When on my way home, I saw the week's issue of Time Magazine, featuring McCain and Obama on the cover. The headline read, "Second annual National Service Issue." How perfect. Another exploration of this word "service" that both candidates keep throwing around. So I'll be looking at some of this issue's articles in the near future, highlighting instances where our maps and Time's stories on "service" might collide in the name of tutoring and mentoring.
One section of this issue offers "21 Ways To Serve America" - a list of quick and easy ways you can serve America, each written by important leaders in different sectors of society.
For instance, Lawrence S. Bacow, president of the prestigious Tufts University in Boston, contributed an essay titled "Get Your College Involved." He writes that "Colleges and universities have a special responsibility to educate the next generation of active, engaged citizens... If we are to address this nation's major challenges, we need people across the political spectrum to serve in government, to run for office and to work to build stronger, more vibrant communities... Helping young people pursue their passion for service is one of the best investments our society can make." I immediately thought of all the alumni and college-aged volunteers working with the "next generation of active, engaged citizens" at Tutor/Mentor programs throughout the city.
President Bacow also references the fact that many "colleges have set up programs to facilitate community service."
This is great news! Since they are in such close proximity to high-poverty neighborhoods where students have a dire need for more tutoring and mentoring. In fact there is a document in the Tutor/Mentor Institute's library called "University Connection," wherein the T/MC demonstrates how beneficial the T/M programs are for universities themselves, in an effort to secure an even greater investment by academia in T/M programs.
(click on the map above to see "full-sized" version)
But the "University Connection" document does not only show how tutoring and mentoring benefits universities. It also discusses goals and strategies universities can use in implementing new initiatives. If not doing so already for instance, university leaders might consider "operating mentoring-to-career programs" themselves. Or perhaps, a university's faculty or student body can "lead mobilizations that recruit students, faculty and workplace volunteers who support the growth of tutor/mentor programs near the university and throughout the city"...
Both of these are important (and needed) roles academia can play in their own best interest, and in the fight against poverty.