Thursday, October 15, 2009

FAQ #1: "How do you get the maps to the kids in need?"

A friend of mine asked a simple question on Facebook this week that reminded me that sometimes I get caught deep in the complexity of what we are doing with Tutor/Mentor Connections strategies... and forget to summarize or simplify.

He asked a question a lot of people who find this blog are possibly wondering about too. He asked:

"Hi Mike, this sounds quite noble. How do you get the maps to the kids in need?"

This was my response, which I'm re-posting here:

"Hey man... awesome question! Unfortunately a lot of kids probably do not see my maps themselves these days.

This is a relatively new/unique project. My maps serve several huge functions that will ultimately include more distribution of info directly to kids. This is what the maps do... how they work...

I make some maps to try and raise awareness to the need for tutor/mentor programs (by showing poverty, failing schools, crime, and a lack of tutor/mentor centers). These programs are options to the streets for kids who want to participate in our economy, but simply don't have resources or parents who know what it takes to work toward jobs/college.

Some of my maps show businesses, churches, political districts, and other community assets, which when coupled with the strategies my non-profit has been developing for over a decade, has led people in positions of power to form alliances that support/host t/m programs...

Some of my maps show commuter routes as well, in relation to programs, to try and entice volunteers/commuters to get involved with mentoring... kids need to meet caring professional adults... and adults need to meet kids in these neighborhoods. There is a TON of misconception on both sides of this cultural divide.

There have been a few success stories from programs that have generated money or volunteers from my maps... there have been some alliances that have formed to help new programs grow... but to this point there isn't enough exposure to my maps or the service they provide.

Recently politicians are calling for service and mentorship as a way to fight crime/poverty longterm... they need to know about our resources. There are indications this might happen.

So ideally and eventually, as community/political leaders use the maps to form alliances...

... and businesses and individuals are rallying donations to these nonprofits...

... and volunteers are increasing the mentoring ranks/capacity...

... and community centers (like Hyde Park Hair Salon, and Webster Wine Bar) are hanging the maps for their customers to find places to send their kids or volunteer...

... and the media decides to publish the maps when they write/tell about street violence, to show concerned citizens that there are places they can work with to fight poverty or crime, instead of feeling sad/helpless when kids are killing kids night after night...

Well, maybe then kids/parent will start to hear about/use the maps to find programs.

Too few people know we're here yet."

Help us spread the word.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Mike's explanation is pretty good. However, kids can now create their own map layouts, using the program locator at

They can zoom into different parts of the city, add layers of information, and create a map that tells the story of tutor/mentor programs in a specific area, as well as the assets who might help those programs grow.

Once they have created a map, they can use the "Print Screen" button on a PC to copy the image and past it into a word document, or into Adobe Photoshop, where they can convert it to a JPG, and edit it with text and other features.

The JPG can be used in a blog, on a web site, and in an advertising campaign, led by students, to mobilize resources that help students connect with tutors, mentors and extra non-school learning resources.

This can be done by students in any school, city or suburb. We'd like to help if people have questions.

Dan Bassill
Tutor/Mentor Connection