Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Intermediaries focused on youth in Chicago

Since October 2014 I've been posting articles showing uses of concept maps. They are a different form of information visualization than the geographic maps posted since 2008.

The map at the left shows intermediary organizations who focus on the well-being of youth in the Chicago region. Some of the nodes are empty, such as ones focused on "business, universities, philanthropy and faith networks". What this means is that someone needs to build a similar concept map, showing what organizations within these categories are doing to support programs helping youth in different parts of the Chicago region.

Most of the nodes on the concept map have links to the organizational web site. I encourage readers to look at each web site to see what they are doing, and to offer your support if possible. As you do, look for visualizations that show a commitment to helping youth move through school and into jobs and careers, such as mine at the right. If a growing percent of all of the intermediaries focusing on youth shared the same broad goal, each could then define their own focus area, such as making STEM programs available in non-school hours, or arts programs available during school day hours.

I'd also look to see if each intermediary has a resource section where they include maps like this, and where they point to others who are working to help youth in the region. At minimum they should point to a list of organizations within their own sphere of influence, like the Chicago tutor/mentor program list that I host.

I created this graphic (see article) to illustrate a need to not only influence what service providers do to help youth, but to illustrate what resource providers need to do to assure that every service provider, and intermediary, has the talent, tools, dollars, etc. to do the work that needs to be done, and to keep doing it, and getting better, for many years.

I feel this should be a shared goal, and responsibility, of every intermediary, and every service provider. If we're going to reach youth in every high poverty neighborhood with programs that help them move from first grade to adult roles, responsibilities and jobs and careers, we need to influence the distribution of resources and the growth of needed programs in all high poverty areas of the city and suburbs.

I've hosted a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago every six months since May 1994. I've invited leaders and staff of these intermediaries to attend, and to use the conference as a meeting place for their own networks, while also using the conference to help build visibility and draw needed resources to themselves, and to all of the organizations they support. If you look at names and organizations shown on conference attendee lists that I've used since 2007, or the conference maps that I've begun to create, you can see that there still is a great deal of work to be done to bring these groups together consistently.

I recognize that it's possible that someone else is having more success bringing these groups together and has been doing so for the past 20 years. If so, I would hope they would have some maps and attendee lists that show who is attending their events. I'd also hope to receive an invitation, and have my web sites serve as a resource for all of them.

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