A fundamental objective for the Tutor/Mentor Connecton (T/MC) is to help tutor/mentor programs everywhere organize, and share resources and knowledge. Programs like Cabrini Connections, we have seen, successfully develop education/employment prospects for the kids they serve. Ultimately of course this help everyone everywhere by grooming future leaders who participate intelligently in our democracy and our economy.
While tutor/mentor programs work on the front lines to address problems related to kids and poverty, there are other businesses and organizations that can be very effective in supporting new and existing T/M programs. The Tutor/Mentor Connection takes an interest in helping these non-T/M organizations contribute to the fight as well. I explored why universities are helping last week. Well, it turns out hospitals and health care professionals should probably be interested in the work T/M programs are doing as well.
Dan's blog last week referenced a peer reviewed article that was published on the website for the Center For Disease Control (CDC) in 2007. In the article, doctors argue that student performance is directly related to student health, and that America's failing schools and high dropout rates should be reframed as a "health issues." They explain that there are "long-term benefits of improved school completion (e.g., reductions in socioeconomic and racial/ethnic health disparities, lifetime health care costs, unhealthy behavior)" and that "as citizens, taxpayers, parents, and advocates for social justice, public health professionals can join the fight for ... improving school completion through fair and equitable means." Unfortunately, the doctors point out, "health professionals rarely [identify] improving school graduation rates as a major public health objective."
The article calls for improved awareness of this link between education and health, and the authors challenge the health community to take a lead in developing "interventions that have the potential to improve school achievement and reduce school dropout rates... interventions [that] include coordinated school health programs; health clinics; mental health programs; substance abuse prevention and treatment programs; comprehensive sex education, human immunodeficiency virus infection prevention, and pregnancy prevention programs; special services for pregnant and parenting teens; violence prevention programs; and interventions to change the schools’ social climate...
"In addition, community-based programs can also promote adolescent health."
It becomes clear that there is not only a common link among the concerns of healthcare professionals, educators, and T/M volunteers and donors. There is also something hospitals can do! Interventions!
The Tutor/Mentor Connection loves the challenge of organizing such "interventions," and with this in mind, Dan asks the obvious T/MC-related question in his blog. He wonders, "How can we encourage hospitals ... around the Chicago area to set up leadership and learning circles, with a goal of building youth development, tutoring and/or mentoring programs in the area around each hospital, and throughout the region?"
Fortunately, the T/MC has already developed a solution. They have created a strategic plan hospitals may want to draw from as they develop support strategies for tutor/mentor program and the kids.
I love win-win-win situations.