Thursday, July 16, 2009

Breaking News! Maps to Help You Fight Crime and Poverty!

I woke up today to "Breaking News" that proclaimed at least 8 people had been shot overnight in Chicago. As usual, I read names of kids who died, and recognized addresses from some of the same high-crime neighborhoods I've mapped before. I came into the office and mapped the locations, as I always do, to try and get a picture of where non-school tutoring/mentoring programs are offering guidance to youth, in proximity to the violence last night and low-performing schools.

Please click on the map to see a larger, higher-resolution, and more detailed view.

When you look at the map I made, try to locate the green stars. These are non-school tutoring/mentoring facilities. If you go to our interactive, online mapping tool, you can click on the stars and get contact information that will tell you details and contact information about each program.

If you use our map tools - either my Map Gallery or the Interactive Asset Map - try to do some quick and dirty math. Try to think about how many kids are packed into a typical struggling Chicago Public School. Assume that each of the green stars/programs has a limited capacity - limited by a lack of funding and a need for volunteers... and well, x > y in most cases where there is high-poverty and inevitable crime.

(See this discussion for much more detail as to "where and why tutor/mentor programs are needed most.")

Then ask yourself if you think it's a good idea to mentor youth who are living with challenges that come from low school performance, poverty, and survival... challenges that, without guidance can turn to anger and violence. Like it did last night.

Here's the great thing if you do think it sounds logical to tutor and mentor kids who need a little extra guidance...

You can help!


* For starters, you can use your social network. Most in your network might not yet know there are opportunities in tutoring/mentoring to meet and coach great kids with tons of potential but uncertain futures...

You can exponentially raise awareness of the problem and educate/mobilize an army of those with the time to volunteer an hour or so a week.

* But not everyone will have an hour to consistently spare... perhaps instead they have personal means or a charitable connection that would welcome the tax write-off that comes from donating to a non-profit... thus ensuring that those with the time to volunteer have places to do it.

* And hey - don't let me stop YOU from getting involved yourself!

I think both you and your network should join me here at this blog to consistently discuss The Rest Of The Story... and other tidbits related to maps... and education, community, social justice, and problem solvers like Tutor/Mentor Connection. Please bookmark my blog and come back for new maps and discussions.

* I also know YOU would love the experience of volunteering with a kid you'd otherwise never have the chance to meet... and very possibly could change your life as much as you change his/hers.

Please contact us to volunteer... or donate at

* One last - but hugely important thing you should do:

Our growing mapping capacity (as evidenced today by my ability to turn out a map within hours of a request - for discussion of the news in this case... but just as easily for those whose strategies/partnerships need a map of locate assets, resources, or programs) is not-for-profit, and supported by benefactors and donations.

If you know someone with a charitable interest in causes that combine social justice, kids, education, workforce development, and the war on poverty... we need their help to continue our efforts into 2010 and beyond. Please pass the message to any potential benefactors who can help us reach our $50,000 goal. Have them contact me or for details.

Did I mention by the way that the last generous $50,000 grant we received bought the interactive, online mapping tool that will help you find a place to volunteer when you get done reading this? Chris Warren even created a tutorial called Anyone Can Make Maps (That Means You!) to get you started...

Check it out...

And again, please lean on your network... Here's an article of interest: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media.

Unfortunately most people rely on "the news" for community information. And unfortunately if you're relying on Breaking News, all your getting is half the story - the problem... day after day... negative news.

Social networking allows you to fill in the Rest of the Story... that you and your network have the ability to help solve those problems.

No comments: