ZOOM event today.  View presentation slides.  A video of the event will be available shortly. 

View the dashboard at this link. One of the features of the platform is the ability to focus on small spaces, as low as the zip code level. 

I shared one of the slides with this Tweet, showing the type of stories that can be created. In doing so, and by writing this article, I'm demonstrating a practice I hope many will adopt. More people need to learn to tell stories using data platforms like this or some of those I point to from this concept map.

Use the data to create change.

In a 2014 Tutor/Mentor blog article I encourage schools and libraries to create programs that teach youth to tell stories using data and maps.

As media report incidents of violence, young people, volunteers and activist could use data platforms like created by the Urban Institute, to show some of the inequalities that contribute to a loss of hope and an embrace of violence.  

If these stories are told creatively, forcefully, and often enough, they can convince policy-makers and philanthropists to create new policies and programs that change these conditions.  

I urge you to take time to view the Urban Institute dashboard, and in a few days, view the video of today's ZOOM call, to see how panelist described how it might be used.

Thanks for reading.  

If you find this information useful, consider a contribution to help Fund Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Neighborhoods of Concentrated Poverty

Below is a map showing cities in the USA with neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. It's from this Brookings Metro PDF report.  Read the introduction in this article

This map was part of background information showing places where communities need extra help. Solutions were offered and are described in the report, and in this webinar that introduced the report. 

The PDF report included the set of maps below, showing concentrated poverty in Chicago and other cities.  Look at maps I share below, and on this and the Tutor/Mentor blog.  I've been pointing to Chicago's West and South side neighborhoods as places needing help for more than 2 decades! 

While this is a new report and map, the problem is not new.  The map below was from a 2014 report which I wrote about in this 2015 article.

Maps that show high poverty areas in Chicago and other places have driven the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present) for more than 2 decades.  

In the 1994 Chicago SunTimes article, I'm shown with one of the students from a tutor/mentor program I was leading in Chicago. The map in the background was one produced by my organization. The shaded areas are places with concentrated poverty, where I've been trying to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow since starting the T/MC in 1993. 

So this is not a new problem. 

The student shown with me in the SunTimes article now has a graduate degree and a son in college. That's the potential impact of organized tutor/mentor programs. We need more of them. They need to reach K-12 kids in every high poverty neighborhood.  Each city shown in these maps needs a Tutor/Mentor Connection-type strategy to make this happen. 

The solution.  

The PDF that I shared above included this graphic. Communities that were able to implement all of these steps showed positive gains in reducing poverty and increasing community wealth. 

Getting more people involved in helping the neighborhood, in building and sustaining non-school learning and mentoring organizations, and drawing resources to help improve school performance, high school graduation, college attendance and graduation, are additional needed strategies.

The problems are old. The report offers new solutions.  Implementing these requires the same strategies that have been needed for decades.

Mobilizing public attention and support that would make long-term solutions available in every one of these high poverty areas is what would be new. This 1995 Chicago Tribune article shows that I had a "master plan".

What I did not have was the ability to communicate this effectively to the millions of people who need to be involved in solutions, for the many years it takes to build involvement, build commitment to solutions, then provide funding and talent to those solutions on a consistent basis for many years.

What's needed is for many to take the YOU role shown in the graphic below.

Share my articles and the reports I point to, such as those from and those listed in various sections of the Tutor/Mentor Library. 

Educate yourself. Then engage your network. Offer help. Don't wait to be asked. Build a shared understanding and "Give" until it feels good. Build habits of learning by reading these articles weekly, and pass that on to your kids.

This is a long-term problem, requiring long-term solutions. 

Thanks for reading. I'm on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. You can find links on this page.

If you want to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, visit this page and send a small contribution. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

ChiVes - new environmental mapping resource

Last night's ChiHackNight presentation introduced ChiVes, a data collaborative and community mapping application that brings data on Chicago’s environment together at the neighborhood level. It’s a partnership of researchers, community organizations, and civic groups.

This site is a data collaborative, resource guide and a platform where "code-enthusiasts and developers can fork the ChiVes website, make changes, and submit for review."  

Above is a screen-shot showing a map view from one section in the site. At the right are many menu choices for what you might want to view. You can zoom in to the block level.  

Below is a map view from the 'communities' section on the site. Choose a community from the drop-down menu and you'll see a report like the one shown below for Grand Boulevard.

The beauty of this site is that it is a "work in progress".  If you see something that you think would improve the maps or presentation of information, contact the organizers, like I did on Twitter, or if you're a web developer or GIS professional, use the open source code and create a new page that you can host on your own site or, possibly, offer as an update to the existing site. 

I added a link to ChiVes in this section of the Tutor/Mentor Library where I point to many other examples of GIS mapping. 

In addition I shared this article, showing how I was overlaying information on maps to show poverty levels and the number of kids, age 6-17, in each Chicago community area, and to draw attention and resources to help youth tutor and/or mentor programs grow in each area.  The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator platform built in 2004-2009 is out of date and now only an archive. Thus, I'm hoping a developer (and a university) will be inspired to take ownership and build a new platform with the same features and goals and student involvement similar to what ChiVes is modeling. 

If you're reading this please share information about ChiVes so more people will investigate and help make this a valuable resource for Chicago and a model for other communities.