Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Hanukkah! How Jewish Faith Leaders Might Rally Against Poverty

Many blessings, and much peace and good fortune to people of Jewish faith in our community. Happy Hanukkah!

We here at Tutor/Mentor Connection are actively looking to ally with spiritual leadership in the community to support more and better non-school mentor programs in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Of course, we respect that the Tzedakah money traditionally offered as charity this time of year must be distributed wisely, and thus we would be honored to have our organization and its poverty-fighting and community-building work considered for any Tzedakah gift.

Please read on and decide if our work is worthy of Tzedakah giving.

(click on the map above to see "full-sized")

A look at the map we made above shows the locations of the 101 Jewish congregations we have in our database (please let us know if yours doesn't seem to be here!). Progressively darker shades of reds and blues represent increasing pockets of high poverty in the area.

It is our hope (not just during Hanukkah, but every day) to find spiritual leaders in these locations that might help us tie scripture to our mission... and help us make sense of our work to the area's religious community.

See, leaders at these locations have the power to increase the reach, frequency and consistency of tutoring/mentoring programs for the poor... ultimately helping thousands of kids make better decisions and find success in life, in spite of high concentrations of poorly-performing schools in high-poverty areas. It is our hope that our work contributes to safer communities and stronger economies for all in the future.

Looking at the map again, Jewish congregations are typically located in more affluent communities, and many are clustered near I-94 (a major artery leading into high-poverty communities throughout Chicago)... and thus are in as strong a position as anyone to take leadership roles that point volunteers, donors, and attention to tutor/mentor programs that already exist... or to neighborhoods where new programs need to be created.

If interested in learning more, please look at one of Tutor/Mentor Institute's several strategy documents (accumulated from over 30 years of working knowledge) called, "How Faith Communities Can Lead Volunteer Mobilization For Tutor/Mentor Programs".

And then contact us to discuss ways we can work together.

Thank you, and a very Happy Hanukkah!

Note: since 2011 the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been operated by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. While this is not a tax exempt organization, it still depends on contributions to continue this work. Please consider a small donation this holiday season

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